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This startup plans to be the Flipkart of the repair industry


We all have faced that shocking moment when we have dropped our Smartphone! The collateral damage is usually a broken screen or back cover; besides the chaos around getting the device repaired. JustLikeNew.in might make your life a bit simpler and save you from making multiple trips to repair vendors. yourstory-JustLikeNew-Feature Image

Co-founders, Ajit and Rahul were ex-classmates at XLRI, and spent most of their time discussing ideas to build something new. Fast forward to April, 2014, when Ajit dropped his phone and broke the screen. Frustrated by what to do next, he was tired of running around looking for repair vendors. Just like on other days, Ajit was speaking to Rahul, who happened to be facing a similar crisis. The conversation turned into something more substantial and they soon  realised that this was an opportunity worth going after. The rest, as they say, is history.

However, they soon understood that startups are not built in a day. What it took was two months of sweat and toil in field research. During these months, the co-founders used to sit everyday with repair vendors to crack the network of suppliers. They even enrolled themselves into training institutes to learn mobile repairing. Ajit tells us about Rahul parking his car a couple of metres away from the training institute; to avoid suspicion!

 JustLikeNew’s journey 

Ajit
Ajit Panigrahi, Co-founder, JustLikeNew.in


From there, to launching operations in November, 2014, the venture started functioning in two cities - Bangalore and Hyderabad, respectively.

Today, JustLikeNew.in is an ecommerce platform which picks up your damaged devices, repairs them, and delivers them back to you. If that didn’t make things any easier, it also specialises in after-sales service for pre-loved (refurbished) mobile electronics.

Starting with a six member team, the startup had one repairman (technical team) and one delivery boy for each city. Now they’ve grown into a team of 16 individuals with an in-house technical team of 4 repairmen and 6 delivery boys spread across their operating geographies.

The co-founders tell us that the business is seeing a 30 to 40 per cent month-on-month increase in traction. Aiming at a growth of 50 per cent this month, the firm targets an overall growth of almost 90-95 per cent (month-on-month) by the end of this year.

Considering revenues and customer traction as a part of their growth story, the firm is garnering about 500-600 repairs a month. This is almost ten times the number they had started with.  Moreover, Ajit tells us that almost 40 per cent of their customers return, through referral - either by friends or family. JustLikeNew.in recieves 1 million hits every month on its website, in contrast to 2000 hits when they started.

The firm is in various tie-ups with the official suppliers of mobile parts and electronics of more than 30 Smartphone and Tablet brands, and 2000 plus model offerings from these brands.

Milestone funding

Last month, the company closed Pre- Series A funding of almost Rs. 1 Crore from angel investors, including a few industry veterans like Aneesh Reddy - Co-Founder & CEO Capillary Technologies; Sanjiv Bhatia - Member, Harvard Business School Angels and Consumer Internet Investor; Vikas Tandon - MD Indigo Consulting (now a part of Leo Burnett Worldwide); Vikas Saluguti, Investment Banker and Serial Investor; and other senior alumni from IIM Ahmedabad.

Summarizing his investment rationale in JustLikeNew.in, Sanjiv Bhatia from Harvard Business School Angels tells us:

Rahul and Ajit are creating an innovative, process driven, customer friendly business model that will disrupt the large unorganized market for mobile phone repairs. They are building a trusted brand of on demand repair services that can be scaled further to disrupt other related segments.

The firm will use the investment to ramp up the core team, and a build a team-strength of about 30 individuals. Moreover, they are aiming at developing their middle management while expanding their business model and geographical presence.

Future plans                                                                                   

One of the major markets that JustLikeNew.in seems to be eying is the after-sales services market for pre-loved (refurbished) mobile electronics. This includes repairing the phone and selling them to other customers in the market, which is quite different from C2C players like Quikr or OLX.

The firm has not tapped the B2B market as yet. Ajit tells us that most of the corporates today are equipping their employees with phones: for these customers one of the major concerns is the time taken to fix the phones. Thus, with an aim to gaining a foothold in this market, the firm is in talks with a few vendors in the IT and Electronics space.

Furthermore, the venture aims to expand its presence in ten Tier 1 cities by the end of this year. They are also looking to launch their app for Android and iOS.

Learnings

Sharing a few insights the co-founder (Ajit) tells us:

Coming from established corporates, we had to unlearn a few things. We discovered that it’s very important that instead of trying to build the best product in a lab, we build just a MVP and validate it in market. Customers, with their insightful feedback, will help us build a much better product. Moreover, it is essential to learn quickly and act fast, keeping service quality and customer centricity as the core value of the business.

Industry

According to Frost & Sullivan, the Indian Calibration and Repair Services Market was worth USD 103.1 million in 2012. If the forecasts are to be believed, this market is growing at 13.3 per cent CAGR with ‘electronics manufacturing and communications’ driving the maximum demand in the segment.

Still fairly unorganised, JustLikeNew.in isn’t the first of its sort to enter the market. Munich-based firm B2X has already been playing big in the market while doubling in size every year. However, it will be fun to see how the combination of repair and after-sales strategies of JustLikeNew.in will work its charm on the market.

Website 

About the author

Passionate and driven to unravel the uncovered, Tarush claims to be a rebel (of sorts). He loves to do everything under the sun which helps him gain newer perspectives. A sucker for great conversations, he finds inspiration in other people's life stories. Chase him @Ta_rush

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