Providing Quality at Pocket-Friendly Prices: Interview with Prateek Suri of MASERJune 22, 2020
In an exclusive interview, Critic Reviewer speaks to Prateek Suri, the Founder of MASER, about his startup journey, the milestone of achieving 2,00,000 units in sales within one year and his future plans for his company in the UAE.
Can you tell us in brief about MASER? How did MASER as a start-up get funded?
I founded MASER in 2014 as a dynamic start-up that is driven by technological innovation and a passion to make high-quality products that are affordable and accessible to all. With the ambition to become a global leader in the affordable consumer electronics segment, MASER has a product portfolio that spans LED televisions, display televisions for outdoor use, home theatre systems, soundbars and power banks.
In 2019, MASER expanded to the UAE to better serve private and public sector entities in the Middle East and Africa from its warehousing hub in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone.
In 2020, MASER received $8million in funding from a UK-based private finance company and invested in a state-of-the-art, 100% export facility to boost its manufacturing capacity and meet growing customer demand. This new facility is located in the Special Economic Zone, Gandhinagar, in western India, a thriving hub of electronics and IT. With strong sales and sustained growth, MASER is now poised to enter an ambitious phase of expansion.
What are the things a person/company as a start-up should keep in mind when approaching Angel investors?
- Know your finances. The proposed business should be scalable, which can be calculated by CMA (Credit Monitoring Arrangement) data. Before approaching an angel investor, ensure you are well versed with all the financial aspects of the business.
- Business vision, strategy and the road map should be clearly articulated by the entrepreneur. In the case of MASER, our vision of high quality yet affordable consumer electronics informs every aspect of the business.
- Insert key milestones in your business plan, for scalability. Key milestones are another output of your strategic-planning process. Investors need confidence in your ability to deliver results. If you don’t identify measurable goals, how can they trust you’ll execute bigger plans? Or even know when you’ve arrived where you want to go?
Can you talk more about MASER and the journey since 2014?
MASER started in 2014 with a vision to provide high-quality electronic products at affordable prices. The first products we rolled out were LED TVs, distributing them into Tier 2 and 3 cities across the Middle East and Africa. Our vision has been to make them so affordable that each home could have a big-screen LED TV and enjoy their favourite channels at home. Encouraged by overwhelming positive response and feedback, we expanded our portfolio to include audio systems and air conditioners. Since 2019, MASER has expanded to the Middle East and Africa.
Since the COVID -19 epidemic, how has been the electronic market for MASER?
Like businesses and communities around the world, the COVID-19 outbreak has also had an impact on our supply chain and exports on account of countries being under lockdown. However, MASER has also witnessed strong demand from retail consumers. Under lockdown, there was increasing demand for smart TVs for people at home to stream content from digital platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.
We have been working from home for the past few months. It has been a good opportunity to fine-tune our strategy, evaluate our performance and develop a roadmap for the future. The past few months presented many businesses with a steep learning curve. For the redistribution market, it will all depend on how sales resume post-COVID.
There has been a surge in online sales, and I expect this to continue as people refrain from going outside and streaming platforms acquire exclusive content for smart TVs.
Once the lockdown is lifted, I foresee another huge spike in demand as supply lines have been constrained the past few months. The challenge would be is to fill this dry out gap. This unprecedented situation has forced companies to relook strategies.
What are your plans for MASER in UAE?
For the short term, our focus in the UAE is on online sales and growing the brand on e-commerce platforms.
What are the highlight points of MASER products compared to other brands?
There has been a steady rise in streaming content consumption. And with smart LED TV markets poised for growth, content is king. We are currently in talks with content partners for pre-embedded applications of their apps on MASER smart TVs and we hope to announce this development in the near future.
As you mentioned MASER products manufactured in Delhi, are product origin – made in India or assembled?
MASER products are manufactured in India, made by assembling parts from China, Taiwan and Korea.
Are there plans to retail the products in UAE or sell via online e-services?
Right now, we are focusing on online platforms and redistribution markets. We are in touch with a few power retailers of the UAE and will explore the possibility once the COVID-19 situation is resolved.
What are the future plans for MASER in the Middle East & Africa?
For the Middle East, we intend to retain our warehousing facilities in the Jebel Ali Free Zone for redistribution to the Middle East and Africa. MASER will be bringing new products such as display TVs for outdoor use (such as screens for advertisement hoardings) and educational TVs.
We have also done trial sampling for split air conditioners for the Middle East market.