We are a B2B social commerce platform focused on general trade retailers. Our first mission is to transform the GT space in mobility business in India. Sofyx will help Brands, Distributors, Vendors, Retailers, Financing entities, and end customers connect, engage, communicate, discover and transact in a seamless manner.
Indian cell phone market stands at 300M units sold in 2017. In 2023 India will sell an estimated 400M mobile phones. These devices will sell through two key channels; e-commerce (Flipkart, Amazon, PayTM) will sell an estimated 25% of these units while Brick and Mortar (B&M) will make up 75% (300M). In all $25-30B worth mobile phones will sell from B&M stores in 2023.
There are about 300K B&M stores selling mobile phones in India. These shops are mostly individual owned and spread across 600 districts / smaller towns. Many of them have been in this business for over two decades. While India is transforming through Data revolution, Payments transformation, and the rapid emergence of e-commerce these B&M stores have not evolved with time. Each owner spends 10-12 hours a day, six days a week serving customers at these shops and brings unparalleled personal attention to each transaction. Yet they are being left behind, feel threatened and are not able to compete effectively. They simply do not understand how to play to the rapidly evolving digital India. Sofyx believes this is a lost opportunity given the proximity and the connect these people have with end customers. We believe this poses a significant opportunity for us.
Some of the key problems we are solving
1. Changing Consumer Behavior & Discoverability – While e-commerce is able to tell their “deals” and “special sales” story to end customers, B&M stores are unable to do that due to poor online presence. Sofyx will integrate such offerings from B&M and bring them to internet so that customers can discover such offers, deals, in a localized manner thereby making instant purchase decisions. Profiles, location, offers at such stores will be highlighted through location based services.
2. Distribution Efficiency & Reach: Currently B&M stores get the lowest margin amongst all channel types due to poor credit history and multi tier distribution. It takes about 5% to 6% of margin to place a unit into a shop. We intend to create partnerships to enable “direct to retail” billing by providing visibility on credit worthiness of each reseller. Through Sofyx Brands will be able to bring their products directly through e-distribution to the general trade resellers.
3. Exclusive Product Offerings: e-commerce players are able to leverage scale and financial muscle to get exclusive deals from brands – Sofyx will solve this for B&M stores by consolidating their demand and providing single interface for such deals with Brands.
4. Exclusive Financing Deals: Special financing and cash back deals from banks are available to e-commerce players – Sofyx will bring such deals to B&M stores by becoming the single entity that executes such deals on the ground with banks/financial institutions. These financing entities are also looking at avenues to better connect with these stores and also have leverage against conventional e-commerce.
5. Under Utilized Value Proposition – The presence and interest of store owners at brick and mortar stores makes them unique. Their ability to make instant decisions, help customers, and take care of any issues further enriches customer experience. Sofyx is building a suite of mystore functionalities to help these stores leverage their strengths through omni channel buying, used phone buy back, in store gratification, customer engagement and loyalty.
Go to Market
We are building a unique set of Apps and Web Presence that has multiple facets; consumer facing App, Retailer facing App, and an interface for rest of the stakeholders. Our objective is to bring about industry stakeholders from mobility business on to our platform. In parallel we will provide very specific tools to B&M store owners and managers so that they can engage with the platform at the click of a button. Retailers can upload their best offers, trade products amongst themselves, trigger new product bookings online, set up old stock for liquidation, explore and buy their supplies from multiple vendors and so on. Similar interfaces are being developed for brands, vendors, distributors as well as customers.
We will be rolling out this platform in the form of an MVP shortly in select cities. Our objective is to go live in top 10 cities in early 2019. We will bring out three Sofyx Offerings (as service bundles) to be adopted by Retailers. The offerings will be priced basis a freemium model with an aim to onboard 120K retailers by the end of 2020.
Sanjay Kaul: Founder & CEO of Sofyx is an Industry veteran who has spent 10 years in building two successful businesses in India. Prior to that he spent 10 years in Canada in various corporate roles in clean technology. He was instrumental in driving 25X growth in BlackBerry business to $1.5B and more recently he led Apple India business as the Country Managing Director to grow 12X in 6 years to over $2B. Sanjay is well regarded in the industry and has pioneered several key innovations including the various financing and buy back models. He is well connected to all key stakeholders / CXO’s in the industry including distributors, resellers, banks, NBFC’s, and used phone trading companies.
