From One Instagram Shop to Turnover in Crores; Learn How This Start-up Grew By Helping Others
Despite the government taking a number of steps, to help them reach their consumers, a notable number of small businesses fail. A common reason, for this failure, is diverse geographical conditions of the country. A start-up from the Kashmir, FastBeetle, is helping out small businesses to increase global reach. Started in 2019, FastBeetle is a courier and parcel service company that helps small business by delivering their products to the customers. We have taken an interview of the Co-founder of Fast Beetle, Sheikh Samiullah, in which he shares about his journey and the road ahead.
Formation of an Idea into the Business
Almost all types of business are by-products of problems. Story of FastBeetle also started like this. Talking about how he got the Idea, Samiullah says, “In 2019, I was working with a company, as Logistic Head, named ‘Kashmir Box’. It was an ecommerce website for artisans and farmers of the Kashmir. The company used to list the products of farmers on their website so that consumer can buy them.”
Samiullah saw that orders were coming on the website but most of them could not be completed. It was all due to one single yet hard to conquer problem. The problem was logistics. When he called the artisans or the famer to know about why was this happening they simply said it won’t be possible to deliver the order. There was no local way to send packages to the customers. He noticed that there was a great need of an organised channel that can help to pickup or drop packages at the desired address.
“In Kashmir box, we used to send our procuring guys to the market so that they to pick up the packages and then send it to the destination. This was good until we started receiving more than three to four hundred orders a day. It was not a good idea, both with money and time, to send 400 boys in market to collect or deliver the orders. It might sound simple for the business in initial stage but is terrible for long run,” he added.
Samiullah decided to solve this problem. He wanted to help the business to deliver the products. He discussed the idea with Abid Rashid lone, his childhood friend and this is how the FastBeetle came into existence. It started in 2019, with one Instagram shop, and today more 1100 shops and offline stores are working with FastBeetle.
How FastBeetle Works
FastBeetle provides its services to small businesses. It lets them fulfil orders, not only in the same district or state but, in other nations as well. Another model on which the company works is a Business to business model. It means if you are business and want some sort of goods, from any other business, FastBeetle will take care of it. In addition to these two types, FastBeetle works for Customer to Customer also. Elaborating this customer to customer approach Samiullah says, “For example you forgot your laptop at your home. Download the mobile app; select the address and delivery location. Then someone from our side collects the items and delivers at right your address.”
While telling how technology has helped FastBeetle to grow, Samiullah says, “In starting, we were using MS Excels sheets to maintain records. It took not more than one year to realize that there was a need of having a customized Smartphone Application. Maintaining Excels was a bit harder as we need to call the delivery guy, business partner and the customer to ask details. Confirmation of Cash on Delivery orders was also very much confusing that whether the payment has been done or not.”
“If customer cannot be found at the premises, we were supposed to make another attempt after three days. In cases of using excels it was both irritating and chaotic to find the details of which orders are delivered or not. We tried to solve this problem with the help of technology. We turned the ledger into a digital format and developed a rider app. In our area, both the electricity, and mobile network goes frequently. So we made our app to work even in the lowest connection,” adds Samiullah.
There was no initial funding from any special type of investors. Samiullah laid the foundation stones of the company from all the saving from job. Further the business was completly bootstrapped for first one year. When asked about how the funding was taken care of Sami said, “I had some saving from my job that I put in to start the business. In 2020, we raised the family and friends round. Thereafter, in 2021-22, we have raised the pre series-A round of around USD 100 thousand. We are happy to say that we are the first company to raise this kind of amount in valley.”
Challenges and the Road ahead
Like every other start-up, the initial days of FastBeetle were quite troublesome. Sami Says, “We have seen things like unannounced curfews, sudden lockdowns and internet shutdowns frequently. These things worsen the situation for both the customers and businesses. Still, rather than being in a complaining situation we must find the ways to solve it. This is the only things that we, with the help of FastBeetle, do.”