How this Next-gen Entrepreneur Wrote the Future of One of India's Biggest Retail Outlets

"The Idea for us is not to build Technology Ourselves But Partner with New-Age Organizations."

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Buoyed by the success of the Future Group, Vivek Biyani joined the family business in 2007 following his uncle and father's footsteps. Prior to this, he did his graduation from the University of Michigan and held various leadership positions such as analyst at the Michigan Interactive Investments.

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At the Future Group, Vivek was instrumental in setting up the home solutions business and looks after its recent foray – Home Town, the home building and improvement retail chain.

Vivek also launched the e-retail portal Futurebazaar, one of India's most popular shopping portal and also spearheaded the digital business growth with BigBazaar Direct. Talking about initial failures in this format, Vivek reveals, "As a group we could not align with the philosophy of what was happening in the e-commerce market at that time, so we thought not to be a part of it."

Throughout his journey, Vivek counts his uncle Kishore Biyani as his mentor. Sharing his experience in business over the last decade, Vivek says, "India was fairly disruptive where consumption habits were changing. The communities are diverse so with the help of technology you have to constantly keep evolving your business model. So the way you structure your business will allow you to get that fluidity, to kind of morph your business according to the need of today. So anyone who designs a business which doesn't allow it to change rapidly will be challenged in India."

The latest initiative by Vivek is the Future Consumer & Digital Lab. Sharing more on it, Vivek says, "We believe that the power that digital technology gives to the organization makes the capacity of the organization infinite. We try to take inspiration from businesses around the globe which are born in this era. There are very large influences whether it comes from personalizing consumers for the kind of assortment that they want, kind of offers that they need etc. or all possible services that they want with the help of new technology."

The initiative will be supported by a Rs 100 crore accelerator fund. Talking about its deployment, he says, "The idea for us is to incorporate artificial intelligence in all sort of new age technologies that we are trying to build. This includes decision that we take or the way we look at structured and unstructured data and build algorithms to take those decisions around our supply chain, merchandising, etc." He further says, "The idea for us is not to build a lot of technology ourselves but to really work with partners, new age companies, start-ups who already have products like these or are in the midst of developing such products."

Even today, Future Group uses a lot of technology. It uses data to make decisions on what kind of offers to give to the consumers and also how to make it more real time, more personalized where for every customer, potentially the idea is to reach out to everyone.

(This article was first published in the June issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)