“Strike while the iron is hot” is what came to our mind when we read what entrepreneurs Deepan Chakravarthy, Ramprasad Rajendran, Girish Redekar and Raghuveer Kancherla have done. Taking an opportunity that seems to be staring everyone in the face, these friends have probably put together a startup in a remarkably short period of time. In an exciting four days of creativity and entrepreneurial inspiration, they created DeGhumaKe.com.Given below is an edited excerpt from the initial correspondence received from Deepan Chakravarthy that describes how the business idea was conceived, what it took to get it operational and the hurdles that they cleared in record time.
“Sometime back, we came across this blog post - http://madebyloren.com/posts/4. In short, it’s about a guy who saw an opportunity (the buzz around a snowstorm) and capitalized on it (by selling t-shirts). It was an interesting idea, riding on a naturally generated wave. It set us thinking about pulling off something similar in an Indian context. And pulling off something bigger. This is a story about that.
Here's a peek into our thought process
What is the wave that we can ride on in India?
The answer was staring at us. The Cricket World Cup, of course!
Okay, so if it’s cricket, what do we sell?
Given our backgrounds (we're all hackers), we have to sell something online. The time-window of opportunity was small since the World Cup fever lasts only 30 days. It’s better to bet on something that people are already used to buying. We won't have time to create the engagement or credibility needed to sell something new. How about t-shirts?
Why not? Myntra, 24hourLoot etc sell t-shirts online. So, the broad concept is defensible. But, there were others selling World Cup t-shirts too. We searched for World Cup merchandize on the ICC website and other places. Most shirts were priced at Rs 700/- onwards. More importantly, as cricket fans ourselves, we didn't really like any of them. So, we decided to make a t-shirt that we would have liked to buy at a price that we would have been ready to pay.
Meanwhile, one of us happened to hear the official song for the World-Cup, "De Ghuma Ke", on FM. It was a catchy phrase and we casually started searching it online. Google returned close to 2.1 million results and the search trends were climbing meteorically. With a stomach full of butterflies, we checked if the domain DeGhumaKe.com was taken. It wasn't. We were in business.
After buying the domain, we had to put the other pieces of the puzzle together. We designed a t-shirt. How do we print and send them? We played with the idea of ordering the shirts from Myntra (with our customer's shipping address). It was turning out to be too expensive. We then spoke with a few bulk t-shirt printers in Bangalore. But that wasn’t working out either. It was going to be difficult selling an Rs 500 t-shirt on an hitherto unknown website. Our target price point was Rs 265. We felt that if people liked the design, it was an amount that wouldn't make them think twice.
Just when things seemed impossible, we learnt that Tirupur in Tamil Nadu was a garment manufacturing hub, and an overnight journey from Bangalore. A few enquiries later, we had a contact in the town. We got a few samples and finalized material, design, sizes etc. Before long, we had a way to procure t-shirts at a price that was acceptable.
All that remained to be done was setting up the website. And that wasn’t a big concern, except for the one thing that perhaps every Indian startup dreads - payment gateways. We've had some experience with this before and knew that it was a mess. We explored cash-on-delivery. But we could not find a reasonable provider and definitely, not at the slim margins that we were operating at. We also explored the usual suspects in the Indian payment gateway marketplace - EBS, CC Avenues etc. The fastest time to be up and active was 35 days! PayPal seemed like the only possibility with a small glitch, i.e., users would be charged in dollars. We figured that it would probably hurt sales. But we didn't have a choice. So PayPal it was.
All of these things happened in 4 days. Now, here’s what’s happening with us currently. We are up and running athttp://deghumake.com. Currently, we are focusing on SEO, SEM and other marketing channels. The search volume for "De Ghuma Ke" keywords is likely to remain good through the World Cup. Hopefully, we can bank on it.
If all of this works out, it will be a well spent (and profitable) 20 days. If it doesn't, it's still a worthy experiment. Either way, the concept of a short-lived startup is potentially powerful. It forces you to discard all the bells-and-whistles and focus on the critical aspects. It teaches you to be decisive and resourceful. Everything happens breathtakingly fast. It’s the twenty-twenty of startups. The purists will raise their eyebrows. But who knows? It might be here to stay.”
We at YourStory wish DeGhumaKe all the very best. We’re going to keep an eye on them and find out what comes out of this experimental model. Meanwhile, do let us know what you think of the concept. You can write to us at email@example.com.