Besides being a leisure sport, for quite a lot of people, biking is a passion that keeps their spirits high even when they are not riding. And making sure that whenever they ride, their ride is smooth and free of any hiccups, riders do need services that can help them run it all along.
And to meet that challenges, Motofix came into picture. This brainchild of Bharath Bopparaju aims at offering the ultimate bike servicing experience to the customers and believes in solving automobile woes of riders.
Entrepreneur India had a candid conversation with Bharath Bopparaju, founder of Motofix to understand the prime objective of his startup.
Please tell me about your work experience and how your educational background supported it.
After completing B.E degree in Computer Science from Nagpur University, I joined our 30-year old family business operating in the Auto Retail and Supply Chain Management sectors. Initially, I joined as a Management Trainee and underwent practical on job trainings from veterans for business management and administration, financial management, operations and team management etc, Later, I successfully managed a 250 Crores turnover business, spread across multiple locations with over 500 employees. This work experience helped me in shaping my acumen over the last 6 years, and has driven me to startup my own venture.
How did you realize entrepreneurship was your vision?
I've always wanted to be an entrepreneur since childhood. Maybe, it bore a connection with the fact that I belonged to family of successful businessmen who have played as a great role models to me. Apart from this, my other greatest inspiration has been Steve Jobs who said that everything around is created by human beings and that we can ourselves create our own things which make a difference to the society. I know that it seems to be a bit clichéd to mention Steve Jobs, but it's very true in my case.
Please share the story behind the conceptualization of your startup brand.
Due to a rich experience in the automobile sector, I was well-acquainted with the hassles faced by customers while maintaining their vehicle, as it requires periodic services. As a vehicle owner myself, I have also witnessed the experiences of being over-charged, poor quality service and lack of convenient options. We wanted to change this current exhausting process of auto service and make it a hassle free process for end consumers. After few validations and collecting feedback about the idea, we finalised that our concept will be to deliver reliable and high quality services to customers along with convenient options at affordable prices.
How did the name of your startup come up? Please tell us the story behind it.
It took us a long time to decide the name for our startup. We spent weeks selecting various options, ranging from Hindi to English, considering the target audience, checking availability of the domain name and then collecting feedback from our family and friends before we eventually finalized Motofix. Apart from wanting the name to be catchy, we wanted a name which would be a combination of prefix and suffix, each of them being random words and meaning Auto Servicing and Maintenance. We finally zeroed onto Motofix as it fulfilled all our requirements.
Please highlight your major business model. Who are the key players in your team who contribute to your success?
Our major business model is to create and sustain a platform, which organises and facilitates the current exchanges between a vehicle owner and a technician/workshop. Besides, we also focus on and improving the business earnings and profitability of the technician and the overall service experience of the customer. We are a small and strong team of 5 at present, working on all aspects and everyone is playing a very key role and is contributing to the overall success of the enterprise.
How have your consumers responded to your product/service? Any particular story or comment you remember?
The response from the customers and technicians has been very encouraging. We've been getting good remarks and even referrals from our early customers, which are adding to our volume. At the very initial stages, like 15-20 days after starting our service, we came across a customer who wanted to join his friends for a road trip on the weekend. But, he didn't have the time to get his vehicle serviced. He contacted us through Facebook at the last moment, like 12hours before they left for the trip and wanted a service. We reached his place at 7:30PM after our working hours were closed and got his vehicle serviced by 11PM. He was very elated and referred to us being similar to the 30-min pizza delivery guys.
What is your source of inspiration which makes you moving ahead?
Being an early stage startup is not easy. We hit many roadblocks and have also had to innovate and find ways to deliver, especially with limited resources on hand. The only thing which has kept us going is the response we have been receiving from our customers and technicians. It has encouraged us, to better ourselves every day, and their feedback and interest in our services has kept us going.
What keeps you engaged in leisure hours?
I've been very active and into sports since childhood. I have represented my school and college in athletics, captained my college basketball team and successfully won some accolades. So, whenever I get time, I love to play or watch football and basketball. Apart from that, I prefer reading magazines and blogs related to Business Management, like the Harvard Business Review, articles of the Entrepreneur.com Facebook pages etc.., I am also a total foodie and love trying out new food joints and restaurants.
Which was the last startup that made you think, “This made my life a bit easier”?
There are too many startups that have come up recently. Off the top of my head, two startups which made my life easier are Ola Cabs and Swiggy. As I travel frequently, Ola Cabs has helped me whenever I visit another city and Swiggy has been satiating my untimely hunger and food cravings.
What are few of the tips you would give to beginners who intend to enter Indian startup ecosystem?
I would advise any beginner to start networking and PR ahead of time and build a network with talented and successful people which will come in handy while forming the right team and finding the right advisors for your startup. Great team which believes in your vision and capability to achieve it along with timely advise makes a whole lot of different for a startup.
Who has been your mentor in your entrepreneurial journey? What has been your biggest learning from the mentor(s)?
I have been very fortunate to have more than 1 mentor from within my family and from outside at various stages in my journey so far. However, my greatest mentor has been my father and one of the best places for my learning and guidance has been my breakfast table. Apart from being encouraging and supportive, the biggest learning I’ve learnt from him is not to be afraid of failure and to be courageous and confident to pursue my dream.
What’s your business mantra to stay ahead in the market?
My business mantra to stay ahead in the market is to innovate and not imitate. We always ask ourselves as to why we are taking a particular decision or direction and if there is any other better way to do it. We hate following the herd and firmly believe that the market will only respect us when we respect ourselves enough. Not to just do something because it was successful for someone else.
What is the biggest challenge which you faced while running your business? How did you face it?
The biggest challenge what we have faced was to make people believe that we could do what we are talking and that we could deliver. Being a new brand and coming up with first of its kind service offerings, it was not easy to gain anyone's trust – let it be customers, technicians, employee recruits etc..,
Highlighting our core team's competencies, listening to customers more often and readjusting our models and most importantly, the customers which we have been receiving through word of mouth has given us the strength to overcome the challenges.
Motofix has justified its name by fixing the automobile glitches in a timely way. Share your opinions on how pragmatic do you think the services of this startup are in modern times.