PAYBACK, India’s largest multi-brand loyalty program announced its partnership with Goomo, India’s leading omni-channel travel tech company to expand its offerings into online travel category. Both companies have a customer first approach and this strategic tie-up strengthens it even further.

Under this partnership, PAYBACK’s 100 million members will be able to use their PAYBACK Points when making flight, hotel and holiday bookings on Goomo. In addition, they will also be able to earn PAYBACK Points for their travel bookings on Goomo.

Speaking on the partnership, Varun Gupta, CEO – Goomo said

Online travel continues to see a very strong growth among PAYBACK’s customer base with a majority of consumers earning and redeeming their Points on travel. With this partnership, Goomo will ensure that PAYBACK members on our platform continue to not only get great deals on travel bookings but also get rewarded for their purchases in other categories as well.

Commenting on this association, Gautam Kaushik, CEO – PAYBACK India said

We are excited to announce this new partnership and look forward to a long-term association with Goomo. Travel is an important category for our customers and Goomo is the young new challenger brand that is well poised to provide great deals and products in this category. This association will help PAYBACK strengthen its travel portfolio and allow its members to enjoy a seamless travel experience.

With the holiday season approaching and several long weekends lined up for 2018, customers can now enjoy a good number of discounts and rewards due to this alliance.

About Goomo

Goomo is an omni-channel, travel-tech company that distributes products & services through online channels, 15 company-owned branches & a B2B partner network. Goomo is headquartered in Mumbai and operates across three business segments of travel – Consumer, Corporate, and B2B. The consumer business, Goomo was launched in March 2017, with an intent to focus on the fast-growing B2C travel segment. For more information, please visit Goomo

The 11.11 Global Shopping Festival held last week yet again surpassed expectations and continued its tradition of breaking records both in terms of the Gross Merchandise Volume [GMV] across Alibaba Group marketplaces as well as the number of consumers and merchants participating.

This was made possible by the technology leadership of Alibaba Group and provided a showcase for innovations in the areas of Artificial Intelligence [AI], Machine Learning & Cloud Computing that powered the elements of New Retail, which was central to this year’s Global Shopping Festival. One of the many highlights was the system’s ability to manage the spike of up to a staggering 325,000 orders per second at peak, coming through this 24-hour stress test.

Jeff Zhang, Alibaba Group’s Chief Technology Officer said

The annual Global Shopping Festival is the biggest test for our technology. This year we fully adopted cloud management and leveraged artificial intelligence on a much larger scale in our infrastructure and systems, resulting in greater operation efficiency while largely reducing IT costs. In addition, we offered innovative technology solutions to enable our partners in areas including product assortment, inventory management, payments and logistics to meet the huge spike in demand during the Global Shopping Festival. We will make these solutions  available through our cloud platform to benefit more enterprises and the larger society beyond this event.

Alibaba Group continues to leverage AI to empower merchants and engage consumers. For example, 95% of customer service inquiries during the Global Shopping Festival were handled by an Alibaba’s self-developed virtual customer service chatbot; in addition, more than 400 million customized online banner ads were generated for merchants by Alibaba’s AI-based marketing design platform; and over 60 billion personalized pages on the Taobao and Tmall Apps were developed for consumers and populated with AI-based product recommendations.

The Global Shopping Festival is a gigantic-scale project in terms of IT infrastructure. To support the unprecedented volume of computing tasks for browsing, ordering, payments and logistics arrangements securely and smoothly, Alibaba Group has leveraged data technologies in a number of ways to develop its robust infrastructure in a cost-effective manner

