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Airbus Bizlab-accelerated napEazy wants to make sleeping on flights easier

Bringing an end to exhausting, chronic pains and fatigue caused by lack of sleep, two former Airbus employees have created a comfort kit- napEazy which lets you rest both your head and upper body in variety of sleeping positions.

, ET Online|
Last Updated: Jan 13, 2020, 05.35 PM IST
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napEazy
napEazy pillow lets users rest both their head and upper body, facilitating the three major sleeping positions- front, side and back while simultaneously preventing the risk of falling while sleeping.
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If you have ever whined about a stiff neck after a long and exhausting airplane ride, you might want to read on. Adequate sleep is an underrated pleasure for working adults. Most people do not realise how quality sleep is vital to maintain a healthy lifestyle- both mentally and physically. Rigorous work-life, long-hour office commutes and frequent air travels for work, often results in pain, fatigue and a sleep-deprived mind. Oddly, most have made peace with this discomfort and are more likely to overlook body, muscle pains and fatigue caused by a sleep-deprived body than find a solution for it.

Pradipta Kishore Sahoo and Soham Narayan Patel, former Airbus employees, experienced similar discomfort when they had to travel to London for work. Even though Patel brought a neck pillow with him to rest on during their 12-hour flight, they both ended up with severe jet lag, back and neck pain, along with stiff feet.

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Later, as they discussed their arduous long-haul journey and how economy class seats are not designed for proper rest and sleep with limited leg space and reclining options, the idea of developing an ergonomic economy class seat that’d help reduce passenger discomfort shaped up. This lead to the formation of napEazy, a uniquely-designed comfort kit- a form of pillow, offering a comfortable resting and sleeping experience to daily commuters and travellers to ease fatigue and pain.

The duo then took the idea to Airbus BizLab India – the business accelerator unit of Airbus, which welcomed it and offered them the accelerator programme. This was followed by establishing their startup- UUO Innovations dedicated to building comfort products for travel segment.

“We spend a lot of our time outside the home either traveling or commuting to the office or in the office. People spend a lot of time commuting due to heavy traffic and there is an increased demand for products that ease the pain during air, bus & car travel. This has created a huge market for travel and office comfort products. napEazy has been designed to cater to this segment,” Sahoo told ET.com.

soham_pradipta_napEazy
napEazy founders Pradipta Kishore Sahoo and Soham Narayan Patel.

‘Rest’ in peace
napEazy is a pillow with a unique design which lets users rest both their head and upper body, facilitating the three major sleeping positions- front, side and back while simultaneously preventing the risk of falling while sleeping.

Weighing around 700 grams, napEazy claims to be a one-stop comfort kit as it promises carbon infused memory foam, it is water repellant and is built with a small compartment to store travel essentials such as boarding pass, ticket, mobile, etc.

“Though napEazy was initially designed keeping air-travel in mind, but its use is not limited to it. It can be used at home, outside home at, during air, car, train or bus travel. It can also be used at your work desk for a power nap. It is developed with the objective of making travel & daily commute comfortable,” he said.

To design the perfect comfort kit with flexibility in usage, the co-founding duo did a lot of research on existing comfort options for travellers, their prices and their original purpose. When they found that travellers were not satisfied with the existing neck pillows, they started working on multiple prototypes to redefine travel comfort during their stint at Airbus. They were sure that the perfect comfort kit would come from modifying airplane seats of the economy class.

Initially, the model the duo had in mind was of a fully functional modular seat for economy class travellers. The aim here was to ensure the travellers get proper sleep in front sleeping posture and will be able to use their laptops or tablets as well. However, they realised that their prototype would take at least two years to get certified by the government and other regulatory bodies to enter the market.

Thereafter, after a lot of brainstorming sessions and prototypes, their model shifted from modifying airline seats to creating a portable comfort kit similar to the size of a hand baggage. They used their prototype on a trip to Paris and felt more comfortable with it than neck pillows and the economy class airline seat.

Entering the market
Presently, napEazy is at its nascent stages and the team is working towards the product’s launch this year. According to Sahoo, the comfort kit will be launched globally on crowdfunding platforms KickStarter and IndieGoGo for pre-orders. Following this, napEazy will be sold at e-commerce platforms and retail outlets.

“Post the launch of napEazy, we will start development of a few more products in the travel comfort segment,” the entrepreneur said.

In terms of funding, he explained that the firm is in talks with multiple angel investors and is planning to use the funds to scale up the product manufacturing and protect IPs of new products. The startup also envisions developing new products for the travel comfort segment.

“We also aim at contributing to the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative,” he added.

The firm targets to bring comfort to nearly 10 million travelers in a span of three years.
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