Cashify - This Startup Is Making Millions By Selling Your Phone | Know Here How | Startup Story
Nakul Kumar is one of the co-founder of Cashify. Cashify is India’s largest used mobile phones selling company.
For example, whenever a new phone launches such as an iPhone 11, the people sell or exchange their existing iPhone in an Apple store. Thereafter, Cashify buys that phone from the Apple store where you sold your old iPhone, cleans all your data, refurbish it and sell to the people who can’t afford a new one. Cashify buys around 120,000 used mobiles a month, Nakul Kumar says. Which makes them India’s largest used mobile phone company. They believe, the used phones are not useless, they are useful for the people who can’t afford a new one. Today they are about a team of 800 people and 15 offices across India in various states.
Nakul Kumar did his MBA from MDI Gurgaon one of the premiere colleges in India and passed out in 2009. The best thing about 2009 is that they were in the middle of global financial crises. The companies like Lehman Brothers were filing bankcruptcy and there were no jobs in the market. Nakul and his business partner Mandeep who have done his MBA from another premiere institute NITI, had no jobs.
On one side they were thinking to get a small job for the next 2-3 years, the market will revive in that time, they we will be picked up by a good company and ultimately they’ll be on a high position. And the second thought was, why let anybody else control our destiny? If we don’t have an opportunity then why we can’t create our own ? That’s when the idea of starting something of their own, came up.
Both the founders sown the seeds of entrepreneurship with no capital and started evaluating various ideas. They found waste management is a severe problem and nobody is taking care of that. They amazed with the concept, and started solving the burning problem. They came up with a business proposition where they will collect all the tyres and they had a technology which would convert that waste back into oil. Hence, saving the environment and anywhere oil was a scared commodity. But they needed funding for it which they didn’t had. At that time they weren’t familiar with VCs and Angel Networks so the easiest way to raise money was banks. So they started proposing banks. They went to the several banks in Delhi NCR and got rejected by reasoning technical problems and all. Finally they got a loan from the 13th bank not because they were smartest people or their idea was pretty good. But the daughter of the loan in charge was studying environmental engineering and she understood the importance of the project. The biggest lesson they learnt here was never give up. Nakul says, “you don’t need 100 yeses, you only need one yes. Rejection is a part of learning, if you wouldn’t get rejected you wouldn’t know what were you doing wrong or where you can improve. Hence, every rejection is important for the path to success.” Interesting thing is in 2010 they set up a plant to recycle scrap, rubber and tyre into oil. As the tyres are made from oil only, they were doing reverse engineering. Thereafter they raised funds, run the factory for three years and made good money. They were at the top of their field yielding highest production and maximum profit.
While they were best at what they were doing, both of them didn’t felt that it was scalable, the idea would be easily copied and made a decision to sold their cash cow. When the exited in 2013 there were more 850 similar companies while when they started they were the only one. Nakul says, “As of today there are similar 5000 factories. If we had didn’t moved that time we wouldn’t be making profit right now. It is very important to make your decisions not on emotional basis but on predicting what the future holds.”
One day Nakul was on a trip and visited a mall. Until he came back the laptop in his car had stolen. But the next day was his business meeting and it was needed to have a laptop with him. So he went to the Nehru Place, Delhi which is known for its refurbished electronic products. There Nakul realized there are no vendors who are willing to give you transparent and fair pricing for even buying odd selling. That’s where Cashify took birth and haven’t looked back since then, from running a factory to Cashify which is highly scaled as of now. They have raised about $18M in past five years.
For startups he advises, “Your focus should be what do I do best of what problem I am solving. How do you differentiate yourself and how do I give best to the market should be your objective. For example, when we tried to raise funding for Cashify we were rejected by almost all venture capitalists. If I didn’t received any funding whole life what I need to do? We worked on those basis and decided to make the business self sustainable. From October 2014 to January 2015 we made the business 100% profitable. We were not scaling as much fast we need to but the business was sustainable. And in March 2015, investors came themselves and funded us. The moral of this whole story is, if you keep working on your idea these VCs and funding agencies are looking for ventures who have that drive who know how to make it big and know how to solve the problem right way."
You should know your strength which is important in businesses. For example, you decide to start a sandwich shop. That time, you like sandwich is not your strength, if you can solve the supply chain of products used in sandwich or you know where you can get the required products at low cost or how can I serve the same sandwich in low price with my high profit margin, should be your strength. You must have your USP with standout in your market as your strength. When both of them will integrate no one can stop you from achieving your goals. Nobody can stop failure but from them only you will know what success is.