Indian, By Design

Posted By: Rise Team|Dated: August 3, 2012

We’re combing the country to find examples of intelligent, scalable innovation – and we’re going to pick 20 of the best to be featured here, and on the pages of Tehelka. These are some of the most compelling and untold stories of our time – and they reflect another truth; that spirit and determination can master any challenge.

This article was originally published here.


AS A VENTURE capitalist at Nexus Venture Partners, Manoj Gupta had invested in leading e-commerce firms and sat on the board of Yebhi.com and as board observer of Snapdeal.com. After completing a BTech degree from IIT Mumbai, an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad, as well as MS and CPhil degrees from universities in the US, he’d co-founded a tech start-up in the US.

The Challenge

SOME OF INDIA’S richest, most exquisite craft traditions are centered in the smallest villages, many barely a dot on the map. For years, access to these crafts has been limited to an adventurous few who venture that far, or to middlemen and ‘cottage’ emporia that selectively exhibit or supply these to a niche audience. But wider global access has been impossible — artisans have had neither the means nor the technological know-how to put their creations on that most democratic of all platforms, the Internet.

The Idea

IT’S BEEN CALLED the Etsy of Asia but that’s almost simplistic for the role Craftsvilla plays in bridging the artisanconsumer gap. It was on a trip to Kutch that Manoj and Monica Gupta fell in love with the exquisite local craftware, and talked to artisans about why their craft wasn’t available more widely. “We have always loved to travel to villages, and discovering local crafts are a huge part of that,” says Manoj, CEO and founder of Craftsvilla. By the time they returned to Mumbai, fascination with craft had blended with Manoj’s entrepreneurial instincts and Craftsvilla was conceived.

Like Etsy.com, the behemoth that dominates the global craft marketplace, Craftsvilla is a platform for artisans and craftsmen to link directly to end consumers — but it goes beyond. Unlike in the West, where Internet access is the norm and technological awareness wide, the craftsmen Manoj and Monica interacted with were completely out of the tech loop. “We therefore launched something called Craftsvilla Studios, where we guide artisans and designers to bring them online — from helping them with photo-shoots to content-writing, web upload and in some cases, even in helping them with inventory management and dispatches,” says Manoj.

The other vital difference from the Etsy model: whereas the former only allows individual artisans to list, Craftsvilla encouraged collectives of artisans and NGOs to join, exponentially increasing their reach.

The Innovator

AS A VENTURE capitalist at Nexus Venture Partners, Manoj Gupta had invested in leading e-commerce firms and sat on the board of Yebhi.com and as board observer of Snapdeal.com. After completing a BTech degree from IITMumbai, an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad, as well as MS and CPhil degrees from universities in the US, he’d co-founded a tech start-up in the US. Perhaps most impressive about Manoj’s start-up is that he has demonstrated that social entrepreneurship and innovation can be highly profitable and sustainable — Craftsvilla has received VC funding worth $1.5 million.

The Impact

IT’S BEEN JUST over a year since Craftsvilla’s launch and already, over 800 sellers list and sell more than 75,000 products. The sellers, mostly collectives, represent 10,000 individual artisans, offering them formidable reach and improving their livelihoods significantly. “Our sellers earn two-four times more profit as we remove middlemen and provide direct access to one million customers,” says Manoj. Sellers echo his satisfaction. “We started working with Craftsvilla in 2011 and reported a 500 percent jump in business just in the first six months,” says Vandana Agarwal, a trustee of the NGO Gramshree. “It’s especially rewarding for us since most of our artisans are women. Now, we have a dedicated team working only for Craftsvilla, and hope to grow 10 times thanks to their intervention.”

The Way Forward

“WE PLAN TO list more than 25,000 sellers and one million products in the next 12 months. This will make us one of the world’s largest online ethnic stores. We plan to expand internationally by bringing Asian countries into the Craftsvilla.com loop in the next few months,” says Manoj.

Subscribe to our mailing list

Sign up for the rise blog newsletter to keep up on new stories on Rise

Related Links:

  • NIRAIMA1

    PRIVATE EQUITY FUND REQUESTED

    INV    5 Mn$  RP 10
    Mn$  IN 2 Yrs

    INV  15
    Mn$  RP 30 Mn$  IN 2 Yrs

    INV  100
    Mn$  RP 250 Mn$  IN 3 Yrs

     

    . ALL
    Transport  Standards

    ·        
    TRANSPORT  :
    TON-KMPH

    ·        
    TRANSPORT
    EFFICIENCY : TON-KMPL

    ·        
    ENGINE
    EFFICIENCY : HP / FUEL- Hour

    ·        
    Co2e=
    2325*Fuel – hour

    ·        
    CO2e
    EMISSION efficiency = 2325 / TON-KMPL

    ·        
    DESIGN
    , AVDF = TON*SPEED / HP

    M Andy Appan, M E , 45 Yrs Expert

    .

    LAND RAIL
    cum SEA CRAFT. VC 2 Mn$ 100 T 
    2  yrs

    Sailing Ship Land on Ramped Shore 60 M   LAND Track

    50,000 GRT, 330 knots / 600 kmph

    FARE  $1/50 km ; Freight $1/25 km/T

    1/3 Fuel, DOUBLE Speed for
    same Ton-HP.

    ALL  Fuels burnt
    -  S L G . No Boiler, No Turbine

    120 M long, 50 M width, 10 M
    Dft 50,000 GRT/CUM

    50,000 GRT/
    330 kn = 1.5 MnT/11 kn = 11.6 Mn Brl OIL/11 kn

    Cost 150 Mn$  ROI
    = 1200 %

     Income
    50,000*600/25*10*300=3600-1800=1800 mn$/yr

  • Ramakria

    Well done Every step is in the right direction
    Every startup creates employment ,binds and brings people closer ,weaves Indian magic and creates a right impetus
    Mahindra Rise together we all rise ,Finally India will rise
    Kudos to the team and Craftsville ,every sprout will be a Big tree one day
    thanks

  • Mahindra sucks

    hey man get a life …whats wrong with you ? your designs are ugly as you r !! http://www.ebay.com ..log in there and get a life man !!

  • sarika chavan

    Sir please give your mumbai address.

If you enjoyed this article, keep up on new stories and conversations about Rise

×