  • Colocation technology to enhance CPU utilization – Backed by the architecture of one of the world’s largest hybrid clouds with optimized computation and millions of containers, Alibaba Group has developed its own colocation technology. By colocating online services and analytics workloads, the daily average usage of CPU utilization has been increased to above 40% with peak utilization over 60%. The unitization rate went even higher during the Global Shopping Festival, reducing the cost of collocated clusters compared to last year by more than 30%.
  • Intelligent engine to optimize system usage – An intelligent engine was developed this year to automatically allocate computation resources in a timely manner in order to achieve optimal system usage and stability. The engine was used for the first time in this year’s Global Shopping Festival and it is estimated to cut down the number of servers required by approximately 30%.
  • Autonomous end-to-end load testing – Testing was performed multiple times to prepare for the predicted load increases at the peak traffic spikes on November 11. This intelligent, autonomous technology saved around 1,000 man-days worth of engineering work this year in comparison to previous years.
  • Patrol robot for datacenter monitoring – A patrol robot was developed for the first time to undertake round-the-clock monitoring of conditions within Alibaba Cloud’s North China data center during the Global Shopping Festival. It is estimated that the robot removed up to 30% of the repetitive operations tasks related to data center monitoring.
  • Alibaba Cloud’s CDN Node Deployment – Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, deployed over 1,200 Content Delivery Network [CDN] nodes on its expanding global cloud infrastructure to support the explosive amount of content on the Tmall and Taobao platforms. Using data centers in 15 locations worldwide, images, video and live streaming were distributed to multiple locations around the world quickly and smoothly without system bottlenecks.

Freshworks, the leading provider of cloud-based business software launched Freshchat, a next-gen messaging product that helps businesses better communicate with their customers. Freshchat provides a suite of website and in-product engagement capabilities which help businesses capture more leads and drive sales.

Image Source – FreshChat

As per the 2016-17 Gartner CMO Spending Survey, nearly two-thirds of marketing leaders plan to increase digital ad-spend in 2017. Marketers are spending more on digital marketing to attract customers to their websites and apps, but end up converting only 2 to 3 percent of these visitors into customers.

To solve for this, Freshchat enables businesses to target visitors with highly contextual messages to increase engagement and thereby conversions. Once the end user responds, an intelligent bot screens and qualifies leads effortlessly before bringing in a sales rep. This information is auto-synced into the CRM, providing context for sales reps and enabling intelligent conversations.

Freshchat breaks from legacy live chat tools to deliver a modern messaging experience that customers expect, similar to personal messaging apps like WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. Leveraging technology from recent acquisitions, Freshchat enables smarter conversations without the burden of traditional live chat on either party – no missed chats or sessions timing out for the customer, and no staffing up during peaks for the business.

Freshchat can integrate into websites, web-apps, native mobile apps, and other messaging products like Facebook Messenger. Freshchat offers in-product campaigns for on-boarding and engagement, a unique integrated FAQ experience to encourage self-service, and advanced features to route and manage conversations for customer support.

Girish Mathrubootham, CEO and Founder of Freshworks, said

Businesses today want to provide their consumers with contextual, intelligent and personalized chat experiences. We believe there is a huge gap that live chat products don’t address compared to consumer messaging apps, which are creating high benchmarks for user experience.

Sales and support agents need to be empowered with a single platform that provides the flexibility to engage with prospects and customers who are always multi-tasking. We are excited to offer a game-changing chat offering with unique sales and support capabilities that push the boundaries of an already well-established business communication channel.

Rajesh Magow, Co-Founder and CEO-India, MakeMyTrip, said

At MakeMyTrip, we are always looking to use innovative technology to make travel seamless and hassle-free for our customers. We are using Freshchat to solve for our customers’ needs with precision, in real time. Not only has it ensured that our customers receive prompt personalized experiences, it has also brought in operational efficiencies that make assisted buying extremely scalable.

In addition to the standalone chat offering, Freshchat will integrate into Freshsales and Freshdesk, making it easy for sales and support teams to adopt the product into their workflow. Freshchat is available to businesses of all sizes, with a free plan for companies with less than ten team members in sales and support. For more information, please visit FreshChat

India is a very diversified country with different cultures and traditions. Every city in India has something unique experience to offer, including the food that each city is known for! However, today’s modern lifestyles and hectic work-life schedules; makes traditional necessities difficult to find. For example, being in Bengaluru it is very difficult to find Misal Pav, the popular Maharashtrian dish. Modern life and its fast pace has taken a toll on our social life that has estranged various communities, scattering them to various distant lands in the search of a better livelihood. But it has left the hearts with a sense of nostalgia, around their socio cultural habits and preferences, longing to belong again to their roots and culture.

