Stories from INDIAN Startups : OYO Rooms, Souled Store and Meesho
It’s there, take it
Entrepreneurship is one glittery word for the curious, passionate youth of India. With a population this massive, it has always been a herculean task to do something different and stand apart from the noisy crowd in the streets of the country. The single entity that literally gives wings to the young guns of the nation (besides Redbull) is the ambition to create a functional corporate structure of their own. This is one of the reasons why India has become the third-largest start-up ecosystem in the world. Most of the start-ups that are popping up from different parts of the country are establishing super young entrepreneurs in the 15-30 age bracket. Not only is this feat quite impressive, but it also reflects the hidden ambition of the young to make a mark on society. And what better than a startup to do so? Today, our entrepreneurs are driving a keen eye through the infrastructure of the society It’s all about identifying the loopholes in the system, and foraging their skill sets to produce something worthwhile. In this article, we discuss three successful startup stories and highlight the takeaway points from their story that will help you build a dream company of your own!
Ritesh Agarwal’s OYO story:-
NEW RULES / LESS JUDGEMENT
One of the most successful Indian startups stories is that of OYO Hotels and Homes, an Indian multinational hospitality chain of franchised hotels. As India’s largest budget hotel chain, OYO has become one of the most preferred hotel booking platforms for the youth of the country. This network hospitality organization capitalizes on customer experiences and reviews. Ritesh Agarwal, a seventeen-year-old from Odisha, started Oravel Stays Pvt. Ltd. in 2013. As any bored teenager looking for a random excuse to slip out of college, Ritesh traveled to Delhi from Kota every weekend. It was in Delhi that he met a group of aspiring entrepreneurs, who would love to brainstorm on ideas and build their brainchild from scratch. It is also here that Ritesh saw problems while looking for budget hotels to stay in, which was to become the seed idea for his multinational company .
The cult of thinking out of the box
In an interview a few years ago, Ritesh stated that the biggest prerequisite for starting a successful company is to think big. To be able to slide away from the regular grind and perceive problems differently is the first stepping stone, and so, the hardest part of the journey. For a person from a very small town in Odisha, to think on the lines of some of the corporate giants is no small feat. Your first lesson, therefore, is to think big and set incredible goals for yourself. Remember, they should be incredible, not impossible.
OYO has recently received a $5 Million investment from Microsoft, raising its valuation to around $5 Billion. However, after the pandemic struck, the revenues of the hospitality industry plummeted and OYO was no exception. While picking up the pieces post-pandemic was difficult for the company, the funds raised might just do the magic for this inspirational story.
The Stellar Story of Souled Store
If you’ve gushed over the quirky designs of Souled Store’s Marvel and DC series, this story is for you! Souled Store was established in 2013 by three friends Vedang Patel, Rohin Samantey, and Aditya Sharma. As a company, Souled Store prides itself in being called the “official merchandise of superheroes”, and creates stellar designs that are inspired by fictional characters. Their story is one of the gems that is born out of a sheer passion for comics, books, and TV shows, or if I may call it, the nerd fever. They realized that there was a huge gap in the prices of theme-driven merchandise in the market. Identifying a problem that could be exploited for results, they built Souled Store to bridge the gap between exorbitant imported goods and cheap, low-quality ones.
In a span of five years, they grew their business from a 5lakh investment to a worth 30 crore organisation. Before the pandemic, Souled Store had established two outlets in and around Mumbai. While the offline stores have helped manifest the brand’s name, it is the online market that has kept the revenue coming.
Optimism above all:-
People say that entrepreneurs are wired to be optimists, and if there is one similarity in all our inspiring stories, it is this. Souled Store started with small outlets in Coffee Shops with just a small cabin to fill up with their plain white T-shirts. As a young startup, it was difficult for them to hire an actual designer for the fun prints on the clothes, and rather sketched the layouts themselves. But if you think that they had a crazy ride from the get-go, you should probably hear this. Vedang Patel, in one of his interviews, emphasizes the fact that the initial years were a struggle. He talks about how the teams’ morale tumbled when days would pass without a single order being registered. While working on his startup, Vedang even applied for and got accepted as a guest lecturer at Hindu College in Mumbai, and held onto the role in case nothing else worked out. Any other team might simply give up on the idea when the profits were low and the investment (physical, emotional, and monetary of course) was high. But our young team of three was determined to bring an exquisite line of quirky fashion merchandise to India.
How are they doing now ? Outlets ? Volumes ?
Any Pandemic implications ? Online sales zoomed, while retail packed up ?[c]
Making a difference with Meesho
Meesho is another inspiring entrepreneurial story that needs to be told. Established in 2016, this startup was founded by two IIT Delhi graduates Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal. Meesho is an Indian social e-commerce company that allows small, household businesses to build their online stores through social media sites like Whatsapp, Facebook etc. A few years after their graduation, they came across an important insight in the general Indian market- several small businesses weren’t using e-commerce giants like Flipkart or Amazon to sell their products, nor did they have their own websites. Meesho was established to cater to such an audience, and help small household businesses run efficiently online. This would enable sellers with no investment for offline shops, to kick start their businesses online. Meesho has been able to reach out to a large population of sellers and has helped them generate income through its e-commerce platform.
While talking about his startup, Vidit Aatrey doesn’t forget to mention how lucky he has been during the early days of the startup. As a young company founded in 2016, it focussed on the popularity of Whatsapp to help its users drive their businesses. Since 2016, Whatsapp has become the number one app for online communication in India with approximately 400 million people currently using the mobile application. Jio, which is one of India’s largest telecommunication companies, launched its 4G network around the same time. Jio 4G allowed 4G internet services to millions of people around India free of cost. Suddenly, people in remote locations with no access to the internet were able to join the network for absolutely no cost! The digitization of the Indian market was a game-changer for Meesho’s online platform, as it allowed people to thrive in a developing world with a medium that could potentially generate income.
It is obvious that the luck factor helped Meesho gain a whole new level of popularity. But remember, luck only favors the brave! It is important to evaluate your resources and circumstances before taking the plunge. Everybody loves a well-thought-out risk.
WSHDOM Take :
Take the plunge, make the bet, put in the work, trust your instinct, fail fast if you have to, dust up and do it again cause you can. SKY IS NOW !
if you have inspirational entrepreneurship stories that should feature on WSHDOM, please write in to us as firstname.lastname@example.org, we’d love to hear from you