Entrepreneur Extols Financial Opportunities of Baby Care
With children, family wellness obviously starts with baby care. No parent wants to skimp when taking care of their new child’s wellbeing and this is certainly reflected in the proliferation of baby care products in the marketplace. A man who understands this fact is Supam Maheshwari, who co-founded Firstcry.com with Amitava Saha (director) in late 2010, quitting a promising career at a large company to receive an investment of $18 million in the last two years.
Maheshwari previous entrepreneurial venture, Brainvisa Technologies, was an e-learning company, at which Saha had headed up the sales and business operations department. Yet together, the two began the Pune-based e-commerce start-up and, in February 2012, the company raised $14 million in Series B from IDG Ventures India and SAIF Partners. Before this, Firstcry.com had raised $4 million from SAIF in April 2011 and now the company is hoping to break even from sales alone by expanding its offline base to 21 cities, creating a total of 26 shops across 11 states.
In an interview, Maheshwari talked about the company’s plans to branch out in this profitable market, noting the case of diapers.com in the US who, in 2005, launched their website in the shadow of big businesses such as Amazon, who already had a baby care department. In spite of this, says Maheshwari, the company went from nothing to being worth $300 million in just five years. He explained that this was due to the company expanding their online profile, as success comes from ‘the benefits that an online provides over offline in terms of variety, in terms of convenience, in terms of several other ways that the consumer today wants.’
Today, Maheshwari says, Firstcry.com is the leader in this pocket of India’s market, growing ‘expedientially’ in the last two and a half years. According to Maheshwari, 95% of family wellness products are imported in India and understanding this has given his company a huge advantage. ‘We have our own direct supply chain because supply chain in this country is very poor, and in our journey to excellence, and in our next 10 years, you’ll find a lot of changes and our supply chain itself provides us opportunities to improve.’ Maheshwari added that he’s excited by the potential of his company as the profit margins in this niche of the market are some of the highest around.
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