From online printing to a B2B gifting company, 5By7 has seen a lot of changes. After an initial round of angel investments amounting to Rs.40,00,000, the company, founded in 2012, has not received any funding. Despite that, they claim to have a CAGR of more than 50 per cent. Following the launch of their online platform last year, they have seen a 3x increase in traffic without incurring any acquisition costs.
With a catalog of close to 5,000 products, specially curated and filtered for their clients, which include both startups and large companies, 5By7 supplies gifts or branded merchandise for clients, employees, promotions and events. "We have worked with over 500 companies including 50 global brands and aim to emerge as a top player in the present $1 billion gifting market in India," says Piyush Suri, Founder 5By7.
Back to the drawing board
5By7 started out as VitaminPrint.com, an online printing company in 2012, but realised within a few months that there was a much larger gap in the Indian online B2B gifting market. The market was highly fragmented, inaccessible, and had a reputation for being unreliable, supplying poor quality and design.
The pilot was initiated with Opera Software, a Norwegian company that outsourced their entire merchandise production and management to the team. The feedback they received from Indian clients was positive and their online-curated platform soon began seeing significant traction in India.
Today, they serve clients in India, the Middle East, Europe and the US and are, for the first time, launching products that can be sold in the retail/consumer markets as well.
Brainstorming and building
Like most startups, 5By7 began with a group of friends and known associates. Ripun Jai Mehta and Piyush met while working in New York, and Rahul Kumar was Piyush's classmate at college. Given their consulting backgrounds, the trio were keen to build something that was scalable and evaluated several businesses before deciding to pursue online printing.
"The 5By7 that you see today is a result of a few iterations based on our strengths as a team, market gaps and feedback from clients. Most of our core team has been with us for over three years and we have worked hard to build a solid base with the right processes, a large vendor and customer base, and a highly motivated team," says Piyush.
Seeing the market evolve
The emergence of e-commerce, according to Piyush, has resulted in a more tech-savvy and design-conscious buyer who is looking for reliability and impact rather than just cost. On the supply side, they have seen a fast-growing retail market but limited growth in B2B/bulk buying, creating an opportunity for them to establish a presence.
On the demand side, he says that both consumer and bulk buying have grown exponentially. Piyush says that 5By7 sees a role beyond B2B, moving towards bulk selling to consumers in niche markets like such as weddings and personal gifting.
"5By7’s differentiator has been our focus on automation and data," 'says Piyush. He says they have continuously invested in building a vast repository of product data that is the backbone of all their work today.
Additionally, over the past few months, they have automated various processes in order to address pain points that clients face in the B2B market. These include idea generation for clients using predefined filters, workflow tools to track processes, and pitch PDF generators to decrease the sales cycle.
The segment realities
According to a rough industry estimate — B2B e-commerce is a $500 billion market at its early stages in India. There are 4.8 crore SMEs that need to secure bulk supplies making this a much bigger opportunity than B2C e-commerce.