Started in 2007, Diamond Technology Solutions have taken several large strides so far. A part of the Microsoft BizSpark Program and the Intel Software Partner Program. they were also nominees for the TATA NEN Hottest Startup Awards. Having several large clients ($50 million plus) including Jewelex, KGK and Shairu Gems, DTS provides the most Advanced Diamond and Jewellery Platforms.In conversation with Abhilasha Dafria for YourStory, founder Kashyap Mehta tells us more about how his venture aims at changing the way the Diamond and Jewellery Industry operates by creating Innovative, user friendly and robust technology driven solutions.
Please introduce Diamond Technology Solutions to our readers.
Diamond Technology Solutions was established to bring together new technology driven ideas with old practices governing the global Diamond and Jewellery Industry to create innovative solutions. Since it was established in 2006, we have worked closely with some of the biggest Diamond and Jewellery manufacturers and retailers to create exciting new products and solutions.
Could you tell us more about the services and products you provide? Tell us in detail about your flagship e-commerce products Odin and E-Jewel.
Odin and E-Jewel are our copyrighted software products that are the most advanced inventory and online sales technology in the industry. Our fast diamond search-engine and dynamic jewellery pricing capability provide an interesting tool for online buyers. Our unique jewellery builders allow end-consumers to intuitively build their own jewellery online. Our platforms are being used by companies in 8 different countries and have been translated into 5 languages.
It is a full-fledged Virtual Office software that covers all aspects of a business, whether selling loose diamonds, gemstones or finished jewellery. It allows companies to open an office or storefront in the dot-com world while automating all processes of the business including Inventory, Pricing, Marketing, Sales, Payment and Finance.
How does the domestic market accept the concept of online jewellery as against the traditional one?
With loose diamonds being certified by internationally recognized labs, diamond has become a commodity. The 40+ parameters that detail a diamond specification make it easy to compare. While online trading in the B2B space is already a huge business (over $2 billion inIndia), it has also started to capture the interest of the end-consumer.
The first thing that comes to mind with jewellery is ‘authenticity’ and ‘trust factor’. How do you take care of that?
The trust factor is essential when trying to sell diamonds and jewellery even though it is a product that is certified and easily comparable. We are in the process of tying up with a well known retail jewellery brand, with a pan-India presence that will help us establish trust with our online venture.
So how did you come up with this idea?
I looked into several business opportunities in the beginning including a bookmyshow.com type ticketing service, modular furniture for offices, portals for online stock trading, and of course video game development.
After 6 months of researching different business ideas, I saw opportunity in the E-Commerce space for diamonds and jewellery. Since my family and bunch of relatives were in the diamond industry, this was an option that I had in mind for a while. Bringing a BlueNile.com type retail jewellery model toIndiamade a lot of sense, but question was, was the Indian consumer ready to buy loose diamonds and jewellery online? The timing did not seem right.
So instead, in 2007, I decided to start with building a business around selling advanced software and e-commerce solutions for the diamond and jewellery industry with a focus on the B2B sector. The plan was, when the timing is right, hit the market with a B2C e-commerce website.And what is your background?
I graduated in Computer Science from theUniversityofVirginia, and got my dream job in the video game industry at EA Sports, where I did Physics and Gameplay Programming. In 2006, I decided to start my own business. With no clue what I wanted to do, I quit my job, sold / gave away my car, furniture, most of my clothes, and decided to take a backpacking trip toSouth Americahoping I’d strike an innovative business idea. That didn’t happen, of course. I did however, make up my mind that there was no place other thanIndiathat I wanted to start a business.
What were the challenges you faced while starting up? Tell us about your initial hurdles.
There are tough times that every entrepreneur goes through. And it is at those times you realize the importance of your belief in your idea, because that is what you will need to help you pass through the testing phase.
In the first couple of years, we went through a tough time trying to convince diamond and jewellery companies of the benefits of our product. Being an industry that is relatively conservative and resistant to change, it took long. However, we gradually found our niche, built a customer base and products that now market themselves.
Could you tell us a little about the tie-ups that helped you scale?
Our office is located in the centre of the diamond market in Opera House, Mumbai. We have tied up with several diamond and jewellery manufacturers to bring their inventory directly to the end-consumers. Currently, we have set up different sites for B2B sales for each manufacturer. We are in the process of setting up a single online store, tentatively under the brand name iJool – www.ijool.com , to bring loose diamonds and jewellery from multiple manufacturers and brands to consumers.
What percentage of sales come from the international markets?
From the software solutions perspective, currently 60% of our revenue comes from international clients. From the perspective of selling diamonds and jewellery online, we are currently focusing on marketing efforts within India. In the future, we do intend to look at international markets as our sourcing capabilities present us decent margins to work with. However, there are several hurdles to tackle before we do this, including customer service, logistics and payment collection.
Tell us a bit about your clients.
The retail jewellery brand that we are tying up with has retail presence all over India. Diamond companies that we work with are primarily based in large diamond trading centres such as Mumbai, Hong Kong, Antwerp and New York.
Did you fund-raise to startup?
This software venture has been entirely self-funded. For the E-Commerce part of our business, we fund the technology part of the venture, whereas the jewellery / diamond companies that we tie-up with, fund the marketing efforts. Also, inventory is carried by the diamond and jewellery companies.
Are there other players in the market doing similar things? What is your USP?
There are a couple of companies selling unbranded diamonds and jewellery. However, our ability to source diamonds and jewellery directly from manufacturers on our platform, and our tie-up with a known retail brand gives us an advantage over other players.
Can you share with us some interesting trends about the market that you are trying to capture?
Overall, E-Commerce in India is growing at about 50-70% per year. More specifically, online retail has only started showing its true potential in India since the last 1-2 years. Online Jewellery Retail is estimated at around Rs. 200-250 crore in 2010-11, and we see this growing to Rs. 350-400 crore in current financial year. Globally, online jewellery retail is a $4 billion market.
Do visit http://dtspoint.com/ for more details about the venture.