The $22 billion print and merchandise industry is still untapped. At present, India has roughly 250k print vendors and very few of them are quality and customer conscious. Owned and operated by Imprimatur Printing Services Pvt. Ltd, Inkmonk connects these print vendors to customers through an online marketplace with real time rates.
Recently, Inkmonk raised $250k (Rs 1.5 crore) in angel round of funding through Lets Venture, a platform that enables start-ups to raise angel and seed funds. The round was led by Girish Mathrubootham, Founder & CEO of Freshdesk. Others who participated in this round are Phanindra Sama, Co-founder of Red Bus; Vikram Chachra, Founding Partner of Eight Innovate; VAMM Ventures and few other angel investors. The venture will utilise this fund mainly for expansion within the areas of hiring, product expansion and sales.
Chennai based start-up was founded by Isaac John Wesley and Surya Shankar in March 2014. The company provides full stack merchandising solutions that are built for businesses. Speaking on the same line, Girish Mathrubootham, Founder & CEO of Freshdesk, says, “Isaac is a very aspirational entrepreneur with a vision to build an Application Programming Interface (API) for custom merchandise that can plug into the HR and marketing departments of a company to enable them to order branded merchandise for employees and customers. Isaac also comes from a printing background and he understands the finer details of printing that enables him to ship high quality merchandise. We have been his customers at Freshdesk. Between myself, Freshdesk CTO Shan Krishnasamy and my friend RaviRaman (angel investor at Freshdesk), we were happy to help Inkmonk by committing towards their goal of 1.5 crore.”
Inkmonk’s focus is on making purchasing and distribution of custom printed merchandise a hassle free process. The start-up has a dynamic and transparent pricing system and also provides a platform, where customers can choose their merchandise and design it using Inkmonk’s online designer. Inkmonk provides their customers a platform where they are exposed to multiple options which they can pick and choose from. It includes filters like pricing, printers, location etc. Their main focus is on the quality of the final product.
“We empower companies and brands with a one-stop-shop for procuring printed merchandise (t-shirts, mugs, caps, and banners etc). We curate the quality of printers, who can be listed on Inkmonk at the very first level and Inkmonk's team of quality control specialists hand check every product before the customer receives. Printing is a huge market and same time highly fragmented and unorganised,” said Wesley, Co-founder, Inkmonk.
With a vision to create ultimate marketplace for printing, while maintaining the best quality of the final product, the start-up is building products to help businesses in direct mail solutions and inventory management and API's for merchandise. “The custom merchandising market in B2B is huge, fragmented and dominated largely by local players. There is tremendous scope for disruption by using technology to remove the hassles of dealing with vendors to select merchandise, store them and ship to customers or employees,” said Mathrubootham.