Born and brought up in Delhi, India, Mr Prateek Suri, founder and CEO of UAE based TV firm Maser, received a BE in mechanical engineering from BITS Pilani (Dubai campus) in 2010.
He started his career in the trading sector, supplying goods across the MENA region, an invaluable experience as he had the opportunity to research and understand customers.
Discerning a gap in the market for consumer electronics aimed at budget- and quality-conscious consumers in the Middle East and Africa markets, Mr Suri decided to start his own business.
“In 2014, I founded Maser and has succeeded in growing the company exponentially, on the basis of word-of-mouth recommendations from satisfied customers. MASER’s range of affordable LED TVs, including 4k Smart TVs, with top-notch specifications and sold through leading e-commerce platforms have proved to be extremely popular with value-conscious public sector entities and consumers in the Middle East and Africa,” he says.
He steered Maser’s successful expansion to the UAE in 2019. In 2020, he was instrumental in MASER receiving funding from a UK-based private finance company for investing in a state-of-the-art, 100% export facility to boost its manufacturing capacity and meet growing customer demand.
Under his leadership as CEO, Maser has registered strong sales and sustained growth even in a challenging business environment. For his entrepreneurial vision and leadership, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in international business in December 2019.
His company started with a vision to provide high quality electronic products at affordable prices. The first products that were rolled out were LED TVs, distributing them into Tier 2 and 3 cities across the Middle East and Africa.
“Our vision has been to make them so affordable that each home could have a big-screen LED TV and enjoy their favourite channels at home. Encouraged by overwhelming positive response and feedback, we expanded our portfolio to include audio systems and air conditioners,” he explains.
Maser, a dynamic start-up that is driven by technological innovation and a passion to make high-quality products that are affordable and accessible to all, runs on the ambition to become a global leader in the affordable consumer electronics segment.
Currently, it has a product portfolio that spans LED televisions, display televisions for outdoor use, home theatre systems, sound bars and power banks. With strong sales and sustained growth, the company is now poised to enter an ambitious phase of expansion into the larger African market, starting with Kenya.
“I got much inspiration from the response which we got after redistributing from Jebel Ali Area and re-export our products to African countries like Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and Gambia.
“Kenya was one of the places where customers approached us through email and direct contact and for that reason, we understood the market potential of Kenya. Later on some customers told us about the business potential of e-commerce platform Jumia,” he expounds.
After that, the firm’s approach changed and soon it intends to open up office in Kenya for e-commerce business. This project, he says, will in turn create jobs for local people in Kenya and the neighbouring countries.
But for the African Market, the company will retain its warehousing facilities in the Jebel Ali Free Zone for redistribution to the continent.
“Maser is planning to invest USD 300 Million in LED TVs, Aircon, washing machines for sale in the Middle East, and Africa over the next 3 years. We will be bringing new products such as display TVs for outdoor use and educational TVs. We have also done trial sampling for split air conditioners for the Middle East market and Africa. Later on, depending on the size of the market we have captured, we intend to do warehousing in Kenya,” the company says in a statement.
Maser is planning to invest USD 300 Million in LED TVs, Aircon, washing machines for sale in the Middle East, and Africa over the next 3 years. We will be bringing new products such as display TVs for outdoor use and educational TVs. We have also done trial sampling for split air conditioners for the Middle East market and Africa. Later on, depending on the size of the market we have captured, we intend to do warehousing in Kenya
But what is the secret to business survival especially for young entrepreneurs like Mr Suri?
“First you must know your finances. The proposed business should be scalable, which can be calculated by CMA (Credit Monitoring Arrangement) data. Before approaching an angel investor, ensure you are well versed with all the financial aspects of the business. Secondly, your business vision, strategy and the road map should be clearly articulated as an entrepreneur,” he advises.
He advises businesses to insert key milestones in their business plans, for scalability, since investors need confidence in a firm’s ability to deliver results.
“If you don’t identify measurable goals, how can they trust you’ll execute bigger plans? Or even know when you have arrived where you want to go?” he wonders.
However, like businesses and communities around the world, the COVID-19 outbreak has also had an impact on the company’s supply chain and exports on account of countries being under lockdown.
But Mr Suri says the firm has witnessed strong demand of smart TVs from retail consumers under lockdowns, as people at home keep streaming content from digital platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.
“We have been working from home for the past few months. It has been a good opportunity to fine-tune our strategy, evaluate our performance, and develop a roadmap for the future. The past few months presented many businesses with a steep learning curve. For the redistribution market, it will all depend on how sales resume post-COVID,” he says.
There has been a surge in online sales, and the company expects that to continue as people refrain from going outside and streaming platforms acquire exclusive content for smart TVs.
“Once all lockdowns are lifted, I foresee another huge spike in demand as supply lines have been constrained the past few months. The challenge would be is to fill this dry out gap. This unprecedented situation has forced companies to relook strategies.”
People interested in stocking Maser’s products in Africa can reach the TV firm through its email addresses firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. They can further call via +91 (011) 49029132 any time of the day.