Mukesh Kachroo: Mukesh Kachroo, Co-Founder and CTO has almost 20 years of Product Development & Technology experience. He kicked off his career with GAIN Capital, an FX trading startup and was instrumental in building it through to IPO to becoming No. 1 FX firm in USA and has been involved in many acquisitions and corporate due diligence. Last 3+ years he successfully led and executed an incredibly challenging merger of 3 companies spread across US and London into one product technology stack alongside organizational transformation. He moved back to India and co-founded Sofyx. His breadth of experience ranges from Customer Acquisition and engagement, Retail and Partnership business, Real Time trading platforms, Risk Management and Business Intelligence. His can do attitude and unparalleled passion to drive results is contagious.
Karan Walia: Karan brings a decade of global leadership experience within investment and corporate banking. He has been mentoring and advising multiple fin-tech startups based out of UK, UAE and India. His key focus has been on product & partnership development, Go-to-Market strategy, and capital raising. Before joining Sofyx, he was the Chief Operating Officer (COO), at Societe Generale as well as Global Tech COO for Newedge.
Manu Dhawan: Manu leads our strategy, business development, content & product monetisation initiatives. He brings over 17 years’ experience across a strong and diverse portfolio, having lead businesses in Consumer Internet, Online Content, Private Equity, Consulting & Consumer Finance. He’s worked with marquee organisations like Walton Street Capital, GE Capital & ICICI Bank. He has also built and run 2 successful start-ups (Spaceworx & CinePlay) and drives ideas that are simple, executable yet scalable. Manu is a word ninja and his first book, being published by Rupa Publications, is out July 2019. His other passion is playing poker and he believes he will win the World Series one day. Might as well not wake him up. Unless you are armed with great coffee.
Rahul Puri: A seasoned senior executive from telecom industry who has led executive roles for managing BlackBerry and iPhone sales in India. Rahul brings 18 years of experience from telecom carriers, and leading telecom brands. During his professional career he has built distribution and sales structure across India.
Vandana Raina: A people’s person at heart, Vandna made a big change in her career upon returning to India. A medicinal chemist by training with multiple US patents in her name in biotech, she chose to pursue finance and lending as her career for the last 6 years. During this time she has developed excellent relationships with stakeholders in the lending industry and worked closely with some of the leading financial institutions. Vandna is a go getter and an exemplary women leader who has built her identity in a business that is generally dominated by men in India. She will be leading our engagements with financial institutions to bring effective lending to Sofyx partners.
Preetpal Singh: Preetpal leads our user experience design initiatives. His natural flair for design and creativity while being able to grasp the problem statement and come up with novel ideas as solutions makes him the guy who can get things down in a jiffy. His other passion is creating music and connect the rhythm to different cultures of the world . By evening his creativity enables him to play in major music festivals.
Ritika Shah: With a knack for detail and a penchant for creativity, Ritika brings her artistic fervor to the company. She has over 5 years of experience handling teams and independent projects involving content creation for marketing collateral ranging from digital marketing media to outdoor branding. Her experience working in radically diverse environments – startups, production houses, multinational companies, has to lead to her having a very adaptive mindset which she makes the best use of to crack any design challenge thrown at her.
Vishali Raina: Vishali joins Sofyx to help evolve and define our Partner proposition and ensure our product offering exceeds the expectations of our partner community. Post graduating from BITS, Pilani she has worked in various roles in the banking and investment sector that included that of technologist, business analyst, market strategist, data analyst and product analyst to name a few. In her 18 years of experience she has worked with TCS, Standard Chartered, Citi, UBS, BNY and SIG in Singapore and US. Vishali thrives in high pressure, fast paced environment and brings to table the positive energy and a happy go lucky attitude that is backed by grit and immense perseverance. Travelling and reading are her favourite pastimes.