Founded by IIT and IIM alumni, Badhai.in is India’s first multi-brand eVoucher gifting service. Chirag Gupta, B.Tech from IIT Kanpur, presently VP at Badhai.in can never stop talking about the belief he has in this offering. “There’s never a planB in the entrepreneur’s mind”, he emphasises. “He begins with the idea – his baby, and is willing to risk it all to achieve what he believes is the idea’s potential. Even an iota of doubt will only prevent the entrepreneur from giving his 100%”, says Chirag. “Badhai.in is here to offer the freedom of choice & convenience when it comes to gifting to your near and dear ones.”
Cut through the chase, this is how Badhai.in works:
Now, this is what a consumer needs to know! But as a business student, think deeper!!!!
The Business model
Badhai.in has partnered with several prominent brands like Big Bazaar, Pantaloons, Flipkart, Inkfruit, Yebhi.com, Hushbabies.com and many more pan-India, giving the consumer a plethora of options to choose from. The recipient can shop for the amount in full or in parts with no additional / hidden charges!! So where does Badhai earn its revenue from? That’s where the crux of the business model lies. The partner brands that are associated with Badhai must pay a commission for every purchase made from their store through the Badhai voucher. After all, they won that particular customer because of Badhai!
“Every entrepreneur has to present a ‘proof of concept’ to convince investors to loosen their purse strings”, says Chirag. Further, he explains that every investor would want to know why he should invest in your idea, the level of success that can be possibly achieved and how long it will take before the business begins to churn out profits. To substantiate one’s idea with credible data points, it becomes imperative to roll out the business on a pilot scale and see how consumers respond to your offering and the scope of the business.
So, where does the funding for the pilot project come from? “Your own pocket!!” exclaims Chirag. For the first five to six months, the business runs on your own savings and from what your friends and relatives have been kind enough to contribute. Chirag says that the first thing an entrepreneur must get accustomed to is living in the absence of a steady source of income.
In the US and other western countries, crowd funding allows several individuals, not necessarily hard-core investors, to come together and collectively fund an idea that appeals to them. Chirag shares that crowd funding is a relatively new concept and is yet to gain ground in India. Also, people in the US don’t mind investing in an idea without proof of concept if they think that the idea is really great. Basically, it’s easier to get seed money in the West compared to India.
The first mover advantage that Badhai.in enjoys in individual and group gifting places it a notch above the rest, namely Sodexo which is a competitor in the corporate gifting realm. Moreso, Sodexo is a paper voucher player. Nowadays, brands/affiliates are shying away from accepting paper vouchers because of the hassles of duplication and the inherent inconvenience associated with it. As an outcome of this, they are willing to experiment with online vouchers. So, the setback for Sodexo is slowly proving to be a blessing in disguise for Badhai. “The Badhai team is also constantly innovating to find ways to ease and improve the entire gifting experience”, says Chirag. As of now, the recipient must first select the brands online from where he/she would like to shop, and then visit the store in person. Badhai intends to achieve a complete and deep technical integration with its partner brands where one can choose stuff while in a retail outlet, just send a message across to Badhai and shop on the go! They are already developing a mobile application that lets the user select the product first. Badhai has also enabled group gifting through a Facebook App.
Reaching the masses
Social media is a saviour of sorts to start-ups like Badhai.in that have the fire but not enough fuel to go big with advertising. However, with the $200,000 funding coming in, Badhai.in has some ambitious plans. Badhai.in will now focus on implementing non-conventional marketing and branding strategies along with strengthening its technical infrastructure. “Badhai aims to be an ‘instant’ choosing and gifting option for people across the country and a complete gifting solution partner for corporate”, says Chirag as he adds, “And like every other entrepreneurial venture, we want to be a billion dollar company!!”.
Badhai.in however, may want to consider that segment of people who consider gifting to be a very pompous and extravagant affair. Also, a few may not want to save the time they spend in thinking of and looking for a gift. For them, ‘that time’ is a sign of their love and commitment to their dear one. However, with the passage of time and the increase in levels of work and stress, this small and already endangered segment of people might soon become extinct, opening up an entirely new market for Badhai.in!!
A piece of advice
In conclusion, Chirag wishes to advise all aspiring entrepreneurs, “Entrepreneurship is a very challenging yet risky thing. It is a path which once taken, changes life completely. Anyone who wants to start something must think about the opportunity cost for doing so and must keep his family commitments and other responsibilities in mind. It should never be a blind jump as this decision not only affects a single person but all the people around him.”
Interview and compilation by:
Sharon Mary John
Batch of 2011-13