Nishant Bhardwaj is a young brain behind hyper-local online grocery startup, Zopeco.com. A fitness freak and marketing geek, this businessman has come a long way from working in sales departments of India’s largest automobile company Tata motors and Eveready Industries India Ltd. After gathering crucial experience in sales and marketing, Nishant took a step towards a new journey as founder of Zopeco. The idea to build online marketplace for selling grocery and other products of regular use came to him while struggling to find time from his hectic schedule. He then realized it was the cause of worry for everyone working in corporate and founded this platform with his friends.
When not brainstorming marketing ideas he is found running marathon, playing tennis or engrossed in photography. He is an avid reader and despite a busy schedule keeps tab on topics in news. Read the interview to know more about this young & zealous entrepreneur.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
We solve the problem of Grocery Shopping in a jiffy. Zopeco delivers from phone to home in 2 Hours. We have a zero-inventory marketplace model where we generate incremental volumes for hyper-local retailers, garnering loyalty from new & existing customers through our Zopeco branded chain of stores. We are committed to asset-less brand which makes us cognizable & scalable.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
As a corporate professional, I faced the problem of buying groceries & veggies as I had to find time from my hectic schedule & tours, drag myself to the super-market, face the traffic, parking hassles, find each product in aisles after aisles, stand in queue and the get billing done. It was a major pain-point and I understood that it’s a problem for every working professional, Aged people & for those who couldn’t drive. So my co-founder & I came together to solve this problem.
What is your life mantra?
I believe that fitness, optimism & the right attitude can solve any problem in the world. Happiness can be found not outside but in the inside with your work, dreams & will be persist.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
We had two near death experiences of our start-up, co-founders leaving because of extreme challenges of entrepreneurship, sacrifice of 7-figure salary, no family/friends time, 90-hour work weeks & put every single rupee I had saved in 4 years of working life to save the company. These were just some challenges that we faced in the first 8-months of Zopeco’s existence.
How did you overcome those challenges?
The key really is to never give up, I kept fighting and did not give up. My dearest friend & gym buddy, quit his fancy job and joined me full time as a co-founder to run the company and we prevailed.
Due to our service quality, excellent customer experience & business model, we just raised a seed round from an HNI.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
So, for the first 8 months, we were a bootstrapped startup. We have just closed a seed round with an HNI of Eastern-India origin. With this round we shall be able to strengthen our technology, marketing & expansion into two more cities. The total investment is close to $100k as of now.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
We are in services & delivery segment where logistics is the back-bone of the company with 70% of the staff in logistics. In this cadre, the attrition rate is quite high, going up-to 30% at times. For this we have used following practises so far-
Matching Pay-scales with industry leaders such as Flipkart, Go-Java’s & Aramax.
Daily team-huddle for feedback, suggestion & grievance handling with all team members.
We celebrate every small little win also together, such as achieving 50 deliveries in one day, I-Day, Ganesh Chaturthi, Eid & once a month, market storming with all members in the market at once.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
Will to not give up come what may.
Feeling of sacrifice & ownership. No job at your startup is someone else’s job.
Willingness to learn, adapt & move swiftly- like they say that “Fail Fast & Fail Often”
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
We use the following tools/ services the most at our startup-
- Super-Receptionist By Knowlarity for your telephony solution.
- Web-Based SMS solutions
- Powtoons- For professional looking service video’s.
- Mailchimp for better email marketing management.
- Facebook Pages for business.- The Must have for every startup.
Share any one habit which you think makes you more productive.
I sleep for only 5-6 hours a day, work-out for 60 minutes & I don’t watch TV. This helps me to be more focused, energetic & helps to be more productive.
Share any one habit which you wish to change in yourself.
I wish I could read more, from 1 book a month to at-least 4.
Answer in less than 50 words
One tip to success:
Always keep looking for the problems of the world & try finding multiple solutions to it, success lies in one of those solutions.
One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
Instead of trusting fads & people blindly, trust in your own two bare hands & build something solid & permanent.
One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
Life is full of challenges, our job is too be ready for them with physical fitness, mental toughness & optimism.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
Scale my startup into a company that customers not just interact with but love.
We would to be present in various geographies, bringing value to our vendors & all stakeholders.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
I would build a sound technology first, chose stakeholders more wisely & raise initial seed capital for a wider reach & depth.
What are your top three getaway destinations?
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
“If something is important enough, you should do it, even if the odds are not in your favour” – Elon Musk