Elevator Pitch: KISA

Elevator Pitch is a regular feature on Lifehacker where we profile startups and new companies and pick their brains for entrepreneurial advice. This week, we’re talking with Dmitry Levin from KISA.

In 128 words or less, explain your business idea.

KISA is an easy to use mobile phone developed in Australia in consultation with community organisations such as Vision Australia and Guide Dogs Victoria. We were inspired to make the KISA phone when shopping for mobile phones for our grandparents. The current seniors mobile phone market is full of devices that, contrary to their positioning, are not simple or easy to use.

We set out to create a mobile phone with large mechanical buttons and no screen that anyone could use without any experience with technology. Each KISA phone is personalised specifically for its user before shipment, with customised buttons and important information and contact details printed on the rear.

What strategies are you using to grow and finance your idea?

Working and collaborating with community organisations is very important to us. It has been their feedback which has made the KISA phone possible and they have provided invaluable guidance on designing a phone to suit the needs of seniors, elderly, vision impaired and the disabled. As parents ourselves we knew that the KISA will also be perfectly suitable for young children.

We hope that people will recognise and trust the KISA name as they see our on-going involvement with these groups. We are financing KISA ourselves.

What’s the biggest challenge facing your business?

For any market, trust is very important. Our biggest challenge is, as a new company, to grow and become a trusted brand name. We aim to gain that trust by responding to the needs of our customers, and providing high quality product, service and support.

How do your differentiate your business from your competitors?

We designed the KISA phone from scratch in Australia to meet people’s needs. Even the simplest seniors and children’s phones on the market assume something about the user; they assume that they already know how to or are capable of using digital menus, touch screen interfaces, audio commands, or even at the most basic level, they assume the user can read.

The KISA phone aims to assume nothing about its user. We also are a mobile virtual network operator and therefore offer an end to end service tailored for seniors, children, the vision impaired and the disabled.

What one phone, tablet or PC application could you not live without?

Google Apps — it’s essential!

What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever received?

Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you.

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