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Pepperfry – How An Idea Became A Fortune Spinner

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Remember the early days when shopping for furniture was an arduous and painful task? Now, however, thanks to the founders of Pepperfry, the days of trudging through narrow roads and haggling for cheap furniture are a thing of the past. Founded by Ambareesh Murty and Ashish Shah, the idea of launching an online store came over a lunch which changed the way people bought furniture online.

The beginning

When Murty and Shah met at a mutual friend’s office over lunch, the duo realised they were all working on addressing a major gap in the industry: the absence of one platform catering to all your lifestyle needs. A tissue paper turned out to be the piece of paper where plans for the future of Pepperfry were carefully sketched out. Back then, the platform didn’t focus on just furniture, but had a wide array of categories, ranging over products like jewelry, fashion and clothes.

While the idea was written and the team was ready to hit the ground running, the initial round of funding of $ 5 million from Norwest didn’t come in till almost 6 months after signing the deal. The months when the funds didn’t come in were extremely nerve wracking for the founders. The team of ten were running low on morale and the website was not launched yet. Things were so bad, the team were down to the last Rs. 10 lakhs and thought the time had come to give up all hope.

On the day the founders were almost ready to pull the plug on their relationship with Norwest, an investment came in, like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day. With renewed hope and an influx of $ 5 million in cash, the founders of Pepperfry were all set to make a splash in the industry. Through the years, the team started growing in size and decided the time had come to narrow down to just one specific line: furniture.

The future

By the time the team started growing and making an impact, the furniture industry had not started blooming. One of the major hurdles Pepperfry had to work over was to ensure the products people were ordering online had the exact specifications. If the specifications weren’t met to perfection, the team could lose existing, as well as perspective customers, resulting in a decline of income for the company. Perhaps one of the things which sets Pepperfry apart is, Pepperfry isn’t a search driven website, but is more focused on improving the user’s browsing experience. Further, by focusing primarily on in house logistics, the Pepperfry team reduced the delivery time drastically (from 25 days to 11 days.) In Mumbai, the team worked to bring down the time of delivery to same day delivery! By developing a logistics algorithm for the delivery vehicles, the Pepperfry team can locate whether the truck has delivered the furniture on time or not.

While initially catering only to the online market, Pepperfry branched out to include the offline customers as well and by 2014, the Company opened its stores across India. Today, this startup accounts for more than 50 % of the furniture industry’s market share and by looking at its growth chart, Pepperfry has no plans of stopping any time soon!

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Entrepreneur Stories

The Secret Behind Netflix And Chill

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The Secret Behind Netflix And Chill,Netflix Secrets to Success,Startup Stories,Latest Startup News India,Netflix Secrets 2019,Netflix Success Story,Netflix Growth Strategy,History of Netflix,Best Netflix Tips and Tricks,Netflix Marketing Strategy,Netflix Success Factors,Netflix Success Secrets

Back in the late 90’s, Reed Hastings, the man who breathed life into Netflix, realised, the way to get over avoiding late fees for the videos he rented was not by fighting the system, but by creating his own video rental platform. While the idea for Netflix came in 1997, the official website was launched on the 14th of April, 1998. Armed with an idea, 30 employees, an initial investment of $ 10 million and 925 titles to its name, Hastings and his partner, Marc Randolph, gave birth to the official Netflix website.

The beginning

For the first month, Netflix worked with a simple formula: giving people the option to browse through and rent the videos they wanted. Back then, the DVD format was just beginning to be accepted in place of VHS tapes, making it extremely easy for the team to mail videos through the rental service. By 1999, the service became extremely popular and the Netflix team decided to charge people a monthly subscription fee for renting videos!

This was a new path for the Netflix team. Not only were there no late charges, there was also no restriction on the number of DVDs you could rent and there were no shipping fees. This gave people the option to spend more time on the website by browsing through the large catalogue with complete ease! As a result of the consumer specific approach, the primary rival of Netflix, Blockbuster, suffered majorly, giving Netflix the dominance in this field. What could get better?

Unfortunately for Netflix, while their idea was spot on, the format wasn’t quite growing according to the plan for the first few years. Only a small percentage of Netflix’s regular user base had access to DVDs and VHS tapes were still a more preferred form of watching movies. Slowly through the years, as DVDs became more accepted, the online platform recorded its first ever profit ($ 6.5 million in the year 2007.) Soon after, Reed realized, they had to change the way people looked at Netflix and with this in mind, the team came up with a product which would redefine online streaming forever.

The birth of online streaming

By February 2007, Netflix announced the streaming feature, the first ever feature which would let people watch their favourite content on the internet. The introduction of the “Watch Now” button quite literally caused a sensation. With a little over 1,000 titles, the streaming part of Netflix only made up for about one percent of Netflix’s entire video collection.

