When Cheok Ming Jin, Chik Sheng Fei and Lim Thol Yong launched their first product below Charby Sdn Bhd (Charby) by December 2017, they had already set about creating inventions to solve problems.
Charby Sense, a smart cable that automatically shuts off the charge when the device’s battery is full, was the first prototype they created. Sure to say, the RM100K initially invested to develop it has been worth it.
Since then, the product has been shipped to more than 82 countries, and CEO Ming Jin told Vulcan Post in an update interview that to this day, they still have it to thank for Charby’s subsequent growth. .
Thanks to the traction it obtained, the technology startup was able to continue creating newer products for the last 4 years. So, bottom line is that we’re really looking forward to Charby’s growth.
Focus on a niche for efficient reach
From a single charging cable, Charby now carries a line of MagSafe accessories, cables, chargers and more.
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But the industry of these accessories is constantly innovating at a fast pace, so how do you keep the equipment?
Ming Jin shared that they simply have to keep their ears on the ground about the latest technologies and market trends.
Following technology communities, studying Kickstarter campaigns, reading Amazon product reviews, and of course listening to your customers’ feedback are all that you achieve in your line of work.
“We understood that, as a startup, we do not have the advantage of a large marketing capital to compete in this especially competitive space.”
“Therefore, we chose to focus on meeting various needs or niches better than our competitors. These niches then became our mission: to make the cargo safe, fast and easy,” Ming Jin described.
He believes Charby also stands out for the way he builds long-term relationships with clients.
Instead of imposing barriers on warranty claims like a shorter warranty registration window or making customers pay for the international return shipping, Charby went the other way. It has a zero registration window and covers the return shipping costs of customers when they make a claim.
Ming Jin shared that this effort to build customer trust and confidence has paid off, as Charby has not only received widespread written recognition, but also sees 17% of his customers make more than 6 Charby’s purchases throughout his life.
From local rejection to international reception
Looking back on Charby’s journey, who would have predicted that this startup would face the global market with just a smart charging cable, especially when its first investment proposals were rejected twice?
However, no one has long been self-pitying, Charby’s team brought their first invention to Indiegogo, an international crowdfunding site.
There, the campaign took off in the US market and garnered considerable attention from the media, influencers and distributors. This allowed Charby to reach customers in other countries as well.
The team quickly established partnerships with local distributors and compliance companies in China and the US to meet international demand.
Today, more than 60% of Charby’s revenue comes from developed countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, Canada, France, and Japan, while the Malaysian market accounts for less than 18% of its sales.
Turning Failures into Lessons to Share
Growing a technology startup (or any other startup, for that matter) is certainly full of trial and error. Seeing the journey of Ming Jin and his team so far, we needed to know what advice he could give to other aspiring tech entrepreneurs.
1. Analyze your return on investment (ROI) and have mitigation plans in mind before investing in any project.
“We’ve spent many months building products that have never seen the light of day, such as a wireless power bank with suction cups, a magnet-arranged cable, and a battery-saving app,” Ming Jin shared.
“The main reason these projects failed is that we underestimated the complexity involved, making the newly adjusted cost unjustifiable.” In other cases, they underestimated the time required to create them, which cost them their first move advantage.
As mentioned above, the industry is growing at a rapid pace and competitors with more funding and manpower will no doubt be faster at producing similar products.
2. Make things easier for customers.
“At the time, our design philosophy was to create products that were as powerful and functional as possible. We tried to put 13 features on a single cable, and yet we have a lot of customers who used it for 2 years without knowing it. not even some functions existed “.
“Some increase in product value has drawbacks that increase costs and warranty rates. Instead, we should set aside features that do not add value to customers,” Ming Jin advised.
Being simpler also means using simpler marketing messages related to the end benefits. For example, with Charby’s Orbit series, they make it clear that the ultimate goal is to help customers easily charge and assemble their devices in 1 second.
Any other feature of the Orbit accessories simply contributes to this ultimate goal. “Simpler, customers understand your value proposition easier, have faster decision making, and [it] it can also mean less service time [for the company]”He shared.
3. Use the many crowdfunding platforms available.
To this day, Charby still leverages crowdfunding platforms when it launches products with a higher innovation value, as they are more likely to receive funding, the team learned.
“We’ve seen campaigns with an exceptional price for their product, long delivery dates, or less attractive presentation and video, but they can still be successfully funded when the products are innovative,” said Ming Jin.
Thus, it recommends founders with innovative products to try to launch them on crowdfunding platforms.
“The crowdfunding community not only helped us reach the minimum initial order quantity, but is also willing to take the time to respond to surveys and offer suggestions and feedback on campaigns, which is not easy to achieve.”
The home is still where the heart is
In keeping with its mission to make charging safe, fast and easy, one of the products the team is working on includes a palm-sized MagSafe power bank with a capacity of 5,000 mAh.
Users will be able to easily carry it and stick it on the back of a phone, and can charge a Qi-enabled smartphone and an Apple Watch at the same time.
In terms of marketing, Ming Jin said Charby would like to change his approach to being more local. This would help him to become a trusted charging brand and a major player in the field of consumer electronics in Malaysia.
We believe that the consumer electronics charging industry has come to stay and even thrive for decades to come. With the rise of wearables, IoT, drones, robots and metavers, it means more devices will run on battery power. We just need to make sure we stay ahead of the curve and constantly improve our products and business to increase our market share.
Cheok Ming Jin, co-founder and CEO of Charby.
Of course, Charby will expect competition in the form of players who have achieved economies of scale. However, instead of competing head-on, it will continue to occupy its niche market and the middle segment of Malaysia.
Once he has strengthened his bases here, Ming Jin is confident that Charby will be able to face Singapore and other ASEAN markets.
Featured Image Credit: Charby