Interview with Saikat Sinha from Preksh “World’s First Visual Commerce Platform”
Saikat – I graduated as a Mechanical Engineer from NIT Rourkela and completed MBA from IIM Lucknow. I started my career with Accenture and post MBA joined Citibank. At Citibank, I had the opportunity to work across different roles like mobile banking, affluent segment product management and global digital strategy. At present, I am the Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer of Preksh Innovations Pvt Ltd. Here we have introduced augmented reality in e-commerce.
YEF – Why an entrepreneur, y not a high paying job?
Saikat – Entrepreneurship gives you an opportunity to do something different, provides personal and professional independence. The sense of self-fulfillment that entrepreneurship provides is un-parallel to any corporate job. Moreover entrepreneurship provides you the scope to be innovative and learn everything to run an organization.
YEF – What inspired you to start your own businesses?
Saikat – At present there is a huge gap between online shopping and offline shopping. If we look at eCommerce, there are only two ways of searching a product. Firstly ‘The Search Tab’ which is generally placed on the top of the website/app, secondly ‘Search by category Tabs’ placed on the top left of the website/app. However if we look at offline shopping, search & purchase happens mostly by ‘Looking Around’. We wanted to use augmented reality & virtual reality to implement this aspect of ‘Looking Around’ in online shopping.
YEF – What is your company into and what problem does it solve?
Saikat – Consumers buy either online (E commerce) or offline (Real Stores). While eCommerce bring all the conveniences (assortment of products, home delivery, customer support etc.), shopping as a fun experience is still with the offline stores. We want to bridge the online-offline retail gap and make online shopping fun & convenient.
We have developed an Augmented Reality Solution that allow consumers to ‘walk-through’ real brick and mortar stores, ‘pick’ products off the shelves and purchase online while inside the Virtual Store. We bring in the real-life shopping experience to the consumers. Unique features like ‘Store Enquiry’ allows users to directly ask a questions to the store owner, ‘Sections’ allows users to jump to any section inside the store and ‘Social Share’ where one can take a snapshot inside the real store to share it in social media.
YEF – Tell us more about your brand name?
Saikat – We dream of creating a multinational company, with its roots being Indian. The word ‘Preksh’ is derived from the word ‘Preksha’ in Sanskrit meaning ‘Visually Appealing’. As our company is all about visuals, augmented reality and virtual reality, the word ‘Preksh’ justifies our work. While designing the logo we chose the color orange which signifies Innovation, Ideas and energy. The Logo shows ‘P’ in 3D which is clear, simple and easily replicable, hence have higher brand recall.
YEF – How did the idea for your company come about?
Saikat – The idea came from the non-intuitiveness of present day online shopping. When people go to any physical store/ mall/ fair etc, they end up buying more than what they intend, because they shop by ‘Looking Around’. This entire concept is missing in present day eCommerce. Hence we started developing a solution to integrate augmented reality in eCommerce and create an ideal omni-channel platform to make shopping fun & convenient.
YEF – What are key services you are providing which are differentiator from the rest?
Saikat – At present we do not have any competitor in Indian market. We have two patents to safeguard our visual commerce solution. We amplify the online presence and increase customer engagement for retailers and brands.
YEF – What is the pricing strategy and marketing strategy you have been using?
Saikat – We work on a subscription based model. The entire implementation cost for any retailer is not even a fraction of what they spend in rentals. We are targeting retailers and brands under categories like home décor, art & craft, furniture and apparels. We plan to build the supply side first by specifically targeting the bigger brands. We also have aggressive overseas strategy using channel partners to expand in Middle East, North America and SE Asia.
YEF – How’s the business going on and who are your key clients?
Saikat – These are still early days, but we have received positive responses from large retailers and brands. Our key clients now are Aditya Birla Group (Van Huesen) and Mahindra & Mahindra Group (Babyoye). We have multiple deals in the pipelines with clients in India and Middle East.
YEF – Your current target regions and future plans?
Saikat – At present we are targeting the Indian market with particular focus on metros. We are also looking forward to set our footprints beyond India in Middle East, North America and SE Asia. In terms of product road map, we are working hard to build our own application for AR/VR gadgets to drive seamless omni-channel shopping experience for consumers across offline, web and mobile.
YEF – What do you think are the most important factors that will make your company a success?
Saikat – I believe, we have all the ingredient to be a successful company
- A dynamic, highly qualified and experienced founding team with a common vision
- Industry stalwarts as mentors
- Incubated by one of best incubators of the world
- A passionate team with a ‘customer first’ attitude
- A cutting edge technological solution for a real life problem
YEF – Who are your role models?
Saikat – Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam and Richard Branson.
YEF – What words of advice would you give to other young entrepreneurs?
Saikat – Some words of advice
– Life is short, make mistakes and quickly learn from it
– Always focus on numbers. Please remember, ‘if you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it’.
– Choose co-founders very carefully. Complementary skills with common vision forms the ideal combination.
Some words of cautions
– Do not choose entrepreneurship just because you are not liking your present job or momentarily stuck in your career. Start something only when you are passionate about it. Please remember it is the passion that is going to drive you in the long hard days of entrepreneurship.
– A hungry stomach cannot drive ideas. Please look at your personal support system before jumping into entrepreneurship
YEF – What do you think about this initiative of youth entreprennovators forum?
I believe YEF is doing a fantastic job in focusing on youth entrepreneur. YEF is a one stop representation of the power and potential of Indian youth. Thanks YEF for taking the initiative.
Visit Company Website: Preksh