Hyderabad: When Sonakshi Nathani visited her hometown while working for Microsoft, little did she know that it would push her to a path of entrepreneurship. Seeing her family – who own a small kirana store — use online platforms like WhatsApp to take orders, she decided to do something to ease their burden. She got together with Ashutosh Singla, her classmate in IIIT-Hyderabad, and founded Bikayi in April 2019.
The T-Hub incubated startup simplifies the process of taking and placing orders for small merchants and their customers by providing them a digital catalogue management solution. The merchants need to simply take pictures of the products available in the shop and upload it on the Bikayi app. The app automatically creates an online store on the shop’s name, which the merchant can share with their customers to take, track and shop orders.
“We are looking to solve the problem of order management for these small merchants by providing them an online platform for their shop. Previously, these merchants used to use WhatsApp and other messaging apps to take orders from customers, thus making it very cumbersome and confusing. Through our platform we are trying to keep it as easy as possible even for those merchants who are not tech-savvy,” said Nathani.
The startup has about 85,000 active merchants on their platform and post-Covid it is witnessing 120 per cent growth in terms of revenue and number of merchants. About 3.5 million users visit the Bikayi stores on a monthly basis. While merchants can use the platform for free till up to 500 products display and post that for branding and other offering, Bikayi offers a subscription-based model ranging from Rs 2,999 to Rs 7,999 per year.
Recently, the startup raised $2 million from international investors including early stage fund, Mantis Ventures, Y Combinator, Pioneer Fund and other angels. These funds, according to Nathani, will be used to scale up the product along with focusing on marketing and hiring. “By December, we are expecting to have one million merchants on-board and post that we are planning to have 10 million merchants. We also plan to venture into international markets,” she said.
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