How it started
After finishing his engineering, Jhaveri joined EBS (now Ogone), an online payment gateway for ecommerce companies. However, within a year, he was bitten by the startup bug and started his own venture, ambab. During the ideation phase, Jhaveri managed to bring two investors on board, but things turned highly unfavorable for him when both backed out within a few weeks. “It came as jolt to me. With investors' support, we had rented a swanky office in Mumbai, and hired employees on decent packages,” says Jhaveri. However, this blow didn’t deter his confidence and he decided to pay salary and offices bill from his father's savings. After the first month, Jhaveri shifted his office to his two-room apartment, and retained two part-time employees who used to come and work from his flat, post their office hours.
“Initially, we powered a few small ecommerce stores. Our first big break came when we opted to move to Gurgaon and joined hands with the Smile Group. For 8 months, our complete team, including me, was involved in building Smile Group’s ecommerce businesses, such as Fashionanadyou, Dealsandyou and Bestylish,” adds Jhaveri. After the successful launch of Smile’s portfolio companies, Jhaveri moved back to Mumbai and co-founded the artisans and craftsmen focused marketplace, Craftsvilla, which also attracted $1.5 investment. His love for ambab continued and within a year he resigned from Craftsvilla and teamed up with Ankur to invigorate ambab’s operation.
Offerings and scaling-up
ambab’s flagship service Service-as-a-Product, is a bit different from the SaaS model like Zepo and Infibeam’s Buildabazaar. Unlike SaaS, SaaP gives you dedicated infrastructure, database, software with complete control over code and data, in a standard, easy, and scalable implementations. It is standard pay-per-service model, where ambab offers services on fixed fees retainer and project basis.
Till 2011, ambab was a 7-member team, now it has over 40 employees, powering over a few hundred ecommerce stores. “Currently, ambab is serving startups promoted by leading corporates in the country and globally including Asia TV, NDTV (Indianroots), Shoppers Stop, Bullion India (RSBL and NCDX) company, GetIt Infomedia,” adds Jhaveri. Besides these, it also offers technological support for young startups like Nykaa.com (promoted by Falguni Nayarit, ex CEO Kotak Mahindra IB), IndiaCircus.com (Krishna Mehta’s privately label), 109f, a leading fashion brand and several others.
“Our biggest turning point was Ankur, my childhood friend, who joined us in December 2012, taking a complete control of our operations and finance,” says Jhaveri. In his earlier stint Ankur worked as an investment banker, and had been part of big investment deals for leading businesses in India. Interestingly, so far, the company has not invested a single penny on marketing.
This year, the company plans to launch two more services, including Buyoriginalbrands.com, which will offer ecommerce services to leading single category brands on a revenue-sharing model. “We are currently in the selection process, and the first project to be launched under BoB is 109f, a leading women fashion wear brand. Apart from this, ambab will also launch a startup incubator to help young entrepreneurs through its tech team on retainer and equity model. “We are currently evaluating businesses and I welcome startups to write to me and participate in this program. We are partnering with leading angel networks to offer this service,” concludes Jhaveri.