Our journey at Simbacart.com (my startup) till now has been all pleasurable making me feel proud of the achievements till date. The project has been bootstrapped till date. Our business is doing well growing at a stable pace whereas I dream of scaling it up and hence like all other entrepreneurs , I tried for the funding too. Before starting with my writing let me share few emails I got from various channels of funding :
One of the secretary of Sr. partner in India's Top law firms writes "It was a pleasure meeting you (mandeep) at our offices recently and good to speak to you last evening.With respect to your project, I’ve discussed the matter with Mr. XYZ (The boss) but, unfortunately, at this stage, it will not be possible for him to continue to engage on the project due to some challenges that have arisen at his end coupled with extensive travel that has come up in the following months. Having said that, Mr. XYZ (The boss) will be more than happy to provide the guidance you may require, of course, subject to his convenience."
One of the founding partner of a startup funding platform from Mumbai writes " We will have to drop your mandate as e-commerce mandates aren't getting enough traction among our investors. We have recently floated another e-com mandate and only 2 investors have shown interest out of 500.Please continue with your fund raising activity from somewhere else.Best of luck" One of the angel investor writes "Thanks for sharing this business plans and details, Mandeep.I'm not expanding my investment portfolio on niche internet retail at this time and will pass this opportunity by" ... & the list goes on!!
The e-commerce industry in India is bleeding money. There are huge combined losses posted by eCommerce biggies year on year. Its their initial phase , they need adequate time to prove themselves. But, does it really mean that the investors are not confident enough in initial phase and have stopped investing in eCommerce anymore? Should all other startups in eCommerce simply loose hope? I think one should clearly understand , every business is different and the way we do our business ultimately becomes our trade secret later. It should not be compared. I have positioned my brand Simba as focused to just one category i.e "footwear" selling on multiple online channels and offline channels. I have an eCommerce website too and people consider it my negative point that I have an eCommerce platform and I do business there too and its will always make losses like other eCommerce startups. I am so surprised "How the intelligent guys think???" Indian market is huge and diverse that even 10 Flipkarts cannot tap it completely. India is such a diverse country , that it has all scope of multiple big and small eCommerce platforms. Majority of Indian customer is not like a showroom shopper , who knows that he has to buy a particular brand and a particular size. Indian customer loves to just do window shopping multiple times and then choose one. The taste is absolutely different in each state.
The mindset has to change how we look at startups and the investments. India still needs lot many opportunities. The government is absolutely silent on this , they are just focused on collecting sale tax and service tax from a bootstrapped start up who has invested its each penny into it and is struggling to get identified. The most passionate entrepreneurs loose hope when funding sources just break their heart. A self startup never have enough time to just impress people , to bribe or to just praise itself - But the world demands the same from them.
With time I am tired of approaching people and wasting enough money in travelling and going to conferences. I have also wasted too many hours in just calling people and explaining. The major problem is EXECUTION. Everybody starts but do not execute or end , they just give up. Same happening with funding startups even. People go with the flow of references in India , rather than using own mind in identifying some honest team or a startup.
Still I believe , A passionate entrepreneur's success doesn't not depend on funding , she may be forced to grow slow or remain stagnant by external environment , but her success is always sure in long term.
"There are many parents who were too poor to have their kids as an IAS officer , but they did it"
With my sincere efforts!