Vaitheeswaran – widely known as father of India’s e-commerce business has done it all in his life. He worked for a large corporate house before taking a plunge with fellow colleagues to start India Plaza, India’s first and foremost e-commerce startup that wracked up innovation after innovation in its decade plus existence between 1999 and 2013. The India Plaza story reads like the George Lucas innovation factory having spawned India Plaza, Fabmart and Fabmall, India’s first online and offline grocery businesses. The Offline Grocery business eventually became More which came a full circle after being acquired by Amazon. Vaitheeswaran has started up again, with “Again”Drinks with his previous co-founder – Sundeep. He describes “Again” as a WTF Drink – A Wholesome, Tasty and Filling Drink that’s the world’s first drink to have no added sugar and no preservatives as well as a fantastic shelf life.
We have all heard endless discussions on the hyper funding rounds and wondered about the logic behind them. But the way Vaitheeswaran articulates it is pure gold. Here’s an excerpt:
So there are two three things. One is, a lot of the capital that has gone into the Indian startup system has not necessarily gone to fund growth. My view is, I think there is also a myth that people believe I am fundamentally against the concept of venture capital. I’m not, I’m actually strongly in favor of venture capital, provided it funds growth. I think in India, venture capital has funded operations. And that’s a huge difference. So if I’m running a retail store, and I’m opening a retail store, I’m selling it in a particular locality, we sell, we build it up and say we start doing two – three lakhs a month for a year. And then at the end of a year or so we actually have some rupees left on the table, which means we’re breaking even on the store, and when we repeat this for the second store, then you go to somebody who’s willing to fund the business. And you know what I’ve done, done it once, I’ve done it twice, about thrice, I think I’ve got a proof of concept. And now I want to open hundred stores. That’s venture capital. Venture capital funds that growth, that’s a great way of building business. The other option is, I will open a store, I lose money. Then one year later, I said, You know what, I’ve lost money in one store, here second store, I lost money. Here, in the third store, I’m losing more money. Now, if you give me a billion dollars, I will open thousands of stores. And I will discount so much that all other people who have all of the stores will shut down and go home and I may be the guy having stores, and then I will increase my price and suddenly I’ll become profitable
Whats so great about “again” drink?
Let’s hear it from the master himself
Yeah. That’s the reason we’re saying, in fact, when I got an opportunity, can we do FMCG? Sure, yeah, let’s do this. And why am I doing this with because I have never done it before. I mean, that’s the reason. So as far as product is concerned, I think this is the only beverage in the world and I’m serious. The only beverage in the world that has no sugar, no preservative, no color, no flavor. Yet it does not need refrigeration and as 90 day shelf life. There’s no beverage in the world that has ticked all the boxes. Nobody.
If you have not read the book – Failing to Succeed or had the drink – “again” highly recommended. You will be richer both ways.