Shiprocket: How India’s No. 20 Unicorn Has Changed Its Business Model Several Times
Saahil Goel, co-founder and CEO of Shiprocket, said there were a few times during this journey where they had to stop what they were doing and start from scratch while trying to take all stakeholders, including investors. “We all come from middle-class business families, where they don’t care if someone puts money in the capital. It might be a wallet for them. But for us, we have to return their money. It was not an option for us not to return it. We went through many hubs And we did a lot of trying to try to take all the stakeholders with us,” he said while addressing the gathering at Indian Internet Day, organized by TiE Delhi-NCR from 1 to 2 September.
Explaining the interviewer, Joel said that their motto from the start was to give small businesses a toolkit to sell directly to customers through e-commerce. We initially tried to build a shopping cart, and it was called a Cartrocket. This is inspired by Shopify’s strategy. But within a few years, we realized it wasn’t working. Subscription bills with Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in India were not sustainable.” Besides, implementing distribution, qualification and ‘do-it-yourself’ (DIY) systems for SMEs was challenging, he recalls.
Then Joel and the team thought about taking the Cartrocket to mobile. This led to the launch of the Kraftly mobile marketplace. They then renamed Kartrocket as Shiprocket when the entity began taking the website building experience for small and medium businesses to mobile. “Here, the crafts are made easier for SMBs as we take inspiration from Olx and Facebook for listings,” he said.
As the app grew, the team quickly realized that people didn’t really need a fancy website to build a shopping cart and that the only missing piece in this system was shipping. “What SMEs need is a way to be able to ship; goods had to be moved and they had to collect cash on delivery. And that was where things fell apart because the infrastructure wasn’t built for them. It was built for Amazon. It took us Six years until we realize the exact problem. We ran out of money a few times during that time.”
But this may be a thing of the past. The Zomato-backed logistics company raised nearly $32 million from investors to reach a valuation of $1.3 billion in August.