[The Turning Point] How poor after-sales service led this entrepreneur to start Onsitego

The Turning Point is a series of short articles that focuses on the moment when an entrepreneur hit upon their winning idea. Today, we look at Mumbai-based after-sales service startup Onsitego.

IIM-Bangalore alumnus Kunal Mahipal had often experienced sub-par repairs and servicing for his mobiles and gadgets. Back then, he had little knowledge about repairs or after-sales services of electronics or consumer devices.

Unhappy with the hassle of dropping and collecting devices at an authorised service centre, Kunal zeroed in on the unmet need for hassle-free and reliable post-purchase services.

Kunal Mahipal, Founder and CEO of Onsitego

“I figured that one should not have to take leave from work and run around from shop to shop, looking for cost-effective, genuine repairs,” he says.

Onsitego began in 2010 with one idea: a pick-and-drop service for repairing mobile devices and laptops. Ten years down the line, it has metamorphosed into a customer service startup for personal devices, gadgets, and home appliances.

The pivot

“It was the time when people were buying or selling many electronic goods, and companies were looking at how they could expand the market. I started thinking about what happened to these products once their warranty period expired,” Kunal recalls.

After three years, the team realised that theirs was not a capital-efficient model as the cost of going after customers and returns were not in sync. It quickly pivoted towards partnerships with various retailers, offering after-sales services. This got the startup instant access to a larger number of customers.

“People were buying expensive devices and were keen to get extra protection, in case something went wrong,” Kunal says.

In the first year, the company had few hundred customers in Mumbai. It acquired its 100,000th customer in April 2012 and reached 500,000 customers in 2013. In 2014, Onsitego got into device protection services and began offering plans such as an annual maintenance contract.

Today, Onsitego, which has a 300-member team across India, claims to have a customer base of 6.5 million.

Focusing on after-sales services

At present, Onsitego provides extended warranty, annual maintenance contracts, and damage protection plans for devices and appliances in partnership with India’s top retailers, marketplaces, and consumer finance companies. It recently expanded its services with new plans like annual maintenance contract (AMC) for air conditioners and water purifiers, and assured buyback for smartphones.

The after-sales service startup works in collaboration with various retailers across the country, including Amazon India, Ezone, Croma, and Vijay Sales.

It has also tied up with regional speciality stores like Sanket, Great Eastern, Value Plus, and Vivek’s. It has partnered with consumer finance companies like ICICI, Axis, HDB, and Kotak to extend its reach to smaller retailers.

In February 2020, Onsitego raised $19 million in Series B funding, led by Zodius Growth Fund with participation from existing investor Accel.

(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)


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