BENGALURU: The start of any journey is always difficult and the major problems that I faced in my start-up journey was building credibility. It’s hard to convince people as to why they should buy our products and invest their money on us, people tend to trust brands that have been in the market for a long period and for new brands or start-ups like ours, there are a lot of questions they have in mind. So it is hard to build that trust with the consumers in the beginning.
The entire team is very new to the working pattern. They all have experiences in their respective field but for a brand which is first of its kind in the country every detail and every step has to be personally monitored which at times becomes a very daunting task. When you have a start-up and come up with an idea which is new a lot of people may understand your vision but to a lot of people, it also sounds absurd. So this becomes another task that has to be done in the process of moving forward.
Since our footwear brand is handcrafted, a lot of time and effort goes behind it. Each pair requires around 8-9 hours of hard work. We wish to expand our production team keeping quality in priority over quantity. While nowadays a lot of brands are coming up with fashionable wedding footwear or party-wear heels for ladies, but when it comes to office footwear their options are very limited. Hardly does an office-going woman easily find the ideal footwear to pair up with formals. And this is exactly where we step in.
-Dipika Agarwal, CEO and Creative head, OPANCHO
In our country, where everyone asks for tangible results from day one, educating the budding entrepreneurs about the long-term benefits of joining an accelerator programme are like turning the North into the South. Unfortunately, the majority is the victim of free advice because of every Tom, Dick, and Harry presented himself as a subject matter expert or consultant. The result is obvious: More than 90 per cent of them have no option, but closure. So, our first challenge was to change people’s perception of accelerator and incubator programmes.
The next big task before us was aligning the company’s vision with the vision of 35 entrepreneurs from different industries and backgrounds. Our strength is that is diversity was also a big challenge at the time of establishing RisersAccelerator, a start-up that promotes promising start-ups. For instance, in the initial days, unanimity in funding decisions was often a complicated matter, as all the 35 entrepreneurs have their unique ideologies and logical understanding to decide which start-up should be prioritised and which should be kept for review. We also faced problems in getting strategic investors in the beginning as sometimes for a start-up strategic investors are more important than financial investors. As strategic investors are the ones which the start-ups in attaining the experience and a network with the other things. Fortunately, we are past that stage now but it was a very crucial and important step.
- Pravin Khandelwal, Director, Risers Accelerator
All over the country, many fintech start-ups are evolving. Although it is a big industry with a good scope of growth and profit, it is tough to survive in such a fast-growing sector. There are various challenges the lending sector faces. Challenges are part of every business, especially in the banking and finance sector, which is very large and full of competition amidst the presence of national as well as international players.
Fortunately, our vision for the financial consulting and solution start-up was very clear from the very first day, and the products that we are offering to the market are in demand. So, we never got trapped in any serious problem due to our efficient management team and customer-friendly technology. Although like every start-up, initially, we faced certain difficulties in hiring the right kind of people for the job. Because as a start-up and that too finance we do not take any issue regarding lack of integrity and skills lightly as it the backbone of the organisation, so faced quite some difficulties around that in the beginning.- Rachit Chawla, founder and CEO, Finway
Coming from a small farming family with marginal land holding in Maharashtra, I always wanted to solve the primary problem that farmers all over India, especially from more rural centres face - to make markets available to them at their doorstep, to increase their income and make life better.The biggest crisis we have encountered so far in this journey was right at the beginning - a drastic change in mindset and pre-conceived notions about the industry (Farmpal is an agri-tech start-up). When we first started we thought that technology can help us organise this space rapidly. That with the use of technology, we can overcome a lot of the challenges that the unorganized Agri industry faces today. We developed sophisticated tech and went to market - farmers and potential customers.
This backfired spectacularly as we realised that the problem is very complex – a fragmented market, with low tech penetration and lack of awareness. Before we enabled the stakeholders to use tech effectively, we had to educate them, create awareness. The farmers did not easily understand us and customers didn’t really believe we could deliver fresh produce daily without them having to go to the market themselves.
We had to bring about a cultural change among farmers about selling their produce, and within customers to buy their vegetable supplies without having to go to the local Mandis. We realised that tech is just an enabler and that we need to work very closely on the ground to make our dream successful.
We quickly changed our ways; aligned our thinking and communication to speak the language of our key stakeholders, the farmers and the customers. We spent time and effort to go to the depth of the problems they face, and improve our understanding of the ground reality.
- Karan Hon, co-founder, Farmpal