(L to R): Vivek Goyal, Vaishnavi Shivhare, Prakhar Singh, Asthaa Agarwal, Jatin Paliwal, Sachin Goyal, Ashita Seth, and Ayush Singh
At a glance
Startup: Merchant Saheb
Founder: Sachin Goyal
The year it was founded: 2019
Funding: College Incubator
Sachin Goyal and his team launched Merchant Saheb with funding of ₹25,000. This lending and renting service is growing at a rate of 120% and plans to expand its services in tier 1 and tier 2 cities soon. Sachin reveals more about his startup in an exclusive interview with Revolutionary Startups.
Shubham Verma representing Revolutionary Startups (SV): What exactly is Merchant Saheb all about?
Sachin Goyal (SG): Merchant Saheb is an online lending and renting service platform. Our aim is to provide products to our customers for a short period of time. You can simply create an account, list your items and start lending your items today for a reasonable fee. It’s as simple as it sounds.
SV: What gave you the idea to build this platform?
SG: On an average 3 out of 5 people I know have shifted to a new city within the last 5 years. Almost all of them faced one problem: they couldn’t find items such as speakers, cameras, etc. at reasonable prices and when they did, they didn’t want to get them back to their native places. It left them with only one option: to sell all such items. Selling these items especially electronics means losing a great deal of money. We all know nothing depreciates faster than electronics and with technology advancements, everyone wants to have the latest phone or gadgets.
However, this wasn’t the case with renting bikes and cars—they were easily available for different time periods and involved no hassle. This is when I decided to launch something similar that followed the same business model.
This concept has recently gained popularity in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Pune and Bengaluru and we’d like to bring the same concept to tier 2 and tier 3 cities.
SV: Merchant Saheb currently caters to which cities?
SG: Currently, our services are restricted to the campus of GLA University. We had planned to roll out our services in Mathura and on the campus of Pranveer Singh Institute of Technology (PSIT), Kanpur but our plans were hampered by the Coronavirus pandemic.
SV: As you said, it’s a very popular concept in tier 1 cities; so what differentiates Merrcahnt Saheb from others?
SG: As I mentioned earlier, others are not focusing on tier 2 and tier 3 cities. We’re solely focusing on serving these cities and will, therefore, be the pioneers to launch such a service in these cities. Apart from this, our product range is quite diverse. We focus on items that you may need on a daily basis for a short period of time such as guitars, power banks, etc. Let’s say, you’re going on a week-long college trip with your friends. With a limited amount of funds, you’ll definitely prefer renting a camera than buying one. Plus, we offer our products at affordable rates.
SV: Sounds impressive! What’s your team like?
SG: We launched Merchant Saheb last year when we were all from different batches. I was still in my third year of B.Tech and we decided to have a coordinated structure of our team so that it was easier to take responsibility. Prattyush and Mukul are co-founders. Prakhar is our product manager. Operations are led by Vivek and Vaishnavi. Ashita is our marketing manager and Jatin is our technical head.
SV: How was Merchant Saheb funded?
SG: We were fortunate to receive ₹25,000 and incubation from the GLAU’s Start-up Launchpad. I know it doesn’t sound grand but it was enough to get us started. We’re now planning to approach angel investors and participate in competitions to raise more funds.
SV: What’s the revenue like?
SG: We reached the break-even point 3 months after the launch. Our GLA Campus has been quite supportive and we have managed to have a loyal customer base of 500+ students and faculties. We’re now seeing a 120% growth every month in our business.
SV: What was your parent’s reaction when you told them about your start-up?
SG: We were all dedicated to making Merchant Saheb a success and I managed to secure a few backlogs (chuckles). My parents got angry at first but came around once they saw how hard we were working and the way our start-up was performing.
SV: What does Merchant Saheb’s future look like? Especially during this tough time?
SG: I won’t sugar coat it—it’s hard for a small start-up like ours to survive but we’re determined to make it work. The whole world has come to a halt so it’s unfair to complain when we have bigger battles to win. We’re now working on contactless delivery, switching to an online payment gateway and sending sanitised products so that our customers can still have the same experience.
SV: What would you advice young students and budding entrepreneurs?
SG: If you have an idea that can simplify or uplift the lives of others, then start without doubting yourself. Everything will eventually fall into place if you believe in yourself. You’ll end up with a lot more than with what you started.
To check out their products, click here.