It is difficult to predict the future and we will not do so, especially when so many factors are at play across the globe, the least being the impact of technological progress and the urgent need to solve issues that are critical for the masses in India’s hinterlands, who are likely to be left behind economically if their problems of accessing the right information is not met.
Electronic gadgets promise to connect every person in the world to the right information, serving to uplift them from ignorance and promote access to products and services required to make economic and social progress. The smartphone is hailed as the best means to do so and the Indian smartphone industry obliged, manufacturing and shipping devices across the country, keeping in mind the value consciousness of the Indian diaspora.
It is prudent to note the rise of a secondary market, consisting of buying and selling refurbished phones sourced from users and organizations wishing to upgrade their devices. An enterprise operating in this market is up against the large unorganized sector consisting of shady operators who source their wares from questionable sources. This enterprise is also environmentally beneficial and socially conscious, as it reduces material wastage across the value chain and provides good quality products at a favourable price for the masses.
Today’s story is about the founder of Budli, an enterprise sourcing used electronic gadgets, primarily smartphones, laptops and tablets to refurbish and distribute them to consumers at a great price, thereby giving an impetus to their savings and spends.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
I’ve always been fond of gadgets. I had recently upgraded my phone and was wondering what do I do with my old one. I found this as an unsolved problem. On doing market research, I realized this was a large unsolved problem. People keep replacing their gadgets frequently so there is a large untapped supply of used gadgets. On the other hand, since India is such a value sensitive market, there is a huge unmet demand for genuine products in good working condition, from a trusted source, with the assurance of a warranty. This space is primarily unorganized in India.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
I have 18 years experience in various sectors, including software startup in Silicon Valley, manufacturing and international B2B sales across 35 countries and eCommerce in India, China & US. Former Director of Founder Institute (international startup accelerator & launch program) in Kolkata. My education is from UC Berkeley, California & St. Xavier’s, Kolkata. I have also been invited to speak at various forums including Indian Institute of Management Bangalore and Calcutta. My book ‘Embrace Change’ about my personal and entrepreneurial journey was published recently.
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
We are based out of Koramangala, Bangalore and operate across 25,000 pin codes in India. The ecosystem, startup culture and skilled availability of manpower were primary reasons why I found this to be the best place in India for starting my company.
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
Ensuring that we are able to deliver our best to our customers and that our team members are well taken care of are of utmost importance to me. Innovating on new ideas to ensure continuous improvement is essential for a startup, especially in an emerging and fast changing sector like ours.
Who are your competitions and how are you better than them?
This fast growing multi billion dollar sector is primarily unorganized with no company having a significant market share. There are some other startups in this sector. However, our biggest competition is with the unorganized sector.
How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
I have been lucky enough to have found my ‘Ikigai’ – a Japanese concept of doing something which is at the intersection of one’s passion, purpose and profit. As such there are no clearly demarcated lines between work and personal life. I feel connected to my work all the time in my mindspace.
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 raised debt funding already and are looking to raise a larger amount now.
What gets you excited about this company?
The vision, purpose and the ability to create meaningful social and environmental impact is what drives me. Technology is radically changing the lives of millions of people in education, healthcare, financial services and the medium for accessing technology is the smartphone. Over 600 million people across the lower income segment society in India do not have access to affordable technology. Our vision is to enable digital inclusion for 100 million people and reduce e-waste.
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.
I have been an early riser all my life and practise daily yoga and meditation before going to work. In a fast-paced startup, no two days are alike so there is no set routine thereafter. However, I do like to spend some time daily listening to music, reading or learning something new.
Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
I have known some team members since I was in Kolkata and some had relocated to Bangalore with me. I met a few of them while in Bangalore and it has been an amazing experience working with them.
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