22 - 26 February 2024 | BIEC, Bengaluru, India
International Trade Fair for Furniture Production Technologies, Woodworking Machinery, Tools, Fittings, Accessories, Raw Materials and Products

In conversation with Harshil Salot - Co Founder at The Sleep Company

The Sleep Company is a comfort products company that plans to revolutionize the way people Sleep and sit by leveraging its patented "Smart Grid" technology. We spoke to Harshil Salot, Co-Founder to find out more about the development of mattress industry in India, new-age technology and their future plans

1. What motivated you to launch your brand for the Indian market?

Founded in 2019, the company’s inception was based on our realisation that, while we all spend an average of 26 years (or 2,27,760 hours) of our life on a mattress, there was very little innovation that went into elevating that experience further. This idea further took seed, when as new parents at the time, we were struggling to get a good night’s sleep, curtailing our energy and ability to function at our most efficient throughout the day. This started our quest for the perfect mattress in a market that last saw significant innovation back in the 1960s when memory foam was invented. We travelled across the world to meet with scientists and technicians in the field of sleep and material science to find an appropriate solution. The Sleep Company products are the result of extensive R&D and collaboration with ex-DRDO material scientist Dr. Tripathi, who invented the Super Stretchy SmartGRID.

2. During your research, what were some of the biggest findings when it came to the mattress industry in India.

During our research for a quality mattress that encompassed all aspects i.e. ergonomic comfort, durability and versatility we were shocked to find how far behind India was vs. other countries when it came to smart sleep solutions. What we came to find was that in a market where consumer preferences had evolved tenfold, we were still banking on the almost six-decade old foam and memory foam mattresses. The Indian mattress market for years has been split between an unorganised and organised market place, with unbranded products monopolising the space purely on the basis of price point. However, with information at their fingertips, today consumers are more quality-conscious, aware and looking for products that provide a very distinct value-proposition. Furthermore, life style products like an ergonomically supportive mattress is no longer viewed as a luxury but as an investment in an overall healthier lifestyle. This means that today’s customers are willing to research, compare and make informed decisions based on factors beyond price point like - customer experience, product material and technology

Technology is a very crucial element here and what we realized was that while it has changed every life experience, there was one that seemingly had remained untouched - sleep. This gap is where The Sleep Company wanted to change and bridge, with our patented SmartGRID technology. 

3. The Smart Grid Technology, tell us a little more about it.

Crafted with Sleep Science at its foundation, The Sleep Company produces, manufactures and owns the patent to Asia’s first and only comfort-tech solution - the SmartGRID mattress. Created with a super-stretchy smart polymer, the SmartGRID technology was created in collaboration with ex-DRDO material scientist Dr. Tripathi, and features a signature grid-based design. Backed wholly by science The Sleep Company’s SmartGRID tech is a revolutionary innovation that, with its innovative design and composition enables;- 

  • Superior ergonomics: intelligently designed to ensure that it is soft in certain places like your hips and shoulders while firm in places where it should be like your back, giving you advanced levels of posture support

  • Motion isolation: cancels out any kind of disturbance caused by the person sleeping next to you. Enjoy movement-free, zero partner disturbance

  • Temperature control: The cooling fabric quilted premium softcover comes with 2500 air channels that don’t trap body heat like a memory foam mattress. It allows for optimum airflow not only adds to the bounciness but also helps in regulating temperature

  • Extreme durability: doesn’t sag or sink like other foam, latex, or memory mattresses. The ultra-elastic material will ensure that you experience zero sagging


4. What kind of technology partners do you work with, and how do you leverage technology to enhance your product

The Sleep Company offers a premium product, based on cutting-edge developments in the field of material science and sleep science which came to be after years of meticulous research. Made of a super-stretchy polymer, the patented SmartGRID technology was devised in collaboration with ex-DRDO material scientist Dr. Tripathi. The Sleep Company products are manufactured in Mumbai while the raw materials are sourced from Japan to ensure quality and durability.  

