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Unicorns in the making: SOONICORNS

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India as a nation is now home to more than 40,000 startups and with this, the country is becoming a home to global unicorn hub. According to research,from 2014 till now approximately 66 startups have made it to the unicorn club and raised approx $50 billion.

Something incredible is going on in our nation, and a new wave of companies is coming that will soon turn into unicorns, now known as soonicorns.

The panelists of the session included:

Abhilash Panda, CEO, DIZO
Gaurav Zatakia, Founder & CEO, Flo Mattress
Harshil Salot, Co-Founder, The Sleep Company
Radhika Datt, Co-Founder, and CFO, One Good

And the session was moderated by Atul Mehta, COO, Shiprocket

Key Points:

Journey of the brand
Understanding the customer’s insights
Retailers getting ready with omnichannel approach
Tier-II and III cities are the new emerging markets

Omnichannel approach is now turning out to be the ideal model for Retailers. Gaurav Zatakia, Founder & CEO, Flo Mattress commented on this and added, “When I was ideating about the business model that can succeed and comparing it with a traditional way of shopping brands like ours were sort of proposing right in every way. If a customer goes to a retail outlet, they get confused seeing the number of options. Through our model, the customer can save time as well as money. Our supply chain is more efficient by giving free insurance and with every insurance, we’re also offering a 100-night return policy. In our model, we’re making the whole shopping experience quite fun as we’ve seen unboxing videos of our customers in which they’re taking the massive mattress out of the small box.”

He further stated, “Once I met a couple in an exhibition, the woman told me that she had seen the ads and found it interesting. But she didn’t buy the product as she never had heard about the brand. Brands like us face these challenges as we don’t have the retail presence that can create a sense of trust among customers. For this, the omnichannel model is needed.”

After the pandemic, the unserved market Tier-II and III markets are turning out to be a game-changer for brands. Harshil Salot, Co-founder, of The Sleep Company said,” Our team is constantly hiring as it is really tough to make a good team to represent the smaller towns, who is equally passionate about the brand ethos. Our founders are spending a lot of time finding new talent and the role has now evolved over a period of time from managing operations and running a day-to-day business to kind of managing the overall strategy and empowering the team to take the final  decision. We’re also setting up the right processes software that can help us in that market. Currently, our 30% business is coming from beyond the top 30 cities of India and that segment is growing as the disposable income in that region is increasing with the D2C revolution people are aware of the new trends and new products and that’s turning out to be a big market for our business.”

Gaurav Zatakia, Founder and CEO, of Flo Mattress stated, “Tier-II and III cities are growing at a fast rate, and becoming more important for us. Customers are spending their disposable income and they’re discovering the internet where it becomes easy for brands like us to tell the story. And, this is something which is driving us.”

Radhika Datt, Co-founder & CFO, of One Good also shared a piece of advice for the budding brands, “Only listen to the customers, not even the investors. Sometimes, International Investors will tell you and ask you to sell more milk, as they don’t understand that curd as a product is much more important for the country’s consumption. Once the brand gets it right, they will come back and tell you that it was a great insight. The first hundred customers will buy anything from you and will give you honest feedback.”

She also added, On April fool’s day, we launched gold milk which was there in the market by the name of Amul Gold. On that idea, 50-60 customers came back to us and asked where we could buy this. So it has gone great for us to listen to our consumers.”

Abhilash Panda, CEO, of Dizo, highlighted “Always allocate a small amount of budget on R&D. It’s an important aspect as at the end of the day the customer will get the product and the quality of it will determine whether the customer will come back to the brand or not. If the quality is too good, he/she can recommend it to the other customers as well and word of mouth marketing will take place. For this, always get the product right by spending money on Research and Development.”