of the week!!
It’s exactly a year ago, that I came across this post. I had not attended any such meetups for almost a span of 2 years before that. I have built a small world around me and was not able to come out of my comfort zone.
Just to give a small backdrop, I started my stint of entrepreneurship in 2010 providing bulk merchandise to colleges and corporate events via eSparSha. You can call us as Myntra 1.0. We bootstrapped from zero revenues to generating revenues of INR 2 Cr annually. But scaling from there had become really tough. With lot of companies in the similar domain mushrooming, there was a huge competition. As many predicted, we had issues about scaling, managing operations become tough, profits became wafer thin. It became a little difficult to operate and moreover we found the job not challenging due to lack of IP. We started developing typical businessmen mentality. We stopped trying to find science behind everything. We were continuously in the race of running behind revenues/ profits but really forgot to introspect if we are really solving any problem? Does our existence even matter to someone?
That’s it. We took a break for almost a week and kept brainstorming, keeping the perspective of our existing customer problems. That’s how we came up with a simple idea of My Dream Store. We had not discussed this idea anywhere in public forum before. I had read in TRHS somewhere that if you’ve got an idea discuss with people. The worst you can hear is – it is really a bad idea and know possible reasons behind its failure (Indeed it is a good thing if you take positively). With the above statement in mind, I decided to attend TheRodinhoods ChaiMeet here in Hyderabad, exactly a year ago on 1st February 2014. I was staying in Hyderabad since 2010, but have not heard of this place Lamakaan, a place where most of the entrepreneurs hang out (you can understand how introvert I’ve become).
I was figuring out reasons in my mind – Why I should I not go to the meet? (Honestly – Yes. It happens with many). After an intense battle within I succeeded in attending the event. I was almost 15 minutes late, by the time I reached there were a group of 10-12 people already started with their introductions. Most of them were in their mid 20s. Meanwhile I started preparing how to make an attractive pitch (you find it in movies how a hero prepares before proposing his girl). After a very brief span of time I got my turn & I failed. I blabbered few things which hardly people in the room were able to understand. I tried explaining it again, but failed. I gave up & somewhere in the crowd someone said – Ohh… you manufacture T-Shirts. Hesitatingly I said YES (It was not exactly what we do). I was cursing myself and I said – I missed a wonderful opportunity & felt how bad I was at pitching (I’ve generated sales of around INR 4 Crores all alone myself in the last 3 years, I didn’t expect this from me.)
It took me almost couple of days to come in peace with the fact (Entrepreneurs take it too personal when they fail at something, however minute it is). This meet taught me a few valuable lessons which I’ve been following for the last one year.
- Meet People. Meet Very Often.
- Prepare before every meeting.
- It is okay to fail at times, don’t be too harsh on yourself.
After that meet, we’ve worked on the complete concept, tried to perfect our pitch and started approaching Investors, probable mentors. Here is my experience regarding fundraise
- Attended 37 events after the Rodinhood Chaimeet
- Pitched to 3 groups of Investors face to face. Got through the screening exercise of all the groups.
- Pitched on every occasion which I’ve got (I can pitch even if you wake me up in the middle of a deep sleep)
- Was on Due Diligence Process from two top Angel groups of India
Ultimately we’ve closed our investment of 300k USD in the month of January 2015 from an investor based out of Hyderabad. I can write a complete blog article on how this investment happened. We’ve found lot of synergies in our vision & the investor’s vision and decided to move forward. (Terms initially were drafted on a Financial Express News Paper which was on the Investor Desk on the day of the meeting.)
Best thing we’ve done was having a mentor on board. We’ve got Puru Modani (Mumbai Angels) as a mentor/ advisor, who has spent more than 100+ hours with us. He has listened patiently to us, perfected the pitch, helped us in reaching right people and instilled lot of confidence in us. Have a right mentor.
I would really want to thank Alok for the notes on fundraising/ negotiations, Asha for pushing us when chips were down & Abhishek Sistla/ Manoj Surya for conducting Chai Meet @ Hyderabad.
Here is what we do:-
My Dream Store – We allow people to create and sell custom merchandise without any upfront costs & any hassles. We term each such instance as a campaign and the individual who creates the campaign as the campaigner. Campaign creators are expected to design and market the product themselves. Buyers pre-order their tees online on the campaign page. In exchange, we fulfill the orders on the campaigns that have reached their sales goal, and will ship the products to the buyers.
This can be a designer/artist, school/college groups, online communities, NGOs, music bands.
Through My Dream Store, anyone can start selling merchandise without worrying about upfront costs, production, logistics or managing inventory and get paid immediately. Our vision is to make selling easy.