Interview with Mithun Adith, Founder & CEO of SpotKwik
Interview with Mithun Adith, Founder & CEO of SpotKwik
How did Spotkwik get started?
It all started with Nyra. Nyra always looks for something to buy online. She enjoys the comfort of online shopping. One day, she was dull and frustrated. I have never seen her like that in all these years. So, I asked her and her response made me think. The new headset she bought from one of the famous online stores was not working properly, though it had 4 star ratings and positive reviews. She had to return it and from then on, everytime she buys something online, she orders with doubt and she feels satisfied only after using it for a while. Soon, I realized that there are many Nyra’s out there, facing this problem everytime they shop online. This stroke my mind and then the usual journey of research to ideation to prototype to execution happened and now we launched a product that solves this exact issue.
How did you meet your co-founders?
Obviously, the journey of finding them was a beautiful experience! Not only my co-founder but all of the core people in my team are also phenomenally excellent and amazing in all ways. I met Anusha, my co-founder in my campus interview. It’s more like love at first sight, where I fell for her zeal and thirst towards solving the problems and I proposed my idea to her right away. From then on, she’s fixing all the missing pieces which helped us to get going. Then, I pitched a few people and the Story of ‘Why We Are Building SpotKwik & What We Are Going to Solve’ gave them a great kick and they married themselves to the product’s vision, working every day late at nights till 4 AM along with me and taking SpotKwik to the market. What you see in SpotKwik now would be nearly impossible without them.
What is the problem that you are trying to solve?
As I said already, the stranger online reviews and ratings are not helping us buy the right product. Think about the last time you bought something online. How did you decide what to buy? You probably searched for whatever you wanted and read a few reviews. Maybe you found a negative review and that was your cue to move on to the next option. But who are these people that we let decide which brand of watch we should buy next? They’re strangers. If one of them came up to you on the street and recommended you buy a certain product, you’d probably turn around and walk quickly in the other direction. But, why do we trust the same strangers and their reviews online? Because we don’t have a choice. I want to create a choice, to empower people to make the right buying decision. I don’t want them to rely on stranger reviews which are fake most of the time. Hence, I decided to build a product where people can get real recommendations from friends, family or from people you trust.
Who is your end-user?
We mainly focus on Tier II, tier III and tier IV cities in India and Metropolitan cities with affordable and luxury smartphones. More than 70,000 transactions are happening online every day, but still, 200 million Indians on the second tier market have no access to this privilege since no technology has intended to bring in solutions at this scale. We are working towards addressing these underprivileged Indian shoppers.
What is your USP? * What is the insight that you have about this market, which no one else has? The uniqueness about your Startup.
In any other store, people can make the purchase decision with the help of ‘Reviews’. They are mostly fake and not reliable as the reviewers are strangers. We provide a platform where anybody can ask about any product from people who have already bought and experienced it.
Does your end-user have real pain or need for the product?
A simple ‘Yes’ wouldn’t do justice to this question. And that’s why I sat with more than 100 people, asked them certain questions about my leap-of-faith assumptions aka pain points of users. We even rolled out a survey to check what we feel as a problem is actually a problem or myth. And we got positive responses. Shockingly, 81% of the people already knew that this is a problem and they’re still shopping online via stores since there’s no alternative in the market.
How will your product address and capitalize on this need?
Empathy is the key in any solution making. We shouldn’t just know but feel exactly how the customer feels. We have gone through their journey, been near our audience, and observed their lives, we did that. All the existing stores have zero human touchpoints, meaning no conversations, recommendations happening between users. This is not how we humans shop basically. We love to get great advice from friends and recommendations from our loved ones every time we shop. Hence we socialized shopping and are helping people connect, ask, share and get recommendations.
What has been your biggest failure as an entrepreneur and what did you learn from it??
Hiring Equations, which was my first venture was a blockbuster failure.It was like a physical punch to my gut. I saw it crumble before me and that was because I refused to acknowledge the ‘Iceberg’ until the ship started sinking! (yes, like in the movie- Titanic) But, I didn’t run from it rather embraced and analyzed the post-mortem of my failed startup and learned lessons for life. I paid a year’s effort, time and energy to learn this lesson which I would call as my biggest accomplishment in my recent past rather not as the biggest failure (lol)!
Is there any interesting success story of your startup? If yes, please write about it. ?
I always love to quote the thing that ‘we have built the first-to-the market product in our side hustle’ as our first milestone and a very interesting story to share to this world. All worked day jobs from 10AM – 7 PM and then on SpotKwik until 4 AM everyday to roll out the product successfully. Even the initial feedback we have got from our early customers gave us satisfaction and motivation to spend more waking nights. Also, we recently bagged a place in the list of Super30 Startups in India, a coveted list curated by TimesNext.
What are your goals for the next 1-5 years?
We want to intersect our instincts and insights with art and technology to solve the global and hyper-local problems in online shopping.
Can you easily explain how it works?
The simple equation might help us understand.
That is “Social Media + E-commerce = SpotKwik”
Why would you recommend your product to others?
Because people are bored of taking a wild guess based on unknown reviews every time they shop online and it’s time to get advice from real people. Do you still want to trust anonymous sources?
What has been the most surprising part of building a product?
DILO: ‘Day In Life Of’. While working on the product, I lived the day of my user’s life. I’m trying to use the product the way they will, to understand user behavior completely. This DILO experience is very surprising yet funny in a lot of ways.
What message do you want to convey to fellow entrepreneurs?
On this highly productive, and a more demanding run to build something we care for, we often forget to create a culture that inspires the new-age employees – Millennials & Gen Zs’ Yeah, culture will surely make a difference in the success of any startup and more than the whispers of flat hierarchy, ping pong tables, free breakfast, and relaxed dress codes, there’s something unique about the next generation people -Millenials and Gen Z. Many of them did not go out and seek a job, instead, they sought a gap. They found the intersection of a problem that they’re passionate about that aligns with their skill set, and a company willing to take a chance on them. They love to collaborate knowledge, entrepreneurship and innovation with technology – is what we call Passion Economy. We want to put our finger on the pulse of the future employees and build a culture that’s exactly the same as their ‘Intersection Graph – Passion Economy’. This will rule out the ‘Time Poverty’ and create an insatiable hunger for success within all your teammates!