Solving B2B Needs Through Supply Chain Solutions Moglix is an online platform that offers solutions to more than 500,000 SMEs and 3,000 manufacturing plants across India, Singapore, the UK and the UAE

By Debarghya Sil

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India's startup has seen a sudden spike in Unicorn numbers since the second half of 2020. While most of the sectors were trying to stay afloat and feared pulling down of shutters, the startup community of India continued to grab eyeballs, especially from foreign investors. One such startup which earned the Unicorn status amidst several others was Moglix.

Founded in 2015 by Rahul Garg, the B2B online marketplace platform raised $120 million in Series E round led by Falcon Edge Capital and Harvard Management Co., with participation from existing investors Tiger Global, Sequoia Capital India and Venture Highway.

In an interaction with Entrepreneur India, Garg talks about what made him quit his well-paid job and build something from scratch and his first interview with Emeritus Ratan Tata!

Becoming Entrepreneur Was De Facto

Garg did a bachelor's in electrical engineering from IIT Kanpur and later did an MBA in Marketing from the Indian School of Business. These two degrees opened multiple job roles for him in the coming days. He worked as a product manager at Conexant System (acquired by Ikanos Communication) and joined Google where he was the head of AdX in India, SEA and Korea.

However, in January 2015 he quit his cushy job at Google and started his own company Moglix three months later. He is the first entrepreneur in his family. When asked why he left his job at Google, Garg said that becoming an entrepreneur was de facto from his IIT days. Earlier he had two startups that didn't succeed well but didn't jeopardize Garg's ambitions. He said that he was in mid-30s and had the financial stability to take the third dive!

Interestingly, Garg is the sole founder of Moglix and did not come from an entrepreneurial family. When asked about this, Garg said that he believes in Rabindranath Tagore's popular song - Ekla cholo re (Walk alone) and stressed that while starting Moglix he already had 15 years of experience and six senior leaders along with investors support. In his earlier two startups, he had co-founders.

Why B2B Space?

Moglix as mentioned started in 2015, a time when Indians were getting a taste of home delivery from e-commerce platforms. Flipkart had gained in-roads and Amazon too was closing the gap.

According to Garg, the idea behind starting Moglix was simple. He said what was happening in B2C space needs to happen in B2B space particularly in the manufacturing and infrastructure space. He said in 2015, only Indiamart was the sole platform catering to the B2B needs.

"I had the vantage point of all Asian businesses, commerce businesses across the region. One of such companies was Alibaba. Having studied those companies, I've had a strong inkling that what has happened in Flipkart and Amazon and B2C e-commerce will have to happen in B2B," Garg said.

He further added that as an entrepreneur, one has to start maybe two-three years before the market is built. To explain he said that one couldn't have started Flipkart in 2014 - 2015.

What is Moglix?

Moglix is an online platform that offers solutions to more than 500,000 SMEs and 3,000 manufacturing plants across India, Singapore, the UK and the UAE. The company claims that several manufacturing majors such as Hero MotoCorp, Vedanta, Tata Steel, among others procure indirect material through its platform. The startup boasts of having a supply chain network of over 16,000 suppliers, more than 35 warehouses and logistics infrastructure and close to 500,000+ SKUs.

Getting Funds

Getting investment for a startup that is in a space where the market is yet to form is tough and Garg understood it at every step. He said that during 2015-2019 B2B was a space where investors were impassive in pumping capital. However, Garg believed in long-term play and chasing after big markets. It won't be wrong to say that Garg's belief in long-term play paid off as Moglix after its last round of funding had to date raised $220 million and is valued at over $1 billion.

Accel and Jungle Ventures were among the first venture capital firms to have understood the potential of Moglix and invested in them. Apart from these two venture capital firms, Indian business tycoon Ratan Tata too saw the potential in Garg and his team.

"Having an opportunity to showcase our startup to him and get his views on that was a big achievement for us. We didn't even think of getting a cheque from him back then," Garg said on his meeting with Ratan Tata in 2016.

When later Mr. Tata handed over a cheque, Garg called it a "moment of victory' and described it as "pahela exam pass hogaya'

During the pandemic which wreaked havoc across the sector, Garg believed that it expedited the process of people moving online from offline. The startup has seen an incremental rise by 200 per cent rise in revenue from Jan-March 2020 to Jan-March of 2021.

Moglix has also worked to address the oxygen crisis that the country faced in the second wave The startup also collaborated with various initiatives such as ACT Grants and GiveIndia.

Debarghya Sil

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Correspondent

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