Sustainability is one idea that we all want to achieve, but some loopholes keep it virtual. We want the merchants, local artisans and local manufacturers to have a proportionate share in the market, but again feel helpless after some point of time. This is the real scenario. Even, if you want it, you cannot really help it. And, to develop this mutual co-existence, Qtrove was born. Based in Bangalore, it is a mutually beneficial interconnection between the non-mass sellers, manufacturers and buyers; motivating and aiding the former and satisfying the needs of latter. Well, the description does not end here, there are many cherries on this pie.
While most offer brands, this startup will not burden you with another set of those same repetitive options. Something not yet known, or something away from the limelight. Qtrove is a curated marketplace that exhibits and sells non-mass produced items from small entrepreneurs across the country. These products are sustainable and are not available easily. They aim to enhance the well-being and social currency of today’s discerning consumer. Qtrove achieves it through its stellar network of partner sellers. Qtrove is a closed marketplace. Sellers having products that mirror their philosophy of being natural, sustainable and non-mass produced are only selected.
Qtrove – Core Team
Vinamra Pandiya is a distinguished serial entrepreneur credited with starting and scaling two companies. After graduating from IIT-BHU, he went on to work with Infosys as a software developer. However, he quit from this 9 to 5 job and started Mom’s Kitchen along with his childhood friend at the age of 25. Mom’s Kitchen is also one of the country’s earliest Internet Kitchen. He then went on to scale TastyKhana (as its board member and COO) as nation’s leading online food ordering portal which eventually got acquired by FoodPanda in the late 2014. Additionally, he acts as a mentor and advisor to several early stage startups. Vinamra is currently spearheading Qtrove.com and wants to create a curated marketplace of unique products from handpicked vendors.
Prashanth Nagarajan is an engineer by qualification. He joined his family Printing business straight out of college and learned the ropes from the ground up. After spending a couple of years in the business, he headed to the prestigious Rochester Institute of Technology, New York to earn his Masters in Print Media. In 2009, he rejoined the Printing business and took charge of it from the previous generation of Management. After spending another six years in the business and wanting a new challenge, Prashanth accepted an offer to join one of India’s fastest growing startup companies – Grofers – as its AVP of Operations. But the entrepreneur in him ached to get back to being at the helm of affairs. The opportunity to co-found a business was too good to pass up on and he joined Vinamra in March of 2016 to head the Business side of Qtrove.com
The motive behind the idea
Today, shopping preferences and habits are based more on discounts and cashbacks because everyone essentially offers the same. Vinamra adds to this saying, “We want to bring fun back to shopping in leisure where products displayed are unique, personally curated and sustainable and where consumers buy them for that they are and not because we are offering some discounts. We also believe that today’s customer is stuck with ‘Tyranny of Choice’. Qtrove wants to build a seller-centered, democratic and a self-sustainable marketplace where the sellers decide their prices. It is just an enabler between the buyer and seller with basic guidelines, technology layer, logistics and customer care.”
Actual Reason for keeping the name as Qtrove
Qtrove stands for the Curated (Q) trove. Curated products are products that are sustainable, non-mass produced and have what is called as ‘Q Factor’.
This brilliant startup is incubated and promoted by Growthstory (Incubator promoted by K Ganesh and Meena Ganesh). Qtrove is in its POC stage and trying to find the target group which would love these highly curated products. Currently, the startup has 3000 products and 200 vendors from 40 different categories.
Competitors and Differentiation
There are companies that have occupied this space since last few years. The most prominent ones in this domain are iShippo (now acquired by Snapdeal) and Engrave.in. However, all of them primarily focus on art and crafts. Vinamra adds to this point saying, “Other difference is that we personally curate each vendor before they are listed on our platform. Curation is our biggest differentiator. Other differentiators are namely:
- Personalized photo shoots
- Dedicated Vendor page on how the product is made. And also, covering Unknown faces behind the business, and videos showcasing their inspiring stories.”
Future Plans: A Better Tomorrow
Qtrove wants to establish a content and community driven marketplace which is democratic and sustainable in nature. One where sellers and buyers can happily co-exist. One where products are celebrated and it leads to a happy, natural and a sustainable planet for a better tomorrow ultimately.
Vinamra shares a few details about their plans and target for the upcoming six months. “Having started operations from Bangalore, we want to bring handpicked vendors from the top 10 cities. Our main focus is on the quality of products and hence we aren’t chasing GMV or Seller count. We want to have a base of 10k satisfied customers and around 500 unique sellers on our platform. Furthermore, we will start international shipments pretty soon.”
Vinamra concludes, “The central idea to start Qtrove was to break the clutter in e-commerce and bring the focus back on unique and curated products. We seek to empower local entrepreneurs who are producing exotic/unique products in their vicinity and give them a widespread national platform. We are traditional businessmen at heart and believe each business should be started with the core focus of creating value for all the concerned stakeholders (employees, investors, customers and sellers) and this philosophy is the underlying theme behind Qtrove.” Indeed, crisp and correct.
The startup has a great lesson for all of us. Start a business keeping in mind the socio-economic conditions of our country. Qtrove has considered this crucial point of non-mass products to maintain a healthy economic growth. Surely, there are lot many ways to engage your startup to make a new and a better tomorrow. Visit their official website to know more about it. You can also drop a mail here for further queries. Happy Shopping. 😀
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