The fitness and wellness industry in India is still quite far from being organized. The industry, however, is full of opportunities. 2 friends from school – Swarupa Som and Bidisha Banerjee were early to spot the gap and wanted to fill it up with their concept. In January 2015, the concept became a reality with the launch of their venture ConnectPedia. In its earlier days, ConnectPedia concentrated on meeting the ERP requirements of fitness and wellness centers. The concept became successful. It helped the fitness and wellness centers increase their businesses. The success motivated the founders to take the next big step. Later on, to scale up the growth of ConnectPedia, Swarupa and Bidisha started extending their services to the SMBs so that they can effectively manage their core operation processes of their businesses. Presently, they are operating in 5 Indian cities – Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai and Delhi.
Today, in this interview session, we have with us Bidisha Banerjee, one of the co-founders of ConnectPedia. She tells us how she and her friend Swarupa Som is building their dreams with their venture ConnectPedia!
Hi Bidisha, welcome to this interview session of conflatingVisions. To start with, please tell us a few lines about the founders of ConnectPedia.
Swarupa and I are friends from school days and our husbands are best buddies from college. So, the bonding is unmatchable between the two families. Swarupa worked for a major IT company and I worked as a dietitian for a renowned hospital in Banglore, before we decided to start ConnectPedia. The idea of getting started was always there and as it’s rightly said, there’s no ideal time to get started, so we took the plunge.
When did you decide to launch ConnectPedia and why did you decide to do something in the world of fitness?
Swarupa’s and my skill sets compliment each other in our venture. She has extensive knowledge on IT products development and I have got vast experience in the domain of health, diet and wellness. The bigger picture of ConnectPedia is to make it a “go to” software for all SMBs (Small and Mid-size businesses) to effectively manage their businesses.
As a step towards that massive goal, was to get started with fitness/wellness centers.
How challenging was it to bring the idea into reality?
Well, it wasn’t a cakewalk at all. There was a clear need for this kind of software. However, not much was done on this before in the domestic market. We really thank our first set of customers from the bottom of our hearts, who helped us to materialize the concept of ConnectPedia.
Please tell us about ConnectPedia. What is your working model?
ConnectPedia is a complete ERP package to manage businesses effectively. It’s a SAAS and works on the subscription model.
How has been the growth for ConnectPedia since inception?
One word – Terrific. Initially, it took quite sometime for us to figure out the product-market fit and in the process we had to go through multiple pivots. However, once that was identified we took over the market like never before in this domain. For now, we are in 5 cities having more than 40% market share with few of the best brands using our product.
I must mention the growth of ConnectPedia was mainly possible because of the relentless hard-work put across by the team of ConnectPedia. We really have some superheroes in our team who are always ready to walk the extra mile, go above and beyond their scope and boundaries to get things work for ConnectPedia.
Please share the investment details.
You know you are on the right path when your customers are interested to invest in your company. We have a couple of esteemed customers those who are so excited about our product that they want to ride the journey of ConnectPedia with us as investors. We also have a few angel investors who have shown interest in ConnectPedia. The talks are on and we hope to be able to provide you an update on our next meet.
What are the present challenges? How are you trying to overcome them?
Fitness and wellness industry in India is undergoing a massive change. Staying tuned with the market and anticipating the changes in advance helps to stay on top of things. We wouldn’t say we are experts but we do predict changes and keep tuning our product to cater the requirements for future.
What plans do you have to further scale up the growth of ConnectPedia?
By the end of this year, we plan to have our footprints in another 5 cities of India.
Anything else you want to share…
We have learnt, if you are honest and ethical in your business and have the open mindset to take feedbacks seriously then you can build something really valuable. Also, there’s no right time to start, just get started and things will fall in place to make the time right.
And one last question of this session, if you have had one wish…
We still “have” it – Making ConnectPedia the single largest software platform for all SMBs.
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