This is where Promita Sengupta, an ex-banker & social entrepreneur siezed an opportunity and that is how Cre8comm was born. Cre8comm is India’s first community driven hyperlocal e-commerce marketplace which home-delivers traditional essentials and products to all the diverse communities of India.

It is a marketplace where one can find the most authentic and indigenous products from the varied and diverse communities of India. It provides every community with almost every product – apparel, food from their hometown irrespective of where you live.

Today we have a chat with Promita Sengupta, Founder & Director, Cre8comm. We discuss about Cre8comm, the hyper-local market, opportunities in e-commerce, team building & much more. So let’s get started with the Q&A….

Tell us about Cre8comm, how was the start-up conceptualized and what was the idea behind Cre8comm ?

Cre8comm is India’s first community driven e-commerce marketplace which home-delivers traditional essentials & products to all the diverse communities. The company aims to deliver authentic & special foods, especially those that you are craving for, and we go an extra step by bringing sumptuous traditional dishes and our chefs are locals of the same community.

Considering the popularity of Bengali products, I have noticed people used to travel all across the city and be stuck in traffic for hours to reach CR Park in Delhi, to get authentic Bengali food. This prompted me to start revolutionary service which will address to all communities of India with the plethora of indigenous products.

How does platform work ? How is that you reach your partners and they serve from their own kitchens ?

The entire platform is technology based and all orders are placed online. Cre8comm home delivers traditional essentials and products to all the diverse communities of India. We partner with the best local talent bridging avenues to build relationships in their culturally enriching journeys in delivering to India’s first community services based platform.

This is a service which allows all our partners to serve from their own kitchens. We strongly believe in bringing people together through our socially responsible segment to a socio-cultural platform.

Each of the partners is carefully chosen after having carefully looked at the hygiene and capability to server Cre8comm.  We have a product replacement model in the case of customer complaints which keeps the vendors on their toes. We cater to customer needs, by delivering food items in fresh, raw or cooked categories, traditional apparel, items for a puja samagri for any occasion – be it a marriage or a simply Griha Pravesh, and sweets [Misti]. Our aim is to deliver fresh foods,  preserve its freshness, making life convenient and hassle free.

How do you ensure/maintain the quality of the products being sold on  Cre8comm [since it is eatables and in this category extra care needs to be taken] ?

Each of the partners is carefully chosen after having carefully looked at the hygiene and capability to serve Cre8comm.  We have a product replacement model in the case of customer complaints which keeps the vendors on their toes.

Our hygiene team visits the kitchen [in the case of Cooked food] and shops for raw fresh food. Since we do not have too many vendors, we have been able to fix responsibilities on each to ensure an extra regulatory check.

The challenge is definitely there but we have ensured the quality by keeping lesser number of Vendors. Though it is not be competitive, but it helps keep the quality in check as the vendors do not want to lose lucrative sustainable business.

How did you zero-in on the name Cre8Comm and what were some of the other options that were being explored while naming your startup ?

Considering our vision we were very clear while naming our start-up, as the name itself says Cre8-comm i.e. creating communities.

How does Cre8comm delivering traditional essentials and products to  all the diverse communities of India ?

Cre8comm , based on the community they are catering to, works at the background to do a detailed research on the community, including food habits, culture, music, etc. and then identifies the right kind of vendor for the same.

Contrary to the normal belief of a market place wherein you connect with large number of vendors, we keep our number restricted in order to ensure that we have good response from a quality perspective. Once we are ready with our back ground work including finalising vendors, we go live through social media.

Promita Sengupta -Director, Cre8comm

Can you share details about the competitors of Cre8comm ?

Currently, we don’t have any direct competition. There is no online e-commerce company which does the kind of products we manage. Some online portals are there, but they only handle Raw and Fresh food.

We continue to benchmark ourselves against our own potential and targets. We need to invest in our capabilities to ensure we keep pace with the changing demographic, technology and evolving needs of our customer base.

What are your expansion plans? Please share more about the new initiatives of Cre8comm ?

