This is the scope of the gems and jewelry industry, consistent with a file by India Law Offices. And this enterprise, like many others, is still caught within the ‘antique ways’ of doing enterprise i.E. Following guide and handwritten tactics for the whole lot, from checking income to taking inventory and paying worker salaries. The enterprise proprietors are cautious of digitising their enterprise for two motives – it’s extremely cash-structured and coins-touchy.
Being the owner of jewellery stores in Chennai, Arvind Uttam Chand’s own family too faced those issues. Post his masters in Technopreneurship and Innovation from Singapore’s Nanyang University together with Stanford University, he realised he was ideally located to do something about this example.
“The concept become quite simple – to enable the jewellery commercial enterprise with era.”
And that’s how a simple holiday visit with family in 2012, changed into an enterprise solutions platform for the gemstones and jewelry industry – providing stock and income control including an RFID scanner to reduce stock-taking time, simplifying business processes and extra – Sales Neuron.
Like Father, Like Son: The Entrepreneurial Bug Runs In The Family
After beginning a commercial enterprise in college and exiting from it, Arvind understood the fee of carrying out due diligence before beginning a new mission. He spent one and a 1/2 years (2012-2013) to correctly understand the marketplace and existing operating software, namely, Acme Infinity, Jilaba, Ornate Software. “The fundamental problems in those systems turned into that the tech changed into no longer superior, available best on computer and no other structures. They have been no longer mobile-equipped, in no way mind having a web app presence with cloud,” he chuckles.
The enterprise turned into integrated in March 2014 and that they took about 4-five months to construct the product. The first version became a simple inventory control software program that ran on barcodes, the way it does in supermarkets. The most essential function of the app changed into that it changed into a web app that would be run seamlessly on a pill or a smartphone.
Arvind first mounted the system at his father’s shops and tested the product for two months and moved on to copy it for 10 greater groups in Chennai with the aid of the stop of 2014. But the challenge of convincing the non-tech-savvy commercial enterprise owners turned into a assignment in itself. The first few conferences were all about teaching them about the use case and efficiency of the platform, following through assuring them that statistics privacy and security might be maintained on the patron’s end.
The other large undertaking was convincing them of the truth that the answer turned into simple sufficient to be used by less-educated personnel who labored as salespersons, transport boys etc.
2015: Design Thinking Positively Affecting UI/UX Of The Platform
The business enterprise controlled to get the primary 10 customers onboard. But they observed the subsequent issues during the process – one cannot reflect a simplistic stock control gadget even for organizations within the identical vertical, the jewelry industry itself is immune to generation and companies were unwilling to pay a one-time price for software because of the owners’ mistrust in tech.
Arvind figured that the trouble of adoption as opposed to execution and implementation could be solved through upgrading the user experience and person interface. He determined to approach the difficulty with a ‘Design Thinking’ attitude which focussed heavily on intuitive, selection making. The UX of the platform needed to be easy, uncluttered, intuitive (getting to know at the cross) for humans unexpected with tech.
“The proposed upgrade integrated fundamental elements – how does our brain understand selections main to easy navigation, and the way can I make UI handy in something like clicks.” The second version also moved Sales Neuron from a barcode-based totally stock management platform to an on-premise enterprise management answer which includes stock, sales and other tactics.
The second iteration lasted till the stop of 2015 and netted the organization 50 more customers in Tier I, II towns of Chennai, Bengaluru, and Madurai. As Arvind discloses, their commercial enterprise model has remained constant for the duration of the organization’s boom – a SaaS-primarily based, freemium version available for annual subscriptions. In 2015, this subscription turned into available for anywhere among INR 30K-INR 40K.
“Unfortunately, best four of our clients were inclined to pay for those services and so we pivoted the sales model once more and settled on providing the software program for a one-time fee and left the AMC (annual maintenance settlement) up to patron’s discretion.” When precipitated, Arvind exhibits that this version has been in impact since the end of 2015 and doesn’t cowl AMCs ad hoc because the company did not wish to waste sources on supporting clients for less cash, as generally takes place in AMCs.
Pivoting To A Customised, Module-Defined, Framework Solution
Sales Neuron operates on a preferred B2B version. And for all startups working inside the B2B space, the large capture will constantly be organizations – massive-scale groups – however then converting a capacity agency takes everywhere among 6-18 months. Sales Neuron too faced the identical predicament and on the equal time, the product needed any other improve to make it corporation-equipped.
“We wanted to automate our personal business process and use a CRM for scaling. But available CRM software – inclusive of Zoho, SugarCRM, Salesforce and so forth., weren’t completely customisable for the jewelry vertical and commonly humans sold the answer first and the greater customisable bits later. And such a lot of organisations fail across the world due to the fact the software program used couldn't adapt to the business. We aimed to fix this.”
