The story behind Rituparna Panda’s business idea and the growth of Fulfil.IO
Rituparna Panda, co-founder of Fulfil.IO a platform that offers retailers cloud based inventory management options shares her thoughts on entrepreneurship and business today.
Can you tell us about yourself
I grew up around different cities in India, which led to my love for travelling. My parents thought I was rebellious as a kid, but I liked to be independent. I was always attracted to new ideas and my curiosity to learn and explore landed me at my first start-up.
How and when did the idea of Fulfil.IO come about?
In my previous job, we helped a range of businesses get efficient using technology, but the ones I loved working with were the e-Commerce retailers. I could relate to their problems although my co-founders think it’s because I shop a lot. When my co-founders and I thought of putting in our expertise into building software that could make retailers efficient, I had no second thoughts - and that was what I wanted to do. I wanted to help them fulfil orders like Amazon (my favourite store) does.
What is your venture's core product / service offering?
Fulfil.IO is cloud-based software that enables retailers to always know their inventory. Whether selling online, offline or through a third party like Shopify, Fulfil.IO keeps it all in sync from returns to in-store pickups to multi-location stores - all sharing a single inventory.
The Fulfill app includes powerful purchasing, manufacturing, shipping and accounting capabilities that are designed for SMBs. This powerful bundle of tools let them focus on their core business than spend hours juggling between multiple systems that don’t talk to each other.
What key lessons have you learnt in your entrepreneurial journey?
Entrepreneurship is a lot sexier in movies, press and conferences. A lot of startups fail, and the only key to get somewhere is to pay extra attention to your customers.
What is a typical day at work like for you?
Fortunately, there are no typical days in a startup. Every day is different and throws a new challenge at you. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail and then from the failures I learn more. However, the one thing that I have been trying hard to add to my schedule is a workout at the end of every day.
When initially setting up, how did you manage financing operations?
We bootstrapped and we were very prudent about our expenses (we still are). We had a revenue model from day 1 and we had paying customers in the first month. Later we raised our seed funds from 500 Startups.
What are the key struggles every entrepreneur should be prepared for?
Everything that could possibly go wrong and when it does, be prepared to face them and solve them. Because no one else is going to solve them for you. There will be co-founder disputes, angry customers, cash flow and thousands of things to do and an endless TODO list. At the end getting things done is what matters the most.
What thoughts would you like to leave our readers with?
Remember to pay extra attention to you customers. Your customers are your co-creators, their feedback can help you build your company. Apart from this, get plenty of sleep and exercise. Proper care of your brain enhances all the "Win Factors" and gives you the edge you need for success.