No matter what the working sector is, there is always some difference between the retailers and the distributors, which eventually affects the business on both ends. The process to place orders by the retailers was carried out manually, and then it would take time to get delivered to the store, and this would cause a significant loss to the retailer for specific products.
However, Navin Prajapati decided to take matters in his own hands with his in-field experience in handling the market for the retailers; he realized the need for a system that would make things better and help the retailers ease out the process and solve the problems faced by them. The digitization of everything is taking place at a swift pace in the country, and understanding the value of time and speed, and he launched his startup- Sabka Mandi.
The beginning of the journey and what is Sabka Mandi
Coming from a small town and belonging to a middle-class family, Navin was raised with the thoughts to believe in himself and make the world a better place. He is a CA by profession, but technology has been a fascination for him throughout his life. He did his MBA from IIM Calcutta and has worked with industry leaders like Accenture, Credit Suisse, Colgate Palmolive.
Sabka Mandi is one of a kind marketplace that connects the distributors directly with the retailers to improve the network with flexibility. Navin saw the struggles his relatives faced when they had to set up their own business and the efforts put by them in non-productive activities. In India, the distributors are working hard to make sure that the goods are supplied to the retailers in the country. This also helps retailers to enjoy doing business with their distributors along with improved flexibility, thus bringing down the cost of working capital.
Challenges faced in the initial days
In conversation with TimesNext, Navin talks about the challenges faced by him and his startup in the beginning. Starting his work on the idea from December 2018, B2B space was new, and only a few engineers or mentors were aware of the challenges in the field and how to tackle them. He then worked with his friend, Sourav, to develop the technology for the platform.
The challenge he found was to build a team that may not be perfect but is the best in the lot. His business thought process and understanding of the technology helped him understand the whole system and the data flow while Sourav was able to build the platform quickly with his expertise in the tech field. After spending months in the planning, understanding the market, talking to distributors, building a support team- they started the project in July. They landed their first set of paying customers, and they were ready to move ahead with the launch.
Collaborations by the startup
Since the firm is a B2B business that is involved in solving real-time problems of several stakeholders, it is difficult to solve the issues without collaborating with people. Navin always got support from his seniors from the company who gave him feedback as well as his mentor, Mr. Robert Lobo was closely involved in the evaluation of the strategy at an early stage.
The firm even teamed up with the Goa Distributors Association to help them by accepting the concept as well as supporting them in every possible way to launch the test product for the use.
The first milestone for Sabka Mandi and Navin Prajapati
The first milestone for them was when they teamed up with Goa Distributors Association, which helped them onboard their first set of paying customers. Everything gets real when you talk about your vision with other people, and they support your plan by taking a hit on their business to accept your service, that’s when you know that it is essential to them. He recalled the time when he first explained his ideas to the distributors when he had nothing but his words, ideas, and credentials, and they still agreed to listen and supported his idea and vision.
The current growth and the vision for the company
Almost five months old startup, and in such a short period, they have delivered 820 orders with a transaction value of nearly INR 28 lakhs. Every month they are growing, and they have achieved all of this on their own.
Navin aims to digitize the entire distribution ecosystem in the coming 4-5 years. They wish to make the system streamlined in such a way that there will be a free flow of all the data and information will be available just by the click of a button, allowing everyone to take quicker and data-driven decisions.