Ayyappa Nagubandi — who calls himself an ‘inventor’ with almost 10 patents to his name — is determined to bring new dimensions to the concept of wearables, one of the hottest technology inventions of the recent past. As serial entrepreneur with 17 years of experience working in and building companies, it was not impossible for him to realise his dreams.
“Picture this — you are walking down the road, feeling blue. You see a homeless artist, making one of the best sketches you have laid your eyes on, and it inadvertently brings a smile on your face. You unlock your phone, type something, and your T-shirt reflects your mood,” says Nagubandi.
Broadcasts Wear makes this a reality for you.
“We all love slogans. We love one-liners. They are powerful, and they can create an impact. Some T-shirt slogans are the best you would have ever come across. But, wearing the same T-shirt with the same slogans can get boring,” he goes on.
With Broadcast Wear, your T-shirt will reflect what is on your mind – from the good to the bad, from the beautiful to the ugly. A programmable T-shirt, you can change the slogans whenever you want. It allows you to programme a display embedded in a regular cotton T-shirt using your smartphone. The system would let you display pictures, text, and whatever’s on your mind on the T-shirt for all to see,” he explains.
Broadcast consists of tiny LEDs that connect with the accompanying app to give you complete control over what you wish to say. These sensors are waterproof and have been made with keeping the comfort in mind. This means, they don’t pinch or hurt. With Broadcast, you can change the slogan on your t shirt multiple times, and also share the designs in a community of Broadcast-wearers,” says Nagubandi, who built the startup with his wife Dr. Mahalakshmi, a naturopathy practitioner.
Based out of Hyderabad, this T-shirt is the brainchild of a 4-month-old startup. It looks like a regular T-shirt and can be dry-washed too.
The idea of a programmable t-shirt came during one of Nagubandi’s brainstorming sessions. “We felt that there is truly no wearable solution. While watches and bands are wearables, we felt that the garments that people wear are the (actual) ones, and we wanted to create a true wearable. From this thought came Broadcast,” he adds.
While its primary markets are the US and Europe, anyone who wears T-shirts is Broadcast’s potential customer.
Currently in beta, the startup plans to launch a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo in mid-March, and intends to sell 15,000- 20,000 T-shirts through the campaign. The pricing will be decided at the time of launch.
While the programmable T-shirt is their first product, the startup has no plans to just settle on this. As the company grows, it envisages a future where Broadcast will be an integral part of men’s and women’s fashions. “We plan to make a foray into accessories, footwear, headgear, and various other items of clothing,” he says.
In his view, sharing of knowledge and experimenting is missing in the Indian wearable ecosystem. “In China, if I want a battery of the shape and size I want, the manufacturer will be willing to experiment and provide it in accordance with my tastes and requirements. This does not happen in India. The biggest service providers are not in a mood to listen to the requirements. The first thing they say, it is not possible,” he said.
Nagubandi feels that ethics is Broadcast’s most important strength. “We all believe in the power of honesty and a hard day’s work. But, there will always be forces outside our control that will test our resilience and determination. Just keep your feet firmly planted on the ground, and you’ll be fine,” Nagubandi said while sharing his key learnings with e27.
The company also looks to raise capital from institutional investors, but only after the launch on Indiegogo. “This way, the product will be validated and the investor can get confidence from the traction and our execution,” he concluded.