We are currently focusing on expanding other communities like Oriya, Malayali, and Bihari coming soon. Cre8comm is a diversified community portal, like no other marketplaces in the world. It’s fresh and easily accessible. In the long run, Cre8comm is planning to launch Culture Kitchen which would revolutionize the way meal services are being handled today in the country.

What are your marketing channels & how do you select the next logical place for expansion ?

The Key Marketing channels are:

  • Social Media [Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn]
  • Tele Marketing
  • Reaching out to Condos and Large Offices
  • Connecting with  Restaurants
  • Connecting with Community based Association

What have been the learnings so far and what were some of the biggest challenges in scaling up Cre8comm ?

The key learnings are:

  • Do not compromise on quality, if needed keep cost higher for better quality.
  • Stay very close to the customers. Understand the small needs.
  • Believe your customers. They actually know what they want.

The key challenges are:

  • Logistics. No one does the distance that we cover. So a separate logisitics team was required
  • The right kind of packaging
  • Maintaining the quality of the food
  • Training the Delivery team
  • Keeping system dynamic as per the demands of the situation
  • Being sensitive to people requests

Please share the funding status of Cre8comm & are you looking out for institutional funding ?

We are currently boot strapped and yes looking for Institutional Funding who share our vision.

E-commerce & food-tech as a sector is seeing consolidation [especially vertical e-commerce] and things in horizontal e-commerce are no different, how according to you are things in e-commerce different as compared to what was couple of years back [when e-commerce companies were getting funded based on GMV] ?

e-commerce cannot survive without technology . However the concept of GMV is now gone. It is more on Unit Margins and EBITDA. The investor is keen to see your margins and bottomline.  This will continue for years to come when Investors will likely be more interested where companies can improve shareholder value.

What are some of the parameters your team looks into while selecting vendors for a particular community [Oriya, Bengali, etc.] before onboarding them ?

The Key parameters for checking the vendors are:

  • The offerings
  • Time in Business and customer review
  • If cooked food, we check the Kitchen and see how hygienic they are
  • Professionalism
  • Able to manage credits in the short term
  • Able to cope with the growth of Cre8comm
  • Sustain good quality

Before Cre8comm, you had a social venture [building portable toilets], can you share some of the learnings from that venture since it might be helpful for aspiring social entrepreneurs ?

  • People may talk a lot, but finally not too many wants to put the money in these ventures.
  • Being non-glamourous, the effort is lot more to reach to people.
  • There is a lot of personal satisfaction when small successes show up.
  • Never take people on face value, even if they are very highly placed.Work closely with them and show how your ventures solves a key problem of the society
  • Be ready to face failures as they really are the pillars of success.

You were earlier a banker, social entrepreneur and now e-commerce/food-tech entrepreneur, how do you manage to don so many hats and where do you draw courage from ?

I always wanted my epitaph to read as someone who has tried and not given up on anything.  Besides, the zeal to make a difference in the lives of people in whatever capacity has always been a driving force. I always believe that There’s miles to go before I sleep

A quick piece of advice for all the women entrepreneurs

Starting an entrepreneurial venture is exciting but is not a bed of roses. It is full of challenges. And, being a female entrepreneur it is imperative to develop/nurture the following attributes – Communication, Networking, Ability to delegate, Sales skills and Openness to learn.

Follow your heart. It will always take you in the right direction and never be afraid to take risks in life.

Closing comments for community start-ups ? Please share more about how community driven start-ups are gaining popularity across the country ?

Not many organised community based start-ups are there in the country today. Definitely a void that Cre8comm is trying to fill in. We have just scratched the surface for now. The potential and need is extremely high given the fact that people are moving more & more away from their culture/food, etc. and so is the expertise and knowledge around it.

Our experience shows that if community based products and services are made available in abundance, then the impact can be significant.  A study  has reported that even Amazon has not been able to break the close relationship that people have with the existing unorganised community based services. This could be true for most countries in the world and hence it is an enormous opportunity.

We thank Promita Sengupta for her time and sharing valuable insights with our readers! If you have any questions for her about Cre8Comm, Food Tech, Hyer-local, scaling up, etc., please email them to or leave your question in the comments section.

