Social Commerce Pioneers
Launched in August 2017 by IIT Bombay Alumni Arun Lodhi, Pulkit Agrawal, and NITIE Alumnus Bimal Kartheek Rebba, the genesis of Trell can be traced back to the singular realization by the founders on the dearth of meaningful content and discovery being a challenge in the age of click-bait content on the Internet.
Launched in August 2017 by IIT Bombay Alumni Arun Lodhi, Pulkit Agrawal, and NITIE Alumnus Bimal Kartheek Rebba, the genesis of Trell can be traced back to the singular realization by the founders on the dearth of meaningful content and discovery being a challenge in the age of click-bait content on the Internet. India has over 734 Million Internet users, of which only 110 Million shop online due to their struggle with trust on existing online platforms for their purchases. People tend to buy products from trusted sources. The founders wanted to make content and commerce accessible to people across the country by allowing everyone to access lifestyle through their smartphones, in regional languages, through Trell. The app has over 100 million downloads, 60 million MAU, 18 million creators with 1000+ brands selling on the platform.
While talking about the inception of Trell at IIT-B, Pulkit says, "Arun and I had already begun working on Trell and we were sure this is what we wanted to take forward. That decision in itself was a challenge. Other than that, some of the challenges we faced when we started Trell were how to build an agile team that would take Trell to great heights, how to solve problem statements at scale, and of course, how to manage finances. I would do ancillary things to support myself and Trell through meet-ups, food, and photography walks which would help us make Rs 10,000-15,000 a month."
The company has grown from a team of 60 in 2020 to over 700 in 2021 as the company has stayed true to its vision and mission even when things have been tough. This is because the co-founders have emerged as passionate entrepreneurs who want to enable content creation as a full-time profession for every content creator in the country. Without a product journey manifesto in hand, Trell managed to bring social commerce to the fore as other big and small players are now trying to enter this market.
Bimal says, "Most of the social media companies we have seen and used were from outside of India. "Made in India" as a concept has only gained traction in the last couple of years. We were not trying to break into an existing market with Trell, we were trying to create a new market when we started in 2017."
The year 2021 has been a great year for growth, achievements, and streamlining processes within Trell. Trell Shop, Trell's e-commerce wing, scaled new heights, having onboarded 1000+ brands in the last year. They launched multiple successful Sale IPs and gained massive traction and recognition among users for the variety of products on the platform, ranging from beauty products to bags, as the company has been growing at 30% month-on-month growth with 100% M-O-M growth on online transactions. Trell is expected to hit an annual GMV of $1 Billion by March 2023. The company has also launched multiple new features such as Trell TV, Trell Chat, and Creator Space to evolve and stay true to the needs of customers, users, and creators.
Going back in time, Arun remembers Trell's humble beginnings. "When we first started Trell, 12 of us would share a 1 BHK apartment. This included the founders, some of our very first team members, and interns. We would all stay together and work together. It was challenging but definitely, a memorable time spent together."