New Delhi: Raju Rajouri, a 33 years old Kabaadiwala (local scrap dealer) has shocked his customers by giving his shop a complete makeover after he was deeply inspired from the buzz around #StartupIndia especially from Prime Minister’s Modi’s speech last week.
His customers, who were earlier used to a tattered old shop with a rugged board by name “Raju Kabadiya” are now greeted by a refurbished shop with a clean newly-painted board called “BlueKabaadi.com”, with “We have no franchises” written below as sub-text.
His tastefully redone interiors include a newly installed landline with a branded cordless, a clean water dispenser with plastic glasses, a coffee machine, and a rotatable “chairman” style chair – all of these managed from the kabaad he had bought allegedly from failed start ups in his locality.
Raju was sipping a cutting chai-latte and drafting some emails on his iPhone-5 (which was sold off as kabaad by someone when iPhone-6 launched), when we entered his shop. He smiled and greeted us. We began our discussion on a cup of fresh coffee.
“I am in the Waste Management Solutions business for around 25 years now, but Mr. Modi’s speech at startup India has deeply impacted me and made me re-think my whole strategy,” Raju began on an emotional and professional note.
He continued, “When I was 8 years old, I started collecting used-plastic-bags from garbage bins. And today I have this office property and accessories. My business might be very old, but the spirit of my business is still entrepreneurial. I am the only employee in the company so I keep the capital expenditures to a minimum. In peak seasons when people cleanup their house-waste prior to holidays, I avail services of other kabaadis on temporary basis to meet customer demands. So you see my business model is pretty lean, like early-stage startups. There is no “waste” in my system you see,” Raju laughed aloud to emphasize the pun.
He then got a bit serious and said – “People talk about Waste management business as if it’s a ruined business which no scope or scale. They just write off us kabaadis. But let me tell you it’s not. We are the philosophical scavengers of this society and are an essential cog in the societal wheel. Now by making my shop go online, I’ve significantly improved the business offering, thus I qualify as a startup,” Raju put forth his pitch for the Startup India program.
“Well, you can WhatsApp me pictures of your kabaad and I can negotiate with you over the price. all while you enjoy your coffee in your sofa!” Raju explained how his refurbished shop and business was going to function after being re-branded as a startup.
While Raju is not being taken seriously by his family and friends, he is pretty serious about getting assimilated in spirit of Startup India. He is planning an all-India business expansion for which he needs fund and hence he is seeking investments up to the tune of 100 crores from potential Angel Investors.
“I want every kabaadi to be part of my website BlueKabaadi.com and make my website a platform for meaningful kabaad disposal,” he explained his vision for his business and how it will impact the society.
Raju has also got his business cards printed and colorful “matte-finish” brochures published. He admitted that he may even go for B-school intern hiring next year once his online kabaad business gets going.