Vamaship has won one of the most coveted & prestigious Logistics Startup of the Year award at the seventh Annual Entrepreneur Awards 2017.  The Founder & CEO of Vamaship, Bhavik Chinai received the award from the hands of renowned author Gurcharan Das and Ritu Marya, Editor in chief for Franchise India Holdings Pvt. Ltd

These awards aim to recognize and acknowledge the initiative and hard work of various entrepreneurs and their contribution to the society. The awards felicitated the best entrepreneurs from diverse industries in several categories, chosen from 5000+ award nominations and among 2000+ attendees. The event also had an overall presence of 350+ speakers.

Indian author Gurcharan Das, Editor In Chief for Franchise India, Ms. Ritu Marya presenting the Logistics Startup of the Year award to Bhavik Chinai, Founder & CEO of Vamaship

The award recognizes impact made on supply chains, logistics, fulfillment & delivery and companies which have built a business model to make a difference to these areas.

On this occasion, Bhavik Chinai – Founder & CEO, Vamaship stated

I feel honored and humbled for having received this prestigious award. Each Vamashipper strives to enhance the shipping experience for customers every day and a big thank you to the jury for recognizing this commitment.

About Vamaship

Launched in October 2015, Vamaship is a revolution in logistics that connects shippers with industry’s best logistics companies. Vamaship as a market place facilitates shipments to over 10,000 pin codes in India and to 200 countries from India. With a nationwide network of partners, Vamaship brings the best of technology and logistics to create a seamless shipping experience. For more information, please visit Vamaship

Target India announced the fifth batch and the largest cohort yet for the Target Accelerator Program. Eight startups were selected to develop innovative technology solutions with the potential to enhance guest experiences at Target and in the wider retail industry. These startups will work in the areas of artificial intelligence, machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing, analytics and digital experiences.

Rakesh Mishra, Vice President of Marketing for Target and the accelerator program’s executive sponsor said

The Target accelerator’s largest batch yet holds diverse capabilities that can add value to our business and the entire retail sector through cutting-edge technologies such as AI and machine learning. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to tap into the immense innovation potential that exists in India through the Target Accelerator Program.

The startups selected for the accelerator will go through a rigorous four-month program, wherein they will get to refine their technology offerings and pilot solutions at Target stores or headquarter locations. In addition, during their stint with the accelerator, they will have access to Target business leaders as mentors. The startups will also be provided with legal, financial and talent consulting services based on the need of the startup. At the end of the program, startups will have the opportunity to pitch their products and capabilities to investors and others in Bengaluru’s startup ecosystem, and possibly continue their engagement with Target.

The eight selected for the fifth batch of the accelerator program are:

  • Cogknit has a solution that extracts context from videos and is able to generate a textual play-by-play of the video content.
  • Hyperworks has developed software that integrates with hardware to scan fresh produce using a simple camera.
  • Moonraft is a design consultant with an artificial intelligence-powered shopping assistant in the trial room.
  • Cognitifai is able to perform video analytics on video footage (both live and offline).
  • Light Information Systems has capabilities in natural language processing that can be applied to customer support functions.
  • vPhrase can generate insights in natural language from structured data.
  • Streamoid enables personalized product recommendations and natural language search.
  • enables shopping on social media through hashtags.
Fifth batch of the Target Accelerator Program

Along with external startups, Target also encourages participation from internal teams in the accelerator program. Pal’s Prompt, an affiliate marketing solution for Facebook, was developed by one of our Target India team members and has been selected to be a part of this cohort.

The Target Accelerator Program [TAP] was launched in December 2013. Till date, 22 startups have graduated from the program. The startups work with various internal Target teams including marketing, finance, stores, legal, search engine, merchandising, mobile and digital. For more information about the program, please visit Target Accelerator Program [TAP] page

As per a report released by Economic Times, the unused goods market is likely to cross Rs. 115,000 crores. As per Assocham, whether consumer goods like electronics, durables or automobiles – used cars, or the industrial machinery in the capital goods sector the options of re-usage are being considered more actively than ever before. Also, it was indicated that Stocking items is very prominent among Indian households [Source].

