Start-up turns e-business into runaway success - Mentorship Matters | HT Brand Studio with Marico Innovation Foundation
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Ever heard of Gorilla Fan?

No—it’s not your regular ceiling fan that you come across in most places.

Even while running at full speed, this fan consumes only 28 W of electricity, compared to the usual rate of 75-80 W! The result is a saving of anywhere between Rs.1,500 and Rs.2,000 per year.

It’s no surprise then that Gorilla Fan, which is manufactured by a start-up called Atomberg Technologies, is today heralded as India’s most energy-efficient ceiling fan.

From B2B to B2C

Achieving this tag, however, wasn’t easy. Atomberg had to take it one step at a time—the first of which was shifting from a B2B business model to a B2C one.

“Roughly 80-90% of our business was from B2B customers. We wanted to shift our focus to consumers because, ultimately, fan is a consumer product,” says Arindam Paul, one of the founders.

While deciding to make this shift, Atomberg thought of venturing first into offline retail. After all, 90% of its sales were happening in this space.

A major turning point

Little did they know that after enrolling for the ‘Scale-Up’ Program— a mentorship initiative offered by the Marico Innovation Foundation (MIF)—their business would see a drastic shift.

Sudhir Trehan, ex-MD, Crompton & Greaves, came on board as an external mentor of the Program and advised them to focus on e-commerce, and not offline retail, as a channel for expansion. Atomberg was already getting some traction on this platform, because of which Mr.Trehan wanted it to leverage online retail to the fullest.

Moreover, according to Mr.Trehan, Atomberg was not well-equipped to enter into the offline retail space at that point. The medium has its own set of challenges—many of which the start-up would have found difficult to overcome.

This led to a pivotal shift in Atomberg’s business—a moment to celebrate—as pivots seldom work in the start-up world.

Tackling e-commerce challenges

Once on e-commerce, Atomberg took MIF’s help in crossing two major hurdles—how to attract more people to their e-commerce page, as well as their website, and how to increase the conversion rate.

At this juncture, MIF roped in Sumant Kakaria, Head of E-Commerce Business at Marico, and Mentor, Scale-up Program.

“What I found after an initial discussion is that their communication and content were not very clear to customers. We at MIF were very certain that this was an aspect that they needed to work on,” he says.

Kakaria then lent his expertise in bettering Atomberg’s communication strategy, thereby making the key benefits of their product stand out.

Now the next step in Atomberg’s scale-up journey was optimising their marketing spends. Sumant worked closely with the team that led to faster conversions and a positive impact on sales.

As a result, the start-up’s sales started growing significantly. According to Paul, they began to witness 4x-5x growth every month!

Watch their exciting growth journey here.

Key takeaway for start-ups

Atomberg’s growth story has been captured in the final episode of ‘Mentorship Matters’—a video series that showcases how 4 unique organizations like it have benefitted from the Scale-up Program. Under this, functional experts help young, innovative companies tackle crucial business bottlenecks, thereby helping them grow at a much faster pace.

The above case study highlights the strength of the combination of a strategy expert and a functional specialist in helping innovations pole-vault to the next level.

You can watch the previous episodes of ‘Mentorship Matters’ here or on the Mint Facebook page.

Also, if you know of innovations that could benefit from the Scale-Up Program, write to mif@marico.com.