Amit Nandi Fouzdar, founder of My Cloud Forest, shares his experience with Team YourStory on how he co-founded the company with Amit Keshri.
Amit Nandi says, "My ability to take people along with me, aligning them with my vision, helped a lot throughout my journey. I am lucky to have had a dynamic career till now. I have ten years of experience with an international oil and gas company. I was fortunate to live in 45 countries before I was even 30. In my travels, a constant observation was that the quality of living and homes was remarkably better abroad. Either homes are built along with nature, without disturbing the surroundings (as in Europe and small cities in America) or the major cities are very green and pollution-free (like Singapore and other major cities in Southeast Asia). On the other hand, in India, we have created concrete jungles, and have polluted and destroyed our natural surroundings. The present trend is that consumers in India have become exposed to the global lifestyle, and have embraced it. This is reflected when people spend huge amounts of money on making their homes beautiful and improving the quality of living. But there is no service available for creating greener homes or outdoor spaces."
With this in mind, the duo started My Cloud Forest in September 2015.
The co-founders’ experience and expertise
Like Amit Nandi, Amit Keshri has 10 years of experience with an international oil and gas major, in technical and management roles. He has worked on major oil and gas projects in the US, Australia and Gabon. He has a strong experience in data analytics, project delivery and operations management. He was also the founder of a healthcare startup that unfortunately failed. He belongs to a traditional business family with strong roots in commerce. He handles operations, vendor alignment and customer relationship for My Cloud Forest.
Thirty one-year-old Amit Nandi has supported the delivery of major oil and gas projects across many geographical regions (the Middle East, Australia, Canada and Nigeria), managing a multicultural team of five or more people. He also has strong experience in team management, strategy implementation and project delivery. He has worked with people of 15 nationalities and has travelled or lived in 48 countries. Before the start of his professional journey, he had done his Masters in Applied Geosciences from IIT Dhanbad. He manages technology, business streamlining, innovation, marketing, and growth strategy for My Cloud Forest.
What does it do?
My Cloud Forest is an online shopping destination where one can design and create outdoor living and garden spaces for urban homes. Customers can browse and book balcony gardens online. They can create customised gardens for terraces, villa landscapes, vertical gardens or interiors. The company has the following offerings:
Balcony Garden- It addresses the standard apartment that has a small balcony.
Terrace Garden- For consumers with big apartments with large outdoor terrace space.
Landscape Garden- This addresses the consumers with private gardens in their homes.
Vertical Garden- It is a smart solution to create a green area in space-constrained homes.
Artificial Grass- It makes it easy to buy by providing home consultation and easy installation.
Maintenance- It provides maintenance services for the spaces it creates.
Outdoor living and garden design is a $5 billion market in India, and is growing at a rate of 6 percent month-on-month. The market is still nascent in India, with no major established companies. In comparison, this market has seen significant growth in China in the last 20 years, with a rate of 10 percent MoM. The market there is valued at $30 billion. The market in the US, meanwhile, is quite saturated, with a size of $60 billion.
Amit Keshri says, "Between December 2015 to May of 2016, we had a general revenue of around Rs 1-2 lakh per month. From May to this past January, we started growing at a rate of 30 to 40 percent MoM. At present, we are running at a revenue run rate of Rs 20 lakh per month. On the whole, we have secured a total revenue of nearly Rs 1.5 crore till January 2017. Recently, we expanded our team - we are around 20-strong, with six ground staff. We plan to reach a revenue run rate of around Rs 80 lakh per month by July. Our company is profitable, and we are reinvesting our profits to expand."
The company has six major lines of service from which it generates revenues:
Balcony Garden - Ticket size of Rs 15,000 to Rs 1 lakh
Terrace Garden - Ticket size of Rs 50,000 to Rs 10 lakh
Landscape Garden - Ticket size of Rs 50,000 to Rs 20 lakh
Vertical Garden - Ticket size of Rs 15,000 to Rs 15 lakh
Artificial Grass - Ticket size of Rs 10,000 to Rs 5 lakh
Maintenance - Ticket size of Rs 3,000 per annum to Rs 1 lakh per annum. This is a recurring revenue, and it presently only provides this service for the projects it has implemented.
The company is bootstrapping as of now. It plans to raise a series A round in six to eight months to fuel their expansion targets in Bengaluru and other major Indian cities.
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