Wassup is an on-demand convenience brand co-founded by Balachandar R and Durga Das. In an exclusive interview with IBEF, Balachandar R, Co-founder & CEO, Wassup Ondemand shares his views on the businessmodel of the company and startup ecosystem in India. Edited excerpts:
Can you tell us about the business model of Wassup?
We are an on-demand laundry and dry-cleaning convenience brand. In total we have around 30 consumer points in India, wherein close to five are in Bangalore, one in Delhi and one in Chennai. In total we have presence in five cities but we are now focusing on Bangalore and Delhi. We were waiting for all our technology to be deployed which is in place now. We have recently received investment from the Jabong Co-founders. The next step is to mushroom around the cities we already have our presence in. The target is to expand our reach to around 100 cities in next three years. We are looking at around 25-30 people per city and as it is a mechanised laundry set up, the number of people may reduce as we scale up. We have around 100 people in total in the five cities mentioned. In terms of revenue, we crossed Rs 5 crore last year and currently we are doing around 200 orders a day.
What are your views on the improving startup ecosystem in India?
There is a significant difference in the ecosystem compared to five years ago. What is happening is that a lot of money is going into a lot of startups, whether it is going through the right channel is something we whould be focusing on. Secondly, there is still a lot of improvement required on the regulatory front. However, the last budget announced around Rs 10,000 crore for startups but there is still a lot of improvement required in many areas relating to the regulatory management of startups in India.
Do you believe steps like National Policy for Entrepreneurship are moving in the right direction?
Yes, steps like these are in the right direction and such a policy is the need of the hour. While the acceptability towards entrepreneurship has increased but there is still a social stigma involved in becoming a first generation entrepreneur straight out of college or after leaving a well settled job. For instance, parents earlier used to discourage a kid playing cricket but the incoming of IPL changed a lot of things and opened a gamut of opportunities. What is happening now is with the growth in the success of startups in India; parents will soon start and encourage the kids to start on their own.
Do you believe Indian startups have a potential to become global brands?
There is a huge opportunity for startups to make a global name for themselves. At the same time, there is a huge opportunity to redefine the existing businesses. For instance, India has moved faster to mobile from desktop or laptops as compared to any other market and changes like these are expected to disrupt the conventional businesses and at the same time deliver many unique startups from India. Especially the environment in India is much more stable as compared to China which is a big plus for financial investors coming into the country.