Indian entrepreneurial spirit has been on an all-time high in the past two years. However, the big ticket funding rounds and the survival rate has been mushy. In the last year, one funded Indian tech start-up has shut shop every 10 days. 2016 saw over 200 start-up closures, which is 50 percent higher than the year before. Surprisingly, a sizeable number of these were ventures with promising ideas and no funding issues as such. However, they had operational paralysis and logistic concerns. Some of them were PepperTap, Parcelled, and TinyOwl.
Logistics is pivotal to any ecommerce business since that’s what signifies your customer touch-point value and that is reassuring. With a 20-30 percent decline in funding, 2016 also lashed biggies like Flipkart, Snapdeal and Ola with its capital withdrawal pangs. Startups funded by investment giants like SAIF Partners, Helion, Sequoia, Paytm and Flipkart were also victims.
Start-up success is therefore definitely not dependent only on the monetary aspects. What works? There are Companies that created new industries amidst these. Let’s take a look at 5 such success stories.
Coming from a humble middle class family of Chennai, no one would have predicted that Sridhar Vembu, the son of a High Court stenographer, who never attended college, would build a venture that would give tech daddies like Google, Microsoft and Salesforce, nightmares. Known as the Bootstrapped Buddhist, Sridhar opined how the company’s vision should essentially be the operating system of choice for business. This is what probably gave him the courage to shrug off naysayers and turn down acquisition overtures. Zoho recruits students out of their schools and polytechnics and not premium engineering colleges, an experimental training system aimed at creating a talent pool. Key takeaways from his entrepreneurial tips kit would be pursue unconventional wisdom and build a business that makes money.
A nightmarish customer experience that revolved around shipping a TV from the USA helped Girish Mathrubootham start Freshdesk. A cloud-based customer support software & helpdesk ticketing system, Freshdesk assists customers over email, phone and social channels. The start of all this was an entrepreneur, then an employee, wanting to do better, what he did daily. With domain knowledge and talent available in India, they went beyond traditional customer support and built a 360 degree customer service platform on a cloud based SaaS. Starting with just 60 lakhs and two members, Freshdesk set on 3 plans – sprout, blossom and garden. They even kept a plan B handy which was to shut down if unable to ship out products in 9 months and make $20,000 in another nine- a plan which was never needed.
Zarget is an inspiring journey of the trio, Arvind Parthiban, Naveen Venkat, and Santosh Kumar, who wanted to put website conversion rate optimisation tools into the hands of startups, small business owners, and marketers, and effectively reduce their reliance on developers and IT teams. Sitting as a Google Chrome plugin, the SaaS tool received 1,500 signups with 400 companies during its launch year. It is aimed at making it easy and affordable for any person or business to access the solutions they need to increase engagement, and drive revenue across their websites.
Chargebee makes managing recurring payments and invoicing easier for online businesses. It’s an idea that gave life to global business in a local flavour. One didn’t have to give up on customers for a mere difference in currencies. ChargeBee processes over $100 million annually for their customers that include fast growing startups like Freshdesk, Kissflow, Soylent and VinylMePlease.
If not for his daughter, Supam Maheshwari would have never started FirstCry in the first place. During his frequent business trips abroad, he used to buy a lot of baby products since there were limited choices in India. He thus conceptualised FirstCry.com, an online and offline brand providing a range of products for babies, kids and moms in 2010. FirstCry, the largest online shopping portal for kids, and expecting moms in Asia got its strategy right in the estimated Rs 30,000 crore baby market of India.
Entrepreneurship is something that is open to all. The possibilities are endless, and though there will be challenges, there are many who have gone ahead and made a mark for themselves with hard work and determination. Not all of them may be well-known. Looking forward to hearing such unknown success stories from you. Do write to me.