Roy Rayn is the General Manager of Shaghal Ltd. and the President of Ematic, an innovative product line featuring portable media tablets, eReaders, MP3 players, and numerous other electronic accessories. XO Vision, a global leader in mobile and automobile accessories, is another one of Roy’s companies. Roy is dedicated to providing breakthrough quality and price performance to all his consumers. He has led Ematic to become a top-selling brand in the audio departments of Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and others. Roy is passionate about innovation and setting an example for others on the benefits of responsible business practices. Ematic exemplifies this philosophy by using only environmentally friendly inks made from recycled cartridges, ensuring that all Ematic packaging is 100% recyclable, and running the corporation itself in power-conscious facilities.
MO: Can you tell us more about your previous experiences with entrepreneurship and technology companies? What in your background prepared you to lead Ematic?
Roy: As a graduate of the USC Entrepreneurial Program, I started working as an assistant to the CEO of a consumer electronics manufacturer in 2004. I was quickly promoted to manager, and eventually General Manager, in 2005. I founded Ematic in 2005 as a flash memory line of products. As time went on, we recruited a diverse team of engineers, designers, and fun people to lead us into becoming the company that we are today. We focused on offering consumers an alternative to the pricy electronics that were out, yet without sacrificing on quality or design. We pride ourselves on offering simply beautiful products at a fraction of the cost of our competitors’ versions.
MO: There is obviously a fairly prominent player in your industry named Apple. How do you compete with such a household name? What makes you different?
Roy: We do not see ourselves as competitors at all. Apple has started a revolution and we are simply a part of it. Apple started the entire tablet industry, and we are grateful to them for that. We see ourselves as an Apple alternative. If a customer cannot or does not want to spend $499-$799 on a tablet, they can get an Ematic device that does just about everything the iPad does at a fraction of the cost (Ematic tablets start at $99 retail).
MO: What other products do you make besides tablets? Do you have any products that are in the R&D phase, or anything new we can expect to see soon?
Roy: We are currently working on a kids’ tablet, which will revolutionize the world. More and more kids today are tech-savvy and want to play with their parents’ toys. That’s not always a good idea, considering internet safety issues, a lack of educational content, and oversight. Our device provides kids with a kid-safe environment, blocking all inappropriate content while providing a number of games, educational apps, and videos.
MO: What are some challenges you have faced in gaining exposure and creating a brand?
Roy: Customers tend to go with the brands they know when it comes to any product or service. Ematic does not have the brand recognition that, say, an Apple does, since our business model does not allow that kind of spending. This is changing in the CE industry as more and more customers are realizing that the name is not all that important. They are realizing that they are paying out of their pockets to make that name well-known.
MO: What are your favorite tablet apps? Why do you like them?
Roy: I love Angry Birds – it’s just endless fun with minimal thinking! I’m also a huge fan of our own latest app, called “EDAN – Ematic Digital Assistant and Navigator.” Siri just met its match!
MO: We know that we can currently purchase your products on your website Ematic.us – can we purchase them in stores anywhere? Do you have a strategy for getting the tablets on the shelves?
Roy: You can find Ematic products on Walmart.com, JR.com, and other fine retailers.
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