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Koramangala based startup Mebelkart.com finds huge local market for selling furniture online

KORAMANGALA: Koramangala has given birth to many startups and Mebelkart Technologies, which owns and runs the online furniture shop Mebelkart.com, is one of those growing in a big way. This startup, formed in Koramangala, is operating in seven cities as of now. 

MONEY MATTERS 

"The seeds of the company were sown in the famous Chaiwalla shop in 5th block 1st cross, near Sukh Sagar hotel. The place remained as the meeting point of the team before we got our office," said Ranjeet Vimal, co-founder and CTO of the company. Incidentally, Koramangala also got them the initial three big orders. 

The company said that out of the total orders coming from Bangalore, Koramangala accounts for 15-20 per cent of it with the major chunk of the orders coming in over Rs 10,000 range. 

"There is a huge demand for sheesham and bamboo products in this market. We also sell chairs and beanbags to corporate offices in the region," told Nikhil Saraf, co-founder and chief operating officer (COO) of Mebelkart. 

Moreover, the venture hopes to get an even larger chunk of their clientele from Koramangala in the coming time, as Vimal told that the annualised market would be about $2 million in this region, considering the high disposable incomes of the people. "The corporate market would be a major chunk of this, where there is a huge demand of chairs, workstations and beanbags," he added. 

ORIGINS 

Mebelkart is a company focused on making furniture and home decor buying experience seamless through the use of technology. The company was started by the trio of 
Ranjeet Vimal (CTO), Rahul Agrawal (CEO) and Nikhil Saraf (COO). 

Agrawal studied B Tech in electrical engineering from IIT Kanpur and is a serial entrepreneur. He started a company called Young Engineers during his stay at IIT Kanpur with annual revenues of Rs 20 lakhs. Vimal is a M Tech in computer science and engineering from IIT-Bombay. He is also the founder of 
DreamStarts.in, a job portal for SMEs and Saraf is a 2nd generation furniture entrepreneur and holds the degree of BE in electronics and MSc in mathematics from BITS Pilani. 

After having passed out from IIT Bombay, IIT Kanpur and BITS Pilani, the co-founders gained industry experience in some of the leading internet global companies. During their stints in these companies, the co-founders realized that buying quality furniture was a painful job and involved huge investment of time and money. 

"We wanted to solve the problem and hence Mebelkart was born in August, 2011, 'Mebel' is Russian for furniture. We started with a seed capital of Rs 30 lakh which came from our
savings
," told Vimal.

BUSINESS IN FOCUS 

Mebelkart is eyeing the furniture and home decor industry. 90 per cent of the $22 billion market is fragmented in India. Out of this, household comprises of 65 per cent, office 20 per cent and contract 15 per cent. The industry is growing at 25 per cent 
CAGR with the imports rising at 65 per cent CAGR. With the rise of a strong middle class there is a huge demand for designer products made of different material like bamboo, pine, etc, according to several industry reports. 

"We are trying to bridge this gap by institutionalising the already present designs, materials; bringing our own designed products," said the co-founder of the company. 

BUSINESS MODEL 

In terms of their business model, Mebelkart follows the popular e-commerce model. Basically, it buys products from manufacturers across the country and abroad, make them live on the portal and as soon as an order comes, it is delivered to the delivery center, where the company's logistic team takes care of the final shipping. 

"We have tie-ups with over 200 suppliers who are 
spread across India and abroad," told the co-founder of the company. 

At present, the startup is selling close to 5000 products pertaining to categories like beanbags, chairs and recliners, home furniture, baby and kids, bed and bath, decor and
sports furniture. 

GROWTH STORY 

The company is registering a considerable growth, over the past 10 months it has witnessed close to 80 per cent month-on-month growth in its Gross Merchandize Value (GMV). The company attained a revenue run-rate of Rs 12 lakh in the month of July and is now expecting to cross $1 million GMV in this financial year (2013-2014). Mebelkart competes with the more mature players for online furniture, like UrbanLadder, Pepperfry, Jabong, Fabfurnish, Homeshop18 - to name a few. 

"We have the 'local' advantage over them. If you buy from them the product gets shipped from their central warehouse in the country which leads to increased delivery times and higher shipping cost. We have organized our distribution system in a way that we can offer better services at a lower cost," concluded Agarwal (CEO).