Running An E-commerce Marathon

Manoj Gupta
Manoj Gupta
Manoj Gupta, Founder of Craftsvilla.com shares his thought about the e-commerce industry, what it lacks and what is needed to be done. Craftsvilla.com, an e-commerce company that deals with the handicraft products, believe in empowering designers and artisans helping them to showcase their unique products to the world. The company has raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Nexus Venture Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Prior to Craftsvilla.com, he was the Principal at Nexus Venture Partners, a VC firm in India with a fund size of $320 million. While at Nexus, Manoj was board member of Bigshoebazaar India (which owns Yebhi.com), Sohanlal Commodity Management and was board observer of Snapdeal.com. Manoj has been very active in Internet, Technology, Wellness and Agri/Rural ecosystem in India and has been involved in grooming highly scalable businesses in these sectors. Prior to Nexus, he co-founded a semiconductor technology company, WIT, in US, which was later acquired by Chrontel.

Manoj has an MBA from IIM, Ahmedabad, B.Tech from IIT Bombay, MS from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and CPhil from University of California, San Diego. He has filed several patents in the US.

E-commerce is an interesting "business concept" which unfortunately is very difficult to translate into a "business model" which is viable, profitable and is non-VC dependent. In India lot of ecommerce entrepreneurs and venture capitalist too fail to understand that E-commerce is a "business" where you have to make money like a "Lala" not a video game where more the points you get (number of orders), more the kick you get.

The exponential myth of E-commerce is that E-commerce is scalable like hell in a short amount of time, which off course it is if you sell products below cost. The realistic fact is that it is very scalable but as every business, it requires an "inception period" where basic fundamentals of business need to be understood and followed. This includes finding and communicating the right "positioning" in the market, understanding the customer segment and need, understanding your product-market fit and understanding the economics of the business (how to make the business cash flow positive).

The fact of the matter is that lot of E-commerce companies in India do not know what they are or what they want to become. They all want to become Amazon of India. They start with one category, throw around deals, get to a certain number of orders, add another category, throw more deals around and the video game keeps continuing. Apart from lack of clarity on "positioning", they also are not making efforts to understand how to get the right set of customers to their webstore, convert them through right product-market fit and bring them back through amazing customer service.
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Reader's comments(3)
1: Your say very true and rights this is not a easy game you should follow the rules also to stay here for long run .Famehere is a new and unique concept where users take advantage of socializing and eCommerce also .
Posted by:rjrohit - 23 Sep, 2013
2: Very well said Manoj. I am sure it would take some time for few to understand this, while E-Com was seen as a pure valuation story based on transactions, social media "Likes" and many other funny attributes. Key is that while we plan to build thousand crores companies, in the short run, we also need to think like "Lalas" and make money on each deal. Definitely see that the right questions are being asked while raising moneys now. Let us run this marathon. Cheers - Vishal
Posted by:Vishal Gupta - 23 Feb, 2012
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