[Startup Bharat] This Goa startup helps sellers manage, grow ecommerce businesses from a single dashboard
The pandemic has given a tremendous push to online commerce in the last year. Many retail brands consider digital critical for business continuity and see it as a key piece of their future growth strategy.
Goa-based SaaS startup Browntape enables offline players or digital native brands to quickly offer their products across online channels in a simple and cost-effective manner.
Browntape’s cloud-based ecommerce management software helps online sellers manage and grow their ecommerce businesses from a single dashboard. The startup’s ERP integrations help top brands enable, integrate, and offer ecommerce solutions to customers.
“With Browntape, there is no need to log into each ecommerce website separately. It lets you handle inventory management, order management, warehouse management (WMS), shipping/courier management, payment management, purchase management, reports – all on one dashboard,” says Piyush Goel, Co-founder and Product and Marketing Head.
The software has 80+ integrations with systems ranging from marketplaces (Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, Snapdeal), carts (Shopify, Magento etc), couriers (Delhivery, FedEx, DTDC etc), and ERP providers (SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, Salesforce).
In March this year, Browntape announced a fresh round of funding, from PE fund Marathon Edge-backed Ginni Systems to drive growth. Ginni Systems, maker of Ginesys, is a leading provider of ERP and POS solutions.
“Our USP is that we offer a one-stop shop for complete online retailing and online-offline hybrid retailing, with both software and services under one roof. Our software has 80+ integrations and the deeply integrated Ginesys ERP and POS offering makes it a one-of-its-kind offering in the Indian market,” Piyush says.
The initial days
When Piyush and Ian Morgan were doing their PhD in the UK, they began selling products such as sunglasses, headphones, jewellery, etc on eBay and Amazon. They soon realised that their growing online business was translating into painful and tedious daily operations, especially for managing orders and inventories.
Piyush and Ian built a tool to keep track of orders, shipments, and more. The tool helped in cutting down the time spent on day-to-day operations and the duo realised that it could help other sellers.
After their PhDs, Ian and Piyush decided to follow their own paths. Ian went on to write AI programs to diagnose faulty marine engines and other machine learning applications in the UK while Piyush’s interest led him to join a UX design firm in Goa.
The UX design firm was headed by Gurpreet Singh, and in four years grew from zero to just under a million dollars in turnover.
That was when things changed. A quick trip to the UK in 2012 brought Gurpreet, Piyush, and Ian on the same page.
India was in the early stages of ecommerce at the time, but the team had to foresight to see that a tool that facilitated multichannel operations would be required very soon. The trio began working on the next version of the service, and in 2012 launched it as Browntape.
“Ian dropped out of the venture after the first year, and it’s now led by me and Gurpreet,” Piyush says. Gurpreet Singh is the Co-founder and CEO of the startup, which has a team of 60 members right now.
Browntape offers the following services:
DIY (do-it-yourself) SaaS: An offering for SMEs where they sign up for Browntape’s online seller panel that is pre-integrated with multiple sales and courier channels to streamline their online selling.
Enterprise SaaS: Browntape’s enterprise software offering allows building of custom integrations and middleware to better suit the needs of a large organisation where multiple disparate systems may be at play. Browntape “becomes the glue to stick them all together to work in unison” and deliver the best shopping experience for customers. Enterprise customers also benefit from a real-time deep data analytics offering that helps them analyse sales and offerings.
Omnichannel retail: This allows brands to sell via their online stores (website and marketplaces) and unlock their offline inventory (stores and warehouses) to be sold online. It allows the brand to fully utilise the potential of inventory sitting pan-India, without losing sales opportunities due to calamities like the pandemic.
ERP/POS: With the latest strategic investment from Ginesys, Browntape has started offering an integrated Ginesys POS and Cloud ERP along with its ecommerce suite to become an unparalleled offering for retail brands in the Indian market.
Account management services: Browntape helps brands by managing their entire ecommerce across marketplaces (Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, etc), their own website, and stores. Browntape’s team performs tasks like cataloging, listing, order processing, inventory management, stock planning, sales and promotions for growing sales, product suggestions, reporting, etc. This allows brands to focus on product innovation and perfecting the supply chain, while Browntape takes care of growing the online business.
Cross-border ecommerce services: The startup helps foreign brands enter the Indian retail space, primarily via a low-cost ecommerce route. It helps brands with market research, competition benchmarking, gap analysis, and product selection along with the complete ecommerce management service to launch and manage the brand’s operations in India.
“We are working with brands from the UK, Singapore, Denmark, Spain, Italy, the UAE, and others,” Piyush says.
The way ahead
Browntape offers its cloud-based software and services to clients pan-India. It charges a subscription fee for its software, depending on features chosen, number of orders, and number of offline stores. A combination of a subscription and performance fee (sales commission) is charged.
The startup's client list includes brand names like Tata Croma, Future Group, Nilkamal, Catwalk, D’Decor, GoColours, Zivame, Welspun, Tupperware, Lego, Khadim’s, Safilo, Yammamay, and Kate Spade, among many more.
Browntape, which claims to have been cash flow positive for the past three years, enables sales of over Rs 100 crore every month through its SaaS-based order and inventory management system.
India’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) industry has the potential to grow revenues to as much as $75 billion by 2025 and create market capitalisation of more than $1.3 trillion, capturing around 19 percent of global demand for software products by then, according to a report by Chiratae Ventures and consulting firm Zinnov.
In terms of software and services, Browntape competes with the likes of Unicommerce, Vinculum, and Prione (but they only provide Amazon services) among others.
The startup, which graduated from the GSF accelerator in 2013, has raised around $4.5 million across multiple rounds of funding from angels, institutional investors, and corporates, including Seedfund, Krishnan Ganesh, Rajesh Sawhney, Gati Ltd, and Ginni Systems Ltd (Ginesys) in February 2021.
“With the latest strategic investment from Ginesys, Browntape plans to expand the core offering to an integrated solution for retail brands that would offer a one-stop-shop for retail brands looking to offer omnichannel and direct-to-consumer retail offerings,” Piyush says.
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