According to the 2011 census, internal migration accounts for one-third of India’s population. For the trio of founders of e-commerce startup, Pakumania, these stats are consumer gold. While these 400 million people move from their hometowns to bigger cities in search of better lives, they are naturally afflicted with nostalgic yearnings of all that was good in their old, small hometown lives. Think family, friends and food. This affliction was shared by the founders as well and they launched Pakumania to address the most solvable aspect of this yearning -- the food. More specifically, the sweets.
“A growing hunger and craving of three individuals to feast on the local delicacies of their hometowns brought them together so that they could solve this problem on a more permanent basis. The three of us here realized that this was not only our problem but was faced by many more of our friends, relatives and people across the cities in India. Seeing this, we decided to tackle this problem on a more permanent basis by launching our own platform. Here anybody and everybody can have their home town authentic pakwan, namkeen or mithai delivered to their doorstep no matter where they live. The aim was to allow anyone to order the 'pakwan' of their desire from the very specific places where these are famous. For example, pethas from Agra or namkeen from Indore. This was the start of our PakuMania,” says Co-founder Vaibhav Shrivastav.
Though most migratory Indians may miss hometown treats, they don’t often make for the ideal consumer. “Buying food is not something that is very common to our Indian mindset. We are used to buying our sweets and namkeens from our local shops or marts and we have been doing this for years. A major reason for this is the quality and taste that we look for in these items. In an attempt to ensure that the customers get the best quality product with the authentic taste, we have worked hard to get the right vendors from the right city which allows us to guarantee our customers the best possible namkeen or mithai with the original taste,” says Shrivastav.
The logistics posed to be another severe hindrance. He says, “Considering that we cater majorly to sweets and pakwans, the main area of concern is to ensure that they do not perish by the time they are delivered from the vendor to the end consumer. Ensuring their shelf life and quality is one of the major drivers of our business and this also presents the biggest logistical challenges for us. We strive hard to ensure that the ordered sweets and pakwans reach the end customer within the shelf life so that they can enjoy their pakwans while they are fresh. Ensuring timely pickups and deliveries is hence a major challenge for us.”
The delicate shelf life of their products add to this dilemma. To counter that, Shrivastav says, they have done tie-ups with the country’s leading logistics partners to ensure the delivery within two to seven working days. This would allow customers to get the fresh pakwans and enjoy them peacefully from the comfort of their home.
It was a love of food that brought the Pakumania team together. The ease with which they could relate to the concept and customize their ideas to build a wholesome solution was the cherry on the cake, according to Vaibhav. He says, “Team PakuMania comprises mainly of the three of us – Vaibhav Srivastava, Nikita Vora and Premanshu. While the team on the whole drives the firm and concept ahead, each individual is responsible for certain areas. Vaibhav is the focal point for vendor procurement and relationship management, logistics and finance. Nikita focuses on the marketing aspect of the firm and building client relationships. Premanshu is the point of contact for online marketing and IT systems and maintenance. In addition to this, the PakuMania team also consists of Chandan Shrikant who helps across all these areas.”
In fact, starting up has been the best thing they have done together. He says, “The ability to implement our ideas to start and grow the firm gives us immense pleasure. We have carried out informational stalls across companies like IT firms that allows us to connect with the end customers and introduce them to our concept while at the same time understand their needs and how better we can adapt ourselves to better serve them. In addition to this, we have catered to multiple bulk orders and have been able to achieve our delivery deadlines without any hassles. Multiple consumers from varying fields like IT professionals, manufacturing company owners have praised us for both the quality of our products to our timely deliveries.”
It may have been the best thing, but becoming an entrepreneur definitely wasn’t the easiest thing for Vaibhav. “Being young and a first-generation entrepreneur, the thing which haunts me the most is how people generally tend to underestimate me because of my lack of experience. Their main argument is the age factor. I usually find it hard to display my ability when there are so many prejudices and biases that people like me have to battle with from the onset of our startup journeys,” he says.
The initial funding for Pakumania came through the personal finances of the co-founders. But they are in the process of acquiring funds from potential investors. Meanwhile, they are ready to up their game as regards to the future of their venture. Vaibhav says, “We now plan to aggressively increase our product range and include a wider choice of products covering most parts of the country. This is to ensure that no consumer feels left out and at the same time is able to taste each and every pakwan the various Indian cities are famous for.”
Check out Pakumania here