The Entrepreneur Who Makes Sleep Work For Everyone Around This entrepreneur wasn't sleeping over an idea. He knew the importance of the best mattress for a good night's sleep. Read more to know how his startup became the solution for sleepless nights.
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Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, Co-founder and Director, Wakefit.co
The emergence of Covid meant that countries all over the world had to go under a full-fledged lockdown. Some of the companies fell to a slump whereas some startups made the most of this lockdown and became profitable. Internet frenzy took over the World. One of the D2C brands present in India was providing top-quality mattresses and they carved in their niche. They really came to life during the Lockdown as people started understanding the importance of good mattresses as for that time period their homes would become offices, libraries, schools, movie theatres, etc.
The idea of the venture was generated when Ankit a co-founder of the venture went for mattress hunting and was baffled by the prices. The research and finding answers led to the conclusion that the mattress companies weren't making much profit even though the prices were high as the margins were distributed between different middlemen and hence, Wakefit.co was formed.
According to the co-founder of Wakefit.co Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, the best thing about being a D2C brand is the transparency it provides. The company is held responsible for any faulty product or a product that is not up to the standard of the consumer but the same cannot be said for offline brands as they can afford to neglect 10 consumers and still make an adequate profit since the blame is distributed amongst the middlemen as well. Learnings that were realized over time by the co-founders were to make simple promises but those open in the public domain kept the policies of the brand transparent and made it stick to the promises.
Chaitanya says, "Failed ventures teach you a lot of humility". He started Wakefit.co with Ankit Garg at the back of two failed entrepreneurial ventures. Wakefit.co was Chaitanya's third startup whereas it was Ankit's second. From being a management consultant to an entrepreneur, the journey was not easy. He explains that being a management consultant requires one to have a point-of-view whereas being an entrepreneur is completely the opposite. The thought behind his venture was that they wanted to be lead by the customers.
Established in 2016, there were no competitors nor was there a go-to-market strategy. In 2015-2016, Wakefit.co was the only mattress company to be listed on Amazon India. The co-founders invested INR 3 lakh each and sold the mattresses on Amazon. With the profits six months later, they opted for a website, a team, and a small way of marketing which in turn led to building traffic on their website. The website according to Chaitanya is important because people tend to forget the brand's name when they buy a product from Amazon. The website keeps the brand in the consumer's head which doesn't allow them to forget the name of the brand. Chaitanya advises, " With no company to compete against until a year, they learned the not to-dos earlier than anyone who stepped in this field which kept them five steps ahead of everyone else.
Wakefit.co started off with outsourcing but then got a basic manufacturing facility with the savings and a little bit of investment from the co-founders. This manufacturing facility was completely manual but today, it has state-of-the-art, cutting edge technology that is sensor driven, IoT driven. Wakefit.co was also the first company to import the Mattress-in-a-box machinery in-house. Another USP of being a D2C brand is that the negative feedback and the positive feedback reach the company on a regular basis. Hence, the revisions of the product are more frequent. The manufacturing units are set up in Rajasthan, Bangalore, and Delhi and also there are five experience stores, in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Lucknow, and Gurugram each. People can go to the stores and get the experience of what the mattresses feel like but since the company is a digital native, the orders are placed online. Going forward Wakefit.co has forayed into home furniture etc. and the company is now positioning itself as "a sleep and home solutions company".
- Established in: 2016
- Revenue for FY 2020-21: INR 420 crore
- No. of employees: 1000
(This article was first published in the May 2021 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)