The recent explosion in the internet industry has led to some of the major developments across the globe. It gave birth to several ideas and business models. At present, most of the companies incorporated after 2005 is entirely dependent on internet. Coupled with the technological advancements, internet is fostering the entrepreneurship ecosystem. India has always remained ahead in producing entrepreneurs and what amazes the most is some of the start ups were born while its founders were still in college. CropmyBill.com is one such campus start up co-founded and run by 3 engineering students, Rounak Agarwal, Arkadyuti Sarkar and Sanchit Agarwal of NIT, Durgapur. Today, we have Rounak with us in this session to share the inspiring story of CropmyBill.com.
Hi Rounak, please say a few lines about you.
Firstly, I am thankful to conflatingVisions for giving us entrepreneurs this platform. Hello, my name is Rounak Agarwal. I am a final year student pursuing B.Tech in Mechanical Engineering from National Institute of Technology, Durgapur. I am the CEO and co-founder of CropmyBill.com.
Tell us about your venture CropmyBill. How does it function? Is there anybody else behind the venture?
CropmyBill.com is a cashback website which features more than 200 online shopping websites like Flipkart, Paytm, Snapdeal, Amazon etc. At CropmyBill.com user gets cashback every-time they shop. We make shopping easy and exciting with lucrative deals and coupons. The website allows you to save thousands on shopping and it is free to use.
Users can visit CropmyBill.com and Join us. More than 200 websites are listed along with product categories for ease of users. Click your preferred website and you will be redirected to it. Shop as you normally do, the cashback is credited to your CropmyBill Earnings within 72 working hours. Once the return-time period of your product is over you can redeem the Earnings, via mobile recharge or bank transfer. For any further queries you can mail us at care@CropmyBill.com.
CropmyBill.com is based on Affiliate Marketing. We get commission from the respective partner websites for redirecting users to them. A large part of this commission is forwarded to our users as cashback. Thus, it’s a win-win situation for all.
We are a team of 3 members, all final year students from same college namely Arkadyuti Sarkar (Dept. Information Technology) is responsible for the technical aspects of the website. Sanchit Agarwal (Dept. Electronics and Communication Engg.) and I manage the Operations, Management and Marketing of the website.
What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture?
Whilst in college I realised that online shopping has become a trend especially among youngsters. Nearly every-day I saw a delivery boy in my college delivering products ordered from different e-commerce websites. One day I asked one of them about the total influx of products every day in my college. I was astonished to know the great number of products ordered everyday by only a handful of students. This made me think the amount of products ordered online all over India every day.
This thought led me to the idea of a cashback website. Our users considerably cut down on their shopping bills, getting the same at a lesser cost. I did my research and once I was convinced that the idea has good potential, so I made a team and CropmyBill.com was born.
How did you fund your venture? What was the initial investment and how did it come?
We were three inexperienced college guys with just a potent idea and that would not win us any investor at-least without a prototype, we were also very clear that we won’t take any financial support from our parents. So we had to fund our start up ourselves. We did some projects which included launching a t-shirt brand “FundaMentalists” in our college. We provided students with customised tees at a very reasonable price. This project enabled us to collect reasonable amount of money. We also did some free-lance work to earn money. We reduced our expenses and saved as much as we could from our pocket money. The initial investment was around Rs.15000.
Who are your customers? And, how do you build your customer base?
Every-one with a desire to save money is our potential customer. Online shopping is spreading like wild fire and we intend “CropmyBill.com” to become synonymous with online shopping.
Building active customer base is actually a big challenge for all start-ups. As of now we are promoting CropmyBill via social media like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. We have launched different programs in different colleges to promote CropmyBill among students. We also greatly rely on word of mouth publicity. Soon we will be having an online contest in many colleges which we believe will magnify our presence and strengthen our customer base.
Who does the technical work?
As I already mentioned, Arkadyuti Sarkar who is the CTO of CropmyBill.com does the entire technical work. An extremely skilled and able person, complemented with his never ending enthusiasm has got this website running.
You are still a student, how do you manage to split time between your studies and your start up?
Initially it was very difficult to manage time between studies and this venture. I still remember the times when we three worked for the entire night and attended classes in the morning. The fear of short attendance, the risk of proxy and humiliation of bad grades etc were some of the issues we faced. But soon we became accustomed to it. We reduced our sleeping hours and always tried to make the best use of our time. Presently, we have automated a large portion of our work and are working hard on the betterment of CropmyBill.com
What keeps you motivated?
An urge to get the maximum out of my resources led me to build this website and the success associated with it motivates me and obviously the immense support and trust of my team keeps me going.
Who has been your greatest inspiration?
It is the inspiration which make us achieve great things in life. My inspirations are two very hard working people, who took a risk and made their passion a reality, namely Mr. Sachin Bansal, co-founder and CEO of Flipkart and Mr. Deepinder Goyal, co-founder and CEO of Zomato.
These two Indian Entrepreneurs risked their well settled lives and thought about start ups innovatively. Now they are very successful in their own field. This gave me the courage to follow my passion and do something out of the box.
Your future plans with CropmyBill…
CropmyBill is an evolving website and I don’t see it stagnating or adhering to a defined space in the future. Initially we started with cashback, then proceeded to exclusive deals and coupons and now we are working on a very unique and exciting idea that will soon be unveiled.
Where do you see yourself and CropmyBill in 5 years?
As an undergraduate student, with zero corporate experience my vision is to see my company become a global success vis-a-vis the Google of e-commerce websites and me becoming a household name.
Imagine a world without internet, what do you think you would be doing?
Internet is a platform which has provided immense scope for evolving business ideas. So a world without internet though hard to imagine, would have steered me towards tweaking and developing the conventional business stratagem, with innovative, unique and forward thinking ideas. Consider Fundamentalists (my first venture), when I came to college I felt the need for personalised goods to cement my association with my college and my achievements of which I was very proud!! So decided to capitalise on this emotion and was able to fund my present start-up. So even without internet if you have a unique perspective the opportunities are unlimited!
And, one last question Rounak, if you have had one wish …
There are a very few colleges in India that actually support entrepreneurship for undergraduates and provide help for budding young entrepreneurs to work on their ideas and materialise them. So I wish that every college administration should consider the student’s potential and provide full support for their ventures. Institutions should also come forward to include entrepreneurship as a subject in curriculum, providing a platform to youth of our country with a vision, which can be beneficial to our country too.