Image Source – Used Goods

Along with Tier-1 cities, e-commerce growth has also been observed in Tier-2 & Tier-3 cities mainly due to growing aspirations & limited access to brands. When it comes to used goods marketplace, the biggest testimony of the market was when Amazon forayed into the used-goods market [via Junglee] thereby allowing individuals to sell their used stuff on Amazon. Though there are couple of players in the used-goods marketplace, there is not a single marketplace for selling Industrial goods, Jewelry & gems, furniture, electronics, musical instruments, etc.

This is the opportunity that the founders of Refabd, a recommerce startup seized when they moved to Delhi for a short period of one year to train for the Civil Services. The glaring lacuna became evident to them when they tried to either hire or purchase used home appliances. Realization then dawned that this must be the experience of short term residents as well as newcomers to a city who are looking at a similar market. The trio was then quick to spot a business opportunity waiting to be tapped in this domain and that’s how Refabd was born!

Today we have a chat with Vineeth Kumar, Co Founder of Refabd. So lets get started with the Q&A…

How did you come up with the idea of venturing into used goods How did you come up with the idea of venturing into used goods marketplace ?

When we, the founders of Refabd, moved to Delhi for chasing our dreams on Civil Service, we personally wanted to setup our home with appliances and furniture. It was difficult for us to resort on the classified platforms, as that lacked transparency, simplicity and trust. Our search to find out a single platform for buying used products was not successful and found a business opportunity and thus Refabd was born.

Can you share some details about the team behind Refabd ?

The founders of Refabd are

  • Vineeth Kumar T – Post Graduate from IISc, 6+ years of experience in IT Field
  • Rahul Varma K – Post Graduate from Manipal Institute, 5+ Years in Chip Design, QC and Testing
  • Durai Gowardhan S – Graduate from PSG Tech, 4+ years of IT experience

We are a team of 20 members including the founders.

How much is the overall market size of used goods market place ?

As per the recent study OLX Crust 2016, Rs. 780 Billion is the Second Hand House Hold market in India in which Rs. 33 Billion is the Used Home Appliances and Furniture serviceable market in India.

What are some of the items that can be sold on Refabd ?

All kinds of large appliances, Furniture and Laptops can be sold on Refabd.

What according to you are some of the USP’s of Refabd from other such sites like Greendust, OLX, etc. [Specifically GreenDust since they also sell refurbished electronic items]

Classified sites like OLX, Quikr and even Shopo are Consumer to Consumer models. C2C model does not work very well with Used goods market as that lacks transparency in pricing, quality and service. Consumers all around the world prefers hassle free experience while shopping online and hence any model around used goods has to be curated.

Curated model will solve issues like pricing around used goods has to be curated. Curated model will solve issues like pricing and quality but still can’t gain the trust of buyers as the curator can’t guarantee post sale care. The model that works very well is a curated inventory based model where in products are sourced from different sources, performs rigorous QC and sell with Warranty. This model can give transparency in pricing, quality as well as post sale care.

Refabd follows this model in which all products undergo thorough quality inspection and given an QC SCORE and then images of the products are taken showing the defects and damages very clearly if any and uploaded with transparency in pricing. Refabd takes this experience to the next level by giving free delivery, easy return, warranty and Buy Back options. When it comes to GreenDust, they mainly focus on electronic goods, especially mobiles. They are not transparent in terms of quality, images and pricing.

[L-R] Co-founders of Refabd : Rahul Varma, Durai Gowardhan, Vineeth Kumar

Can you let us know about some of the steps taken by the back-end team to to ensure that high quality products are sold on Refabd ?

