Metacrust.com is building India’s first H2H i.e Human to Human e-commerce platform and is trying to connect OEM’s and buyers across the globe. With Human to Human, they mean that they integrate human interaction at every part of the process and the market accept this approach which also helps them to be agile. They provide one step solution for heavy equipment industry. Ashish Chaudhary, Surya Prakash and Sudarshan Singh are the founders of Metacrust.com.
An ‘entrepreneur by vision’ and an ‘enthusiast at heart” this is how Ashish describes himself. Apart from his work, he also loves to play games on his play station, listen to music, goes on long drives. He also said that due to his jolly nature his employees feel he is not serious about his work and take things very lightly but according to him he cannot always share what is going on in his mind with everyone, he has to stay calm in front of employees and society.
Meet Ashish, his views about his startup.
Give a brief info about your startup?
metacrust.com is India’s first H2H online platform providing a one stop solution for heavy equipment industry ( Mining & Construction equipment)& Commercial Vehicles. At present it has three verticals where a end user could Buy new equipment, rent/sell used equipments & buy spare parts for present equipment. Apart from this we help the end users in Finance & Re-Finance for buying of equipment.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
We notice the heavy equipment sector to be a very unorganized one with huge information gap. It has been long standing problem – the end-users from heavy industry are facing an information gap, difficulty in financing, comparison of products, buying spare parts and no one stop platform to address these issues.
Similarly, the OEM’s have been facing a similar set of issues like unqualified leaders, increased cost of marketing, lead nurturing and customer rapport. That said, metacrust plays role in resolving these problems.
It is an emerging H2H, B2B cum B2C trading platform for equipment, plants, machinery, HCV and their spare-parts.
Customers can buy online, via web or through their smartphones, placing their orders or requirements conveniently 24×7 even with a phone call.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
An ‘entrepreneur by vision’ and an ‘enthusiast at heart’, I am a dynamic technology evangelist who has a multi-faceted outlook towards business applications of technology. I dabble and deliver business applications and solutions using technologies, databases, frameworks and systems, across web. I have been living to bridge the gap in the service sector by providing simple yet innovative applications which has an informative and user friendly interface.
The Entrepreneurial bug bit me at a rather young age, so much so that I floated my technology solutions start-up while in college and then went on to float another business venture that is now Business Fuel LLP.
As the Principal Consultant at Enhance IT Solutions since its inception, I had been taking care of the entire technical operations there.
As a Co-Founder of ‘Business Fuel LLP’ I am taking care of the Technology involved in its operations and product development. I lead the IT team and take care of the complete development life cycle of the products ensuring maximum information to the clients at the go of a click facilitating an overall delightful experience. Apart from heading the IT I am also managing the Operations of the company.
When not tech-toing, I am busy playing games on my play station, listening to music, watching movies and to get away from all the frenzy, take off on long drives with my beloved DSLR and captures moments.
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
The startup is bussed out of Bangalore. Being a tech supported startup, it is easy to find young professional resources both in tech and business administration who can work with full dedication.
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
As a startup founder, I am mostly paranoid about the product, it being perfect and user-friendly. Next to that comes in the list is Operations and revenue. What keeps me awake at night is the constant effort that we need to put in to stay ahead of competition. Also we, have selected a Industry which is unorganized and posses several challenges. Overcoming these challenges with new untested digital and traditional marketing strategies is the next biggest thing that I am paranoid about.
Who are your competitions and how are you better than them?
We have a number of competitors but we have a completely different model. Metacrust.com is a one stop platform that addresses the heavy machine and equipment industry be it new equipment purchase, rentals or spares. This is something unique being done in this industry. To name a few competitors we have are infrabazaar.com, iquippo.com, eqpt.in, plantbee.com, moglix.com.
How hard is it to have a work life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
As a startup founder, it is really tough to have a work life balance. I myself am a self diagnosed recovering work addict. When people talked about their favorite places to be –they mentioned park, gym, spa, beach, mountains etc. My favorite place to be was my office. I was the king of emails at 3am and wore my work ethic honor plaque 16-20 hours a day, 7 days a week. Then something very funny happened. My health and eyes began to fail.
