Nalin Saluja studied Electrical Engineering and Management from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has worked with Goldman Sachs & Co. in New York before joining his family business in 2009 as Director and CEO at SPR Buildtech Ltd.
An industry where standard inventory period is about 3 months, supplified.com brings a new approach to the construction materials and home décor appliances market by offering just in time inventory model. Formed by people having years of experience, supplified.com aims to become India’s largest B2B online marketplace for construction products and to bring transparency & convenience to this market.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
Supplified.com is taking this $150-billion market of construction materials and home décor appliances and fittings online. It is a B2B-focussed online marketplace for construction materials. The value creation at its heart is to make the buying experience of construction materials and machinery easy, convenient and efficient- by perfecting their JIT inventory model for an industry where the standard inventory period is about 3 months.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
The idea of Supplified, a B2B marketplace wherein there are two ecosystems playing in –
- The sharing economy of the developer/contractor community – wherein they have large inventory stocks for materials and equipments that can be shared and a revenue model can be worked upon it.
- Buying and selling of the materials involved was a brainchild of Mohit Goel. While working closely on the Purchase Department of his Real Estate firm, Mohit realized that there is a massive opportunity to optimize the system not just for his own company but also for the whole industry. The opportunity lied in making the process more tech dependent and driven rather than relying on Human intervention.
What is your life mantra?
It’s quite simple really – We just do what we are passionate about. If you put your heart & soul into something, chances are you end up doing things much better than most others.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
One of the biggest challenges we faced was of attracting good talent. Most of the ‘creamy layer’ of talent available out there is looking for more secure roles than what a start-up can promise.
How did you overcome those challenges?
We personally got involved in each & every recruitment and ensured we share our vision & inspire leadership in the candidates that we liked & wanted to bring on board. I think in hindsight, it helped that we realized this challenge very early on, because today, I would argue that our team is now our strength.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
We bootstrapped Supplified with our collective funds of approx $1 million. We look at raising VC funding later this year.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
Building a strong team is any entrepreneur’s biggest challenge. We have been able to overcome this by recognizing the issue early on and taking steps to ensure we get involved in recruitment process. Once we have someone as part of our team, the biggest motivator for them is the independence in their work, their involvement in every decision that impacts their work, lots of feedback & tons of respect. So far, this has worked very well for us and hardly any person has left us.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
As I said earlier, passion is the most important quality needed to be successful. When doing a start-up, another very important quality needed is patience & resilience. And another very important aspect is to have a vision while still staying nimble.
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
Currently, we are using Sendgrid (e-mail marketing tool), Connecto (website engagement tool), Zoopim (customer chat), Buffer (social media posting platform). We are also using Canva (a web graphic tool), Inspectlet (a tool to record and watch everything your visitors do) and a few more. We understand the need of digital marketing in this era.
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
One habit for enhancing productivity is to manage your time. Do what you need to, delegate what you can, weed out distractions and just ensure you stay on top of your work.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
The one thing I think I need to do less of is multitasking. While there is always a big attraction in getting more done at once, I feel you do each task better when you do them one at a time. So I have been trying to change that.
Answer in less than 50 words
Be passionate about what you do & have conviction in your beliefs.
- One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
As an entrepreneur, you need vision with adaptability & resilience. One mistake that can be easy to make early on is to chase a misleading success. You need to understand your market and see through successes that will be short-lived and maybe drive you off-road.
- One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
The most important lesson has been to understand the market & its dynamics in such depth that few others have achieved.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
Over the next 3 years, our plans are to scale up Supplified.com as India’s largest B2B online marketplace for construction products and to bring transparency & convenience to this market.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
Put some blinders on to ensure our competitor’s mistakes (or misleading successes) don’t distract us from our goals.
What are your top three getaway destinations?
All places serene are high on the list. New York & Barcelona are perhaps the exceptions to the rule.
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
“Always deliver more than expected.” —Larry Page, co-founder of Google.