As the e-commerce market continues to grow rapidly in India, customers are faced with the problem of plenty- How to decide what to buy? Founded by Gaurav Bhardwaj, Samarjeet Reen, Anand B Pillai, and Amit Sathe, Skoov.com is an e-commerce product search engine, intent on being the first genuine enabler of true product search across e-commerce in India. We chat with Gaurav Bhardwaj about the venture. An excerpt from the interview:
- What made you start your venture?
“The best way to predict the future is to create it” – Peter F. Drucker I have always wanted to build a business of my own. While the entrepreneur role-plays as part of the college years, some very sensible people suggested that I gain some real-world experience. I started my career with a mid-size organization, then moved to a large IT company with over 10,000 employees.
I then started helping other startups set up their operations and business. One such start-up, CMO AxiS, gave me the opportunity to be a quasi-owner, as I was heading my own division, and responsible for building, from scratch, a viable market for business in the western and northern regions of India. We eventually made it to a shortlist of the most promising sales and marketing outsourcing companies globally.
At this point, I felt I was as ready as one could be to being an entrepreneur. The thought of building skoov.com occurred when I went online to buy. Being so used to typing and searching, I realized that product search across ecommerce was not in a good state.
Navigating the Menu on a handheld was next to impossible. That’s when I decided that a smart product search engine would solve a lot of problems for people to reach the product that they are looking for. That’s when I moved on from my previous assignment and started working on skoov.com
- What has been the key to your business’s success?
Well, we are just 3 months old so as of now the key to our business is the team that we have. Samar, who heads the company as the CEO has extensive experience in running organizations and has over 18 years of experience in doing so.
Anand, our CTO, is from IIT Madras and has worked with companies like McAfee and Yahoo in the past. He was instrumental in building a Norwegian search engine. Our focus is very clear in terms of what we want to build and how we want to position the product. I believe that is why we have been growing at the rate of 100% on a month on month basis.
- What are the major challenges in your line of business and how did/do you overcome them?
Our foremost challenge was to find the right kind of talent. It took us a while to find the right engineers who saw the problem exactly as we saw it and were able to understand the scale that we intend to operate on. At first, everybody thought that we were another e-commerce site or just another aggregator/price comparison site. The engineering that goes behind a search engine is very different and works on a totally different scale. We took our time to hire, but we are glad that we have a great team that is aligned with our thought process.
- Do you have a mentor who guides/advices you on matters of the business?
Well, I asked my mentor to join me and head the Business! We talk to almost everyone in terms of what we are building.
- Have you benefitted from the use of any specific technology for your regular operations?
Yes. We use HipChat for team communication and GitLab for Project Management. Both these tools have made our day to day operations very easy.
- What strategy do you follow for Customer Satisfaction & Expansion?
We constantly keep taking feedback. We have taken feedback from heads of large retail companies, marketeers, small e-commerce company owners to 14 – 18-year-old online users. The addressable market is so huge that we take everyone’s advice and understand all small problems with respect to online shopping. We then club all of them and sit with the engineering team to solve them.
Our current focus is expanding to various other verticals within the e-commerce domain. We have just started with Fashion, Home & Décor and Electronic verticals. We are looking to add a few more verticals within the next few months.
- What, according to you, are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
Focus, Resilience and Communication skills. All of the above are critical to be a successful entrepreneur. Visit their Website: http://skoov.com/ Like them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SkoovIndia