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To Be A Successful Entrepreneur, Don’t Be Afraid To Face Failure: Vinamra Pandiya, CEO and Founder, Qtrove

In an interview with BW Businessworld, Vinamra Pandiya, CEO and founder,, talks about Curated marketplace and more

Want to try some niche products? Qtrove, curated marketplace, is here to provide you all the brands from fresh bakery goods to hand made soaps. Bangalore-based startup, curated marketplace that exhibits and sells non-mass produced items from small entrepreneurs across the country. 

With an aim to release the shoppers from the ‘tyranny of choice’, Qtrove selects only the best products from exclusive sellers.

It follows a ‘no discount – no sale’ policy as opposed to the popular business model followed by other big ecommerce players to ensure their vendors get the best deal for their products. It has recently raised Rs 350 crore funding from BCCL’s Springboard Ventures. In an email interview with BW Businessworld, serial entrepreneur Pandiya, shared insight of the industry and challenges:

From Tasty Khana to Qtrove, what was the idea behind the startup?

We felt there was a need for a marketplace for curated products which are sustainable, are non-mass produced and have what we call as the ‘Q Factor’. Such products which customers would love to own them and we don’t have to entice them by unsustainable discounts. We wanted to build ‘Etsy of India’ with an Indian twist. We believe that today with so many marketplaces offering same brands, the only pull is discounts, cashbacks etc. Today, shopping is reduced to a mere convenience. We wanted to bring the fun back to shopping in leisure where products displayed are unique, personally curated and sustainable, and where consumers buy them for that and not because we are offering some discounts. We also believe that customer is today stuck with ‘Tyranny of Choice’. 

It aims to be a curated marketplace that exhibits & sells from small entrepreneurs across the country as well as share their stories through dedicated vendor pages across social media. In today’s era of assembly line mass production & consumption, Qtrove comes as a breath of fresh air by curating the best products from handpicked vendors across categories. From fresh bakery goods to hand made soaps, we bring only the choosiest products to customers. 

How to plan to compete with the Sale and Discount Culture ?

There are two ways to buy a product/service. One is a transactional/mechanical way where you know the brand that you are buying very well. So, when looking to buy from the platform, you look for the best deal. There are no emotions attached and hence loyalty to the platform does not matter much. Here, the platform attract the buyer through crazy/unsustainable discounts in the hope that customers will stick in the future. For e.g. if you want to buy an iPhone or a Reebok shoe, this is how your buying pattern will be.

Second way to buy is emotion-driven which is driven by experience, serendipity and impulse. For e.g. if you want to buy a handmade soap, it is important for the seller to first introduce you to the concept of such a product and hence, it’s important from whom you are buying, what’s their story, what’s their drive etc. You get emotionally connected with the seller and his story and then you buy the product. Here, discounts/cashbacks etc. do not matter and customer buys due to the inherent nature of the product and the way it is sold to him.

How many sellers and products do you have on Qtrove?

We have more than 100,000 customers, around 10,000 products with more than 1000 sellers. 

Are you providing any Personalisation/Customisation options?

Yes, we are providing personalisation/customisation on our platform and we can safely say that our speciality lies in our personalized approach towards our products. It starts when we curate vendors before putting their products up on our website. The first step before displaying the product on our website is personalised photoshoots along with seller’s story and the product’s journey. It is a healthy change for the customer to see a product so craftily shot which looks very presentable and unique. We have a small photo shoot room in our office where we put our ideas in action and make the products stand out to its definition of curated. This helps in customer engagement and recall value for the product from their very own shop of good things.

How do you compete in this day and age of 1 day delivery and 30-day returns?

We do not believe in the ideology of mass selling and thus it is important for us that the customers get the best that we can provide them. Our sellers do not make products in advance but choose to make fresh ones as soon as they get an order. Our customers know this and that is the reason they choose to buy products from our platform, as it is important to choose quality over quantity. Therefore, it is not a matter of competition for us but we look forward to provide the best possible experience to our customers. 

What are your expansion plans?

As we can see people shifting from mass-produced products to non-massed sustainable products, we see our growth graph going higher. With the wide range of products that we have to offer (10,000+ and counting), we are observing a huge traction on site. With this, we plan to enter into we plan to expand our categories and would like to enter in region and personalised products. For example, products like travel accessories, personalized stationery, keto products and vegan products.

Message for budding entrepreneurs ?

Challenges faced by budding entrepreneurs are a lot, especially in a society like ours, where the stigma attached to failure is very high. Many budding entrepreneurs lose heart at the very beginning of this incredible journey due to this reason. Another problem that I feel is when you start out young and fresh many people do not take you seriously, whether your family and friends or more importantly investors and financial institutions.

There are a few tips that I know will help budding entrepreneurs:

●Be positive and maintain a positive attitude

●Learn from the challenges that you face

●Make sure you are open to feedback/criticism by your family and friends

●And lastly, don’t be afraid to take risks

To be a successful entrepreneur, one must keep in mind that you might face failure initially, but you should never lose out on your passion and hard work as that is the only thing which will help you in converting your dream of running a successful business into reality.

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