Through the years, not only did Netflix start acquiring more titles to its name, it also started giving people a new way to watch TV shows. From the moment the “Watch Now” button was introduced, users started onboarding new titles on a daily basis. By 2009, the Twitter world gave us the phrase, “Netflix and Chill,” which, although seemingly to the point and clear, has more than its fair share of hidden innuendos. By 2014, the platform had subscribers from more than 40 countries across the world and with social media being of Netflix’s best used advertising platform, people were hooked to this new phenomenon.

The introduction of original content

Despite Netflix being at the peak of its fame, Hastings was far from being satisfied. He didn’t want to be known for sponging off existing titles, but wanted to be known for the original movies present on Netflix’s website. Introducing the concept of binge watching, the first ever series produced by Netflix was called Lilyhammer. However, this Norwegian show first premiered on the Norwegian channel NRK1 in January 2012 and in North America, on Netflix, in February 2012. This show was cancelled after its third season.

Unlike other platforms, Netflix didn’t make you wait for an entire week for one episode. It had no advertisements during the episode and it let people watch for free for the first three months. Things just kept getting better and better for the brand!

In 2013, Netflix changed the way people viewed content by privatizing the user base. By enabling the option of having individual profiles, Netflix now gave people the option of curating videos according to their preferences. While original content was one way Netflix used to market itself on a large scale, Netflix also realised that bringing to life cancelled shows was a good way to its original content. Take for example, shows like Arrested Development and Brooklyn Nine Nine. Both were immensely popular shows and when they were cancelled, they sent everyone into a tizzy. Netflix played the role of the guardian angel here and with a single swoop, renewed everyone’s hope for a better tomorrow! With shows like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, House of Cards, Luke Cage and Narcos, Netflix is the producer of some of the most popular shows in the world!

Netflix and social media

While most brand liked keeping a neutral tonality on social media, Netflix decided to do the opposite. By finding a unique voice for themselves, Netflix realised the best way to make a mark on the social media world was by being unabashedly true to the tone of your brand. In fact, their strategy worked so well, the posts made by this platform is among the best performed posts on the internet.

#Daredevil season 2. All night, every night. See you in a few hours. pic.twitter.com/O1fdynSrLa

— Netflix US (@netflix) March 18, 2016

While numbers may affect your social media game, Netflix created its social media strategy by taking into account the quality of its content, not the quantity. By using relevant posts, witty comments and listening to what people are saying on the internet, Netflix used social media to its complete advantage.

A brilliant marketing strategy, an eye for detail and clear plan to create something really unique, Netflix is today available in over 190 countries and is producing more regional content than any other competitor. Despite taking more than one hit, Netflix more than proved its superiority in the streaming world!  

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Autobiographies By Entrepreneurs You Should Read For Inspiration

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There are times in life when you get so bogged down by the pressures of the world, you can’t think beyond the fog. At times like these, it’s the entrepreneurs you have idolized all your life who inspire you to do the unexpected. Every great man at the top of the food chain, at some point or other, faced downfall. When you feel like you are completely down and out, reading autobiographies by those who made it big in the world help in finding the much needed silver lining. Here is our list of books you should definitely read when you need the push to do better!

1. Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way (Richard Branson)

Richard Branson, known best for founding the extremely famous Virgin Atlantic, is perhaps one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world right now. Not only did he found one of the most widely used airlines, he also created a host of other businesses (Virgin Cola, Virgin Records and V2.) While his life may seem picture perfect right now, Branson went through his fair share of ups and downs. In his autobiography, Branson gets completely candid and talks about how, despite his advisors telling him not to start so many businesses, he adopted the “Oh screw it, let’s do it” policy. A tell all about the journey of his life to the top, Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun & Made A Fortune Doing Business My Way is a definite must read!

2. Made In America (Sam Walton)

Sam Walton, one of the co founders of Walmart, built the largest retail store in the United States from scratch through sheer hard work and effort. In his book Made In America, Walton talks about how he barely had any seed money, an idea and the dream to create something people all over the world could use. With only one store in Arkansas, Walton and his partner (John Huey,) worked through their mistakes with commendable ease and brought to life a retail store which quite literally changed the way people shopped!

3. Built From Scratch: How a Couple of Regular Guys Grew the Home Depot from Nothing to $ 30 Billion (Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank)

From being fired, to building a billion dollar worth company, Arthur Blank and Bernie Marcus have quite an inspiring story to tell. In their book Built From Scratch, Bernie and Arthur map out their entire journey and talk about how being fired from your job is never a bad thing. The book also gives you the hope that even if something goes miserably wrong, you can always work on what you want to recreate your dream. Built with grit and determination, the story of how Home Depot came to be is one everyone will relate to even now!

4. Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time (Howard Schultz)

A lot can happen over a cup of coffee, especially if you pour your heart into it. Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks (the largest coffee store in the world,) quite literally put all he had into creating this massive empire. In his inspiring book Pour Your Heart Into It, Schultz talks about he cracked the code to perfection: providing great customer service! This particular autobiography is a must read because not only does it outline Schultz’s recipe for success, it also talks about how the man faced his failures and all the techniques he learnt while making it to the top!

5The HP Way: How Bill Hewlett and I Built Our Company (David Packard)

Friends from Stanford, Bill Hewlett and David Packard created HP when they realised there was a severe need for personal computers. A car garage doubled up as their office space and armed only with an idea, the duo gave life to one of the most sought after computers in the world today. The HP Way by David Packard talks about their journey from a garage, to how a coin toss decided the name of their company.

6. Direct From Dell: Michael Dell

Michael Dell, the founder of Dell, started his entrepreneurial journey in his dorm room, with seed money of less than $ 1,000. Dell grew from just selling computers, to manufacturing and distributing them. Today, it is one of the largest computer manufacturers in the world. In his book Direct From Dell, Michael Dell talks about what he learned during his journey and about how he overcame some of the toughest difficulties while growing.

The top tens didn’t become the great people they are today because they got lucky. They put in a lot of time, effort and energy into making their dreams come true. If you think we missed out on any other inspiring autobiographies, comment and let us know!

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Big Basket Founding Story And Its Recipe For Success

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Much before Flipkart tapped into the retail industry, a group of people (V.S. Sudhakar, Hari Menon, V.S. Ramesh, Vipul Parekh and Abhinay Choudhary,)  fuelled with passion and experience on failure post the dot com bubble founded Big Basket, the country’s first online shopping platform which revolutionised the way people bought groceries. Just like how this platform is unique in every way, the story of how Big Basket came to be is also quite a tale.

The beginning 

When you hear of startups being created by people below the age of 30 and with no experience, your heart usually goes out to them. However, when you look at people on the other side of 50, with more experience in failing than succeeding, trying to start something new, you wonder what the future looks like for them. When the dot com bubble bust, a lot of people struggled hard to find their footing in an increasingly competitive world.

The founders of Big Basket, on the other hand, decided to use the experience they got post the failure and decided to create a website that hasn’t been done  before. The five founders of this platform had their first experience in the e commerce side when they created Fabmart.com (an online platform to sell books, toys and groceries) in the year 1999. Very quickly, however, they realised not just India, but the rest of the world wasn’t ready for the online world yet.

Very soon, Fabmart merged with a brick and mortar grocery chain and by 2006, the founders sold Fabmart for a lump sum. By 2011, the team thought of revaluating and trying their hand at something new again and despite all the criticism they received for this idea, the founders decided if they had to do anything, the time was now. It was a good thing they made this call because it was exactly at this time that the smartphone boom was happening and literally everything was available with the click of a button (except for groceries, of course!)

The journey to success

Post securing the first round of investment ($ 10 million from Ascent Capital,) the Big Basket team decided the time had come to expand its reach. In a country as diverse as India, perhaps the biggest challenges an online delivery platform like this faces is to ensure they sustain the model despite all adversities. After putting in dedicated research for five years, the Big Basket team realised the best way to make their presence felt was by providing personalised service to people across all cities.

With shopping habits varying from city to city, one of the major reasons for the success rates of Big Basket is the amount of attention to detail the founders paid. From increasing the leafy greens numbers in Mumbai to supplying a special kind of rice (called Sona Masoori) in Bangalore to going so far as to provide eight different kinds of eggplants to picky customers, Big Basket ensured their quality was nothing short of perfection. To improve the customers experience, the team ensures near time perfect deliveries in most of its orders and if by chance the delivery has been delayed, customers get a discount depending on the delay.

The future 

Despite growing as well as they had, Big Basket still had a lot of tough competition in the forms of other startups like LocalBanya, Sequoia backed PepperTap and SoftBank funded Grofers. The time had come for the team to up its game by securing more than double the amount of funding that it got during the initial rounds, Big Basket crushed all its competition.

The next few years saw Big Basket grow from just an idea to being present in 25 cities with a combination of 150 million and looking at the size of the growth, the founders decided the time had come to bring in a partner. By zeroing in on Alibaba (China based e commerce platform,) the team worked on mapping a growth chart for the next two years!

Big Basket is not just a dream but a well thought out plan that attracted and made its presence felt in the larger cities and went on to grow in the smaller cities by on boarding Shah Rukh Khan as a brand ambassador. By investing money into getting warehouses and increasing the delivery output, Big Basket plans on not only retaining its post as the largest grocery delivery platform in India but all over the world as well!

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