E-commerce blues during COVID-19 and preparing in the meantime: In conversation with Raj, Ex-founder Fabulyst

CIE brings to our Deeptech community,
Fire Up Founder Insights series 2nd edition, hosted by our COO, Mr. Ramesh Loganathan. The series is brought to you as a part of Startup Gyan Blog series by CIE-IIITH  where we feature our founders and talk about their Startup status and the journey so far through conversation on specific topics useful for other Deeptech startups and the community at large.

In Conversation with Raj, Ex-founder Fabulyst:

Having started a home tutoring platform, exited 2 years later then FABULYST, an API-based solution for automated product tagging, the Startup journey for Raj has been full of learning and growing as an Entrepreneur. Fabulyst started as an AI assisted personal assistant to understand a customer’s specifics and style statements, pivoted to B2B and became a sales-driven organization. The team of four built the AI product  to solve the tough work for Fashion Industry, later worked with Myntra and big brands in US as a sales Startup.

E-commerce in 2016 and now

Back in 2016, there was not much presence online for specific retailers and local brands but COVID-19 situation has driven everyone to be online. There has been a growing number of online incoming from local retailers and brands. Last two months have boosted this phenomenon.

“The bigger players in the space are focused on just retaining the customers as an acquisition strategy”

This is one of the industries which is going to see a lot of transformations in the coming year. All the segments delivering or ordering through offline stores and were not so keen on going online, are now looking for strategies to hit the online space. Many B2B too are ready to experiment with a hybrid model.

Hiring industry is one more example where a lot of change is expected to happen. Platforms for sourcing workforce from delivering for players like Swiggy or Zomato, drivers for Ola to Blue-collar workforce and grey collar workforce for Tech companies and others. What previously had been a mostly physical model, is now completely online.

Another big opportunity lies in the SaaS market. Focusing on the fixed cost, everyone is inclined on running business-as-usual with a remote workforce through deploying a number of tools which were non-existent or lesser used. Zoom platform, even with security problems, is an obvious example.

Suggestions for startups:

  • For early stage startups, a sustainable business model is too important
  • Understand the Cost of life versus Cost of lifestyle factor to make key decisions and formulate further strategies
  • Essentials are seeing a boom but understanding this as a pause and not an entire economic crisis or depression
  • Be ready with multiple plans instead of just one push button. Have planned no. of pivots to pick at the right time.

“Observing more than panicking is the key”

Growth Hack tip:

LinkedIn is the life boat, use it judiciously in the meantime so that you could sail it later. Leveraging it for everything from networking with potential customers to competitors. Basically, focusing on what you have and what all you could do with that!

Keep watching this space for more under Fire Up Series.
Stay safe and sound!

– Sunita Kumari, Team CIE