Yet another empowering story that entails the carving of a niche in the startup ecosystem; this is the story of Dr K.S. Bhatia. The question isn’t who he is, but what he is. A seasoned entrepreneur, he is the founder and CEO of the award-winning startup Pumpkart and the revolutionary Figgital.
Dr K.S. Bhatia comes from humble beginnings, and it is through sheer hard work and determination that he has garnered worldwide acclaim as an evangelist, business leader, mentor and motivational speaker.
How it all began
Dr Bhatia’s entrepreneurial journey began right from his college days when he began selling sweaters and shawls brought in from Amritsar and Ludhiana, on the streets of MG Road and Brigade Road. In 1998 he started working for a company that sold water pumps, at a meagre pay of INR 6000.
Dr Bhatia’s father was a significant influence in his life, who imparted him with the wisdom of the 3Hs – humility, honesty and humanity. He used these principles throughout his personal and professional journey, eventually inclining towards entrepreneurship instead of a stable corporate job.
The story of Pumpkart
These learnings and experiences pushed Dr K.S Bhatia to incorporate Pumpkart in 2014, a B2C marketplace for selling water pumps. The endeavour received tremendous acclaim from Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet, in his speech addressed to PM Narendra Modi at the ‘Digital India’ dinner which brought together top tech CEOs in San Jose, California.
The big mistake of 2018
Dr Bhatia’s story was not all roses and lilies, and it took several mistakes and learnings for him to reach the position he is at today. In 2018, Dr K.S. Bhatia brought the Consumer Products armoury under the aegis of Pumpkart. The move turned out to be a huge blunder as retailers were sceptical of procuring consumer durables from a platform that was a pioneer in water pumps specifically. Naturally, the move was not intercepted well, and did not produce any success.
The transformation in 2020
Determined as he was to undo his mistake and challenge the shortcomings, Dr Bhatia in incorporated Figgital in 2020. This far-sighted move was no less than a revolution in the retail segment, providing a hyper-local platform for consumer electronics. But, as fate had it, 2020 threw upon the dreading Covid-19 pandemic that washed away his ambitions. Both his brands were on the brink of shutting down. However, his conviction and self-belief of a true entrepreneur pushed him to never give up and enabled him to climb back up and hold the fort.
Measures for business in 2020
Amid the lockdown and its restrictions, Mr Bhatia swam against the anxiety tide by converting local consumer durables stores into Figgital franchises. His prolific idea led to the establishment of more than 20 franchises in the region. In no time, Figgital grew into a vast retail chain dealing in Electronics, Home and Kitchen Appliances in India with a sound digital presence.
So, how did Mr Bhatia manage to transform Figgital into a thriving business amid the lockdown in 2020? He did so by giving a much-need makeover to his business operations through a lean team model comprising freelancers working from remote locations.
Current & future scenario
Come 2021, Figgital has expanded its presence with over 100+ stores in South India. In addition to franchises, Figgital already has alliance with one of the popular electronics brands with whom they will be partnering in a CSD business in the South Indian states. Besides, Figgital is also partnering with Jadooz in the opening of Mini Malls in India, launching around 200 stores nationwide. Bhatia says that Consumer Durables & Electronics contributes almost 180 Billion Dollars market which is growing at 13% annually and Consumer Electronics growing more than 20% annually. In Consumer Electronics Hardly 20 Billion Dollars Market is being captured by Modern Retail & Online Players and there is huge scope for Organized Players for this segment.
Seeing Such a big Future Mr Bhatia envisions launching 5000 stores across the nation by 2026, functioning and delivering in a much different way compared to other traditional players.
Ideology and philosophy
Every successful endeavour is built on the pillars of strong dogmas that sets it apart from the crowd. Dr K.S. Bhatia’s vision is no exception. He believes in empowering the right people for the right task. Doing so enables everyone to grow and develop, personally and professionally.
Dr Bhatia also believes that successful leadership stems from mistakes and failures. When it comes to commerce, there is no single defining factor. It is the interplay of several aspects such as loyalty, a collective commitment by collaborating with like-minded people who share the same enthusiasm towards the vision. Finally, a successful business is one that follows a customer-oriented approach, hearing customers out and solving their problems; products are the intermediaries that helps delivering problem-specific results. Hindustan Times