SprayPrinter has attracted attention in Estonia and beyond, with the company having won the Brain Hunt competition a few years ago by developing two robots named Leonardo and Albert based on a new spray painting technology. The company is now known as Robot Muralist and primarily operates outside Estonia. The Indian market is the reason for the company’s soaring development, as India’s industrial giant Tata Steel a big client of theirs.
Kristina Roosvald, Head of International Sales Operations at Robot Muralist, said that their success in India happened due to an e-mail that was seemingly unbelievable. “The KVM, an Indian Company, contacted us and offered us an incredibly large sales deal; it appeared too good to be true. After dropping our preconceptions, we decided to continue communicating and it ultimately resulted in a client relationship with Tata Steel,” Kristina recalls.
This year, Robot Muralist will focus on creating classic photorealistic murals in India because the culture there believes that immortalising important people is absolutely crucial. That is how Tata Group’s important family member JRD Tata got their gigantic mural on 29 July in Jamshedpur – Robot Muralist had previously created a similar Naval Tata portrait painting. “We began by giving a free demonstration painting to the client, attempting to win their trust. However, we were certain that if the job was successful, they would give us a new contract and continuous collaboration would occur thereafter. And that’s exactly how it happened,” Kristina smiles.
Portrate painting of Naval Tata by Robot Muralist
The company’s wider ambition in the Indian market is to achieve a more suitable business model, as the price of services in this exotic market is rather high. “Travelling with a robot to India is not feasible in terms of costs, which is why we are considering hiring a local Indian team, which in the long term could become our first client in our planned franchise business,” Kristina explains.
Robot Muralist has delegated sales activities to their local partner The KVM, the company that sent the first e-mail. According to Kristina, interpersonal relationships play an immense role in India regarding large transactions. “The KVM has a fantastic list of contacts, and in addition to sales, we see them as the company that can bring our technology to the Indian market, for example, we are currently negotiating with a large paint manufacturer interested in licensing our technology.”
Kristina is of the opinion that Indian entrepreneurs are skilful communicators and great relationship builders who surprise people with their work schedule and the intensity with which they communicate – Robot Muralist received quite a few e-mails and messages in the early morning hours and even some after midnight. “It became evident that the most important aspect is to have the phone number of a client or cooperating partner, as getting answers to our questions via WhatsApp took only a few minutes, but it would take a few days when using e-mail.” We must also consider that a lot of people work in companies in India, all of whom have individual responsibilities and positions in the hierarchy. “It may be that at the end of a seemingly great meeting, only junior officials sitting are opposite us, with no decision-makers among them,” Kristina recalls the more annoying moments.
Additionally, Kristina emphasised that a great deal of attention must be given to the linguistic nuances in India, as communication takes place in English, but the language is native to neither the Estonian nor the Hindu. “It is vital that the complete, necessary information reaches the person responsible for the entire team, which sometimes results in 20 people participating in one call. We have gotten used to working in Estonia without a hierarchy and a strict structure, but in a large country like India, it is simply not feasible.”
Enterprise Estonia’s one duty when entering the Indian market was to help with detailed information in regard to delivering the Leonardo smart handheld robot to India. “We believe that Enterprise Estonia can help us reach interested parties who would like to participate in our franchise business moving forwards,” Kristina hopes. Grace Neha Nathaniel, Project Manager at Enterprise Estonia, has actively worked on the Robot Muralist case for the last seven months. “I noticed an article in the local paper in my hometown of Jamshedpur about Robot Muralist and I immediately contacted them on behalf of the Estonia-Asia Trade Agency,” says Grace. “They had not heard of our activities and services beforehand, but because of our great rapport, we were able to support them in understanding the complex regulations as well as local COVID-19 rules.”
The objective of the Estonia-Asia Trade Agency is to offer all-around support to companies wishing to get a foothold in distant markets.
Estonia-Asia Trade Agency
Cell phone: +91 9810838190
|Grace Neha Nathaniel
Estonia-Asia Trade Agency
Cell phone: +372 58190569
Projekti kaasrahastatakse Euroopa Liidu Regionaalarengu Fondi vahenditest.