PriceBaba the location based search engine, helping the real world shoppers locate mobile prices in their vicinity, recently demoed at the 500 startups 6th batch demo day which took place at Microsoft Campus, Mountain View, California.
PriceBaba was started by Annkur Agarwal and Tirthesh Ganatra.
Annkur has been a retailer himself with over 10 years of experience and Tirthesh is a full stack hacker building web products for the past 5 years.
We had an opportunity to talk to Annkur, Founder at PriceBaba and know more the product and their experience.
Now when e-commerce is one of the most interesting things happening, your startup helps people discover stuff to buy offline better. Why would you want to do this?
Because we care. We care for the large problem that shopping in India is. A fraction of commerce is online and even 5 years from now, it would be a small fraction of total retail. E-commerce is great, I started online retail way back in 2002, I love to see any growth in online retail. But at the
same time the fact is that e-commerce is a ‘new’ thing and it is growing fast, that makes it a good business prospect and business opportunities are plenty. However, if we look at vast majority of consumers In India, they want to shop offline, this sector hasn’t seen enough innovation. We are tackling a tough problem.
Currently, Pricebaba deals with Mobile Phones only. As per your future plans – which one is more priority: Adding more categories or capturing more cities with mobiles?
Our priority is to give a great experience to our users. That said, we will enhance our offerings for mobile phones in existing cities and add new cities.
Why 500 Startups? How do you think this Accelerator Program will benefit you?
They are awesome. We are in the final leg of 500 Startups and it has immensely helped us. We have spent the last 4 months with amazing founders from across the globe, learnt from them, got feedback on Pricebaba (and implemented changes too) from the best minds in Silicon Valley and grown ourselves as individuals.
I think the true value would show in the long run, the challenge is for us to perform. But the valley experience has left us enriched and with a much more broader perspective of what we are doing.
What are the important lessons learnt in PriceBaba’s journey so far?
Several, here are a few:
Hire fast, Fire Faster – We made this mistake early on. Bad apples are meant to go. Unfortunately as much as I want to be with people and develop them, business won’t survive if we do not take fast decisions and end bad engagements early.
Develop slowly – We thought of solutions that we would need sometime in the future and built them early. There are things that are built a year back and are only being deployed now. We could have used that development time for other things.
Fund raising is a full time job – It is not an additional task, it is one of the primary tasks for the founders. We learnt that the hard way.
Your startup has managed to raise undisclosed amount of Angel funding. In that regard, could you give suggestions to startups aspiring to get angel investment?
Fundraising is tough. Our first round was from investors who knew us for several years. That way, goodwill helped. 500 Startups happened on the basis of good product, founder’s background and traction.
In India a lot of times traction is equated with revenues. However if you are running a business like ours that makes money after a certain scale, that can be tough.
Tell us about the Kaju Katli Campaign you’ve been running. We believe it is a very smart marketing strategy. How has this helped Pricebaba spread the word?
Actually it started as something few of our friends / team members were really excited about. We took it as a project and did it. We got some exposure due to it, but largely we did it because Individuals in our company care about it. We are only a reflection of our people
What is the business model for Pricebaba?
Add lots of value to consumers and retailers. Charge for the value when the time is right
Annkur – you run Pricebaba, OnlyGizmos and still have time left to lead HeadStart’s Startup Saturday in 12 cities. Uncover your time management secrets for us!
It is tough. Please stop me from doing this. My health has never been as bad and my doctors have told me I am doing permanent damage to myself now. So I have started to relax. A colleague Rahul runs OnlyGizmos and HeadStart has an awesome leadership team building up, so I get some time off.
Overtime I have become a strong believer that one needs to do one work at a time. As Tom Peters says ‘It is hard to run one company at a time and succeed, forget more than one’.
But some general tips:
I schedule all meeting / calls post 4PM so that I can spend the first half of the day with my team, look at key issues / operations.
I love all the non-profits I associate with. Be it HeadStart, Nishchay or Barcamps. I generally give time to these late nights.
I meet friends post dinner over coffee or movie.
Please tell us the story behind the Startup, details about the founders.
Me and Tirthesh met on a train journey from Bangalore to Mumbai (yeah! You see the bro-mance) and rest is history. Seriously. We co-founded PriceBaba and have learnt a lot from each other. We are still learning and growing fast. Filling in the large shoes that our roles at PriceBaba require.
Some amazing angels are backing us. We couldn’t have asked for better coaches in life.
The idea for PriceBaba came from a personal problem, way too many people ask me to recommend a mobile phone and help them buy one. I help them with PriceBaba.