Znak Politechniki Warszawskiej

WRISTY - phone full of contradictions

WRISTY 3Wristy is not a smartwatch! It is a “smart” device though as it fulfills expectations of one particular group of clients. Is the invention of WUT Business School alumni going to be successful on the market?

Necessity is the mother of invention.

It doesn’t have a touchscreen display, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, headphones socket, camera, 8 GB memory and many other cool features but Rafał Czernik and Elżbieta Jarmusz the authors and founders of Wristy Technologies SA who met when doing an Executive MBA course at the Warsaw University of Technology Business School believe that their invention will be a hit. Regardless its name, Wristy is not only a device designed for carrying on the wrist. There are additional accessories included in the box set ie. : a lanyard to hold Wristy around your neck, a silicone Wristy case to which you can attach a wristband or a clip, a clip to attach a cased Wristy to your clothes and a pouch for Wristy and its accessories. It is a funny device full of contradictions – a bit like a smartphone and a bit like a smartwatch.

The idea came when Rafał Czernik – the founder of the Wristy Technologies SA, was travelling a lot and could not get hold of his 8 - year old son even though he did have a mobile on him. In space of 24-months I managed to speak to him on the phone about three times – recalls Rafał. It is a major problem for kids and parents these days: they try to reach their offsprings on the phone but they fail.- says Elżbieta Jarmusz.

When Rafał and Elżbieta were doing their Executive MBA at WUT Business School, they started to think of solutions to this parental problem. It turned out to be a phone which is small, would always be nearby and it would not have a flat battery within few hours. The design had to be enhancing for both children and grown-ups.

The professors persuaded us that our good idea was a worthy material for our dissertation and so we decided to write about it. We set up a company whilst still studying at WUT Business School and we invested our funds in research – recalls Elżbieta Jarmusz – The dissertation defence was like a litmus paper for us. We decided that if the Committee says that Wristy is a good idea, then we  will go through with our project. In the  end  it turned  out to be one of two best graded dissertation! – she adds.

 

Research, research and more research

Wristy is not only a solution to a particular problem but it is a long-term and detailed research of the target group whose problems this device is supposed to solve.

Companies often do not realise that sometimes product is purchased by someone who will not be its main user. We are solving parents’ problems but we  do have to take into account what the kids will say about it so they do not tell their parents  that they will not use their “gifts” for them - Rafał Czernik explains.

What is it like then? It is a small and a very light phone (only 20g.) with a small SIM card. All you need to do is to set up an account on the especially dedicated website where you need to put in four telephone numbers of your choice and then decide where and how you would like to wear it. One button is for answering call, another for hanging up and the four numbers are for calling the numbers to your close ones. An additional feature is an option of dialing the 112 emergency number and that is all.

Achieving such simplicity was not so easy afterall. We were looking for a design office located in Europe but there wasn’t one that could do it unless the cost would be raised to an amount so high that it would not make any sense to sell the product. It would simply be far too expensive. - says Elżbieta Jarmusz.

That’s where the idea of producing it in Asia came from. Will such basic design without the common features present in the modern mobile phones seem attractive to customers? It wasn’t us who determined what are WRISTY’s special features. It was the customers who expressed their needs ie. that they need a simple, functional and easy-to-use device. Our motto during all stages of working on the project was: „simple, easy and handy”- Rafał Czernik explains.

When asked in a survey it turned out that the majority is expecting a small phone that is easy to use with a strong battery. Simplicity is the result of clients’ that is parents’ expectations. Wristy is also recommended for people who are very active and want to be “in touch” at all times but they don’t wish to be bombarded by notifications from hundreds of applications. It is also a  good  solution for the elderly who get confused with ordinary smartphones and smartwatches.

Quality of our product is very important for us and therefore we were testing the componentry in order to make  sure that they are long-lasting and won’t break easily. We reckon that in case any factory faults are found in our product then the customer will have a guarantee to exchange it for a new one – states Rafał. To make  sure that the quality of the product is exceptionally high Wristy Technologies SA implememnted ISO9001 quality system.

WUT Business School is Wristy’s Godmother

Warsaw University of Technology is in the TOP 10 Startup Friendly Polish ranking for HEIs. Wristy’s example shows that these are not just empty phrases. WUT Business school helped the inventors of Wristy to find  an investor and meet the right people at the right time. WinQbator owned by the W Investments SA invested 850 000 zł. in Rafał and Elżbieta’s company.  

„Get MBA, be Ready for Change” is  not just an empty slogan of the Executive MBA programme. It is a facilitator for creating a real change in our students. As part of the “ Koszykowa Valley” initiative we enable our students and alumni to make their business plans a reality by supporting them substantially and by renting them space for organizing their startups. Professionalism and determination of Ela  and Rafał help us adjust the initiative to the needs of entrepreneurs such as them – says prof. Sylwia Sysko-Romańczuk, Programme Director EMBA in WUT Business School.

Not only do we have professional support from the Warsaw University of Technology but we  also got an office space from our University. It all matters a lot for a starting company. - explains Rafał Czernik – Once the product sells and we will develop our business, we  would still like to cooperate with WUT. We would be more than happy if some of the designing stage was done at the Warsaw University of Technology. Synergies with WUT are unlimited. WUT has much bigger technical knowledge and we have good experience in doing business. We complement each other. – says rafał.

Wristy and what next?

Founders of Wristy are only just getting ready for the debut of their device but they already have  plans for the future.  It’s not supposed to be a one product show. We are already writing a new strategy and preparing new product as we  do not want to lag behind the competition.- says Rafał – By sticking to „simple, easy and handy” strategy we are adjusting latest versions of our product to the particular segment of clients. – he adds.

Two students of WUT Business School, parental needs, solution to a problem, innovative product, investor, chance for serious business…It all sounds like a ready-made Hollywood script. Can we  expect a  happy ending? When the project came to our minds, everyone said we are crazy cause  we’ve never produced or even designed anything in electronics. When the project was ready and the research was done, then people kept telling us that we won’t be able to get the funds for it because we have no idea how to do it. So when we finally got the money for our project, we heard that we are crazy because the amount of money we will need for marketing the product is ten times bigger – Rafał is laughing.

Wristy sould be on the market in Springtime. We want to do it step-by-step. We wish to learn something from this experience. We are not worried  about copying as we believe that we are creating a value for  our clients. We wish to build a strong, stable company. That should take us a few years. – Elżbieta describes.- Sales will be the effect of work done. If we do it right, then selling Wristy shouldn’t be a problem.- Rafał adds.

Negotiations with Polish and European mobile phone operators are already in progress. The details still need to be discussed but it is pretty obvious that the product is drawing people’s attention.

We would like to have the situation that the mobile network operators established a special fee for Wristy and that calls between the devices were free of charge.- says Rafał.

Founders of Wristy are planning an advance sale of their phone. It will be directed to people who follow “our story” and buy it. First limited edition of Wristy will be for lower price and  will have additional set of accessories in many attractive colours.- Elżbieta tells us. The  details  of pre-sale will be posted on the company’s FB fanpage. It’s worth to keep an eye on it!