In conversation with B.G. Krishnan, Founder of eShakti, a customized tailoring platform for women in US and Canada, on funding raised by the company from Blacksoil Capital.
Q1. How does eShakti plan to utilize funds raised from Blacksoil Capital?
We are excited to have gained trust of Blacksoil Capital who take keen interest in women-focused fashion brands. The funds would be used to expand operations and introduce new fashion products for the spring season. The company is looking to expand its customer base by venturing into new markets.
Q2. What do you see as the market opportunity for eShakti?
In terms of opportunity for growth, we are barely scratching the surface. The reason being that we are fulfilling a need that is highly underserved compared to the market potential. There is a large demand among women for made-to-size and made-by-design fashion, and very few service providers catering to that market. We have created a competitive barrier being the only one in the market who has mastered the offering and are now scaling it.
A key market opportunity lies for us in the freedom to expand to global markets. We have created a market where we are fulfilling the need for customized clothes for women. It is a need fulfillment and not mass production. Hence, we are not restricted by geography, and have the opportunity to explore world markets. Our next focus is to increase presence in the markets of Europe and Australia.
Q3. What is your vision for eShakti in FY 18-19?
In the coming financial year we are looking to double the assets of the company. We are currently on a runway of having raised USD 20 Mn, and are looking to raise Series C funding to double the valuation. We see this venture debt from Blacksoil well timed and fitting our purpose of scaling the business.
Q4. Tell us about the organization’s journey up to the funding?
When you have to manage growth with less funds, it does create a number of challenges. One has to revisit the decision on where to invest and where not, and the potential of the business is not met. At the same time, we saw it is an opportunity to understand how to make our money count. One cannot treat money like water and learns how to manage capital well.
Over time, we have built a consumer brand in one of the most competitive markets, that is, women’s fashion. We are now leaders in customization with a global footprint.
Q5. In the current startup landscape, there is a huge focus on Exits both from the entrepreneurs and VCs points of view. What is your opinion on that?
Exit indicates that a company has reached a certain profit or value. Which is why a lot many startups run behind exits to prove that their company is profitable. But at the same time it is essential to build a strong value proposition and a strong competitive barrier to sustain your company. If these are not focused at, both your growth and profitability will be impacted.
Hence, the focus of every business, whether it is a venture capitalist or a startup, should be to build a strong value proposition that scales the business and creates a competitive barrier.
My personal vision for eShakti is to take the company public within three years.