How these ex-OYO colleagues are disrupting the procurement industry with their B2B ecommerce startup
Ex-colleagues Sameen Husain and Abhiroop Srivastava realised that the problem of India’s indirect procurement industry was two-fold.
The industry was plagued by poor service, lack of technology, and transparency even as MSME manufacturers suffered due to insufficient training, access to sustained demand, and timely capital.
Sameen says, “Lack of technology and transparency are the biggest problems faced by corporate purchase teams. In the consumer space we are buying everything online, but 70 percent of B2B purchases still remain offline and have not evolved with the changing profile of new age-purchase managers.”
The duo had faced these problems first-hand. Sameen’s traditional procurement company, ZeeSaa, which Abhiroop was also a part of, had witnessed issues with the traditional procurement system.
It was to transform the way businesses procure that the duo launched Gurugram-basedin May 2021.
“Prodo’s goal is to make indirect procurement a B2C-inspired, one-touch experience by automating multiple touchpoints in the supply chain journey, from sampling to QC,” Sameen says.
The B2B ecommerce platform became operational in August 2021. The founders refused to divulge the initial investment.
How it works
Prodo is a B2B ecommerce platform that provides manufacturing and end-to-end bulk procurement of made-to-order products for businesses.
With more than 1,000 SKUs in the MTO (made-to-order) consumables category, it provides a seamless buying experience through its embedded ecommerce play.
Prodo manufactures made-to-order products for its clients and acts as a client’s manufacturing partner. Traditionally, the B2B buying supply chain has multiple middlemen - traders, agencies, vendors, distributors.
In Prodo’s supply chain there are no middlemen. When an order is placed on Prodo’s platform, it is matched to the right manufacturing unit.
“With 300+ manufacturing units as a part of our network within eight months of operations, we are building a fast-growing cloud-connected network of micro, small, and medium manufacturers. Prodo will provide small and medium manufacturers access to sustainable demand without the pain of marketing or of needing a bigger team,” Sameen says.
Sameen Husain, CEO and Co-founder, Prodo
“We exclusively make our client’s products at our partner manufacturing units. There are no traders, vendors, agencies, distributors. Just you, Prodo, and assured quality,” she adds.
Prodo charges a small margin on the cost of goods manufactured.
Sameen highlights that Prodo’s technology is free, as the company believes that tech needs to be available easily to drive digital adoption in the procurement space.
Prodo has a team of 35 members. Sameen (CEO) looks after PnL, business development, brand strategy, and product while Abhiroop (COO) looks after operations, technology, and client servicing.
A marketer turned entrepreneur, Sameen conceptualised Prodo at her last entrepreneurial outing, ZeeSaa, which dealt with the procurement of wellness disposables. Previously, she has spent nine+ years across the media and the startup industry, working with brands like OYO, Times of India, and Bertelsmann.
Abhiroop has a strong foundation in business operations and strategy, and an extensive leadership experience in fast-paced entrepreneurial environments.
Most recently, he launched the Japanese arm of OYO and headed their revenue, financial operations, and business intelligence functions. Earlier, he co-founded a growth consulting company in the SME space, Adama Associates, which helped multiple companies to scale up effectively.
YS Design Team
Revenue and target audience
Some of Prodo’s marquee clients include BlinkIt, Snapdeal, Delhivery, Thyrocare, Sila Group, Stanza Living, Meatigo, Otipy, and others.
“We are building a product that streamlines and brings the entire manufacture-to-pay process online while providing a tech-first end-to-end procurement service to our clients. Our service serves all medium to large enterprises, from traditional businesses to new-age unicorns,” Sameen says.
The startup has sold 9.3 million units of goods through its platform so far. It claims to have clocked Rs 42 crore annualised sales run rate in March 2022, witnessing 34x growth since October 2021.
Sameen says its major competition comes from unorganised players like local traders, distributors, family businesses, and traders such as Singapore-based B2B ecommerce platform Moglix.
But there’s not a single player in the market that provides an end-to-end full stack B2B buying experience like us, claims the founder.
The current consumables categories that Prodo targets (Uniform & Riding Gear ~ $165 billion, Packaging ~$80 billion, F&B & Wellness Disposables ~$36 billion, Wellness Disposables (including PPE) ~$60 billion and Cleaning Supplies ~$50 billion) accounts for a $200 billion market.
But Prodo wants to be the B2B shop of the world and is targeting the global B2B ecommerce market pegged at $18 trillion by 2026, states Sameen.
Funding and way ahead
In November 2021, Prodo closed its pre-seed funding of $400,000 at the idea stage. The round, led by LetsVenture and Titan Capital, also saw participation from marquee angels such as Abhinav Sinha, Global COO, OYO; Nimesh Kampani, Co-founder and CEO,; Gaurav Ajmera, CBO, ; Prasun Choudhary, President, OYO International; Saurabh Aggarwal, Co-founder, ; and others.
Prodo is among the very few women-led, non-IIT-led startups that have been able to raise funding at the idea stage, the founders say.
Speaking about future plans, Sameen adds, “As per our current sales pipeline, we are looking at clocking Rs 100 crore in sales by March 2023. A strong focus will continue to stay towards hiring and expansion across functions to support Prodo’s growth goals. We are also building our sales pipeline in Egypt and Middle East regions, and plan to start exporting to these countries by the year end.”