So, as in line with Arvind, in April 2016, the 18 member group went lower back to the drawing board after dumping version 2.0 to build a framework that consisted of described technical modules that allowed their purchaser to construct their own app. “In easy terms, a platform with usable additives (capabilities) for improvement on the side, in the app. And all in a particular time frame.”
This UI became far greater complex than the preceding ones and it could not ruin so Arvind used a ‘6 Set of UX Principles’ made with Google’s Material Design to make sure a simplified, customised, crash-unfastened enjoy. This new product became launched in September 2016 with a rate among $767 (INR 50K)-$15,340 (INR 10 Lakhs) and become at once demonstrated with approximately 20 agencies signing on with the agency inside the subsequent months.
Arvind discloses with a hint of pleasure that the business enterprise has been profitable considering that 2015 for five%-6% and by way of 2016 this parent had doubled approximately. While he's reluctant to discloses present day figures, he does say that the agency hopes to gain $1 Mn ARR through numerous product upgrades as well as exploring more recent verticals within the coming year.
Coming Out Of Stealth Mode, Launching Ancillary Products Using Future Tech
Sales Neuron has up to now been working in stealth mode, without a phrase of the agency or product on any public platform. “We have been waiting to hit product validation and emerge as worthwhile before we braved the arena. And, for us, our scale up to now has took place organically, simply thru phrase-of-mouth.”
But as innovation was hardwired into the employer’s DNA they successfully collaborated for an low-cost, RFID-enabled answer known as RF8500 – a hand held RFID reader that comes with incorporated software. It lets in customers to restoration RFID tags on every jewellery item which have been traditionally tagged for INR50-INR80 according to item, using Chinese products. Sales Neuron reduced the fee to between INR 15-INR 20.
The RF8500 has been launched in partnership with Zebra Technologies.
“With this product, at some point of stocktaking reduced to a depend of fifteen mins,” says Arvind. They also included an MPOS solution and, as a end result, now boast of about a hundred+ customers average at the same time as final in stealth mode for the maximum a part of their journey.
They have even tied up with ecommerce enablers and released a new prototype of 3-d photographic machines. The machine itself is imported from Poland and works like this – the jewellery shops takes hi-res pictures (36 in two seconds) in 3-D that are then converted into an HTML report. The gadget is hooked up to Sales Neuron’s device in order that converted document gets uploaded on line right away onto an ecommerce site.
“Basically, we started as a easy software program answer for the jewellery commercial enterprise and at the moment are turning into a full-scale platform enabler.”
Taking On Established Players In Jewellery Business Operations
As Sales Neuron has also entered the gymnasium settlement management space in December 2016, it's miles a quite new vertical for the employer which does count Zenoti, Fitness Force amongst others as competitors within the area. Arvind claims that they were capable of tie up with 10+ clients and have been capable of make the device live as in line with purchaser specification inside three days.
While, for the jewelry industry, the competition is amongst verticals – everything from CRM to ERP control systems along with Salesforce, Zoho, Microsoft, Dynamics, and SAP may be taken into consideration competition. Locally, as Arvind already stated, Jilaba, Acme Infinity, and Ornate Software are hardcore players of their chosen vertical.
“We have 3 things going for us – enterprise revel in and domain knowledge belonging to both me and my father; a customized, simplified and flexible solution; and our answer is relevant in all industries that we play in.”
Perhaps, this is why the employer is making plans on entering the healthcare space as well as technique tech startups which require the identical type of customisable, rapid, executable solution that Sales Neuron has on deck. The team has also whittled down from the preliminary 20 to eight full-time employees and four part-time specialists as they shifted base to Bangalore.
Their larger photograph centres around entering the APAC and EU jewellery sector in the distant destiny.
But via it all, Arvind is apparent on one aspect. “The concept is to launch a new edition every six months. Keep giving improvements so customers ought to pay for that upgrade however make it so excellent and beneficial that they may be sticky. And then, provide an upsell.”
For a company that has most effective currently emerged from stealth mode and already claims to be profitable, the future appears to be as bright as gold.
The home gem stones and jewelry industry had a marketplace size of $41.Sixty one Bn in 2013, with the capability to touch $eighty two.Ninety four Bn–$87.Ninety three Bn with the aid of 2018, in line with a joint file by way of FICCI–AT Kearney titled ‘All that glitters is Gold: India Jewellery Review 2013.’ But, the enterprise as an entire, nonetheless operates underneath vintage and cumbersome processes which need big manpower and resources.
Sales Neuron with its platform permitting philosophy, and its goal to cater to each single part of the jewellery keep experience – from stock-taking, to sales, to bringing the shop on-line via ecommerce, is actually at the right music to perform automation. A principal undertaking for the organisation could be preventing established competition who have been trusted via the SMBs within the vertical for years together. How the startup scales up despite the presence of legacy players and the presence of as but unparalleled contenders is what stays to be seen.