India Now - page 29

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FEBRUARY-MARCH 2015
realise this could be something worth
trying. “That’s when Wildcraft’s journey
began from a garage brand to India’s
fastest growing outdoor company. And
what a journey it’s been,” adds Dinesh.
For former banker Dublish, though,
the inspiration to join the group came
from a different chance encounter. He
met Dinesh. The meeting fired the
imagination of the Standard Chartered
Bank employee who saw merits in the
plan and the casual meeting turned into
an “opportunity that would challenge
and excite me like no other”, he says.
It was Dublish who brought the third
member of the team into the fold—Sid-
dharth—who was his college mate. Soon
enough Dinesh met Siddharth and the
three discussed the idea before taking
the formal plunge in 2007. Throwing
up their respective flourishing careers,
the three joined the company full time
to steer Wildcraft’s journey out of the
garage. “Over the years we have experi-
enced a period of tremendous growth
and we are now in the fantastic position
of shaping the contours of the Indian
outdoor industry,” Dublish recounts
their journey. Siddharth admits, “It
really was a straightforward choice
once Gaurav and I spoke and I’d met
Dinesh.” For good measure, he adds,
“I’m proud of what we have built. We’re
not the kind of team that rests on its
laurels, so building a global presence is
definitely high on our list of priorities.”
Venturing overseas is now certainly
in mission mode for the fledgling firm.
The three co-founders who “boot-
strapped the venture and pooled in all
savings to build out the company”, on
the way won a globally reputed set of
investors onboard, including Sequoia
that invested US$ 12 million in Decem-
ber 2013, when the company went in for
a round of PE funding. In December
2014, while unveiling the company’s
new brand identity, Gaurav had dis-
closed Wildcraft’s plans. The company
registered revenues of
`
250 crore in
FY 15 and grew five times from 2012
when its revenue was
`
50 crore. It had
posted revenues of
`
170 crore in FY 14
PHOTOS BY ISTOCKPHOTO.COM
space. What the expanding clique of
adventure enthusiasts in India really
needed to pursue their passion unhin-
dered was, as they sensed, freedom from
the encumbrance of existing gear. Thus,
began their experimentations in what
they called “The Garage Years”, span-
ning the intervening period between the
late 1990s and 2007-08.
Dinesh’s one-line description of the
company’s genesis speaks volumes,
“Wildcraft is a brand born for the open
air and came to life out of an intense
passion for the outdoors.” It was a
chance encounter with Eric Shipton’s
The Untravelled World
that made him an
“outdoorsman”. One of the early starters
on the adventure trail, it was his per-
sonal pain point—“the difficulty of find-
ing both funding and appropriate gear
for outdoor activities”—that made him
W I L D C R A F T
EME RG I NG E NT R E PR E NE UR
and
`
100 crore in 2013. The company
was eying a higher market share and
was confident that its revenues would
hit
`
2,000 crore by 2020. In 2014, the
nascent outdoors gear market in India
was valued at US$ 2 billion, while the
global outdoors and adventure industry
stood at US$ 100 billion. The Indian
industry, however, is growing at a sharp
clip at a CAGR of 16.2 per cent. The
share of the organised sector is also
growing impressively at 25 per cent.
Wildcraft, with plans to metamorphose
from an outdoors gear company to a
head to toe outfitter with an expanded
product portfolio and new brand
identity, is confident of capturing the
market’s imagination. The company has
a plant in Himachal Pradesh and three
in Bangalore and is expanding its manu-
facturing capacity as it is widening its
domestic market base to the north-east,
the Mecca of adventure enthusiasts, and
overseas into the Middle East and South-
east Asian markets.
In this background, when Dublish
says, “We intend to expand our reach to
international markets and compete with
the best brands globally,” it certainly
does not sound like overreaching. With
a diversified distribution strategy, the
company today has a presence that
extends across the country. “We use a
5 tips for emerging
entrepreneurs and
startups
1. Get the right partner/founding team.
2. Identify and articulate the enterprise
idea clearly. Your key reason to exist.
3. Identify young, passionate talent and
give them responsibilities exceed-
ing their years. You’ll be pleasantly
surprised.
4. Develop a unique culture that is in line
with your core beliefs. Imperative for
you to have a very strong moral fibre.
5. Be ready for the long haul. Execution
excellence is key.
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