Al-Karim Versi, inventor of the A-Kar electric vehicle, gives us some details about how to go about inventing a new product, the challenges, the marketing, funding and some past experiences.
The A-Kar is a 3 wheeled vehicle made out of fiberglass. The motor is powered electrically by lithium ion battery cells and does not emit any harmful gases into the environment.
The A-Kar has been designed for uses as either a delivery vehicle or passenger carrier.
The top speed is 35mph and a full charge of 5 hours will give you 70 miles.
What do you think is the greatest challenge for inventors of products and how can they
I think the greatest challenge is turning your idea, your vision, into reality, into something tangible that you can feel and touch. This will include various obstacles that come along the path to creating your product. However these can all be overcome by persistency and more importantly a clear focus on the end goal and what you want to achieve.
For example, before a 100 meter race, a sprinter will have looked down the track ahead and already have run the race in their head.
What are the necessary steps to take when developing a product for the public, how do
they market it?
One critical area is to know and understand your target market and establish exactly what it is
they want, or what it is that is already established and how your product is going to improve upon what is already out there.
This could mean walking around the streets and asking people on their views and thoughts
on your product or having a customer focus group or using media uploads on the internet and viewing the feedback you receive. However, I would not advise the last channel if you are seeking patent protection first.
It is also necessary to make sure you are knowledgeable and well read up on current government legislation as well as any relevant licensing or health and safety issues concerning the product you want to develop.
What were your challenges? And how did you go about it?
My challenges were pretty varied. To begin with it was the search for a cost effective
manufacturing partner who I could work with and who could understand my vision.
This search saw me travelling across both India and China. I eventually found one in the latter. Other challenges were more procedural, and needed patience on my part, for example
applying for design protection and trademarks.
What are the qualities that you feel makes a successful entrepreneur?
You have to first off be comfortable with yourself and what you are doing. If you cannot
look at yourself in the mirror and believe in yourself, and what you are doing then
You have to live and breathe your idea. Secondly know and understand your
market, there is no point trying to create a football, it’s been done. Always look at
new ideas and businesses you come across daily and always question yourself what way can that idea or business be improved upon.
The key fuel needed is a tank full of passion, with common sense.
A business looking for funding? What is the best way to go about this?
Networking is the key here. Someone once told me that your network is your net worth. By
going out to functions related to your business and building up contacts you should be
able to find the investor you are looking for, or the person who can help you get
There are many Government and European backed funding out there for the right
products. Be wary of people who ask you to pay them a fee to help you raise funding - they
should be confidant in your product in the first place. Also ensure you have a water tight business plan before you talk to anyone, know your figures and know your product inside out.
Any last words you would like to add?
I would like to wish all you budding entrepreneurs and inventors the very best of luck and remember to never give up on your idea. You might feel alienated at times, but you are not the only one.
This is the price you need to pay to turn your vision into reality.
Thanks Al-Karim, I'm sure the readers will enjoy this quality piece of information.
Thanks once more for your time.