The recent YourStory Fireside Chat with Matrix Partners and LimeRoad was full of energy and in-depth conversation. LimeRoad Founder Suchi Mukherjee, Matrix’s Avnish Bajaj, and LimeRoad style director Neha Dhupia had useful insight to share about e-commerce growth and brand building. The discussion centred around what it takes to build a marketplace for Indian consumer, the golden rules for creating a passionate community and the missionary approach to building a lasting business.
Below are some excerpts from the conversation with Suchi Mukherjee.
On starting up a consumer business in India
“This is a phenomenal time for anyone who is passionate about consumer internet in India. LimeRoad today has an amazing product, thousands of vendors, engaged participation from the community and everything scrollable on a mobile interface. This is a great time, and we are building something that we believe is truly special and lasting.”
On hiring and retaining great talent
“When I came back to India, I set up a tech team in Bangalore. I used to spend time in Bangalore and Delhi. Then I moved our entire tech from Bangalore to Delhi and everyone moved. That shows the kind of commitment our team has to LimeRoad. I unhesitatingly call my team at 4am in the morning. We internally have a great rights plus great duties philosophy -- and when you hire the best people, this mantra works very well.”
The impact LimeRoad is creating in India
“We’ve been able to grow this community because we are humble. Every time we make a mistake, we send a long passionate email to our users. My partners and I think that we are the back office at LimeRoad, our community is the front end and our team is the middle ground that merges both parties.”
On focus required for building a great product
“I think about revenue only two days a month, and maybe I spend an hour on revenues everyday. The rest of the time we are focussed on building an amazing product. I have seen this happen in the past at eBay, Gumtree and Skype, and my partner Prashant has seen that at Facebook, as well. Money will flow if you have a good product, and if have a bad product -no matter what you do- money will not come. That is our core mantra. We’re thinking about core platform problems. In India, 50-70% of people who download an app in the first month churn. Our churn rate is only 40%. Most interestingly, of all the people who survived the first month, 75% of users come back in the second month and they use the app at least 10 times in a month. Our focus is just to keep investing in the core platform and keep our consumers happy, and we believe returns will come.”
On ultimate goal for LimeRoad
Some of our vendors who’ve been with us have now become vendor millionaires. My biggest challenge is to enable every possible vendor in India to be a millionaire. I am very proud of our community and our scrapbookers. My only goal is to reach out to every single woman in this country and convert her into a LimeRoad user, and turn our vendors into millionaires.
Neha Dhupia when asked about her involvement with LimeRoad
I stumbled upon the site and thought it was amazing. I loved using the product and wanted to meet the woman behind this venture, so I called Suchi. I was really impressed with Suchi after meeting her. She’s been part of many things at the level of creating in the past. After that meeting, I was a Suchi fan. I told her that I want to support her in any way I could. I’ve been following e-commerce since quite sometime, and I love the way LimeRoad has the ability to reach out, involve and make the consumer their own. LimeRoad works like magic with my personality and I love working with the LimeRoad team.
Avnish Bajaj when asked about why he invested in LimeRoad
We’ve not invested in LimeRoad, we have invested in the founder Suchi. I hadn’t even understood the concept that time and there was no prototype. We invested in her. She had not yet moved back to India at that time. We got introduced via mutual friends. I met her a couple of times and I was convinced. In her there was a strong fit for what we look for. Even today when I am talking to Suchi, she says “I am not thinking about valuation, I just want our community to be very happy.” Our investment is to pick the right entrepreneurs and do right by them; we believe that good things will happen to us.
Further expanding on the impact created by LimeRoad, Suchi added, "I was recently talking to a little girl who lives outside of Ranchi, and she said she made 2000 scrapbooks on LimeRoad. I called her and said we will do an event in Patna, why don’t you come over and talk to a few journalists? She said my mother won’t let me go to Patna. LimeRoad is my way of extending my personality and making my mark in the world. That’s the kind of impact we are talking about with LimeRoad."