Info-tech

Casting the net Wydr to attract wholesalers, retailers

Amrita Nair Ghaswalla Mumbai | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on September 14, 2016

Wydr’s core (standing from left) Devesh Rai G, CEO; Hitha Uchil, VP-Marketing; Varun Kumar, VP - Product; and Rishabh Dhyani, VP - Business Development. (Sitting from left) Obaid Ahmad, Director - Engineering; and Anurag Bajpai, VP - Operations

Wholesale marketplace looks to plug the gaps in bulk-buying, selling business

The aim was to cast the net wider and address the major pain points prevalent in the fragmented B2B (business to business) sector. For Devesh Rai, Founder and CEO at Wydr, a wholesale marketplace, venturing out from a cushy corporate job to tackle the malaise in the industry was a no-brainer.

The idea to bring brands, wholesalers, importers and retailers on a single platform and aggregate the unorganised and fragmented wholesale market was born when Rai realised the many fissures plaguing the B2B market. Though he continued in the corporate world for several years, the entrepreneurial streak refused to die down.

“I was not getting any younger,” says the 40-year-old Rai, who had spent most of his career in advertising, then marketing and brand management, then in an IT services company. It was while dealing with several brands and wholesalers during his past stints that he identified several gaps in the business of bulk buying and selling.

The idea also hit home when he was with ShopClues, an online shopping marketplace. “ I was the founding-member, and Vice- President for Business Development at ShopClues. I had been working for 12 years prior to that and decided it was high time I chased my dream,” he said.

Entrepreneurship was a childhood dream for this economics graduate from Delhi University and MBA from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Calcutta. “Entrepreneurship is about first believing in something and making things happen. It was a tough decision, since I was giving up a good career and a good corporate salary,” says Devesh, adding the resolve brought along its own set of problems.

“From extreme ecstasy to extreme despair, being an entrepreneur comes with a lot of challenges. Though I was working on some ideas of my own, when I met up with some of my friends from the US, I realised their thoughts on the market place were similar to mine,” said Devesh, speaking about Wydr's five co-founders. Initially, all worked out of their homes. “In February 2012, Series A funding with Nexus came through. By that time, ShopClues had become quite big. It was a ship that could run on its own,” says Devesh, adding, “I knew that there existed an opportunity in e-commerce and I decided it was time to get manufacturers and sellers on one platform. The idea came from the gut,” he says, speaking of his decision to leave ShopClues.

Arguing that a B2C (business to consumer) platform would not serve the purpose, Devesh insists it is a timing perspective. “Timing is the most critical aspect in a start-up, not when the market is ready for you. It is a judgement call that you take by being in the market yourself. I saw the mindset shift in the seller community. Buyers, government and infrastructure support — all the things had fallen into place,” he said.

Tackling broken distribution chains, payment safety issues and logistics, Wydr promises increased sourcing options and addresses three fundamental needs: speed of business, trust and transparency. The start-up is targeting the $300-billion wholesale market in the country, with several wholesalers and more than 14 million retailers in play.

“We have an extremely fragmented and broken distribution chain here. It is not seamless like in the West. It won't change here. As a market, it is 30 markets rolled into one, for each State has different demands and needs,” he adds.

Boost for handloom

Proliferating wider in the B2B e-commerce segment, last month Wydr associated with the National Handloom Development Corporation, mandated by the Textile ministry. The association is aimed at enabling Indian artisans’ connect with retailers and distributors across the country.

“A lot of handloom guys want to sell in bulk. We have a wider reach across retailers and across the country. This takes away the need of a middle man or an agent who would take away the margin. As of now, we have four sellers and four weavers on board, and 25-30 people in the pipeline. We hope to have 150 weavers by the end of 2016 on the platform,” added Devesh. The Wydr team has since connected with another State Ministry for their handicrafts.

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Published on September 14, 2016
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