Refabd quality measures starts from procurement [sourcing] phase itself. Our in house technician/carpenter inspects the products and approves only if the product is sellable after minor repair/refurbishment. Once the products come to the warehouse, it undergoes following phases:

  • QC Stage – In this stage, the quality in terms of appearance and working is QC Stage – In this stage, the quality in terms of appearance and working is verified and the condition spec of the product along with QC report is generated
  • Cleaning/Refurbishment – Product is cleaned and disinfected thoroughly and minor refurbishment like polishing, change of plastic parts etc., are performed
  • Full Cycle Testing [FCT] – Full cycle functionality of the product is tested in this stage by simulating various scenarios. For example, the washing machines undergo a full spin test with clothes in it. All the aspects like noise, water leakage, vibration, power consumption etc., are checked in this phase and added to the QC report
  • Photography – In this stage, details images of the product is taken. The images show the defects very clearly if at all any.
  • Packaging – The products are packed carefully after the photography and moved to the delivery section
  • Product Upload – The product is uploaded to Refabd website. Complete Quality details of the product is shown in the website and what the customer sees in website is what he gets!

Who are the logistics partners of Refabd and how do you ensure that the ROR [Rate of Return] is kept to the minimum in order to maximize revenues.

Refabd manages the logistics on its own to provide quality service to its customers. We are very much flexible in terms of return and provides On the Spot Return if the appearance of the product does not match to customer expectation however is expected to go through the images and product description before purchase and also our customer care personnel explains about the condition of the product to the customer before delivery.

As Refabd is transparent on the product condition, returns are very less. Also inspite of carrying on all the expenses to ensure quality control, the sale price of Refabd goods is marked to, direct sellers of used goods online or offline, keeping the ROR balanced and providing value for money to buyers, ensuring higher sale values to provide return to Refabd investors.

Please walk us through funding of Refabd [Self/Angel/VC] and are you looking for external funding ?

Athamus Venture team invested to unlock the potential of Refabd Platform, it being attractive, unorthodox, and stressed on buy back and warranty issuance to be hallmark of the business. We are raising expansion capital now, to spread to at least 4 more cities like NCR, Pune, Hyderabad and Chennai in next 6 months and 20 more cities by another 12 months.

Many e-commerce companies are now pushing for omni-channel Many e-commerce companies are now pushing for omni-channel presence, does Refabd also have plans to enter into offline as well [especially for big ticket items like Fridge, Washing Machine, Laptops,etc. or other items that require touch & fell] ?

Today, stress is to provide hassle free service though centralized warehouses, with doorstep pickup and delivery services to delight our customers on quality of product and services. We have innovative plans to fulfil the needs to give satisfaction of physical shopping experience going forward and shall be announced in 3 months time.

We would like to understand the customer [i.e. age, cities Tier-1,Tier-2, etc.] as well item demographics on Refabd ?

Refabd is operational only in Bengaluru as of now. Refabd caters to all income group customers with its used and unboxed products. Furniture is sold around the year and appliances demand varies based on season. In summer season refrigerator and ACs are sold more and in rainy season washing machines and ovens are sold more.

Does Refabd also provide ‘Try & Buy’ facility for its customers, especially items like clothing, shoes, etc.

We introduced On the Spot return in case of appearance mismatch and 7 days return in case of quality issue which is as good as Try and Buy.

Is Refabd a pure B2C marketplace for used goods or you also cater to the B2B segment ?

We are into B2B as well catering the needs of builders, rental companies & Startup Companies.

There is growing competition in used-goods marketplace where there are vertical marketplaces like Droom [Automobiles], GreenDust [electronics], GoZefo [Furniture], etc. and horizontal marketplaces like OLX, Quikr, Kraftly, etc. how does Refabd ensure that it stays ahead of the growing competition in providing excellent service [goods] at competitive pricing ?

We intend to keep our margins balanced, to reach out masses not only in Tier-1 but Tier-2 & 3 cities, coupled with fact that, Refabd has direct accountability to customer on each product sold makes us very different from our peers.

Do you have any tie-ups with e-commerce companies so that goods returned by the customer [reverse logistics] can be sold on your platform at a lesser price/as a used-item ?

We have tie up with e-commerce companies for sourcing used and unboxed products.

There is a section where ‘Unused Products’ [particularly electronics are sold], don’t you think that it would dilute the core offerings of Refabd which is into selling ‘Quality Refurbished Items’ ?

As said earlier, Refabd wants to cater all income group customers and also help the customer to upgrade their product as and when their income increases. The unboxed products help for this.

