[Startup Talk] Interview with the founder of CakeHunt.com

Have you ever wondered while purchasing cakes? Which cakes to buy? From which place? At what price? What about quality of the cake? If yes, here is the solution. You can get any cake from any bakers to your doorsteps now. Today in Startup Talk, we are presenting story of Ahmedabad based cake portal- CakeHunt.com. To understand their venture, we talked with Ashish Parikh (Co-founder, CakeHunt.com). Have a look at our conversation with Ashish Parikh.

Who is Ashish Parik? Why we are taking your interview?

Ashish Parik is one of the co-founders of ICS Group; born in a middle class Marwadi family in Maharashtra. After sudden death of my Father in 1996, my sister took the responsibility of the family and educated me. I have completed my bachelor’s degree (Mechanical Engineering) from government college of Engineering, Amravati. Due to family responsibility I had to take job immediately after graduation.

I came to Gujarat in 2003 in search of better opportunity. After working for different corporates for more than 10 years, I decided to leave job at one of the biggest bank of India to start my own venture. I am now a full time entrepreneur and running 3 startups. One in FMCG trading and 2 service based ventures.

What is CakeHunt.com? What’s the idea and concept behind your startup?

CakeHunt.comAfter the successful set up of ICS Trading Services (FMCG Distribution Firm and first venture), we decided to move on to our dream project ICS24BY7.COM, a services oriented venture in August 2012. After survey and looking at the funds in hand we decided to start only billing and banking services using drop box arrangement.

ICS24BY7.com could not pick up as expected, during a visit to one of the baker in Feb 2013, I introduced services offered by their company and shown interest to deliver cakes 24×7 in and around Ahmedabad.

Logistic management is the biggest issue which the food industry is facing and it was an opportunity for the baker to encash. He called me and offered a minimal delivery rates. To run the show, I and other partners agreed and the journey started in new direction. Then we approached other bakers in the town and got associated with 2 other bakers. I carried out research in this industry. After interacting with the bakers I identified the gap between the bakers and customer expectations. There were only 2 bakers selling branded cakes online. So we decided to start our own online venture CakeHunt.com which would end the hunt of favorite and branded cakes. We decided to sell cakes at the actual rate of the shop and without changing the packing of the bakers.

CakeHunt.com deals in branded cakes only and sale these cakes at the actual rates. It helps bakers to go online without any investment in logistics and online setup. The website CakeHunt.com is launched on 29/06/13 and is fully integrated with payment gateways since 15 July 2013.

Who are faces behind this startup?

The ICS Group is built and being managed by four co-founders. Except me, here are other three co-founders.

Jatin H Shah, Pavan Balani and Ashish Parikh (Co-founders CakeHunt.com)
Jatin H Shah, Pavan Balani and Ashish Parikh (Co-founders CakeHunt.com)

Vrutant Panchal – A commerce graduate. He is having 10+ years of experience in banking and service industry. He is associated with other co-founders since 2005.

Pavan Balani – Commerce graduate, ex-banker. One of the most dedicated co-founder and like to spend most of his time on field. Belong to middle class business family.

Jatin H Shah – The youngest cofounder of ICS group. He is basically from Kodinar, Saurashtra and came to Ahmedabad in 2006 on an assignment. He came in contact with Ashish and Pavan as a manager of one of the vendor of bank. He is the most cool and energetic man, always on the toe to do any work, anytime.

What was the motive behind starting CakeHunt?

We call ourselves – the guys next door always available on call to serve. Some call us pain killers, some call us delivery boys and for few we are messengers.

The clear motive behind starting CakeHunt.com is to help People get

  • Cakes and Chocolates from the baker of their choice
  • These products at the actual rates of the shop. Not charging the premium and help people save at least 25-100% on their expenditure on such products.
  • Their feelings delivered safe and secure.
  • Help bakers to go online and solve the logistics issue in delivery.

How much time and money did you invest in this venture?

Around four months of time was invested initially to convince the bakers to get on the platform and surveying other sites and businesses in the same segment plus website building. We have spent almost close the Rs 1 Lakh on this project till today including the cost of the website and vehicle.

Now, the time is divided more on deliveries. Some part of the day is spent on managing the social media and networking as everything is managed in house. We are also developing contacts with some best home bakers, very known in this industry, across India.

Tell us about the revenue model of your startup.

Our revenues are generated through two mediums

  1. We help around 7 bakers to sell their products online on CakeHunt.com. Here we get commission per sale and delivery charge from the customers.
  2. Other than our associate bakers, we also serve Monginis and TGB to home deliver their cakes. Here we get home delivery charges.

What’s the stat of your startup?

Ours is a concept and we want to build a community around our brand. As of now we haven’t spend a single rupee on ads or SEO. Yes, it is the most required tool for this business. We have served more than 500+ peoples in last 7-8 months. We are having more than 85% repeat orders where in the products are sold through our website.

Which challenges have you faced while converting your idea into reality?

The biggest challenge was to convince bakers to get associated with us. In the current scenario other players buy cakes from them and sale with 50% premium. So why should they associate with us. But when they understood the benefit of global reach of their products and their branding, they agreed.

Which is the major challenge you are facing right now?

The major challenge is to educate people about the concept of buying branded cakes. Somebody buying cake from London/ California is ready to spend any value to deliver his/ her feelings.

You can buy from any place or any site; just try to know the source of the product. Pay for the facility you are using and don’t buy something because you are getting some discounts or freebies.

What is failure according to you? Have you tasted it? If yes, share your failure story.

Failure is a ghost. The more you are afraid of it, the more it will scare you.

Yes, you can say we have tasted it with our dream project ICS24BY7.com. It was an idea. We checked with 100+ working professionals about this concept and we found this suitable to launch it. When we collected the society data and approached. Almost 90% did not responded back to us. I guess some of the letters were not actually reached to the concerned peoples.

The revised model of ICS24BY7.com was based on marginal costing and it was totally a volume game. Fund were not on hand so could not advertize much. Felt like lost in the ocean.

Lesson learnt is – If you can’t sale a basket of 100 apples in single deal, sale 100 apples to 100 people. People will buy what they want and need and not what you want to sale. You will be in the same business and earn the same money. And obviously, with some efforts you will serve multiple customers.

What’s your future plan?

Delivery of feelings and happiness to everybody who wants it. Build a strong team committed to services. Adhere to the basic idea of, the guys next door always available on one call without much pain to pockets.

What’s your success mantra?

There is always other way to do things.

What is Entrepreneurship according to you?

We are not here to win any race. We call ourselves entrepreneurs because we have dreams and want to make these dreams a reality. A purposeful journey which with unplanned turns on the way.

Which message would you like to give to upcoming entrepreneurs?

Be prepared to be ignored. It gives pain. Do not be afraid of any downfall and be prepared to hit back with double momentum.

What do you think about BuddyBits.com?

To be honest, which we are, don’t have word to put in a sentence. You guys are doing an amazing work. At times, I feel jealous about you for doing so many wonderful things at this age. We wish you great success in your journey.

Any tips for readers of BuddyBits.com?

Next time when you buy any cake or chocolate do check for the manufacturer. When it comes to feelings, one never bother about money, however it is not wise to waste it otherwise.

We wish you all the best for all your upcoming endeavors.

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Startup Talk is a weekly column featuring interview with entrepreneurs and their success stories. Column is being published on BuddyBits.com every Monday. Follow BuddyBits.com to read more articles from this column.