Two Leading Ventures in eCommerce, Consumer Internet and Digital Media Space- Ambab & Pretr
Ambab, founded in April, is a leading Internet and mobility engineering company headquartered at Mumbai. Ambab also launched ‘Pretr’, a B2C discovery app that helps consumers to identify and search products in stores around them.
Bhavik, founder of Ambab & Pretr, is a serial technoprenure and an emerging market observer. Bhavik has successfully founded and built some of the leading ventures in eCommerce, consumer internet and digital media space across India and global Markets. Bhavik is committed to build start up ecosystem in the country. As a business builder, he comes with a decade long experience of building profitable businesses.
In a candid interaction with Bwdisrupt team, he talked about his ventures- Ambab & Pretr
Ambab, founded in April 2008, is a leading Internet and mobility engineering company headquartered at Mumbai. Ambab also launched ‘Pretr’ in February 2015, a B2C discovery app that helps consumers to identify and search products in stores around them. It also enables consumer to reserve a particular product in the nearest brand store, or buy it online and get it delivered at their doorstep in a few hours. ‘Pretr’ also has an in-store assistance app which extends an infinite aisle, features an order allocation engine, analytics and some of the smartest tools to enable sales.
How did the entrepreneurial bug bite you?
I am a Gujarati Jain and Entrepreneurship comes inherited. I have been entrepreneur right from my school days-selling handmade painting for my pocket money to selling Diwali crackers during Diwali holidays. Self-Sustaining my personal needs is what has driven me to formal Entrepreneurship. My company’s name is Ambab InfoTech but I registered ambab.com back in my school days much before when I formally launched it in 2007. The bug to startup bit me as soon as I joined my 1st job. I was part of founding team though without stacks but I never felt as job. One year in the job and boom! - I had my 1st venture launched Ambab, Deals and You in 2009, Craftsvilla in 2011, relaunched Ambab in 2012 and almost exited DnY and Craftsvilla. Ambab and Pretr are my current active Ventures.
Products or Services
Ambab: Product Engineering and Incubation.
We have engineered close to 100+ products in last 3 years. We work closely with Startups and Enterprise to build their Consumer Internet presence from scratch. We act as their Tech Co-founders.
Pretr: It is Indian Omni channel Marketplace, it makes offline (in store) shopping more convenient. Pretr aggregates and integrates with top brands and malls in city to provide a seamless consumer experience across all shopping channels. Consumers can shop online and pickup at stores. Ask for same day delivery and if you don’t like the product you can even return at nearest store. Pretr is 1st of its kind globally and the journey has just begun. We have close to 100 brands under integrations and our endeavour is to make shopping, online and in store, seamless.
How does your startups work?
We have grown radically in last 3 years from a 2-member team in 2012 to 220 people today. I think our approach to make it work has varied at every stage and sometimes we bypassed stages even in matter of weeks. I think the core to our success is Trust. We believe in people, we believe in what we do and we believe to always to be true to our deliverables. Once you build an organization, which is reliable your 90% of the efforts in creating Hierarchies, Processes, and Policies are saved. And this is what we do. We invest our energies in doing than managing. We function in horizontal fashion and everyone is his/hers own boss.
I think the topmost challenge that your startup face is integrations. When s startup grows, need for skilled people increases at every step. The team member that was very relevant and probably the best performing yesterday is not relevant for today’s challenge. The biggest challenge is to keep this New vs Old integrated. Old is your foundation, New is your Direction. Most of the startups fail if they don’t carry their strengths, their people with them at every stage. I think we have managed it well. While we welcome new beginning we don’t devalue with our old learning. It has to go hand in hand.
We don’t think we have some direct competition and this might sound a little diplomatic but believe me even if there is we don’t know. We focus on differentiating than competition. Day in day out, we compete with our yesterdays to improve every day. If you ask me we focus on Keeping Up with our Customers, Not our Competitors!
For Ambab If I really have to put some names. It would be everyone who provides technical services, development services, cloud architecting and migrations services. And for Pretr, we are the only Omni channel Marketplace out there and too young to compete.
Ambab: We are Product’s approach to engineering while almost everyone out is Project’s approach to engineering. We are not the typical service business. We follow SaaP (Service as a Product) business model. We coined SaaP much earlier and now we see Ubers of the world productizing Service experiences.
Pretr: A typical eCommerce business model is an inventor heavy business. They are creating multichannel experiences and have divided the Retail in to 2 forms online vs. Offline.
There are inherited inefficiencies in the way Marketplaces work today. Pretr solves this problem by unifying both the worlds and make shopping a seamless experience for both consumers and retailers, far more efficiently than ever before.
Clients & Expansion Plans
Ambab: Some of the key accounts that we work with includes Askme.com, Indianroots.com, Nykaa.com, Indiacircus.com, Shoppers Stop, Prettysecrets.com, Croma, Mahindra First Choice, Anita Dongre, Major Brands and Metro Shoes to name a few. We are growing 100% and we believe the key to success is good work. This year we plan to expand in more verticals within tech and explore more geography (MEA, SEA).
Pretr: It’s a Consumer marketplace. Every online and in store shopper is our client. Complete Organized retail serving in lifestyle categories sells through Pretr. I think our growth strategy is simple- ‘build habit forming utility’ and not a discounting app. We don’t use Google or OLA for discount they offer but the value they add. Never ever compete on prices, instead compete on services and innovation
Funding and Monetization
Ambab is a self-Funded. It raises $2 million for a profitable revenue growth of $100 million in next 3 years.
Pretr also Self-Funded. It raises $15 million for profitable GMV growth of $1 billion in next 3 years.
The best and worst memories while setting up …
Worst memory was back in 2007 when we were starting up. Most of my team had migrated from Hyderabad just to work with me. And we had an investor commitment who backed out on 1st Pay day. I had to take some personal loans to pay the salaries.
But since then, a big lesson learnt is - build business with need for capital to grow and profits to sustain. If you need capital to sustain either it’s an unviable business or a R&D.
A weak product would need strong Marketing but a strong product needs no marketing. Saying that yes we will use a mix of digital and physical media to create product awareness. But eventually more Referral, Partners, Brands and Malls will generate organic consumer acquisitions for us.
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