Jabong Co-founder Praveen Sinha narrates his entrepreneurial journey
Praveen Sinha, founder and MD of Pincap Capital and Jabong.com, has one of the most interesting startup stories in India’s startup history. The story follows his journey to the top, capturing the inspirations, struggles and triumphs he had along the way.
Starting from the Ground Up
His entrepreneurial journey began when he was still working at Maruti Suzuki in 2005. He was working on a prototype to manage water in overhead tanks. It was a time when there were no venture capital firms or seed funding and raising funds was difficult. So, Praveen sold his personal car to finance the project. Although his colleagues were really excited about the product, the market at the time was not open to trying a new brand. Back then, his product received a weak response. Praveen decided to offer the end user attractive payment schemes in order to make the proposition more appealing. Also, he realized that one product variant would not work for every consumer because houses are set up differently, so he went back to the drawing board to come up with a larger product shelf and different variations. This project later became Aquabrim Pvt. Ltd and today serves various residential and institutional clients, including the Indian Railways.
An experiment in fashion
In response to a question about why he chose fashion as a start-up idea, Praveen stated that the rationale was always clear to him. When the Indian startup culture started gaining traction, I knew that we would see a large inflow of money from multinational corporations looking to grab a piece of the action. In contrast to sectors like the smartphone industry, where only a few brands dominate, fashion has hundreds of brands, and this was an ideal scenario for an e-commerce business. Upon launching our first TVC, we experienced such a surge of orders that we were overwhelmed. Our marketing was going out of control, so we had to put our operations in order. But we decided to continue the aggressive marketing push and continued to build the operations simultaneously without compromising on quality. Our success made us a case study for many e-commerce startups around the world. This could be achieved because we were not only process-driven, but also motivated by the motive of becoming the leaders in the space.”, said Praveen Sinha Jabong, Co-founder.
Thoughts on Entrepreneurship by Praveen Sinha
Early in my life, I realized I would enjoy running my own business. Whenever someone says something can bring lot of value, but it is almost impossible to execute, I will take it on if it convinces me. Creating solutions for human challenges has always been my passion and I know it will continue to drive me throughout my life. Entrepreneurship offers me a great deal of freedom. Your thoughts and feelings do not require anyone’s endorsement. In closing, he stated that “you can decide what is most important, at your own discretion”.
Also read: Jabong Co-Founder Praveen Sinha on Startup Investment.
Why do Indian start-ups lack unique ideas?
Praveen believes Indian entrepreneurs play it safe by forking already successful ideas because overseas investors are more likely to invest in businesses they understand. I’m sure an Indian entrepreneur can build a pothole-resistant car, but will it be in demand in a developed market such as the United States, where roads do not have potholes? Developed nations have matured to a point where they are innovating far beyond our reach. The entrepreneurial ecosystem is still nascent and will mature once a significant portion of the service sector moves towards entrepreneurship.
Growth versus profitability: A discussion
Growth versus profitability is as simple as it gets for me. If an enterprise generates profits, it is valuable. Another important factor is generating profits while managing to grow. “The rest is pure fantasy or is based on implementing marketing and branding strategies,” says Praveen Sinha Pincap MD.
How do you build a great startup?
Praveen says, “A great startup is built by the people working there and wanting to build something they would be proud of”. It has always been a pleasure working with people that are passionate about overcoming challenges. He says the key to a successful start-up is the team, and no amount of money can help create a successful enterprise without the right leadership team.
Also read: How the Factoring Regulation Amendment Bill will revolutionize MSMEs – Explains Praveen Sinha.