How this entrepreneur failed twice and found success by making semi-automatic bike covers
Twenty-seven-year-old Keshav Rai was an average student in school and was not very academically inclined. His keen interest to repair things around him led him to pursue engineering.
While in college, Keshav says he would discuss startup ideas with his friends. “We used to sit for long hours and discuss ideas. But nothing worked out,” Keshav adds.
Keshav was so serious about starting his own company that he requested his father to fund one of his app-based businesses in 2015. But as they say, timing is everything. If it’s meant to happen, it will. Keshav’s first startup was a failure. But his will to innovate and learn gave him entrepreneurial success later.
Keshav startedin late 2016. It offers two-wheeler parking covers that are water resistant and protects vehicles from dust. The handy device can be fixed on the vehicle and the overall operational time of the cover is below 30 seconds, says Keshav.
Today, Bike Blazer is seeing an annual turnover of Rs 1.3 crore.
The inspiration behind Bike Blazer
After failing in his first business, it was becoming tough for Keshav to sit at home doing nothing. One day, he decided to pack his bags and left home telling his parents that he would return in four days.
He walked on the streets for three days without being able to come up with any idea to secure his future. However, on the fourth day, while Keshav was on his way back home, he was sitting in the parking lot of Kaushambi metro station in Delhi and saw a man searching for a dusting fabric to wipe his bike. As he couldn’t find anything, he took the duster from a bike next to him, wiped his bike, and went away.
Looking at this, Keshav got an idea. He immediately went to his father and pitched his business idea.
“I told my father that we could manufacture bike covers that would be semi-automatic and would avoid the hassle of people carrying it around every day. My father liked the idea and readily supported me,” he adds.
The market was untapped, Keshav says, adding that he felt this idea would do wonders to the company as the kind of product he was planning was not available in the market. This laid the foundation to Bike Blazer in late 2016, and Keshav even filed a patent in 2017.
To begin with, Keshav started manufacturing these covers on the terrace of his house. Now, the company has two manufacturing units in New Delhi and Ghaziabad.
The making of Bike Blazer covers at Keshav's terrace in 2017
Bike covers for bike lovers
Describing the product, Keshav says, “The bike cover is made from industrial-grade Nylon Taffeta (parachute fabric), which is weather resistant. It has an ingenious mechanism, which enables it to drain water collected after a rainfall to keep the interiors dry. Even a wet cover can be rolled inside the device.”
To use the portable, semi-automatic bike cover, one has to pull out the cover from the device and cover the entire bike and rotate the handle to fold it back in. According to Keshav, it takes less than 30 seconds to do this. Bike Blazer also has an in-built anti-theft and anti-vibration lock and a safety red reflector tape for additional safety.
On the company’s website, the product is priced between Rs 780 and Rs 850, and it is available on ecommerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart for Rs 899. Keshav says, the price of the cover varies depending on the size.
The market and challenges
According to the founder, in the initial days, it was a challenge for the company to explain the product to people.
“It is difficult to change people’s habits. Wiping bikes using an old cloth is a habit in India, and making people spend extra money for that was quite challenging,” Keshav tells SMBStory.
Given the current business scenario due to the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping pace with the export business has also been challenging.
Besides, Keshav adds that finding the right talent that trusts the company has also been a daunting task.
The company, which was started with an investment of around Rs 2 lakh, made a turnover of around Rs 7 lakh in the first year. By the second year, after promoting the product on social media platforms and having been listed on an online marketplace, the company’s turnover jumped to Rs 55 lakh, and Keshav hasn’t looked back since then.
In a span of five years, the company is now making an annual turnover of Rs 1.3 crore, Keshav claims.
The way forward
In the future, Keshav says he is planning to launch similar products for four wheelers.
“Execution is the real devil. Ideas can be generated in a few hours of brainstorming, but it takes years and sometimes a lifetime to build a business around it,” he adds.