PriceBaba, a popular location based product research engine was the first to introduce RoPo (Research Online Purchase Offline) concept in India. Currently available in 13 cities including the metros, PriceBaba has more than 2000 verified stores in its network. What differentiates it from rest of the product research engines is the availability of prices from local retailers in the user’s vicinity. So, the user can make a better decision whether to purchase the product from a popular e-commerce store or from an offline store nearby.
We recently got an opportunity to interact with Annkur Agarwal, co-founder of PriceBaba.com. He shares his entrepreneurial journey with PriceBaba in the following interview.
How did you come up with this idea?
Being a tech enthusiast and a retailer since my college days, I often found myself being approached by friends, family and distant friends to help them with their buying decisions. Pricebaba started to help them shop more powerfully.
Why the name “PriceBaba” ?
The name Pricebaba.com appeals to the unique Indian consumer. ‘Price’ appeals to our savings / budget driven culture, whereas ‘Baba’ inspires an elderly trust.
Who are the founders and key team members ?
Along with me, Tirthesh Ganatra is the Co-founder of the company.
Rohan Naravane heads the Content department.
Keyur Shah leads the marketing efforts.
Nishit Shah is our Head- Ops and Business Dev.
Maria Martin handles our Operations team.
How time consuming or difficult was it to get started?
We faced a lot of difficulties getting started, but the most difficult part of building PriceBaba has been to educate local retailers across India, making them understand that Internet can be put to good use and can help them with their business too. Sadly, the scenario was such that most local retailers saw internet as an enemy rather than a friend.
The solution to this problem was our extensively trained on-field executives who on-board stores to understand what a local shopkeeper goes through, enabling them to empathize with our retail partners. We being ex-retailers ourselves, are able to talk to shop owners with deep understanding of their business and help them use internet for their betterment.
How many hours a week do you spend on work? What about family/hobbies?
I generally work 6 days a week and anywhere ranging from 7 to 14 hours at work.
Hobbies includes a bit of running, reading and going out to explore the nature. Though I would admit that I don’t often get as much time to explore travels. I do try and catch up with a lot of friends and family whenever I get time, but I think they will vote me as guilty of being very busy at times 🙁
Would you like to share some stats about PriceBaba.com?
Sure. We started with 1 Mn pageviews and we are now proud to tell you that Pricebaba has crossed the mark of 5 Mn and has 5.3 Million sessions with 14 Mn+ pageviews.
Who are your potential competitors and what distinguishes PriceBaba from them?
Our potential competitors are JustDial and any other price comparison site that comes up in India. We are distinguished primarily by virtue of our hold on the offline market. We have already sent business inquiries of over INR 500cr to local retailers and we have tremendous trust built with them.
What are your future plans ?
We have a lot in store for the upcoming years. Apart from being the best decision making tool for our consumers, we intend to serve beyond our current breadth of offerings by expanding through laptops, TV’s etc.
You will also witness interesting value propositions that revolve around the consumer technology space from using the next few years.
How has been your journey so far as an entrepreneur?
I recently came across a quote which said ups and downs on an ECG graph means you’re alive! If that was smooth, we’d been dead by now. So that is how the journey has been so far. 🙂
Recently, you made a special appearance on TVF PITCHERS. How did that happen?
Well, the TVF gang came to me for funding advice. They liked my advice and eventually asked me to repeat the advice on Episode 3 of Pitchers 😉
Your views on MyVenture.in ?
I think your team is doing a good job by giving the emerging startups a platform to be seen, along with it the tips and how-tos are a great read.
What is your advice to young entrepreneurs starting today?
Starting up is very sexy now given the environment. Mobile phone market is booming (thanks to the low starting price) and thus smartphone based businesses are booming too. So be very careful, because competition is tougher than ever.