It was then when I realized the importance of work life balance. I realized I could be a better Son, Leader, friend and COO when I focused primarily on balance. I identified my needs, started respecting the limits, started understanding what really matters, accepted that there is a power off button and started taking time offs.
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
We have not raised any funding as of now and metacrust.com is bootstrapped till now. We are close to our operational Breakeven and yes we are looking to go for the Series A round in coming quarter.
What is the most important priority for this company?
This company was formed with a motive to be a one stop solution for any person belonging to heavy equipment or construction equipment industry. The most important priority is to identify all the pain points being faced by the end users and come up with a comprehensive solution for all those problems. We have a couple of pilot projects going on in order to understand and streamline the problems where our solutions would help the end users.
How do you think this might evolve over the coming months?
In the months to come, I see metacrust.com serving as a primary platform (digital and traditional) for end-users to make buying decisions, which itself would add a lot of value to the core business intangibly. Talking about tangible outcome, we see spare-parts e-commerce and equipment rentals serving as the primary revenue builder and boosting sales of new equipment.
We will be going global in a phased manner with the European market and the middle east market.
We are also associating with NSDC and Skill India under PMKVY (Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna) to provide a placement service for Blue collar jobs and entry level white collar jobs for this industry.
What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
My employees generally have a misconception that I’m not very serious about my work and I take things in a lighter way. This, I believe, happens due to my jolly nature. I usually don’t take them as mere employees but my extended family which ends up in developing certain level of personal bond with each of them.
Moreover, I can’t always keep working to show people. At times I’m having fun but there’s a lot going on in my mind. My brain is always occupied with one or the other work related thing which only a business person can understand. we, as businessman don’t have fixed working hours. We have to work day and night. We have meetings, planning strategies and work for ourselves as well as teams, future perspectives, product development, technology and a lot more other than the basic operational work.
On the other hand, my friends and family think that I’m big time workaholic and a pretty serious person. They keep asking me the smallest things and at times surprise to know that even I can do such silliest or fun activity. It is really difficult to put up yourself as who you are in front of people when you are at such a position.
What gets you excited about this company?
While almost all the industries have solutions online, the heavy industry largely remains offline and non-tech savvy. Meatcrust aims to help these non-tech savvy users to look for solutions online. We call it to be H2H (Human to Human) e-commerce platform where we intend to be the voice of sellers as well as buyers and not just a lead forwading system, by addressing the gap through digital and traditional way. No other e-commerce player or platform has made this kind of effort to bring in this kind of one click or one call platform for heavy machine industry where most of the transactions remains offline.
This itself is very exiciting for me.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
My day usually begins at 7:30 with the next half an hour gathering up my thoughts and recalling the tasks for the day. Then I go get freshen up, take my shower and generally by 8:30 I am good to go for the breakfast. While having breakfast, I browse through the emails and respond to the same. By 9 I’m over with my breakfast and the next 2 hours I spend in strategizing and planning activities and discussing the issues with my other two co-founders. Usually by 11-11:30 I reach office and do all sort of operational work in the first half of the day.
We have our half an hour lunch break at 1:30 which I prefer to spend with my employees trying to gel up and understand them in a better way. I have my second half scheduled for client meetings either in person or over skype. Later in the evening, I take daily reports from the team leads and assign them tasks for the next day. I leave for home around 7-7:30 after which I take a good one hour relaxation break.
From around 8:30-9 I’m again engaged in a call session with my co-founders in which we discuss the entire day. After that I spend around half an hour in having dinner. By 10-10:30 I’m back to my laptop and this is the time when I sit down to review the tech work that is done for metacrust and other client’s tech projects that we are working upon. This generally takes me 3-4 hours and then I call it a day.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
At present we are three co-founders, Surya Prakash, Sudarshan Singh & me. Surya is my school buddy and Mr. Singh is from Construction Equipment industry. Surya has a EPC Company from where he gets all the knowledge about how the Infrastructure industry works and Mr. Singh has more than 30 years of experience in the construction equipment industry.
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