Diaspora: Now, Gujarat startups find customers in internal migrants

Virendra Pandit Ahmedabad | Updated on January 13, 2018 Published on February 16, 2017

Millions have internally migrated in the post-1991 India to take benefits of economic liberalisation and globalisation—but in their newly-adopted town they hardly get what they ate back home. They do not want to pay to-and-fro taxi fare when they hire a cab only for a one way journey. And they often look for a one-stop-online-shop if they need to buy a mobile phone.

Three different needs of the same set of people, who aspire for a global fare with a hyper-local touch. So, three different startups with initial targets of hyper-local needs and ambitions to expand all across the cyber world.

Welcome, at long last, to the entry of Gujarat-based entrepreneurs into the world of startups in a State that has traditionally been known to have ‘business acumen’ basically in trading, speculating and, occasionally, manufacturing. As consolidation takes place in this space, these startups, mainly focusing on internal migrants, may yet grow out of their baby steps.

When Vishwa Vijay Singh, after spending 15 years in the corporate world (Airtel, Nerolac, etc), decided to co-found Salebhai.Com in 2015 in Ahmedabad, he had his targets clear: to set up an e-commerce marketplace that enables people to order a range of specialities, like sweets and foodstuff, directly from their hometowns and discover regional cuisines from across India. “We have tied up with many local suppliers in those states. We are targeting to triple our customers base to one lakh this year. Currently, we get around 8,000 orders a month,” he told BusinessLine.

Driven by the back-to-roots philosophy, Singh primarily aims at tapping Diasporas within India through this platform and also paved way for the Indian populace to discover unique items, representative of a culture, available across the country.

This, he said, is a breakout trend in traditionally business-friendly Gujarat where e-commerce has emerged as an intellect-based business dynamics as in Information Technology. Increasingly, Gujarat-based younger generation is shifting from their conventional career-choices and taking up modern entrepreneurship instead of just inheriting family-owned businesses.

Looking for growth and fresh avenues, Vivek Kejriwal left his Bihar-based traditional family-owned business and worked his way up in HCL-USA and others in the corporate world, before co-founding the Baroda Cabs Pvt Ltd’s OneWay.Cab in January 2015. With the promise of “Return Fare, Not Fair”, he has emerged as a hyper-local cab integrator for predominantly inter-city radio taxi service wherein the customer is not charged return fare if he undertakes only a one-way journey.

He has already gathered corporate clientele including GE, Radio Mirchi, L&T and Bajaj Allianz. “We are currently present in Gujarat and Maharashtra but we plan to expand to Madhya Pradesh, Bengal and Rajasthan in the coming months.”

Shrutam Desai also worked his way up in consumer electronics (Sony, Ericsson, Microsoft, Nokia), before he co-founded in Surat in early 2016 to offer online and offline omni-channel outlets selling pocket gadgets like mobile phones, wearables, tablets and accessories. “Interestingly, some of our first orders came from places like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. We now work with various shipping partners and have warehouses in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu., besides having a reach to 98 brick-and-mortar outlets.”

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Published on February 16, 2017
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