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NIT, IIM Alumnus & Founder of ProcMart is an Entrepreneurial Inspiration
ProcMart is a quotation based B2B Marketplace with a unique corporate centric sourcing approach has raised its second round of Funding from IndiaMART, a pioneer and a market leader in the Indian B2B e-commerce space. In an environment where B2B E-commerce start-ups are seeing a lot of traction from the investment fraternity, ProcMart has seen a phenomenal traction so far.
A leader in the B2B sector, ProcMart’s products are currently being used in various sectors like electronics; auto & transport; telecom; apparel, textiles and accessories; machinery, industrial parts & tools; food & beverage; business services; health & beauty, sports & toys etc.
And they are working closely with customers of the likes of LG, Religare, Harman International and Coca-Cola and so on to fulfill their requirements.
And all of this was possible because of the visionary behind this venture and the Founder & CEO, Anish Popli, and his elite team comprising of Pratik Potnis, who is the Co-Founder & CTO of ProcMart & Saheel, Co-Founder & CFO of ProcMart. Together, they have worked wonders for the company and in just a span of just 6 months, ProcMart has generated close to 8000+ RFQ’s with 20000+Quotations on their web platform.
An NIT Trichy graduate, and an IIM Lucknow alumnus, Anish has an impressive resume with experience in BHEL and Energo Engineering before starting up this venture. CollegeDekho caught up with this dynamic leader, who shared his journey from conceptualizing the business to fund-raising & the importance of teamwork to succeed. He also shared his plans on enhancing existing application by introducing new and unique features and towards market penetration.
How did the idea of ProcMart come into the picture?
When I was associated with BHEL, I played a key role in the procurement department. And to be honest, the procurement process is a very exhausting process, mostly in terms of vendor identification, vendor follow-up and so on. Procurement in most of the companies is also a lot procedural, wherein the procurement manager has to get x number of quotations before making a purchase decision. These are precisely the reasons why we thought of building a marketplace, which was designed to address these issues. Our mission is to bring down the turnaround time per transaction in the B2B space to less than a day while maintaining the complete transparency in the system.
What kind of research has gone into making ProcMart a reality?
Research is a continuous process, you keep on iterating.
Before starting, we went out in the market, found out the current scenario and spoke to a lot of procurement professionals about the difficulties they are facing. ProcMart is a solution to a plethora of problems faced in the process of procurement.
What is the primary business model of ProcMart?
At ProcMart we don’t prefer the term “Business Model”. We came in the market to streamline an old process by making it simple and transparent. The revenue we earn is enough for us to scale and survive. But our utmost priority is client satisfaction.
In terms of products and services offered at ProcMart, what kind of expansions have you done?
We started with Office Supplies, and since then we have developed and started catering to twelve categories. Although we are not limited by those twelve categories, if our buyers want something, we get it for them.
What were the initial challenges you faced running the business?
You can’t go to someone and just ask them to change their ways, no matter how efficient your solution is. Every idea no matter how good faces resistance in the beginning. All you require is those first few clients who trust you and are willing to support you, the road gets smoother along the way.
Tell us about your team.
My early partners were Pratik and Saheel who took on the responsibilities as the CTO and CFO respectively. Both of them hail from a distinguished background, while Pratik was involved with founding Quexa Systems, which was later acquired by a U.S based company named FixStream, while Saheel was a star Consultant in Deloitte.
Now we have grown to almost 30 people. It is always difficult to find the right people you could trust with a responsibility, who would share your vision and are willing to add to it. I always feel fortunate to be surrounded with a team, which works day in day out to make things happen.
NIT, followed by IIM – engineering, followed by management seems to be the flavor of the market right now. Why do you think that is?
For me NIT served as a platform where I gained enormous technical knowledge, on top of it ,I learned the most essential skill - “problem-solving”. How do you break a problem down into clusters and come up with a solution, that’s what engineering, taught me.
During MBA I didn’t get a second free. The pressure is immense and you start to enjoy it. Working under those conditions tempers an individual and makes him ready for higher responsibilities and authorities in the chain of management.
MBA with Engineering develops certain skills in individuals; these skills are highly valuable in the market. With the right motivation those candidates go a long way, but these days everyone is pursuing this education path because they think the market demands it.
Would you say that India has an overload of engineers and the prospects of flourishing in the field is decreasing as compared to the MBA market?
I firmly believe that it is the individual and his/ her ability, which paves the path for them, and no one should be limited by the degrees they have.
With respect to your business, what do you wish you had known, say 5 years ago that would have helped you?
I wish I had known or met people I work with right now, five years ago. With the brain power we have in our arsenal, we can move mountains.
What is the future business plans of ProcMart?
We are already present in a few major cities, planning to expand to every city in India soon.
What are you most excited about at the moment?
Right now the enthusiasm in my team brings me immense joy. They have put their sweat and blood into this; this is a very crucial time for us as a company. We are gaining momentum; this year will be a turning point for all of us.
What do you find most rewarding about running your own business?
The greatest reward is doing what you love. I feel bliss when I think about how we are improving the B2B procurement process, and serving the people.
Tell us about a situation from work that was truly inspiring.
To join and work for a startup at such an early stage is a gamble, a risk shared by every single member. You have to work day and night to build something out of scratch which can take a toll on your professional as well as personal life, but every day when I enter the office and see those determined faces inspire me.
Does studying MBA prepare you for all the bullets that are fired at you while running your own company?
We have a lot of Entrepreneurs who don’t hold any degree and still are managing multi-billion dollar companies. I’d like to shatter that illusion that MBA is the answer to everything, yes, it helps but in the end, it is just a course, which can give you a basic guideline to follow.
Textbook knowledge is different from real world problems; there are endless decisions to be made, each more complex than the other. MBA will inform you that the bullets are coming but how you dodge them is completely up to your capability and understanding.
Your message for future entrepreneurs?
DO- Follow your heart, understand your potential and work on it and persevere.
DON’T- Expect sudden results, which will make you rich overnight.
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