Startup Name: Qtrove.com
Founded Year: 2016
Founder: Mr. Vinamra Pandiya.
Can you brief about you and your team? What you were doing prior to this startup?
I am a Chemical Engineer & Software Coder by chance and Entrepreneur by choice. I hold a Bachelor of Engineering (B.E) degree from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, (BHU) Varanasi and joined Infosys in 2004.We are a 16 member’s team.
Before Qtrove.com, I had worked with Infosys for a couple of years. Later I started India’s first online meal ordering service, Mom’s Kitchen in 2006. Post a successful 3-year journey with Mom’s Kitchen, I joined Tasty Khana in the year 2009 as a board member and Chief Operating Officer; and scaled startup to new heights.
I am also an advisor to a couple of start-ups like SweetsInABox and SpiderG where I mentors and advises the teams and helps in strategy, business development, and expansion.
The reasons motivated you to become an entrepreneur?
After working with a corporate, I made up my mind that I want to do something of my own. When I thought it through, I decided to do something that would help in adopting a healthy lifestyle as well as sustaining the environment. Being a pet parent, chemical mass-produced products that we used for them would eventually degrade their health and well-being. All of this led to the idea of building up a curated marketplace and formation of Qtrove.com
About Qtrove? What are your motto and vision?
Qtrove.com is a Bangalore based curated marketplace that exhibits & sells non-mass produced items from small entrepreneurs across the country. Here, one can discover a world of unique products from handpicked entrepreneurs. With an aim to release the shoppers from the ‘tyranny of choice’ Qtrove.com selects the best products from exclusive vendors. From fresh bakery goods to handmade soaps, Qtrove.com brings only the choosiest products for its customers.
The products are unique and not available in the online spectrum. The products are sustainable and enhance the well-being and increase the social currency of the customers. Qtrove.com believes in making a change in their customer’s products that they consume IN their body, ON their body and AROUND their body.
Motto- To provide a healthy lifestyle to people that will also lead to a sustainable environment.
Vision- To connect to the next 5 million customers from across the globe and build my sellers’ base spreading across horizons.
What problems your startup is solving?
We are solving the problem of an unhealthy lifestyle and eating habits that adopted by people. On our platform, we offer products which are non-mass produced, free from artificial chemicals and are sustainable. These products come from local entrepreneurs who wish to contribute their bit to the betterment of environment and human.
We offer Curated products from handpicked vendors across categories. We like to call it Alternative or Sustainable commerce. We have products which are sustainable, are non-mass produced and have what we call as the Q Factor. These are products which customers would love to own, and we don’t have to entice them by unsustainable discounts. We want to build ‘Etsy of India’ with an Indian twist.
We showcase our products on the website where we conduct a professional shoot, unlike other players who typically use a white background. These ensure that the customer gets a better visual of the product for a better understanding of the product they wish to order. End of the day all that matters is the value we add to our customer’s lives by the products we sell to them. At Qtrove we aim to appeal to the inner connoisseur, with products that are sustainable in nature and have individuality and personality.
We have also created a Lead Research Guideline document which contains several parameters, and we rate each vendor on those parameters. Only when they cross a threshold, they are selected for Inside Sales team to call. Each parameter is verified based on how unique or exclusive the vendor and its products. Quality would be embedded in our cultural fabric as we scale up. We ensure the marketplace where we keep the tight control over the kind of sellers we on-board.
Have you come across any situation which made you think about quitting from startup?
Entrepreneurs always go through the periods of extreme self-doubt, piercing pain, and fiercest fear when things aren’t good. For me in my previous two startups, we came inches close to a Near Death Experience where I thought – This is the End.
It’s a hard time where you look at the things in a negative way, and such thoughts keep coming every day during that period of intense struggle.
As there are many e-commerce sites which are doing the same thing. What is the X-factor in your startup?
Our USP is that we provide curated products from handpicked vendors across the categories. These products are non-massed produced sustainable products. We showcase the products on our website with personalized photo shoots of the products.
How did you raise funding for your venture?
We are incubated and backed by GrowthStory and earlier this year, we have risen the funding of INR 350 Cr from Springboard Ventures.
Do you feel your venture is successful? If yes, explain about it?
Yes, I feel we have successfully established ourselves as a shop of good things. We started our journey with a few seller-bases, but now we have a huge seller network of 1000 local entrepreneurs from all over the country. We are currently doing an annualized GMV of INR 13 Cr. We are unit level profitable having1000 sellers, more than10, 000 products, and 40+ categories.
Qtrove.com has recently raised INR 350 Cr funding from Springboard Ventures. With the help of this funding, Qtrove.com plans to intensify marketing, customer acquisition efforts, and vendor network to provide enhanced services to their customers with a whole new set of offerings.
Nevertheless, there is more than we have to achieve before we completely cherish our success.
What your stack on the competition? Who are your competitors?
Some players are already in this space for the last few years. Main competitors are hippo (Acquired by Snapdeal) and Engrave.in, but all of them are primarily focussing on arts and crafts whereas we are taking a more horizontal approach. The next thing is our team will curate each vendor before they are listed on our platform as curation is our biggest differentiator.
Is the team necessary for a successful company/startup?
Yes, of course, the team is an essential part for a successful company/startup. It is the team that executes the well-laid plans and helps in achieving the targets. The team is the one who builds the culture in the company.
What piece of advice would you give to college graduates who want to become entrepreneurs?
For the budding entrepreneurs, I would like to say that, don’t run after money. Identify a problem that urgently needs a solution and establishes a practical solution for the same. If you successfully follow this, then you would start making money along with working for the betterment of the environment and society.