A Chandigarh-based entrepreneur KS Bhatia has attracted the attention of Google CEO Sundar Pichai by selling water pumps online. Sundar Pichai appreciated his business model at his ‘Digital India’ speech before PM Modi in the US last year.
Inspired by the brainchild of his 14-year-old son Aagmandeep, KS Bhatia founded Pumpkart.com in June 2014. Pumpkart.com is a Chandigarh-based online B2B marketplace for water pumps and other related accessories. The platform allows manufacturers, dealers, and customers buy and sell pumps. It also provides its customers with multiple payment options such as online payment, COD, and EMIs.
Pumpkart aggregates pumps from 200 manufacturers and 1,000 dealers, distributors, and OEMs available pan India. With its direct association with manufacturers, Pumpkart maintains physical inventory for products.
I always wanted to take the pumping industry to new heights. I am in the pumping industry for the past 15 years, and have worked hard to make people aware of the role of pumps in their lives. Pumpkart is aimed at helping customers make informed choices for any type of domestic, agriculture, and commercial pumps. With our new model, we are more focussed on B2B via O2O stores,” says 44-year-old KS Bhatia.
KS Bhatia is a chemical engineer from RV College of Engineering, Bengaluru, and an MBA from IMT, Ghaziabad. He has been successfully running a company called Air Fluid Engineers and Equipments, which deals in pumping projects, since 1998. The company's main focus was serving B2B institutional clients, like real estate construction companies, state housing department, air-conditioning companies. He has also worked with contractor likes firefighting and plumbing, and Sewage and Industrial OEM’s.
Pumpkart has initiated an offline store vertical by opening its first exclusive Pumpkart.com touch and feel store in Chandigarh in February 2016, which is managed by six employees. It plans to open 100 such stores in the next four years via franchising model in different formats and become a one-stop solution for both institutional and contractors clientele.
Pumpkart.com is currently self-funded and backed by the existing venture Air Fluid Engineers and Equipments, which has achieved a turnover of Rs 19 crores in the last fiscal year (as per the balance sheet). Currently, the overall expenses and marketing budget of Pumpkart is minimal given the capital infused in it is personal money. KS Bhatia so far has invested Rs 1.25 crore in Pumpkart.com. Currently, they are in talks with some investors to raise funds.
Pumpkart has an in-house team of 20 people handling technical support, online promotions, customer support, logistics, and business development. It has also services to support website development and networking.
This segment is not touched by anyone so far. Therefore, we are not selling on low prices or offer discounts from our pockets. Our aim is to bring the profitability in this vertical in a short span,” says KS Bhatia.
Since Pumpkart deals directly with all the manufacturers and distributors, it does pricing according to their said margins. The company provides customers free installation and one year warranty, but any manufacturing defect is borne by the manufacture.
During the initial days in June 2014, it used to sell seven pumps a month and the number eventually reached 700 pumps. In the last few months, the average sale has been in the range of 40 to 50 pumps daily. In a span of 18 months, it has sold 10,000 pumps. It gains a margin of 5 to 10 per cent from the entire sales process.
Amplifying the service model
Pumpkart will soon create a sales network through sanitaryware, hardware, and plumbing shops by offering them the commissions. In a bid to strengthen the service model, Pumpkart will kick-start RepairingIndia.com in the next three to four years, which will connect rural or sub-urban repairing centres across India. KS Bhatia stated that the initiative is likely to meet the repairing needs and organise the entire repairing industry.
Pumpkart has signed an agreement with the Government of India to serve the entire government facilitated 2.5 lakh kiosks across the country. Primarily, it will start by serving five per cent of the entire network of Government Common Service Centre.
According to Ken Research, the India Pumps Market size in terms of revenue generation is expected to increase at a CAGR of 17.5 per cent during the period of FY 2015-19. The Indian government announced to invest significantly in the infrastructural development in the country; thereby the demand for pumps will gradually pick up pace. Moreover, increased investments in the irrigation and oil gas sectors will also push the demand for pumps.
Pumpkart claims to be the pioneer in India when it comes to online marketplaces for water pumps. With a separate team for search engine optimisation in place, it has invested in Google AdWords and gained visibility in both Google US and UK. Pumpkart achieved a turnover of Rs 3 crore last fiscal year, and it is expecting a turnover of Rs 25 crore this fiscal year.