5. Please tell us about your G2M Strategy

The Sleep Company is a digitally native comfort technology company. Augmenting our accessibility and providing better value for premium products, we decided to eliminate the middleman and with it the ineficiencies in the supply chain. This has helped us improve the shopping experience, creating an opportunity for a greater value proposition by removing retailer and distributor margins. Additionally, we introduced a 100-day free trial that added to the appeal and provides a proof of concept for our customers on the kind of impact the SmartGRID mattress can have on their sleep. 

Our strategy at the get-go was to channel all our efforts towards the digital marketplace as well as our own website and it has been an exceptional platform for us to grow brand awareness specifically amongst browsers and casual shoppers. This strategy proved to be incredibly successful for us with an almost equal sales split between our website and Amazon or Flipkart. In fact, in some instances it has skewed more towards our own website. 

6. What are some of the challenges and opportunities in the Indian Mattress Market

Our first challenge was product development. We identi- fied the problem, had a concept of the solution, all we needed to do was determine the right equation to build the perfect mattress that encompassed three critical elements - ergonomic comfort, durability and versatility. We spent years on R&D, travelling across the world from the US to Japan, meeting with experts in sleep and material sciences to pinpoint the exact construct and composition

of the perfect mattress. And even then it wasn’t just about composition, but it was about finding the right people to help us to our eureka moment. After years of searching we found Dr. Tripathi, an ex-DRDO material scientist, who we collaborated with to successfully devise the SmartGRID technology
From there our next step was to find the right methodology for manufacturing. Our products are one of a kind and unique in the Asian market. Our proposition is to bring only the best for our consumers, so sourcing and getting the right equipment and supplies imported from across the globe is a huge feat. However, we’ve deployed machines for the purpose of automating the manufacturing process to minimize human intervention.

7. India is the second most sleep-deprived nation, after Japan, how can the right mattress technology help address this issue to an extent

While sleep deprivation is largely due to life-related circumstances, which mainly boils down to either highly demanding professions or an unhealthy lifestyle - what we need to consider is that, if external factors may be aggravating this seemingly passive threat - there are environmental solutions that can help combat it or atleast alleviate it in some part

Basically, if we start to focus on the qualitative details to achieve absolute relaxation, the quantitative elements are bound to follow suit. To do so, optimizing our sleeping environment becomes a focal point, starting with our comfort solutions - the chairs we sit on, the sofas we lounge on, and of course the humble yet indispensable mattress.

 It's a simple combination of nature and nurture. So, while the nature aspect i.e. lifestyle changes can sometimes be out of our control, the nurture aspect - which in no small part the mattress plays a critical role - can be elevated with smart mattresses that could aid in the mission to combat sleep deprivation

8. How would you rate the potential of the Indian market, considering it is still largely unorganised

The mattress market ecosystem in India today has witnessed a significant shift owing to two key factors - consumer behaviour and the D2C movement. Consumer behaviour has changed drastically over the last two years or so, with value-based lifestyle products acquiring more of an ‘essential’ status than ‘luxury’. While the D2C model has to some extent been able to provide a more eective alternative to the unorganised sector which has reigned supreme for years, by providing an ecosystem that showcases value-driven products which customers can evaluate, compare and make informed decisions about. 

 The unorganised sector primarily dominates the Indian mattress market, but with increasing awareness and earning capabilities of consumers helped in the growth of the organised industry which has grown nearly at a CAGR of 17% in the last five years.

9. In terms of the ecosystem for the manufacturing Industry when it comes to suppliers, what is the need of the hour

This lack of uniformity in Indian markets puts an unnecessary burden on delivery logistics.. E-com companies have turned to optimize packaging and shipping, there is still a huge scope for improvement in better handling distribution. There is also a huge gap with respect to the capacity and the assortment of raw materials available in India and we definitely need to gear up on this to reduce our reliance on imports from neighboring countries.

10. Could you define some future trends for the mattress manufacturing Industry in India

The Indian mattress industry is still in its nascent stage and is gradually moving to automation. There has been an increased awareness with respect to consistency in quality and ensuring the best quality product reaches the consumer. This has also been dictated by International customers who are now looking at sourcing actively from India.

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