How Gobillion became a major e-commerce player within a year of launch
When the idea for Gobillion struck in January 2020, no one would've thought that it would grow so tremendously to become one of the fast-rising e-commerce startups in India. The company has put up a trajectory taking on the Indian e-commerce sphere with groundbreaking innovations and people-centric solutions.
Gobillion is an IIT-IIM (India Institute of Technology-Indian Institute of Management) B2C company founded in New Delhi by Roshan Farhan, T Das, and KP Bharali. The company is focused on bringing e-commerce to the fingertips of the next 400 million customers in India and making their shopping experiences fun and engaging. Cumulatively, these young and vibrant entrepreneurs have had stints at global brands like Deloitte US, EY, ADOBE, McKinsey & Company, Accenture, and SAP Labs, among others.
This is a heavy resume for any group of individuals. Considering what they have achieved in a very short time, these young men are truly worth the hype. It should also not come as a surprise because they are alumni of outstanding institutions likes IIT, IIM, and NIT. For them, it all started from a personal shopping experience. They noticed a significant gap in the shopping cycle of customers and decided to step in and fulfill that need.
Their desire to add a social experience to online shopping was what birthed Gobillion. Farhan had called Bharali, who is also one of the very few certified Level 3 Canyoneers in India as well as a professional climber, to ask for references on good health and fitness supplements for workouts. They started thinking of better ways to highlight their online shopping experiences and that was it. “As an adventure sports enthusiast, I first started thinking about entrepreneurship with that in mind,” says Bharali.
In his words, Farhan says the dream has always been there. “I always aspired to start my own venture but was not very sure how to proceed during my initial days. By the time I was graduating from IIM, I was pretty sure I would be taking the entrepreneurship route”. As for the name he has this to say; “Gobillion literally means a ‘large number above a billion’. This made a lot of sense because of the vision we had for the company and the impact we wanted to create.”
Gobillion's sales model, ‘Team Buy’ is one of the most innovative by any company. With this, customers can unlock deals and drive for lower prices when they shop with their close friends and family. This is also meant to promote an engaging and fun shopping experience while the customers save some money.
Farhan gives an insight; “Over the summer we talked to more than 1200 potential customers across Tier 2 and above cities in India. We realized that they had a unique set of shopping aspirations and needs, which are not being effectively served. These customers can be served best by offering value-based purchases and fostering trust by building social communities around their shared shopping interests.”
Gobillion promotes shared community based and social association or relationship to drive sales and also help customers save significantly above other e-commerce companies. These are only a few of their USPs. Speaking about this, Farhan says, “Traditional e-commerce platforms in India don’t focus on the intrinsic social buying needs of Indian customers. Through our Team Buy feature, customers can buy together in trusted groups of friends or family, and get their daily essentials and groceries at massive discounts.”
In just a few months, Gobillion's dedication and unique business model have paid off. After launching in October 2020 with their personal savings of about Rs 2 lakh, the company is already experiencing early traction and product-market fit and they have moved away from the startup bootstrap stage. But that growth has also come through several hurdles. Finding the right team with members as passionate about the vision and goal of the company as they are is one major challenge.
Also, as Farhan shares, “Entrepreneurship is not a smooth road – it has a lot of ups and downs, we need to be really rooted to the ground and focused on the problem we are solving.”
Through it all, they can draw strength from the love and support of family and loved ones, mentors and friends who continue to inspire and motivate them. But above all, keeping their eyes on the bigger picture is a huge motivation for them.
For co-founder Bharali, there's a lot more to motivation. “As an entrepreneur, the urge to innovate new things in this world drives me every day. I would like to see and contribute to tomorrow's world; a world that is better than today.”
There are plans of introducing several features for customers shortly. They also plan on launching a student initiative, and campus influencer program, to improve student’s participation in the growth trajectory.
Farhan shares more plans for the coming years. "We will also be getting into join-go-to-market alliances with peripheral players for helping us scale up fast and have operational synergies,” One can only expect further growth and impact from a company that has shown, in just a few months, it is forward-thinking and committed to changing the user experience in the world of online shopping.