30 Nov Providing Vision-Care to Remote Corners of India – An Interview with DOT Glasses
DOT Glasses is a company that started with the goal of finding a solution that makes eyeglasses accessible to people everywhere – even those living in the most remote villages on earth.
With that vision, within two years, they came up with the concept of one-size-fits-all frames, along with a simplified lens concept. They offer high-quality eyeglasses with good style, and lesser cost to cater to the low-income markets that they want to impact.
To increase efficiency, DOT Glasses has devised a 60-minute training programme that prepares almost anyone to provide basic vision care. “Many people still don’t understand that their poor vision can be easily addressed with a pair of prescription eyeglasses”, says Philip Staehelin, CEO & Founder, DOT Glasses. He adds “Since we don’t need an optometrist to deliver basic eye care, this acts as the key factor to deliver the “awareness” element into these remote areas”. Their eyeglasses are always delivered on-site at the time of the vision test.
While cost and training concerns were tackled, the reach of the products was another factor that the team had to address while expanding into the 14 countries that they currently cater to. They manage to achieve this ease of distribution by extensive partnerships. Philip says, “Partnerships are a key factor that distinguishes us from other providers of low-cost glasses, as we can piggyback on existing networks to get the glasses (and the vision tests) to the end customers”. Their distribution network often comprises of community outreach programs of development NGOs, existing networks of micro-distributors, large public hospitals, and chains of health clinics that previously did not offer vision care. Sometimes, they also work alongside governments to fulfill their programmes of health for all.
“From the data we’ve collected through our pilots (in New Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Lucknow and Bangalore), we’ve been able to assess the true ‘willingness to buy’ of the people living at the bottom of the economic pyramid, and we also realized that creating awareness for eye care is a critical element in achieving social impact.”, explains Philip.
DOT Glasses began operations in India in early 2019, with their first partner pilots. Recently, Ennovent partnered with DOT Glasses to work with them to expand the reach of their products in India and Nepal. While talking about the collaboration with Ennovent which started in July 2020, Philip says, “The collaboration with Ennovent has proved to be highly effective within a very short span of time. We’re already in the process of scheduling a number of very exciting large-scale pilots in both countries (India and Nepal) through Ennovent’s efforts.” Ennovent is supporting DOT Glasses to forge mutually beneficial business partnerships that create a fair profit and sustainable impact through the delivery of this radical vision care solution.
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Since 2008, Ennovent has catalysed over 235 ventures in 35 countries through 65 projects. We recognise the challenges associated with launching a product in low-income markets and can offer our startup expertise, local capacity, funding network, and global community to take your product to these markets.