Haripriya Bhagat and Bhavin Bhagat both hail from business families. While Haripriya grew up in Mumbai, Bhavin spent his childhood in Ahmedabad. Haripriya completed his B.Com. and M.Com. from Mumbai with further education in MSc in International Finance (UK) and professional qualification ACCA UK. Whereas, Bhavin pursued science stream and achieved his Masters in Management from UK. The duo met in London, became friends and then partners in life and eventually our professional journey together at indiabizforsale.com.
In this exclusive interview with CrazyEngineers, we got Haripriya to talk about their business journey, how their startup came to life, how they made their first sale, how it all works and a lot more. Read on!
Haripriya Bhagat And Bhavin Bhagat, Founders - IndiaBizForSale
CE: How will you describe your professional journey so far?
Haripriya Bhagat: My professional journey started in India in early 2000 at BillDesk and then progressed into UK from 2004 to 2013 with experiences in Finance and Accounting domain from diverse industry segments, working for companies like Nestor Healthcare, Halcrow Group, Suez (UK) - Waste & Environmental Services with varied roles.
Becoming an entrepreneur was not easy though especially when the opportunity cost was high and starting from scratch where risk is very high. Only with the passion to solve this big challenge for SMEs in India along with Bhavin on board, it became possible to kickstart this journey.
CE: What is Indiabizforsale all about? How will you illustrate it to a layman?
Haripriya Bhagat: IndiaBizForSale is a one-stop solution for small to medium sized businesses (SMEs/SMBs) looking to sell their units, expand through JVs, mergers, acquisitions or raise funds for business growth.
One-stop solution for SMEs looking to sell their units, right from getting the unit “market ready” to preparing paperwork and conducting financial checks like business valuations. Also, it has businesses listed that are looking for investment partners or those looking to expand through joint ventures and mergers.
CE: Tell us how does your startup came to life? What is the story behind it.
Haripriya Bhagat: This happened whilst we were in UK - Our family has been into pharmaceutical field for many years. Back in 2010, one of our family units (successfully running) had some management issues and the family decided to sell that unit. The process that our family went through was tedious and inefficient. This hit us that it is very challenging to find the right buyer who would pay good price, especially while you want to keep it confidential.
Whilst in the UK, we came across a platform from Canada that were in buying and selling of businesses, we decided to the business on that platform. Through which we got good amount of inquiries from India and abroad. This exercise showed us that there is a huge dearth of options for business in India not only when they want to sell out but also when they want to grow via investment, partnership, or JV and we decided to take the plunge to bridge this gap.
CE: What is USP of your company?
Haripriya Bhagat: Our 100% focus is small to medium size businesses in India. We understand the challenges and motivations of these, and have designed our offerings accordingly. Now, we provide two main type of services a) platform services and b) advisory services. This allow us to provide one-stop solution for SMEs during their start up phase, growth phase and also exit phase. We continuously strive to bring certainty for SME transactions with robust processes, vetting and good technology.
CE: Tell us how Indiabizforsale system works.
Haripriya Bhagat: Businesses profiles are created (but identity kept confidential for any third party) and curated by our in-house team to make them genuinely attractive with photographs, good language and highlights of the business. Listing a business and receiving the first few inquiries are free. After that, IndiaBizForSale charges a subscription fee ranging between INR 2,000 and INR 25,000. We also provide advisory services, depending upon scope of work and services we provide; we charge a fixed fee component and success fees in the range of 1% to 3% of the deal size.
CE: How did you make your first sale?
Haripriya Bhagat: In the beginning when the platform was new, we used LinkedIn massively; it helped in getting users who are found us through google search. First year, most services were free to create our user base. When we launched the pricing for the first time (after nearly a year and half from the start of the company); a publishing company from Chennai opted for our paid plan to market the opportunity with more visibility and promotions. It was over few phone calls and emails, it was a small ticket sale for us but it was priceless.
CE: How did you get funded or what creative strategies did you use to execute on minimal cash flow?
Haripriya Bhagat: We have bootstrapped so far, we did participate in an accelerator program at CIIE (IIM-A) for which we won and earned a grant. We also earned grant from state government of Gujarat’s startup policy for tech development. To reach out to more audience, we focused on barter approach with event companies from our sector where got visibility (at no cost) to the right audience while covering those events in monthly newsletter. So we invested in marketing campaigns (monthly newsletter etc) which allowed us to barter for events and more.
CE: What according to you are the most important characteristics a person needs to be an entrepreneur?
Haripriya Bhagat: 3P’s – Passion, Perseverance, Positive energy.
CE: Any message for readers?
Haripriya Bhagat: Keep challenging yourself. Don’t wait for the right time, take the time to do it right.
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