Customers who are planning to buy unused products can buy unboxed products from Refabd at around 70% of their budget. We ensure that unboxed products are in excellent condition w.r.t appearance and quality.

2017 so far has not been good for e-commerce companies – funds drying up, huge cash-burn; how according to you should entrepreneurs deal with such adverse situations ?

Lot of action is happening in e-commerce space, the business segment is evolving from its early days and maturing into set formats, players that provide quality service with the goods will evolve to fulfill the demands. It is difficult to comment on business model of larger formats right now, as they too are in a flux to compete even bigger challenges out.

Online commerce has been so far about discounting, customer acquisition, etc. how do you see 2017 panning out for the online commerce, hyper-local & used goods marketplace sector ?

e-commerce is here to stay and satisfy daily requirements of Indian population, the process business discrepancies have been rooted out to make businesses efficient, as long as e-commerce platforms sell ‘value for money’ goods and services they will find buyers and expand.

Initial customer acquisition is mostly built on discounting, any other methods that entrepreneurs can follow to gain more customers keeping the burn-rate to the minimum [ensuring that transactions are repetitive instead of one-time] ?

In addition to providing best value for money, quality of service, delivery and follow up maintenance will be the differentiators.

As per your entrepreneurial experience, when should an entrepreneur look out for external funding ?

When your idea starts generating cash flows to sustain itself organically and scaling/expansion can only be through external capitalization, to capture greater market share.

Some books that you highly recommend for entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs you highly admire and some traits of theirs that you would like to imbibe.

Elon Musk – Determination, Dream Big and Curiosity to implement

Closing thoughts for our readers.

Chase your dreams and always remember that a very minute detail addition can bring so much of positive difference. Try to find out this small detail which is missing and add it to your solution and you will find growth.

We thank Rahul Kumar for sharing his insights with our readers. Do give Refabd a spin and share your experience in the comments section. If you have any questions for Rahul or the Refabd Team, please email them here or share them via a comment to this article.

Cre8comm -India’s first online community driven marketplace launches their services for consumers across the country. It is a marketplace where one can find the most authentic and indigenous products from the varied and diverse communities of India. It is one of the most advanced, convenient, hygienic, and easily available marketplaces in the country. It provides every community with almost every product – apparel, food from their hometown irrespective of where you live.

The company will begin delivering authentic community products and services which are usually difficult to find. From authentic fresh foods, such as meats and fish, and ready-made meals, apparel, items for ‘puja samagri’ for any occasion, such as a marriage or a Griha Pravesh. They also have many more products which are available in a certain state and community, and nowhere else in the world. At a click of a button, your authentic, freshly made, sumptuous Bengali mithai reaches you fresh and ready to eat.

The company aims to reduce cumbersome visits to the local market especially while searching for authentic products in a different city. Sometimes, that, which is rarely found in any other part of the country, leaving you with one option, call a relative, and has it couriered. Now with Cre8comm‘s latest online services, your most loved Bengali mithai, fresh from the store, sweet, delicious and sumptuous is now immediately available to satisfy your sweet cravings.

Delighted to bring an authentic experience, Promita Sengupta, Director, Cre8comm shared

This project is very close to our hearts and it gives me immense pleasure to be introducing this revolutionary service to the communities of India with a plethora of indigenous products.  We are focusing on few communities to begin with. Soon we will be covering the rest of India. As demand grows, to make authentic, community products easily available and accessible for the Indians who are living in all corners of India, Cre8comm aims to provide solutions to many of these problems.

Initial focus will be the Bengali community followed by Oriya, Malayali and Bihari and more will be added in the future.

About Cre8comm

Cre8comm is the first community driven hyperlocal e-commerce marketplace which home-delivers traditional essentials and products to all the diverse communities of India. Today’s modern lifestyles and hectic work-life schedules; makes traditional necessities difficult to find. Hence the founders introduced this innovative concept on to the e-commerce platform, creating a new whole experience.

The company’s vision is to deliver authentic and special foods, especially those that you are craving for, and they go an extra step by bringing sumptuous traditional dishes from their own ‘Culture Kitchen’, an innovative dining concept where their chefs are locals of same the community. For more information, please visit Cre8comm