This post is written by Supriya Rathi.
It was their last semester (Jan 2014) pursuing Economics Hons @ Delhi University , when Siddharth & Chaitanya felt an urge to start something of their own, create something that brought value to businesses around them and that’s when it all started !
Siddharth Vij, hailing from Agra – which apart from being famous for Taj Mahal is also India’s biggest footwear manufacturing capital, had this innate desire to revolutionize this industry. Chaitanya Rathi, hailing from a business family from Gwalior – which is known for the Scindia Fort & many other historical sites, had realized that there was a need to bring in technology to revoke the growth of local businesses and make them flourish beyond their current reach. The entrepreneurial juices had been flowing inside their nerves for some time now, as both had already set on that path much earlier. While Chaitanya was learning business & strategies from his endeavors at Economy Decoded (Core team member) , Leotaur (Founder), Media Is You, etc. , Siddharth was building management skills & social circles at University Express (Co-founder).
It was with all this amazing experiential learning and most importantly a TEAM of friends – Fashion forward Charuka Arora, Graphic designer & techology enthusiast Siddharth Rastogi, and Researcher & creative writer Aditya Madhusudhan, that the making of Agra’s 1st B2B tech Startup – Bizcrum began.
It was all well planned since the inception. They knew that what they needed to build is a platform where businessmen could connect, exchange & grow Glocally (globally + locally). It was not just the need of the market, but also the founder’s personal connect and the market scope, understanding of the domain, that led to the decision of choosing the Footwear Industry as the first segment to start with. Shoekonnect was conceptualized as a business social network for the footwear industry which aims to bring together component suppliers, footwear manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers on a single platform.
The team started brainstorming on their ideas, doing everything beyond their comfort zone to get to the point where they had successfully validated their concept by talking to over 200 footwear business owners, understanding their needs, designing rough mockups of their platform & building strategies around the business model. They did not wait for help in matters of technology as they could clearly see a lot of ground work was required before even starting to worry about that concern. Instead, they created something which added more value to their future product – Biznista.com: e-Magazine that delivers fresh news, trends, insights about the global footwear industry – Manufacturing , Fashion , Brands, Retailers,Interviews etc.
It was already June 2014 by the time they had launched Biznista & the time had arrived when they were struggling to achieve their self-imposed deadline for their key product. Shoekonnect was ready to materialize from prototype to an actual product but there was a deep trough to be traversed to reach the crest. After meeting countless number of techpreneurs in Delhi, Bizcrum finally found it’s Kohinoor back home at Taj city. An old friend – Sumat Nanda, an assiduous & passionate tech entrepreneur joined the founding team and that’s when Bizcrum felt complete. Looking for an entrepreneur and that too with experience in technology in the small city of Agra, was almost like searching for a pin in a hay stack. But, as they say – “Those who believe, sure do achieve”.
Though it was tough but they continued to work during their final exams, only to realize that what came next was 3x tougher than that. College was over by June 2014 & it was the next 2 months when the entire team had sleepless weeks, field studies, meetings with businesses & some even had to take up jobs to support themselves and the technology infrastructure costs. Building the product was one herculean task but creating awareness about it’s presence was much more and that’s where the entire team functioned like a well-oiled machine. While Charuka & Aditya took charge of Biznista.com, Sumat, Siddharth Vij , Chaitanya , Siddharth Rastogi ensured that they worked day and night to address all technology & business challenges faced by ShoeKonnect.
While parents supported the risks taken by these young entrepreneurs, prominent public figures/organizations such as – Rakshit Tandon (Cyber Security Expert), Puran Dawar – Chairman of Dawar Group (Leading Indian Footwear manufacturer) & AFMEC (Agra Footwear Manufacturers and Exporters Chamber) etc. encouraged them by guiding & expressing their confidence in the product. The whole endeavor couldn’t have been grand without the help of seniors such as – GP Sharma, Ravi Saini & Rittwick Visen , the creative team of – Rishav Kumar, Varun Gupta & several bright student interns.
It’s been just a month since it’s launch in September 2014, and Bizcrum’s Shoekonnect has already on boarded 50+ businesses including some international users. Bizcrum also conducted events in association with NASSCOM’s 10,000 Startups (India’s most promising Startup Program) to spread awareness about entrepreneurship in small Indian cities such as Gwalior & Agra and has been covered by National & Local Media houses such as – Hindustan Times, Amar Ujala etc.
#Bizcrum became the fourth most trending tag on Twitter in India leaving behind Anushka Sharma, Virat Kohli, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber!
Bizcrum is a Business Social Network – a connection centric B2B portal that is created to facilitate communication amongst entrepreneurs. BizCrum derives its spirit from the word ‘fulcrum’. Fulcrum literally means ‘to raise’. Bizcrum aims to become the fulcrum for business enterprises which they can use to raise themselves to great heights.
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Going forward the team aims at building similar solutions for other industries so as to accomplish their mission of bringing the about the next big evolution in building & growing business relations as well as global commerce.
With immense belief, team work, hard work and little savings one can build a startup out of anywhere !
This is the first hand version of how Bizcrum started up, as seen closely from inception till date by Supriya Rathi.
Supriya is a budding entrepreneur who loves to explore possibilities, converse, learn & implement ideas. She is a Gold Medalist & holds a B.Tech. in IT from VIT University Vellore, along with 3+ years of Business Analysis & UI Design experience at Standard & Poor’s Capital IQ – Mc Graw Hill Financials. Apart from working on her own ideas and designing, she spends her time helping & promoting Start-ups. Currently, she is a fellow at Startup Leadership Program Bangalore 2015.