[Startup Bharat] This Jabalpur-based startup is empowering small businesses to go digital
Digitisation has been underway in India for a long time now, but it got a boost with the launch of Jio in 2016. The digital disruption further accelerated over the last one and a half years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic helped us realise the potential of moving businesses online. However, growing businesses online can be difficult, especially for small businesses.
Jabalpur-headquartered MBG card, which stands for My Business Growth Card, is working to solve this problem. Founded in 2020 by Abhinavv Dubeyy and Prakash Bajantri, the startup is aimed at helping its clients grow their businesses online through its B2B SaaS product.
Image Credit: MBG Card
It provides fully operational websites, android apps, and automated marketing tools with more than 20 features to its clients.
Speaking with YourStory, Abhinavv explains that before starting up, he was working at FabHotels. As part of his work, he visited several cities and small towns.
He realised that most businesses, especially small businesses, were not getting traction because of low visibility and discovery.
Giving an example, he explains, “In Jabalpur, my hometown, there is one photographer who gets orders from almost everyone. There are other photographers as well, but they do not get business because the discovery is not happening.”
Today, the startup claims to have acquired over 5,400 customers across 100+ business categories. Abhinavv says that last month alone MBG Card acquired about 600 customers.
Transforming Bharat to Digital India
The co-founder explains that many businesses, especially small-sized businesses, rely on traditional ways of marketing and branding, which is not helping them grow.
“Prakash and I met through a common connection and we were discussing the challenges in the hospitality industry. As the pandemic hit, we wanted to build something to help hotels to grow their business in a better way. Then we realised that in smaller cities, there were challenges in getting other things such as groceries delivered at home. While many businesses had the capability to deliver goods, they were not discoverable, more so because they were not listed online,” Abhinavv adds.
In order to solve this problem, the duo launched the MBG card, a smart digital card, to replace the traditional business cards. This smart digital card has been designed in a way to enable businesses to share them with their clients online via any platform.
“Traditional visiting cards have higher chances of getting misplaced. Apart from this, offline cards might not be able to include much information about the business. While it might contain the contact details, it will not include information about the USP. So we initially launched with the digital card product,” he adds.
Now, it has expanded and improvised its offering to enable the digital transformation of small businesses, which is helping in the discovery and to grow their revenue. It also helps them in acquiring and retaining customers and maintain an online reputation.
Speaking about the target audience, Abhinavv clarifies that while the aim is to empower small businesses, the services can be availed by any business -- from hotel chains and freelancers to kirana stores -- that want to grow their business online.
Illustration: YS Design
MBG Card offers a mobile application that can be downloaded by the businesses. After logging in, using the application, they can build their website and digital cards within minutes. The application also provides marketing tools to businesses.
“We create the first initial version, which takes less than five minutes. Businesses can log in to the app and make updates. The application is very easy to use and businesses can update the content and photographs on their platform without much technical skills. They just need to download the app, log in, and update, which will automatically reflect in the front end. Services like CRM, SMS marketing, etc., will work automatically,” Abhinavv says.
Different templates are available to cater to the needs of businesses across different sectors.
Speaking about data safety, co-founder Prakash explains that all the contents uploaded on the platform are encrypted to ensure security, and the startup is using AWS security features in order to keep the platform secured.
Abhinavv explains that in the initial days, MBG Card had to work on-ground to educate the market about the product, and eventually the product gained popularity due to word of mouth. Apart from this, the startup also has referral and franchise schemes in place to reach its customers.
“We started from Jabalpur and then we started getting queries from Mumbai and Haridwar. Within a span of six months, we were already present in over 100 cities. Currently, we also have an office in Pune,” he adds.
Business and more
According to Abhinavv, the company generated a revenue of Rs 3.5 million (Rs 35 Lakh) in one year. Speaking about the business model, he explains that MBG Card operates on a B2B SaaS model where the client businesses purchase annual subscription package starting from Rs 2,500 up to Rs 15,000 per year.
The startup counts businesses such as Tamanna Hotels, Hotel WOW, Zippy Laundromat, Tito's Night Club, Bombay Restaurant, and many others as its clients.
The co-founder reveals that the bootstrapped startup is now considering raising its seed capital.
Abhinavv also explains that other notable players such as Just Dial, Google My Business, Dukaan App, and DotPe are also working in this segment.
Speaking about future plans, “We want to digitalise a total of one lakh businesses by the end of this year and then expand to a million in the next three years,” Abhinavv says.
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