Entrepreneurs Murali Krishna and Sireesha Murali’s virtual showroom for electric vehicles and spare parts is a boon for EV companies and automobile spare parts suppliers. In a market where EV companies need a lucrative space to showcase their products, Evhub.in steps in as an online B2B platform catering to such businesses. In a conversation with Anisha Mehta from YourStory.in, co-founders Murali Krishna and Sireesha Murali share more.Tell us something about EVHUB
EVHUB is an online B2B platform for electric vehicles where EV companies and automobile spare parts suppliers meet and do business. The electric vehicles business is still in a nascent stage but is a growing trend. Suppliers and OEMs can join EVHUB and add their company profiles and products for free for getting maximum exposure online and reach their target audience. EVHUB also offers advertising services for companies, organises events, and offers products and help in branding, getting sales leads and reaching out a specific audience. EVHUB also sells electric bike spare parts online. The company has tons of free information on electric vehicles inIndiain form of articles, product comparisons, discussion forums, updated news, product reviews on EVs and green technologies around the world.
How did you come up with the idea?
Electric vehicles have always been my passion and web-designing is my hobby. The idea to create a portal for electric vehicles came with the vision to promote electric vehicles through the internet. EVHUB was first launched in 2008 as an experiment or hobby rather to only share our experiences on EVs and putting up news and informative articles on the electric vehicle industry. But soon we realised that there is a market for such vehicles and finally in 2011, we started EVHUB as an online media site to promote green technologies exclusively for the Indian market. .
Murali and Sireesha, if you can tell us something about your prior work experience?
After completing my masters degree in electrical engineering fromJadavpurUniversity, I have been working in the electric vehicles industry. I am a motor designer by profession and was introduced to electric vehicles while working with Samhyun Co Ltd inSouth Korea. I have had the opportunity to work with a number of electric vehicle technology startups, leading the team and building the company divisions from scratch. These opportunities and experience have taught me to be an entrepreneur. Sireesha has done her masters degree in organic chemistry and also is a MBA graduate. Earlier, she was into business development in e-learning companies but is now working full time with EVHUB.
How much capital did you invest in your venture?Till now, I have invested around Rs 3,00,000 from my personal savings on web-design, server maintenance of various websites relating to EVHUB, advertising and promotional activities.
Who are your customers?
Chennai-based BSA Motors and Coimbatore-based Eco-dynamic equipments are our customers. The site has helped them reach out a large number of customers. We are also expecting many other OEMs and spare part manufacturers to join our customer base soon. Also, electric bikes OEMs, dealers and end users are our customers in our online e-bike spare sales. EVHUB is the agent for various international events (currently dealing with AAITF, China and Auto Expo Kenya) for selling their exhibition space to Indian auto companies.
What are the challenges of setting up a venture like this especially when the EV vehicles market is still at a nascent stage?
The main challenge we are facing is lack of financial support for the venture, so I had to use my personal savings as and when required. But the passion towards promoting EVs is the secret of its survival. When we started EVHUB, the electric vehicles market was in an infant stage in India. Hence, a lot of hard work has gone into getting people’s attention and creating awareness on what exactly are electric vehicles.
What is your traction rate and how much has translated into sales?
We currently have slightly more than 30,000 unique visitors per month with maximum viewership in India, US and China. The sales conversion rate was low when we launched the site but recently we have notice that online e-bike spares sale is growing steadily and we are recording an increase in revenues. We are also interested in expanding to USA and China.
Define your revenue model.
EVHUB gets its revenue from its virtual showrooms, sales leads generated from event management and technology companies, online EV spares sales, advertising space and premium memberships to companies for promoting their products. Our interest is to give an online identity to small and medium sized companies and hence our pricing is low to suit their budgets.
How big is your team? Are you looking at hiring?
We started with one and we are now a six-member team. As our activities are growing day by day, we need to hire people. We require a full time web designer and marketing team. We are looking for funding before we start expanding the team.
There are similar companies in India like Evfuture.com. What kind of challenges does that pose to EVHUB?
Yes, now-a-days there are many similar websites coming online. This is a good sign as it indicates that the market for such products is growing. I think for next three years we are not thinking of competing with similar players as our sole objective is to promote the use of electric vehicles.
What is your market differentiator?
Our market differentiator is our exhaustive understanding of electric vehicle technology, market scenario, efficient media campaigns, global contacts in EV technical and media, a strong supply chain for our e-commerce activities and our wide reach to end users.
Do check out www.evhub.in for further details!