Startups and small businesses often find themselves fumbling around when looking for an agency or supplier to handle digital marketing activities, public relations (PR), market research, branding, media planning, etc. lead generation and HR needs.
Unlike large companies, which have deep pockets and dedicated teams to carry out these functions, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are mostly left at the mercy of WhatsApp groups, endless Google searches, recommendations from word of mouth and their network of peers to find. the right service providers.
In order to democratize Purchases of B2B services, based on Gurugram, which is part of YourStory Tech50 2021 List of the most promising early-stage startups, have stepped in to bridge this gap with the help of technology and change the way high-value services are bought and sold.
Established in 2018, the startup has, to date, served more than 1,500 SMEs and startups, and a More than 2,000 branches registered on its platform, which goes beyond typical technology ‘match and find’ service and provides post-transaction services such as project monitoring and escrow to give founders and business owners the much-needed peace of mind.
Bringing market technology to services
The founders of GroCurv Vipul gupta and Venkatesh Rangachari During their corporate careers, they both found themselves considering entrepreneurship. Their stints at Airtel overlapped, with the two being colleagues in the telecommunications giant’s Gurgaon office. Vipul holds an MBA from Management Development Institute (MDI), Gurugram, while Venkatesh has two MBAs from IIM Bangalore and INSEAD.
In 2017, the duo launched their first startup called Hypersonic Advisory, a consulting firm for SMEs and startups, which paved the way for their second business idea.
âAs consultants to these startups and SMEs, we realized that most of our time was spent finding the right partner or agency for their marketing, sales, PR, branding, etc. functions. The internal teams of small businesses are very small or almost nil, and therefore they rely on external agencies for such functions, âexplains Vipul.
The founders contacted some 250 small and medium enterprises to understand their needs and requirements while entering the market and carrying out different projects. âThe struggle was real. There was almost no single market to match founders with the right partner agency. It took them almost two months to find a supplier in a context of high information asymmetry. It was essentially a success and a trial.
A snapshot of the GroCurv dashboard
The GroCurv platform went live in September 2019. Once an SME or startup signs up, it is directed to the platform’s proprietary conversational interface called Dhruv, which includes the requirements.
Based on a simple 10 minute interaction, a strong ‘project summary’ is created, which captures separate data points about the SMB and what it requires from a provider. This brief is then fed into an algorithm, which matches the SME with the 5 to 6 best agencies as well as a corresponding score. The client can compare, interact, research proposals and negotiate with the agencies on the platform and then close the deal.
Beyond discovery and SEO, the platform acts as a data storage center and provides both parties with a window to perform post-agreement operation via group interactions as well as follow-up of the entire process with weekly calls.
âThe post-trade monitoring and escrow function sets our business model apart from other platforms. The mission is to make the whole process transparent, build trust and give SMEs and startups peace of mind in sourcing services. What used to take almost two months is now done in just 7-8 days.
The startup follows a strict protocol when integrating agencies. To date, there are over 2,000 vendors on the platform offering a multitude of services such as marketing, design, sales, public relations, branding, among others.
His target market and the focus is on SMEs which have a turnover of around Rs 5 crore -250 crore and are launching into series B funded startups.
âWe’re also getting demand from large companies, but our platform is designed to exclusively help SMEs and startups. We want to become a central part of their growth journey.
Moglix, WinUall, Medpho, Riverine, Extramarks, HEM Incense, Finora, SSF Plastics, Ujala Cygnus Healthcare are some of its clients as well as international names such as SquireLocks, Acara, Ymetis, Dole Asia, Bauli and Med-tech insights.
Explaining the revenue model and its future, Vipul says, âWe plan to eventually build a SaaS offer (software as a service) around the purchase of services. Right now, we are winning on the vendor side and charging a percentage fee on every agency transaction. ”
GroCurv has lifted its last round of seed funding of VC early stage based in Singapore Unicorn Investments and VINEYARDS (Network of value investors). It rivals Globality, Sortlist, Agency search, Afaqs Marketplace and Fiverr, among others. It has an annual recurring revenue (ARR) of $ 0.7 million with an order placement rate of $ 1.5 million.
GroCurv has seen “strong demand” from global startups and SMEs looking for profitable Indian service providers, according to Vipul. This could give rise to a huge opportunity for Indian agencies to outsource their services.
âThe Southeast Asian market faces a similar problem of information asymmetry. About 2.5 million Google searches are done every month just for marketing agencies. This means discovery is a problem and we aim to solve it on a global scale. “
The startup aims to become positive cash flow by the end of March 2022. In the future, it plans to add other segments, in particular pure play advertising agencies, media planning, celebrity agencies and make the whole company evolve by reaching out to more SMEs and startups.
âIndia has around 40,000 sales and marketing agencies. By 2025, we want 10,000 of them to be organized on the platform and generate almost 30% of the business for them. Over the next 18 months, the goal is to start making almost a million gross bookings per month and grow 9X to 10X. ”
GroCurv is a Starting YourStory Tech50 for 2021.