BigBakery: Story of the sweetest startup in Bangalore
The ecommerce business is booming in India and everyone wants a piece of that cake. Pradeep Bhogaiah, founder of BigBakery, wants that piece quite literally. BigBakery ambitiously claims to deliver freshly baked, delicately designed cakes to your doorstep within 24 hours and Bhogaiah has been toiling mercilessly to deliver on those claims. With a three pronged approach of intensive research (that included wandering the streets of Bangalore for two months), hard core team building and intricate delivery planning system, Bhogaiah plans to be here for the long haul. His story in his words:
What was your incentive for starting up? What were you doing previously with your life?
Prior to starting up, I was working as a sales and business development manager in Sellbytell (for Cisco), IBS Software Services. I’ve always wanted to do more with life. I felt that the strong skill set I acquired through my corporate job would aid me getting started with BigBakery. There has been no looking back since then.
What sparked the idea for BigBakery?
In the December of 2012 I quit my job and started a firm named SWADAR, providing marketing as a Service (MaaS). It was here that I started focusing on ecommerce. After doing an intensive research for six months to finalise product/vertical, I realized that the bakery vertical is an unorganized and untapped market online. For example, the number of bakeries far outnumber restaurants and fast food joints in the streets. Also many fast food joints and restaurants have been forced to shut down due to losses, but not bakeries. I spent over two months on the streets of Bangalore studying this trend as well.
To test the market we launched the portal www.bigbakery.in with cakes and now we are expanding as a marketplace online portal with sweets, chocolates, cookies, breads, snacks, namkeens, beverages and dairy products.
Whom do you consider prime competition for BigBakery? What do you think makes you stand apart from them?
Our convenient delivery service, quality products from best of the best vendors and home bakers, free home delivery and soon to be launched return policy (!) place us in a category all by ourselves.
Through BigBakery you are aiming to build a community of dessert and pastry home chefs. Please elaborate on how you are doing this? What is the biggest satisfaction in having a collaborative community behind your start up?
Yes, we are a marketplace model and are trying to tie up with best of the best vendors in Bangalore. We are also trying to help build a community of home chefs/baker’s (especially women) who are doing awesome products. We feel this to be a powerful initiative of women empowerment because they can create great products but are not able to create a market for those. We are trying to help this community to market their products effectively. In the recent future, we are going to setup an infrastructure and provide raw material for women chefs, bakers and homemakers to manufacture and distribute quality desserts.
Even if we are able to help ten such women in this process, it will provide the biggest satisfaction for us. Our aim is to empower at least 50 such home chefs by end of 2015.
In today’s landscape of fierce ecommerce competition, how do stay on top of logistical coordination while overcoming the challenges that come with delivering freshly baked delicate dessert items?
When we started developing this portal I was completely focused on the perfect delivery mechanism because I knew that if we can delivery fresh cakes we are good to go in this business. I was aware I should build a very good core delivery and logistics team and I was successful in that.
To delivery fresh cakes we use temperature control boxes and we have adopted point to point distribution system (vendor to client) with interim supply mechanism (a logistic team will help handover goods to delivery team at interim routes) with this we can manage current capacity. We have planned to procure temperature controlled vehicles to make the model more simple and effective.
I monitor the delivery team very closely. Even if I am in a meeting I attend the calls from my delivery team. At times, I personally go with my team to deliver as well and I have been successful in getting 50 rupees tips twice.
Initially we restricted delivery for few areas of Bangalore, now we are doing pan Bangalore delivery. We get the delivery team trained by professional baking instructors to handle the delicate nature of the cakes. It is paramount to avoid damages to the cake design. Till date we have faced 5 such situation and have compensated with fresh cake and refund full amount.
What were the biggest challenges you had to face in the early days of starting BigBakery? How did you overcome them?
Building the delivery team was biggest challenge. I had to work really hard on this and I have built a team with the known referral contacts. Second biggest challenge was convincing the vendors. So we adopted a community model. Gradually we were able to convince the vendors by showing them numbers. Like the one vendor who is expanding his kitchen to increase his capacity, as we are contributing 50% to his cake business.
How has life changed post starting up?
Employee to Entrepreneur is a very challenging journey. My life has changed drastically. I am working 16 – 18 hours per day, and there are still so many challenges to overcome.
But I feel tremendously satisfied when few customers call to tell us how much they loved our cake. Still the moment of feeling enriched hasn’t come yet. It will be when we are unfailingly recognized all over Bangalore and we stand as big brand in South India.
How did you secure funding for your venture?
Currently it’s completely bootstrapped. Me and my cofounder Pramod have invested equally. We are getting offers from few unprofessional (real estate & bakery owners) angel investors but we are very sceptical in choosing. We are discussing with few professional Angel Investors and Financial Institutions for further funding.
More than funding, we are looking for a great mentor!
What does the future look like for BigBakery?
We are holding ourselves tightly to achieving the following goals:
To create www.bigbakery.in as a brand and build a sustainable business.
To do 1000 transactions every day at BigBakery by Mid 2015.
To expand our operations in Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Cochin, Trivandrum and Mumbai.
To create a company with a team of minimum 5000 employees and presence in 10 Cities in India and a revenue of $100 million by March 2017.
There is also an exciting development to look forward to. We are in discussion with few European companies to launch their bakery confectionaries exclusively in India. We get it manufactured here with our community home chefs and pay royalty to European company.
Lastly, do you get to eat a lot of free cake?
Actually no. This free cake concept has led to many misunderstandings as some friends and relatives expect it free from us. But when we are discussing with a new vendor we get a lot of cakes, chocolates, cookies and sweets as sample.
When as part of marketing activity we send out sample cakes to companies, at that point I also will have a bite along with the client.
You can satisfy that sweet tooth here