'Why trash it, when you can cash it', say these engineering students from Dehradun
Indians are known for their keen business sense, and for making money even out of small things. When Mohneesh Bhardwaj was returning home for his summer vacation, he discovered that most people at his college hostel left behind a huge amount of trash (newspapers/old books/used registers and other scrap). This scrap was then being sold by the hostel authorities.
Mohneesh noticed anomalies in the system, such as the lack of distinction between normal and e-waste, and decided to do something about it. He had been wanting to start something for a long time; reading about entrepreneurs online just increased his drive. Around the same time, TVF Pitchers was launched and it further fuelled their enthusiasm. Mohneesh and his friend Ashish Yadav, both 2nd year Computer Science students at Dehradun Institute of Technology University (DIT) started Kabaada.com – a portal that helps people sell their scrap without waiting for the dealer.
Users can either log on to the website, call, or use WhatsApp and have their scrap picked up. After a request is logged on Kabaada.com, a local vendor is notified to pick up the scrap. Unlike traditional vendors, Kabaada.com has standardised rates for the garbage. To streamline the whole process, they divided the entire city into smaller areas.
Mohneesh says, “We divided the whole city into many territories, with vendors in each territory. When someone submits a request, we forward their request to the vendor in that territory. In this way, one is able to get service as fast as pizza delivery.”
Following the launch, the team left no stone unturned to market themselves to people, whether it was through distribution of pamphlets, or pasting posters in hotels and restaurants, or even targeting schools to spread awareness about their mission. One of the most important things the team took care of was making sure they did not replace the local kabaadiwaalas and take away their income. Instead, they hired them and worked with them on a commission basis.
Though the company provides free door-to-door pick up service to customers, they have been making profits since Day 1. Right now, their main revenue stream is through the commissions they earn on scrap from scrap dealers.
They have gained good traction since they started three months ago. At present, the company has around 8,000+users. They have also got requests from other cities. Talking about the market, Mohneesh says,
“Given India’s still-growing Internet penetration rates, our current target segment includes shopping malls, hotels , households, students, etc. Our in- depth market segmentation analysis revealed that about 42 million tons of scrap is recycled in India every year. The most exciting part is that our market is consistently expanding with the increasing numbers of Internet users, who can now sell all their scrap with just one click. In the future, we expect to become the market leader in recycling all scrap materials across India.”
Coming from a Tier -2 city, and started by 2nd year engineering students, this startup looks promising as it has all the right ingredients and has been making profits since inception. Increasing waste is a huge issue that is clogging landfills and endangering lives at a very rapid pace. Reducing, recycling, and reusing goes a long way. Kabaada.com is efficiently helping with recycling, using technology as a medium. We recently covered Bhangarchand, a venture from Vidisha, by engineering students, which is doing quite well. However, there is a clear need for more players in this space given our huge population, and we hope to see more startups bridging this gap.