An Interview with Rahul Hari, Co-Founder & CEO at SatvaCart

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[This interview is sponsored by workspot.in , India’s leading aggregator of co-working spaces, meeting rooms and shared offices. If you have additional office space and are looking to rent it, please do list it on workspot.in. If you are looking for space for your startup, do visit workspot.in]

 

Satvacart is a Gurgaon based grocery delivery start-up that began operations at the end of year 2014. Since then the company has grown with tremendous pace and has seen a month-on-month growth of almost 100% in the past six months. It offers around 5000 products across several categories such as grocery, fruits and vegetables, personal care, baby care, etc. The customer can select the delivery time for his order from five different delivery slots as per his convenience.

The start-up looks promising and has recently closed its Angel Round 2 with several HNIs including senior executives in Insurance, Telecom and Investment Banking. It plans to use the raised funds to scale up operations, acquire more customers and build its technology team for delivering seamless shopping experience to its customers. The company also plans to expand to six more cities by the end of this fiscal year.

We recently got an opportunity to interview Mr. Rahul Hari, the Founder and CEO of Satvacart.

What motivated you to start the company and what is it all about?

I had been on a lookout for opportunities to start something of my own for a long time.
There were times when the long queues at superstores made me think about ways to optimize the overall grocery purchase ecosystem. The inefficiencies in the overall ecosystem was an essential trigger for me to explore the e-grocery market.

While there was a lot of advancement in technology for the books and electronics markets all across the country, the grocery market in Gurgaon still lacked a systematic approach. The grocery stores were the only places people would drive long distances to and still wait in queues to pay.

On the other hand, the kiraana stores already had their own ecosystem in place. They only needed a platform through which they could get orders from customers and do the deliveries. But after a lot of analysis and research, I realized that the model would not have worked well for kiraana stores with the number of deliveries in hand and also ensuring end-consumer experience.

I therefore decided to start with my own deliveries and my own sourcing. And this is how I got the idea of starting Satvacart.

I wanted to start with Gurgaon because of an additional advantage that it provides. Most of the houses are vertically stacked up, so the cost per delivery is low and the number of deliveries you can do in one hour is maximized.

Satvacart is an online grocery start-up that offers same day delivery service for grocery, personal care and household goods. It is currently operational in Gurgaon. The company is making the grocery delivery experience seamless using a three-pronged approach – tech innovations, supply of niche products and ensuring very high fill rates. On the technology front, the company has reduced the average time it takes a customer to buy grocery to 5 minutes and is looking to reduce it further. Additionally, through a relentless obsession around customer satisfaction, and cost optimisation driven through automation and data analytics, the company is focused on building a profitable business model.

Our readers would like to know about your core team and their roles?
We have ten core team members bringing the right mix of experience across Retail, Logistics, Technology and eCommerce. Our co-founder Deepika handles all technology for the company and has in the past worked on highly mission critical applications for several wealth management firms including Citi, Fidelity and Co-funds. Our merchandising team consists of senior level executives with experience in national merchandising positions at Aditya Birla Retail, setting up complete supply chain for fruits & vegetables at Spencer’s and national account management roles at Coke. We also have Chandan Singh, bringing 9 years of experience working with several logistics companies. Something unique about Chandan’s growth path is him having done delivery of couriers to handling regional operations for a large logistics firm, handling eCommerce deliveries. We have also been able to set up a very strong Board of Advisors with people such as Arvind Gupta, Vijay Shukla and Pushpinder Singh, all having tried their hands at entrepreneurship successfully.

What is the current Team Size?

We currently have 35 members in our team.

How did you hire your initial team?

Initially there was no team, it was just an idea. However, we did not want absence of the team to block our progress. My past experience at EY, Cleartrip and NetApp, and Deepika’s experience in technology development came in handy. We believed in our business model and brought people in along the way.

We did not stop our execution at any point because of lack of team members. We kept on going and kept looking for good people to join us. As soon as we found someone who fit our profile, we brought them on board.

Which recruiting channels work best for you? Referrals/Job Boards/ Staffing Agencies?

Job boards have been quite helpful for us.

What are the key factors that you look for in a potential candidate?

The attitude towards doing work is the most important factor.

Anything creative or interesting that they have done in the past, even if as part of their hobbies, it is something we look out for.

According to you how much is the competition in your vertical? How big is the industry?

The e-grocery is a $300 billion market. There is large competition in the industry but there is an opportunity for everybody right now. Even if we consider Gurgaon as a market, the annual spend on grocery is over 3,600 Crore. More than 99% of this is still offline. When we talk about the Pan India market and then the Global market, the opportunity is humongous.

What are your marketing strategies? Do you take help of Social platforms to promote? Which channels have been very effective? Which marketing channels have been super flops?

Social Media has been an effective platform to carry out our marketing strategies. Recently, we carried out a Diwali promotion, offering free packets of Maggi with every order. With the help of Facebook and Twitter, there was a significant increase in the number of customers. Facebook has served as an interactive platform; it has helped us create buzz around the website.

There haven’t been any super flops as such. It all depends on the time and the right methods of execution.

What has been your experience with paid marketing channels?

Paid marketing is really effective. It brings better ROI and helps us reach out to the customers directly.

Can you elaborate on the Challenges in promoting your website/ App?

We haven’t faced any challenges as such and we hope to continue this way in the future as well.

What is the current traction?

We are performing orders in triple digit numbers right now with almost 80% repeat rates. The customer base is rapidly growing and has seen a considerable increase since we started off.

Based on your experience would you have any advice to new Entrepreneurs/Start-ups?

If you believe in something, go ahead, grab it and make it your own rather than waiting for the world around you to get together.

 

[This interview is sponsored by workspot.in , India’s leading aggregator of co-working spaces, meeting rooms and shared offices. If you have additional office space and are looking to rent it, please do list it on workspot.in. If you are looking for space for your startup, do visit workspot.in]

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