[The Turning Point] How the idea of making Indians sleep better led this duo to start Wakefit.co
Sleep is one of the most important yet elusive elements of our daily life. After a long day at work, all you want is a night of sound sleep to recharge yourself and start afresh the next day. Bengaluru-based Wakefit.co aims to fulfil this part.
Started in 2016 by Ankit Garg and Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, Wakefit.co is based in Bengaluru. It is an online mattress company, which offers cutting-edge sleep products like mattresses, pillows, bedsheets, reversible comforters, mattress protectors, neck pillows, and back cushions to bed frames at affordable prices.
Wakefit.co also collaborates with startups and companies, who recognise the need for employees to de-stress and have set up nap rooms in their offices. Its team designs these nap rooms so that the people using it can have a soothing and relaxing nap before resuming work.
But what led the co-founders to this moment?
“There was one question that kept bothering us throughout our discussion - are people getting the quality of sleep they deserve every day - and this was the foundation of the idea of starting something that challenged the status quo,” recalls Chaitanya.
The value to the consumer was also low since there was minimal innovation in the industry and the front-end sales and customer service were extremely poor. These thoughts were on Ankit’s mind when he met his colleague Chaitanya for a coffee when they worked at Tapzo.
The two discussed how even though sleep is one of the three pillars of health along with nutrition and exercise, it is ignored by many. They brainstormed on how to provide sleep solutions that make a difference in people’s lives, which led to the duo founding Wakefit.co.
However, gaining customers’ trust was a big challenge at the start.
“We wanted to prove to them that they could safely spend their money and be assured of a cutting-edge product and a dependable service team that is always available. Hence, a lot of our efforts went into educating them on the science of sleep and how the product has been innovated from the ground up,” explains Chaitanya.
Success - and how
The company recently raised Rs 65 crore from Sequoia Capital as their Series A funding.
Wakefit.co claims to hold about two to three percent of the overall mattress market and approximately 35-40 percent of the online sleep solutions market. Going forward, the startup is aiming to capture more than five to six percent of the total market share by 2021.
At present, 25 percent of Wakefit.co’s revenue comes from Tier-II and III cities. It ships 250-300 units a day, adding up to 7,500-9,000 mattresses in a month. The startup delivers across India, including small towns and difficult terrains.
“We have always believed in being financially prudent and hence, have been EBITDA profitable since 2016. We ended FY17 with Rs 6.5 crore in revenue that grew to Rs 27 crore in FY18. This year, we ended with Rs 81 crore in revenue. We are confident of crossing Rs 200 crore in the next financial cycle,” says Chaitanya.
(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)