Great Companies: How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
Lisa Mohapatra : The initial days of my career were spent in the technology and retail industry. And it later led to a stint in Retail Business house primarily in the furniture domain. During this period, I realized there were a lot of whitespaces & challenges in this sector - around standards, processes, use of systems etc. Essentially we were working in a highly fragmented industry with a number of inefficiencies which led me to identifying the problem areas and hence founding Huzzpa (a designer marketplace) down the lane. I suppose through Huzzpa, more learning opportunities flowed. In turn conceptualising Hofeto in 2018, as a way to streamline the processes, provide an unparalleled customer experience and hence contribute to the ecosystem. Through a lot of deep-diving & pivoting continuously, I was able to understand the loopholes in the system and create a seamless solution for both the consumer and supplier.
Great Companies: What are the various Services provided by Hofeto
Lisa Mohapatra : Hofeto is mainly an aggregator, an online community. A two-sided platform working with both customers and vendors (interior designers, architects, furnishing suppliers). Through our product platform, we want to empower suppliers to work with the right tools and resources which in turn will help them with clients. On the other end, we engage with homeowners/ clients to find their ideal suppliers. Aiming towards being B2B2C in nature, we believe in enabling the supplier community to pitch their versatility to their customers. An ideal home is what we offer for the home-owner, on the consumer side.
Great Companies: What makes Hofeto different from other interior marketplace platforms?
Lisa Mohapatra :
Our mantra is ‘Collaborate to Scale’. We don't believe in competing and rather like to see every company as a potential collaborator. Our product enables us to support other platforms. Allowing seamless integration without loss of time or other resources is what makes our approach unique. At Hofeto, we believe every company/individual has something tangible in them that follows into greater collaborations leading to growth. This grants us chances to learn from them at the same time. Hofeto strives to be an online community providing experiences built on core values leading to strong customer service.
Great Companies: What are the struggles and challenges you face?
Lisa Mohapatra : Being a traditional industry there was some resistance to adapting to new processes and systems. And of course, the whole idea of learning to work virtually meant that all our stakeholders - our users, community, extended community would need to have their goals,processes and checklists documented. Adapting to our product did take time initially but then it worked out favourably. The new way of working did lead to some skill development challenges however due to constant effort of our internal team it was a breeze. Due to our constant experimentation there was an urge to evolve according to the industry requirements or even go beyond that to create a seamless outcome.
Great Companies: How do you plan to grow in the future? What do 5 years down the line look like for Hofeto?
Lisa Mohapatra: I believe that a robust foundation is essential to scale into a large organisation. Being a bootstrapped start-up, we are diligently learning to amplify our services. Build, Extend and Expand are the keywords to our vision while still focusing on the basics of our business. We are headquartered in Bangalore with services across Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, NCR, Indore, Pune, Coimbatore, Mysore, Mangalore and Kolkata. Our focus is on branching out to more tier 2 and 3 cities across the country. Hofeto’s vision is to support the livelihood of local & hyper-local communities through expansion, employ more women in the interior design and related industries by providing technology and essential skill sets.
And of course, we will be ready to conquer across the continent once ready.
Great Companies: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting, what would it be?
Lisa Mohapatra : Well, when you’re in the early days of entrepreneurship, don’t be afraid to take risks. Even if it leads to failure at least the lesson would be crucial to walk the path. Be open to learning through your own mistakes and extract insights from every experience. Mentors and advisors will always be there to support, but ultimately it's your own journey. An idea can be condemned by all but if you don't take the risk to execute, it may always remain in the book. Don’t be afraid to break the rules and unlearn certain perspectives.
It’s your baby and wouldn't you always look out for its best, no matter how it seems to others?