The debate about the value addition MBAs bring to startups is always fresh. But Sun-Bazaar, the brainchild of Samarth Wadhwa and Kumar Gaurav, owes its genesis to their MBA courses. The intriguing discussions that occurred in the course taken by Prof. Mahesh Bhave during their MBA at IIM Kozhikode, led these two youngsters to start their own venture. They worked on a case study of ‘First Solar’ during one of the courses and it involved heated discussions with their batch mates regarding the prospect of solar in India. The seeds of Sun-Bazaar were sown during one of these conversations.
They sent the idea to various B-Plan Competitions and got the much needed confidence to actually start up from the recognition and encouragement received at these forums. With the feedback they received, the initial idea kept evolving to get a more robust, sustainable and unique purview. Sun-Bazaar was formulated on paper to solve three basic needs of the solar industry: accessibility, reliability and service.
Solar has traditionally been a B2B industry with very limited B2C presence. And Sun-Bazaar is working to change the perception about solar products and turn it into a consumer good. Aiming to transform a B2B industry into a B2C industry, Sun-Bazaar is exploring the online platform to fulfill these three needs in an easy, safe and convenient way. They are also looking to introduce transformative changes in the B2B industry by providing a marketplace to make the industry processes a lot more efficient and secure. This platform has been conceptualised to facilitate online trading, manage RFQs and enquiries with marketing and analytics features to bridge the gap between buyers and sellers.
Sun-Bazaar is building itself on four pillars:
e-Comm - online solar e-commerce store
e-Biz - online solar marketplace that contains OEMs, solar module manufacturers, system integrators, renewable consultants etc
e-Learn - online learning module which would offer certifications and degrees in various courses on renewable energy
e-Consult - this would also offer technical consultancy for solar power generation projects for households as well as for large institutions and organizations
Educating and making the customers aware of the benefits of using solar goods is an uphill task. Samarth and Gaurav have come across numerous people who have shown interests in various solar products but are yet to put their money on it. The major reason is the expectation of deriving immediate benefits. Solar is something which requires a large upfront investment, at least in the case of power plants, but it is advantageous in the long run.
According to them, educated and informed people must understand their contribution towards a greener environment. Owning a small solar product, such as a solar lantern, a gate light or a garden light doesn’t cost you much but can have very positive impact on the health of the environment if most of us become part of this drive. Innovative products like solar backpack and solar chargers are also present in the market today and they should definitely enhance the acceptability of solar products.
Starting their operations in November 2013, they have achieved an eight digit turnover in a relatively short period of time. Online e-commerce is slow to pick up and it is contributing close to 10% of their revenues. The bulk of the business has come from offline sales and they are looking for this to transition to online sales channel soon.
More stories of startups in the solar sector here.