The year was 1994 and Jeff Bezos, at the age of 30, realised internet and the world wide web was slowly taking over different parts of the world. Contemplating the idea of beginning his own e commerce firm, Bezos realised his true calling when statistics showed him web usage was growing by 2,300 % in the year 2000. He quit his job and started Amazon by making a list of 20 products he could potentially sell on the internet.
What started off as an idea in a garage bloomed. Bezos’s first investment came from his parents, who put a large sum of money to turn his dream into reality. Back in the day, Amazon was not what it is today. It was primarily an offline store, with a focus on selling rare and famous books! The first book was incidentally sold from Bezos’s garage!
Amazon.com launched its online bookselling site at a time when bookstore chains such as Barnes & Noble, Waldenbooks and Crown Books were familiar storefronts in American shopping malls. Promoting itself as “Earth’s Biggest Bookstore,” Amazon opened for business in July 1995, using major book distributors and wholesalers to rapidly fill its orders.
Back in the beginning, Amazon was sorely understaffed. Bezos’s expected his employees to work round the clock, punching in at least 60 hours a week! In fact, one of his employees was so busy, he forgot he had a car. He realised his faux pas when his email was flooded with tickets and notices!
Every employee had to take a graveyard shift in the fulfillment centers to meet orders. They would bring their friends and family and would often sleep in their cars before going to work the next day. It was only when Bezos realised the severity of the situation that he decided to hire seasonal employees who could work all through the year.
In the early 2000s, Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s operations manager, would let any person or team who accomplished a significant goal close their eyes, lean back and yell into the phone at him at the top of their lungs. Wilke told Brad Stone that some of the primal screams nearly blew out his speakers.
In the early days, it was difficult for the team to see how they could push beyond the $ 5 million mark. Once it did, Bezos made sure they clocked in at least one major achievement through the year and now, even so many years after, Amazon remains as one of the largest e commerce platforms in the world!
Excess2Sell – Excess Inventory Management Made Simpler
While the selling of retail goods on the internet has been growing rapidly in India, the business to business (B2B) ecommerce market failed to pick up the same speed. This has left many B2B companies to find their own platform to profit from this comparatively less explored market, the value of which is expected to reach Rs. 45 lakh crores by 2020.
Within the industry, there is a problem of transparency between the buyers and sellers about the products in question. There is also a much needed requirement of solving the problem of unsold inventory, faced by the B2B businesses which supply goods to million of retailers across the Country. Excess2Sell is one such startup, which is trying to find a solution to this problem, while organising the largely unorganised B2B ecommerce base.
Based in Mumbai, Excess2Sell.com is a B2B inventory marketplace which covers multiple verticals like information technology (IT) hardware & software, telecom, security and home appliances, amongst others. Founded in 2016, the Company’s main aim is to help retailers and wholesalers from all trades/networks to optimize their costs with excess inventory management through its portal. It also provides its clients access to buyers across India.
Mr. Rajan Sharma, the founder and CEO of Excess2sell.com, said, “The B2B e-commerce marketplace is a bull that is yet to be unleashed. We entered the B2B online excess inventory space in the year 2016 realising its need and potential. Within the first year of operations Excess2sell mobilized over $ 2.3 million worth of excess inventory through the online platform. Since then the transactions have grown roughly 400 per cent annually and the introduction of the mobile app earlier this year is expected to complement the growth. Our aim is to become the single largest solutions based online marketplace that offers a simple and seamless interface to the Indian wholesaler, whose biggest challenge is liquidating the ageing stock.”
Mr. Sharma concluded B2B players are often stuck with unsold inventories, which, over a period of time, lose their value. The current marketplace for such ageing items do not allow the seller to disclose the condition of such items and the true reason behind the discounted price to the existing buyer base. Excess2Sell overcomes these limitations and capitalizes on the overstocked ageing inventory segments as most B2B business verticals in India are still unorganised. The Company does this all the while giving its buyers and sellers a sense of anonymity, neutrality and confidentiality and works with a combination of online and offline model with complete end to end solutions.
Excess2Sell.com has grown significantly and is one of the biggest online marketplaces for ageing assets in India. With a registered seller-buyer base of above 24,000 players, Excess2Sell carries out roughly 10,000 deals across 11 verticals and in more than 340 categories of products. Excess2Sell which was created by Checkers India Technology, is led by a team of talented individuals who have experience in the field of business management, product management & alliances, techno sales, marketing, distribution and retail.
With the B2B ecommerce market expected to grow 2.5 times the current speed by 2020, Excess2Sell is ready to take full advantage of this opportunity and become a contributor to India’s growth story.
Sanskriitii – A Saviour For Indian Artisans?
