A serial entrepreneur's passion towards product development - the Gloob story
Gloob is a product design boutique that currently provides products in the home décor space. They trade online as well as offline, and have a unique assortment that ranges from wall art, art pieces, laptop stickers and sculptures. While one would think that it would be alright to call them a home décor company, founder and mentor of Gloob, Kunal Sharma, would disagree. This serial entrepreneur, who also invests in companies (Tushky, being one of the many) is passionate about product design, which is at the core of Gloob.
The journey leading to the inception of Gloob is filled with working with startups, their exits, finding new problems to solve and starting up again. And this time around, Kunal believes that he’s onto to something. Read on to know why -
Prior to Gloob, Kunal, along with Rohit Jain and Saurabh Saxena had founded an education startup, Mexus Education. Kunal says, “It was a typical garage startup. We ran it till about 2008, when Bilakhias, the Gujrati holding company acquired it. We divested most of our equity into it.” In this time, Kunal got in touch with Ankur Mucchal, one of his classmates from IIT Bombay, who was then running Xion Media. He says, “There is a big gap in the product development space in India. The aim was to productise product design.”
Kunal shared that they went about doing this by buying physical products from home décor retail showrooms and reverse engineering them to see how they can be built differently. They zeroed in on the wall decoration space - “If you remember those tattoos you got from bubble gums, we thought that a similar thing can be used as wall art. Only, we needed to find a printing machine which could print larger versions of those. We installed the first machine in house and that’s essentially how Gloob started.”
The business end
Kunal is also an investor in Tushky. He says, “Customer acquisition online is expensive and we were experiencing that with Tushky. I remember coming back to Ankur and telling him to try and personally approach a distributor with the product. The first guy we approached gave us 50,000 Rs for a batch of the product. That was in a way the point of epiphany for us where we thought there was something to this business.” Since then, Gloob has added on 175 distributors across 80 cities who are customers for their over 5000 product portfolio. Gloob sells inventory of about 2 to 8 Lakhs to each distributor. “I think we’ve cracked distribution to some extent for our products. We haven’t raised a single penny in funding and we’re raking in a decent amount in revenue every month and are profitable,” Kunal adds.
Kunal shared that Gloob will be looking to raise a bridge round in the near future. He says, “A few VC firms have shown interest in Gloob, but we do realize that we have to increase our monthly revenues by a bit before we can raise a Series A round.” Kunal shared that the investment would be used in setting up more manufacturing units and targeted marketing to increase brand recall among architects and interior designers.
On a personal level...
Gloob has a lean startup team with about 20 employees divided across sales, supply chain and design, apart from the four member core management team. The business plan and the revenue that it’s generating is telling of an experienced entrepreneur at work. Furthermore, Kunal shared that they're operating in a market worth over 1 lakh crore in India and $553 billion globally. However, Kunal has a more personal reason for starting up Gloob. He says, “I think both me and Ankur are just passionate about product development. New design possibilities keep us up at night.”
Kunal’s vision for Gloob is to make it a premier design boutique, something that India doesn’t have enough of - “We’ve got such brilliant product design courses from our product design schools, but the opportunity to put all that knowledge to optimum use in India is very less. They’d end up at some automobile company at best. This opportunity can be provided to them by a design boutique, which is what Gloob is. Here, you can develop a product and walk a few blocks and get it manufactured, all in one day.”
Check out Gloob for some impressive wall art