Created by the Founder of ShopClues, and funded by one of the biggest Automaker, Toyota, Droom has immediately created an impact on the Indian E-commerce industry and it is on its way to create a dent on the world map. We have Maitri Panchal discussing the evolution, current plans, and future of Droom with its founder Sandeep Aggarwal.
“ When I started my startup in 2010 until now we have seen a complete change in terms of how many people wantto be an entrepreneur. Failures are notthe stigma, they are celebratory. ’’
Exhibit: Droom has captured the attention of investors all across the world, what is it about Droom that has created its mark?
SANDEEP AGGARWAL: Droom is India’s largest marketplace to buy and sell used and new automobiles, we enable end to end transaction platform. Currently, we are the largest auto portal with almost 70 per cent of the market share. We, at our current size are not only the largest auto portal, we are also the third largest e-commerce company in India after Amazon and Flipkart. And besides our marketplace, we provide more automobile services, certification services and financial services. We have 2,30,000 auto dealers on our platform, making us 10 times larger than any other company or any other business model in this category. We get 31 million monthly visitors and we are present in 500 cities making us the largest hyperlocal marketplace. We are a Singapore holding company with a subsidiary in India and so far we have reached $95 million in six rounds of capital.
Exhibit: What was the key idea that inspired you to start Droom?
India is the third largest automobile market in the world. From the time Henry Ford invented assembly line, the cars have become very advanced but that is not the case when it comes to buying and selling a vehicle. Unlike the US, India is a low trust market. We thought wouldn’t it be nice to come out with a marketplace and hence we started working on Droom.
Exhibit: What are the challenges that you had to face when you started Droom?
The biggest challenge, was there were a lot of other business models on the surface, we also sounded like internet based automobile business model but the reality is it’s everything different and we have to now define a category because before us there was no company which offered a transaction platform. For us going to the auto dealers, telling the buyers what we do and how we do was a challenge. Because there is nothing like us we have to implement a lot of things very fast which is a major challenge.
Exhibit: What is the next step for Droom and how do you intend to take it forward?
We own a big share of the market so the biggest focus is to keep on building technology with artificial intelligence so that we can permanently lock our dominating position. We continue to invest very heavily in our certification packages and our fintech offers. So we want to take our brand to the masses, hence we will also be expanding internationally and we have been operating for almost 43 months now and we have to build a reasonably popular brand, a very consumer friendly brand. And our MOU with Toyota, a group in Japan, basically helps us to expands.
Exhibit: How are you going to include artificial intelligence in improvising the current status?
We are working with artificial intelligence and deep learning, for example, we have a pricing medium called Orange Book Value (OVB) which will give you the market price of any used vehicle. The second example is we use deep learning for auto financing if you want an auto loan for a used vehicle we can consider hundreds of various factors and decide basically which consumer to allow and which consumer to deny.
“ We, at our current size, are not only the largest auto portal, we are also the third largest e-commerce company in India after Amazon and Flipkart. ”
Exhibit: Recently Droom has partnered with Uber all across the major cities, what was the exact reason of that initiative?
Currently, we have launched our campaign for OVB where we are running a very large radio campaign and we tied up with Uber where we are highlighting in 100 of cars of Droom and OVB in few cities. Our TV commercial for OVB will go roughly for 50 days on 52 different channels in India. The purpose of this Uber deal with us is to publish OVB as a standard pricing medium for a used vehicle.
Exhibit: What do you think about the current scenario of the Indian automobile industry?
Indian automobile industry is going through a very exciting time and even though India is the world’s third-largest automobile market in the world after China and USA, however only 4% of the households have a car and 25% of households have a two wheeler. India despite being the third largest automobile market in the world comes 67th in terms of per capita vehicle availability. There is a rise of middle class, rise in income level, rise in education level and rise of urbanization so when you combine rise of middle class and rise of urbanization, I think India will continue to be the most complementary and the fastest growing and exciting market in the world.
Exhibit: What would advise all the budding entrepreneurs?
My advice is to do something that you are really passionate about rather than irrational expectation about being their own boss and glamorous life. Entrepreneurship is the most difficult job on the earth and the harshest thing you can do is become your own boss. So you need to have right reasons why you want to be an entrepreneur and have long-term approach because nothing is built overnight, never compromise with the fundamentals of the business and do not underestimate the need of capital.
Exhibit: Considering the number of startups existing in India, do you think India has the potential to the startup hub of the world?
India has come a long way in last five-seven years. When I started my startup in 2010 until now we have seen a complete change in terms of how many people want to be an entrepreneur. Failures are not the stigma, they are celebratory. Government policies are now encouraging startups and a high capital has come to India which is great for the ecosystem in India. We are not talking about linear growth, we are talking about the exponential and quantum jump in our entrepreneurship in India.
- Favourite Book: Shoe Dog By Phil Knight
- Favourite Gadget that you use: MacBook and iPhone
- A unique gadget that you want to own: Custom wooden cabinet speaker system.
- Role Model: Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs
- Personal business mantra: Never take no for an answer