Founded by Mr. Anil Tripathi and Ms. Lata Pathak in 2017, Sanskriitii is a startup that deals with arts and crafts and hence works with a vision to empower Indian handicrafts which do not generally get the appreciation they deserve. A team of engineers, management professionals and philosophers have joined hands at Sanskriitii to make hotel decor, corporate gifting and home decor more interesting by incorporating contemporary design into artefacts.
What Sanskriitii does
Sanskriitii brings a whole variety of Indian handicrafts under one roof. These varieties include Dhokra art, Marble Inlay, Stone Jali, fusion product line and many more. Their products are mostly offered to large chains of hotels for the interiors of their rooms and lobbies as well as to restaurants and large corporates for bulk gifting.
“The main challenges faced by craftsmen these days are creating new designs suitable to the present day lifestyle, market demand and financial limitations to pull off bulk orders. Due to these reasons, most of the craftsmen give up on handicrafts and move out of their villages to other nearby towns to find some other random jobs to earn a living for themselves and their families. Sanskriitii plays a vital role in helping craftsmen overcome these challenges. It not only provides craftsmen with capital and raw material, but also builds an ecosystem around them which enables them to deliver the finished products to the customers.” as shared by Ms. Pathak .
Due to the changing lifestyles of the consumers and their lack of appreciation for traditional goods, a startup like Sanskriitii is determined to create its own market space.
Challenges faced by Sanskriitii
“With readymade, easily available and branded products ruling the market, handcrafted products can easily be left behind because their gestation time is comparatively larger and clients generally do not prefer waiting for such long periods to get their products delivered. In addition, the industry as a whole is yet to accept and understand handmade products. Lack of awareness among people about handicrafts is yet another challenge Sanskriitii is trying to overcome.” Mr. Tripathi emphasizes.
At Sanskriitii, a wide range of handcrafted products are designed and made, which suits the present day lifestyle and yet have a traditional touch. The added advantage with handmade products is, no two products are exactly the same. These products are also eco friendly. Team at Sanskriitii stay focused to their vision of empowering Indian handicrafts and small scale entrepreneurs. Although the delivery time is much longer than that of regular products, these handicrafts are worth the wait.
WhistleDrive Think. Whistle. Move.
The world is no stranger to AI driven applications. Almost every other piece of technology features AI as a part of their specifications. From smartphone features to taking interviews, the field of technology has grown exponentially using AI applications. Almost everywhere in this busy world of technology, companies are striving to reach the top of the food chain and it is amazing to see how much of this world is left to be conquered.
From this crowd of companies exploiting AI, stands out a transportation technology company known as WhistleDrive, which offers a wide range of services including AI driven, location based applications. Founded by Rakesh Munnanooru in 2015, the Company concentrates on being a part of the location based services family. Based out of Hyderabad, WhistleDrive built a very strong infrastructure, which pilots 27 major companies and provides services to over 12,000 employees every day. To understand the environment of the business, the market and to provide custom solutions is the hallmark of this Company. WhistleDrive was able to raise a Series A funding of Rs. 5 crores from Colosseum Group in April 2018.
WhistleDrive provides automated employee transportation solution, supported by AI driven analytics and equipped with best in class location tracking. WhistleDrive has proven itself to be a customer and employee centric company. This is what sets WhistleDrive apart in the marketplace. With technology on one side, the Company concentrates a lot on its connection with its customers and employees. It would be the first company in India to introduce blockchain technology to employee transportation, which can ensure huge transparency in terms of data. By using blockchain for data authentication, the entire network involved in the transportation process can contribute and validate data is difficult to tamper. This is a huge initiative and will add a lot to the trust the customers have towards the Company.
WhistleDrive did not stop at delivering authentic and transparent data. They are also working on predictive AI. Though it’s not functional yet, it promises to eradicate a major part of logistical disadvantages. This AI function would analyze real time data like weather conditions and traffic, alert the respective teams, driving partners and customers about any changes in the schedule or delays of any sort. Security of the customers is a subject of high priority for WhisteDrive. With regard to this, the Company provides special features like number masking and SOS alerts, which adds to how safe and secure it is to travel using their vehicles and driver. Apart from that, the live tracking dashboard used by WhistleDrive provides an eagle eye real time location view of all the cabs. Expanding to cities like Bangalore and Chennai, WhistleDrive operates over 700 vehicles, providing services to MNCs like ADP, Invesco, L&T and many more.
WhistleDrive also brings an option to hire a driver to drive you around in your own car. This is one of the services that has a lot of potential in its respective market. The Company tied up with numerous pubs where people would be delighted to have someone drive them home in their own car after a party. WhistleDrive has served close to 15,000 customers with their “Driver on Demand” services.
With WhistleDrive constantly expanding in the field of AI driven technologies, there is no end to exploration. The reach of technology is higher than we can ever anticipate and this is the beauty of such developments. WhistleDrive, along with concentrating on geographical or technological expansions, also looks to use its experience in solving inefficiencies in intra city logistics, particularly in e commerce and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) channels.
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