How many times have you ordered something online, waited days and weeks for it to come only to be disappointed in the end after receiving the product. It has happened to most of us.
At such point, we often rue the time spent on it, from searching through hundreds of products and their online reviews to the time we finally order it. Let’s admit it. Online shopping also needs a ton of effort. No doubt it has some advantages over physical shopping when it comes to ease of selection and access to a wide range of products and the delivery, but one aspect where it cannot beat a visit to a physical store is the ability to feel the product.
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But what about online reviews? They can certainly solve it right? Wrong! Many of the online reviews in today’s eCommerce stores are not genuine. They are done to create a good rating of the product. As such, they do not necessarily provide the most accurate review of the product. Then how do we solve it?
Here comes SpotKwik, a new shopping platform where you can actually buy products after reading through the reviews of products from people you trust. SpotKwik makes it possible to read genuine reviews from your friends and family who have bought the same product.
We at Hasty Insights got an opportunity to have a chat with Mithun Adith, the founder of SpotKwik. Here are the excerpts of the interview.
Give a brief info about your startup?
When you use any of the online shopping stores, you’re often putting the fate of your shopping experience in the hands of a stranger. Most of the time, we decide what to buy by reading a stranger’s online reviews. SpotKwik is a new shopping platform that helps you get real recommendations and great advice for shopping from your friends, family, and others you trust and admire. With us, you can make the right buying decision.
What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?
It all started with Nyra. Nyra is an old friend of mine, who often looks to buy something online. She truly enjoys the comfort of online shopping. One day, she was dull, frustrated and I hadn’t seen her like that in many years. I asked her the reason and her response made me think. It turned out that the new shoes she bought from one of the famous online stores was not good, though it had a 4-star rating and positive reviews. She had to return it and from then on, every time she ordered something online, she ordered it with doubt and she felt satisfied only after using it for a while. Soon, I realized that there are many like Nyra out there, facing this problem every time they shop online. This struck my mind. Then came the journey of research to ideation and prototype to execution. Currently, we have launched a product that exactly solves this issue.
Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?
I had two startups and three jobs in a span of one and a half years. I always wanted to find something that I love to do so much so that I don’t have to wait for the sun to rise to get to work. Hiring Equations, which was my first venture was a blockbuster failure. I saw it crumble right before me. That was because I refused to acknowledge the ‘Iceberg’ until the ship started sinking! (yes, like in the movie Titanic). But, I didn’t run from it. Rather I embraced it and analyzed the post-mortem of my failed startup and learned some valuable lessons. Then I started working in Wipro. I soon felt bored with the old idea of cubicles. As a result, I left Wipro and changed jobs twice and worked for HousingMan and Appiness Interactive in search of a challenge. Finally, I’m in my second stint to put a dent in the universe through SpotKwik.
Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?
We are based out of Bengaluru and I specifically chose Bengaluru because the entire environment keeps evolving with the influx of different people from around the world. Thus, the people of Bengaluru are very much open to trying out new things. If we have a product and we want to find out the initial validation, we have to go out, and there will be thousands of users who will be happy to give us one. Also, as an entrepreneur, I need a great ecosystem to build a successful business. I found the key components of an excellent ecosystem like talent, learning opportunities, market, networking, and fun in the proper mix at Bengaluru.
As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?
The zeal and thirst to solve the global and hyper-local problems doesn’t let me sleep. I love the journey of solving problems and I’m actually solving it relentlessly. Being a founder, what excites me is the journey with a lot of hardships, plot twists, turmoils and learnings from failures. Above all, helping our community to lead a better life with the help of technology gives me a big high.
Who are your competitors and how are you better than them?
Currently, no other companies in India are trying what we are doing. There are very few companies in China and the United States, trying it out on their respective markets. Still, they are testing the waters. We have decided to do it for the good of people. We are empowering people to shop anything online with the help of a trusted source of information. Our user experience will almost give you the orgasmic and pleasurable experience you get on experiencing the things you love.
How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?
This incredible journey of doing something meaningful, demands a lot of blood, sweat, and tears from me and maintaining a work-life balance is very tough. I struggled a lot in my early days of entrepreneurship and I learned to use time differently. I found out what time suits my persona and when I will be very productive. I also found out what my time-wasters were. Trust me, it were the people and tasks. I built a list of people and tasks that ate a lot of my time for nothing and trimmed them from my schedule.
Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.
We are in the initial stages of talking with certain VCs to raise the seed. A couple of industry’s big names are quite interested in our product. The early responses seem promising and I hope by the end of this financial year, we might pump in fresh funds into our company.
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What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?
Many who worked alongside me, often considered me as a perfectionist. This might be because of the reason that I always focus on minute details like a craftsman, in order to bring out the WOW factor. But honestly, I’m not a perfectionist, I’m trying to do justice to whatever I work on. I wanted to do what the product or idea demanded. People should know that I’m just an impresario, who knew how to marshall resources to build beautiful products.
What gets you excited about this company?
Only two things. The complexity of the problem we are trying to solve and the extremely phenomenal people in this company who married themselves to this product’s vision. I’m blessed to have people who love what they are doing in the journey of SpotKwik and I’m in debt to take care of their life as a whole. Our working environment inspires everyone to become entrepreneurs. It is highly innovative, enthusiastic and open. I invite everyone to come and meet my team over a cup of coffee and I bet you will love the energy and creativity brewing among us. Of course, our guys’ incurable optimism and forceful curiosity will definitely inspire you a lot.
Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.
Every day is a fun, highly productive, and a more demanding run for me! I’m a late starter since I go to bed by 3 AM every day. The last thing I do every day is preparing my To-dos for the next day. I wake up by 9 AM and start my day with coffee. I spend the first few hours consuming knowledge followed by eating the big frog on my plate. I do the important meetings in the evenings and I usually spend 10 minutes with each of my team members to listen to their queries in late evenings. I do all the rudimentary tasks between 8 PM and 11 PM. Post 11 PM, I focus on crucial things like analyzing the competitive market landscape, expansion opportunities, industry developments and assessing risks to the company. Every weekend, I assemble my team, motivate them and assist them to nurture their strengths and innate abilities.
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Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?
The journey of finding them was a beautiful experience! Meeting each one of them and taking them on my journey still looks magical to me. I met Anusha, my co-founder in my campus interview. It’s more of like love at first sight, where I fell for her zeal and thirst towards solving the problems and I proposed my idea to her right away. From then on, she’s fixing all the missing pieces which helped us to get going. Then I met Mayilsamy, Sreedev, Sachin, Rajsekhar and Mohan Raj at different timelines and at different places. All these guys are extremely skillful and deeply passionate about their work. What you see in SpotKwik now would be impossible without them. I thank all of them for believing in me and in my vision.