OFFBEAT STARTUPS THAT HAVE MADE IT LARGE.
Often we have some fantastic ideas, which can be a eureka moment at the most odd places (read: toilet seat) but we let go off these ideas along the flush and don’t really pay heed to them. However some people put some effort into their fleeting thoughts and now are successful owners of these startups.
Arranging an appointment to get ones car serviced is a time-consuming and expensive affair. To save you from the tedious task, Delhi-based Rakesh Sidana has come up with a one-stop web portal, MeriCAR.com, for car service and repairs in the National Capital Region. It asks you to register on the site, fill in your car details, basic personal information, choose a booking date, a convenient time and the service required. Then you pick a dealer or workshop from the given list which is shown up in the results close to your residential address, the basis of customer reviews and quality checks by the MeriCAR team.
Often engineering students are worried about the additional expenses of their education, a huge chunk of their money is spent on buying textbooks. Understanding that this a problem for students from low socioeconomic groups, Bangalore-based Vishesh Jayawanth decided to do something about it. He came up with RentMyText.in, India’s first online book renting store for engineering students. Students pick a book depending on the semester, pay a refundable deposit, which is the maximum retail price of the book, and have it delivered at their doorstep in 1-5 days for a price. There is no limit on the books that can be rented. After the semester ends, one needs to return the books in mint condition to have 60-70% of the deposit refunded. It helps the students save up to 60% of the cost of books for students. An added advantage—saving on paper.
Sudhakar Chirra’s AbhiBus helps one book bus tickets. It caters to everyone from government and private operators to individual travelers. However, the initial phase of this start up was not a cakewalk. Chirra spent a long time convincing the bus operators to have a ticket quota for AbhiBus. In fact, he did not sell a single ticket for the first four months. Eventually several bus operators agreed to integrate their bookings with the software. It has also enabled the vehicle tracking solutions system for the Rajasthan State Road Transport Corporation.
Alpana Agarwal, co-founder of Con Affetto, makes edible bouquets — think cupcakes, cookies, truffle or any mouth watering dessert you can think of! It’s price range starts price of Rs 600 to Rs 3,000. they have been selling over 15 bouquets a day in Delhi and the NCR and soon plan to open kiosks to push their products in other cities, including Mumbai. However, the biggest challenge is luring people to shun flowers and go for the edible option.
Scentra, a scented shoe brand that uses organic cotton to make footwear, which is designed in California, manufactured in Spain and imported to India. “It’s India’s first scented shoe brand,” claims Karan Vij the company ceo. The scent is not sprayed on the shoe but it’s dyed in the sole to make it last long. Against the generic belief that only women would rush to buy the product, 43% of Scentra’s customers are men. They have sold over 1,300 pairs over the past five months, and are now targeting to sell 100 pairs every day, at an average of Rs 2,000 per pair.
On a flight to London, Stephen told a friend, about a soothing foot massage he had had in San Francisco. That led the duo to discuss it as a business, convincing them to start TheHappyFeet in January 2013. A startup that provides feet care services and products on a call or a click. TheHappyFeet works with therapists who go to customers’ offices or homes to provide feet-care services. The venture has broken even, says Stephen who is now in talks with investors to fund an expansion.