CASE STUDIES: Pepupworld.com

Name of the Startup: Pep Up World
Name of the entrepreneur: Pradeep Sharma

After working for a couple of years in the IT industry, Pradeep, a hard core techie noticed the lack of time among Gurgaon families to carry out their regular shopping. Hence, he started out to establish a platform, orderchotu, in 2014, to connect buyers with the local Kirana shops. They spent time and effort onboarding stores who were only too happy to have a digital presence. But, the moment of truth came in when they were asked to pay a commission on sales. Most were uninclined to pay any amount to the platform. The residents too did not evince great enthusiasm after the initial interest. Added to this was the unsatisfactory service rendered by the small-time stores to the platform users. The net result, it was time for the founders to change tack.

The team noticed that after the initial enthusiasm, the shoppers on the platform were active largely on weekends and the items they bought were mostly party items. Quickly, the team decided to create a service, pepupworld.com, that helped platform users to exchange party invites. And, if the users needed help, orderchotu was available to deliver party needs. While this brought in activity on the platform, the team noticed that they were busy only over the weekends. This was not enough.

Thus, to this, they brought in the feature of outdoor partying. Partnering with restaurants, pubs, farmhouse owners, pools, etc., the team sought to leverage the culture of partying outside. Extending this further, they built the capability to filter venues based on user parameters. The team hoped to engage with the users’ decision making and take on large contracts. However, what they realised was that the decision making for large parties is neither logical or rational. At many times, it was largely emotional and driven mostly by someone who was not really part of the decision making.

Hence, the team decided to focus on small-sized groups such as couples, by offering them experiences. The demand turned out to be seasonal and it was also becoming difficult to generate experience outings. To improve the utilisation, the team started pub crawls, themed dates, etc. These did not offer high revenues or margins. The skill set needed was becoming demanding and not easily available. Despite living within their revenues, the team relaized that the time for this model of business was up and they are now working on concentrating on their strength, which is a technology focused operation.

The team’s learnings

1. Focus on your strength; work on what you can do well. Here, entertainment operations was not their forte..
2. Assumptions are killers. .
3. Impact deliveries, even if they are small, are good. Delivering a newsletter of curated quality events would have been good. They tried this with a subscription model, which did not work, though.
4. A customer’s decision making is not always rational.

Pradeep’s suggestion to startups

• Play only to your strength. Periodically check if you are deviating.
• Stay disciplined.
• Do not rely on assumptions. Always test your hypothesis.
• Manage your time.
• Before you look to manage your team, learn to manage yourself, for, in most cases, you will be doing many tasks for which you may be neither skilled nor equipped.

- Reported by
Rameshwar ,healthyjio.in
rameshwar at healthyjio dot in