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This Jaipur-based startup provides a unique online shopping experience to its users based on the concept of exchanging one’s good by facilitating cashless transactions. Gaurav Jain and Vipul Paliwal founded Faida.com in 2015.
With a specialization in Strategic Management from London School of Economics and thereafter Masters in Business Administration from SP Jain Institute, Vipul Paliwal, Co-founder, Faida.com shares his passion for entrepreneurship and how he has evolved as a person with Entrepreneur India. Here is the excerpt from the interview:
How was the idea of your startup conceptualized? What is the need you are addressing in the market?
Gaurav is the brain behind this unique concept. While he was in America, Gaurav realized that unlike in the US, Indians are much more attached to their stuff and seldom throw it away. It is here that the old concept of barter came to his mind. This would help us declutter our homes and exchange stuff we don’t need and at the same time help recycling and have something we need in exchange. We were totally motivated with the thought that this will help us save the environment for the future generation.
We believe that it is not always possible to buy new items that one may need. Selling, buying or exchanging helps to save money and one will not have to wait longer to get what one needs. As entrepreneurial bug was always in me and I wanted do something different so we came up with Faida.com.
Is there a story behind the name, you have given to your business?
We came up with the name Faida as it provides benefit for all. One can buy, sell and even exchange used items they do not need. In this way they can get items or services they want. Even exchanging of items helps recycle and reuse items one doesn’t need, which is beneficial for all.
What is your Business Model? Please share numbers of founders, your users (customers), product/services offered and current business size.
While there are a few services in the market through which you can buy or sell new items but no platform for giving an option to exchange. Faida.com has now gone a step ahead and broadened its horizon by introducing the exchange along with buy and sell.
Soon we will be offering a revolutionary concept of online where people can get new items in exchange of old for various categories and usage. Faida has about 41000 items listed and a market demand of over 3000. Recently, we have also launched our new business model where users can not only exchange but buy and sell too.
Have you raised any funding so far. What are your plans to use this funding for?
Yes, we have raised $1 million Angel funding from New York based Right Gems a year ago. Our investors found our business concept very unique and were convinced by the number of listings that were made at our website. We have been using these funds in expansion plans as we have started marketing initiatives in 8 major cities. We are now looking at a second round of funding.
What is your team size? How do you keep your team in high spirits? What is your office culture like?
Our team compromises of 14 members. We have a very friendly yet focused environment in the office. We provide a pleasant work environment and opportunities for self-development. Communication is the mantra for us for having a friendly office environment.
Who has been your mentor in your entrepreneurial journey? What has been your biggest learning from the mentor?
My father has been my mentor. I have learned a lot from him at every stage of my life. Always having a positive outlook on life, how to carry myself even in the most difficult situations, being positive and the most important learnings are be ethical in life, treat people with dignity and respect.
What is the business facet that for you is made of stone? Some business fundamental that you strongly believe in and would never want to change.
We at Faida.com put our customers first and strongly believe that customer is always right, we value our employees, we embrace professionalism and we do our best to help our communities are some of the business facet that I believe in and we follow. Some business fundamentals like customer satisfaction, staying focused on doing what made you successful and keep your eye on competitors, hiring right people and most importantly doing things right.
What has been you’re a-ha moment in the business?(The high point)
When we touched our first 10,000 users was the high point for us in the business.
What has been your biggest challenge so far that has given you sleepless night? What is your personal style of addressing the challenges you face?
When we started Faida, it was not easy to garner trust. It was very crucial for us to get people to list their item on our website. But we never gave up. I personally believe that nothing comes easy in life. And if you haven’t tried enough to achieve your goal and give up easily you can’t fulfill your dreams.
How is your startup unique from others dealing in the same segment? (your USP)
Faida.com started with the concept of exchange which in itself was very unique. We have now added more features of buying and selling. Our competitors only have the concept of buying and selling but we allow our users to exchange too at our website.
How do you see growth scenario is this business? What are your future scale-up plans?
We are available in 8 major cities and by end of quarter we will be extending our services to 16 major cities and also in tier 2 and 3 cities. We also are launching our mobile app which will bring in new users from various demographic segments.
What changes have you experienced in your own self since the day you started the business till now?
Every business has its challenges and learning. I have evolved more as an individual, learning at every step. I have become very growth- oriented, the more I learn the better I will growth to meet the challenges of life. I sincerely believe that it is vital to have a clear set of goalsand plans for the future. One must be flexible and adaptable to make changes as and when required as this helps one to be more powerful.