Great Companies: How did you get your idea or concept for the business?
Pranav Singhi : After exit from my first startup, I was looking for opportunities when while travelling I landed over at Dubai Airport. There was a beautiful coffee machine at the airport by Costa Coffee which was a barista experience in itself. I later found out that the machine is designed by Pininfarina who are also the designers of cars such as the Ferrari and the machine was called Costa Five Senses. The machine really hooked me on but I thought to myself that there is no way that this machine can survive the Indian Market and Customer Base. Not only with taste but also the way it is built and way it is operated, that truly was the seed of the business.
Great Companies: What are the various Services provided by Vendibot OPC Pvt. Ltd
Pranav Singhi : Currently we are in the business of designing, manufacturing and operating of smart vending machines. We also do custom designing and manufacturing of vending machines if we have orders. The best part is that when we started Vendibot we wanted to be nothing more than operators of smart vending machines and we had imported our first machine from China but we realised that the machine was not flexible enough to be operated in the Indian market and if there was any breakdown in the machine the downtown will be very high, that is when we decided to go out and build our own company.
Great Companies: What makes Vendibot OPC Pvt. Ltd different from hundreds of other Retail Automation & IOT Firms?
Pranav Singhi : So when we talk about retail automation and IOT it becomes a very widespread category, but when we talk about other companies in the Vending machine domain it is a different story. The vending machines have existed in the Indian market for over 2 decades with little or no innovation.
Most of the machines that are made in the Indian market are not fully automated and also are restricted to only two types 1. Hot Beverages and the 2. Packed Goods. Vendibot develops machines that can act as self service kiosks in crowded places and require no human intervention. Furthermore we believe in continuous innovation, the global market is selling anything from a a matchbox to a 4 wheeler car from the vending machine. and we will continue to introduce machines that are suitable for the indian market and customer base.
Great Companies: What are the struggles and challenges you face?
Pranav Singhi : Market adaption is one of the biggest challenge. The majority of the customer though digitally active still have hesitation putting money into the machine and are used to someone being physically present to provide services, the primary reason for that is the cheaper cost of labor.
Great Companies: How do you plan to grow in the future? What does 5 years down the line look like for Vendibot OPC Pvt. Ltd?
Pranav Singhi : We have already reached a stage where we have a proof of concept and technology, the next step for us is rapid expansion. If we raise funds the expansion and penetration will be much faster and if we decide not to raise funds our growth will be organic and relatively slower but we are a cash rich business and money is not going to be our roadblock. When we talk about 5 years down the line we see a PAN India presence of Vendibot with around 5000 machines. But we will never stop R&D and hence we should have at least 7-8 Unique products designed and developed specifically for the Indian Market.
Great Companies: If you had one piece of advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?
Pranav Singhi : The biggest piece of advice that can offer is always be conscious of your overhead costs. Lower overheads give you enough strength to take that extra step with you business, which in my opinion is generally the deciding factor between success and failure of the startup.