Goa state award winning entrepreneur Farheen Sayed an engineering graduate from Padre Conceicao College of Engineering (PCCE), founded two award winning startups Brushflicks in 2015 (art social network) and Boxifer in 2017 (Clean tech company) with a million dollar valuations. She has successfully raised two rounds of funding. She is also the founding member of bitcoinhedge.io. She is a Blockchain enthusiast and experienced forex and crypto-currency trader skilled in technical analysis and formulating trading strategies with over three years of trading experience. She talks to INCUBEES on her new venture “VanillaKart”
INCUBEES: Tell us about your products and services?
FARHEEN SAYED: Vanillakart connects manufacturers and retailers in India, enabling small and medium sized businesses to do business across india. Poised to be the next big social commerce distribution channel where resellers and homepreneurs sell on WhatsApp, facebook and Instagram, with more than 10,000 products in 27 different categories from fashion apparels home decor electronics to home utility we sell across over 1000 plus pins across cross India
Small businesses and homepreneurs in India use whatsapp and facebook groups a lot. Posting details of their products daily and then using cash or bank transfer to collect payment and then the massive hassle of logistics. A lot of homepreneurs and dropshippers encounter a problem on what to sell and how to sell on daily basis. Vanillakart is a distribution channel that gets you high quality suppliers at competitive prices with easy logistics solution coving over 1000 pins across India.
INCUBEES: What are the challenges you see in the market at this point of time?
FARHEEN SAYED: While an alarming 70 per cent of startups across the country have been impacted by Covid-19 and as many as 12 per cent have had to halt operations all together, the social commerce has gained momentum. The pandemic has given a boost to the social commerce industry. Social commerce is a next generation trend that will reshape the future of commerce. With a population of over 1.3 billion people, India is the most varied markets in the world. Given the strong retail and consumer outlook, the country is expected to witness redefining trends in the consumer markets which will shape the future of retail and consumer industry. In India social media platforms and online product reviews form an important part of millenials shopping journey. The global social market is expected to grow by USD 2051 billion during 2020-24.
Business is coming back more strongly. The average basket size per order is also increasing. The comeback is also in part due to the collapse of offline B2B retail channels in the country, hurt by restrictions due to pandemic. In the last few months a number of manufactures as well as resellers have been reaching out and beginning relationship with our platform.
INCUBEES: Where do you see your product reaching in the next 5 years?
FARHEEN SAYED: On the demand side we are focused on expanding our user segment from housewives, to students and working professionals. By 2025 we aim to have over 10 million resellers on board.
INCUBEES: Do you plans to raise funding to grow your business?
FARHEEN SAYED: Yes, we are planning to raise $ one million by the end of this year.
INCUBEES: What are the challenges you face in your startup?
FARHEEN SAYED: There is a huge paradigm shift and this shift has challenged the overall functionality of startups. Challenges are everywhere and businesses in general and startups in particular, are no exception to myriad of challenges that we face today. Here below are two of the major challenges we face as a social commerce startup.
As the number of orders increases every day one of most common challenge as a social commerce startup is the reverse logistics or returns. The company has a three day return policy. Customers only gravitate to online stores that have easy return procedures. About 66 per cent of customers check the return policy before making a purchase making it essential for retailers to think through the return policies before starting an online business. The process handling cost can escalate and this combined with resale challenges can become a major pain point.
Money, begets money. The fact that when income increases expenditures also increase. There is no doubt about it. One of the biggest challenges as a Startup that we face today relates to financial management.