While working at Microsoft, Malaysia, Pranav Mehta and Venky Seshadri were bitten by the entrepreneurial bug. The duo started off with an idea to help artists and photographers sell art to consumers. However, on interacting with them they realised that bulk of their business comes from assignments and the current channels were inefficient or outdated.
Without wasting any time the duo pivoted their idea and started Flatpebble. It helps consumers connect with professional service providers like photographers, tutors among others.
Flatpebble has a fabric of true marketplace as it’s driven by active supplier involvement. The platform provides world class video and photo portfolios, budget estimator for customers, verified reviews, and an easy communication system from within Flatpebble.
Besides it also helps photographers to make decisions on their business strategies through its data sciences tool. By leveraging it, photographers can see budget clusters along with other details from customers.
The startup witnesses maximum traction from metros like Bangalore, Mumbai and Pune. “Cities like Nagpur surprise us with higher than usual budgets,” says Venky. The Microsoft Ventures supported company receives maximum quote under Rs.30-60K mark, while 15-20% of all requests are above Rs.100,000.
“Photographers are now moving towards a two brand strategy where an economical brand caters to requests in the Rs.30-60k level contributing to business volume and another high-end brand that offers higher end services like cinematic photography,” adds Venky.
At present, the Bangalore-based startup has over 1700 photographers listed on its platform. As of now, it contributed to over Rs.1 crore in business to its photographers from 300 cities in India.
Size of opportunity
Going by a rough market estimate, the wedding photography space is a $1.9 billion worth space which is largely disorganised and chaotic in India. There are about 250K professional wedding photographers working across about 500 cities in the country.
Keep iterating till you achieve
“We constantly improve our product adopting lean, agile and scrum methodologies and that’s brought us to where we are today,” points out Venky. Keep experimenting and trying out new things, the duo believes that this is the way to go forward.
Competition and road ahead
“Our competition is everyone or no one depending on how you see it. Listing sites like Just dial, Sulekha etc help customers today. Social media channels are being used by customers nowadays to find services. However, price discovery is a key factor in the decision. While a number of services provide a connect, getting quality, price and availability is the next level of decision making help that Flatpebble provides customers with,” says Venky.
Flatpebble is becoming bigger and broader, and some exciting new things are in the pipeline. “Our stint at the Microsoft Ventures Accelerator has helped us grow our demand by over 7X,” adds Venky. It also gears to launch a new category with tutors soon.