Once upon a time, bartering was at the core of economy in ancient India. People used to barter one product for another product until currency was introduced as a means of selling and buying. Pooja Bhayana and Sahil Dhingra have reintroduced the barter concept in India by founding Let’s Barter India, the country’s largest community for barter on Facebook.
Inception of Let’s Barter India
What Let’s Barter India is today was a Facebook group in 2015. The idea to provide friends with a virtual platform to exchange their things hit Pooja Bhayana and Sahil Dhingra during their casual conversation over coffee last year. Sahil wanted to sell his tabs which were often undervalued in the market. Then Pooja suggested he could barter the tabs with his friends for some other goods. Sahil instantly fell in love with the idea. Since they had no capital to invest initially, they went on to start with a Facebook group. Today, the group is a platform of 1,83,000 engaged members from across the country, who barter their goods and services for the value better than that in the market.
Introduction of the Founders
Pooja Bhayana and Sahil Dhingra are the founder duo of Let’s Barter India. Pooja, a communication graduate, studied at the Management Development Institute of Singapore and started her career with a magazine in Singapore. Then she returned to India and worked in a leading PR company for two years. She quit the job in quest of happiness which she found in the launch of Let’s Barter India. Pooja is at the helm of operations and marketing for her startup.
Sahil Dhingra, the other cofounder, is Pooja’s friend and business partner. A BBA graduate from IP University, he worked with a real estate firm before Let’s Barter India happened. An outgrowing person with love for travelling and shopping, Sahil is responsible for product development and growth strategy.
Business Model and USP
Let’s Barter India is powered by a community-driven business model which facilitates barter transactions in a secure community setting. New members of Let’s Barter India are concerned about the success of their barter deals. The cofounder duo counters this problem by helping the members find products and services around them. “The USP of our venture is trust and security,” says Pooja.
Role of Technology
Let’s Barter India is a tech-enabled startup. Technology plays a major role in the functioning of the platform and the facilitation of transactions. “Our vision is a seamless barter industry in India. Evidently we are using intelligent technology to solve the problems and streamline the things in this industry. We are also operating through an app. Let’s Barter India is technologically evolving to serve the purpose better. Hence, technology forms the backbone of our startup,” shares Pooja.
How this Startup Beat Competition
“Competition is always good. The market is a rolling stone that does not gather moss as long as competition is there. We are focused on making Let’s Barter India the best product in the market instead of being fazed by the competition. We keep our fingers on the pulse of the barter industry to make developments in sync with the upcoming trends. We work harder every day to make a better version of our product. Our formula of healthy competition is not just quality barter deals but also better service,” says Sahil.
Barter was the only medium of dealing when there was no currency in ancient India. Basically bartering is not a new concept. Reintroducing this concept in the current economy was a challenge for the founder duo of Let’s Barter India especially because of the portals where people sell used goods and buy secondhand products. They overcame the challenges through aggressive marketing and workshops on the concept of bartering. “As we were a bootstrapped company for more than a year, we did face troubles regarding funding too. We used the lean start up model to maximize our impact and minimize our fund usage,” says Pooja.
Response to Let’s Barter India
The Facebook group of Let’s Barter India has more than 1, 83, 000 engaged members who post various products and services for barter every day. Hundreds of people deal in for goods every day. Recently they have launched an app that has got more than 2500 downloads.
Mission and Vision
Pooja and Sahil’s mission and vision is to take Let’s Barter India to all tier 2 and tier 3 cities as they have seen interesting traction patterns there. They are coming up with marketing plans to focus on customer acquisition for the app and build the concept of barter better. The app is available for free download on Play Store and APP Store.
On a closing note, Pooja says, “What started as a little Facebook group for friends in October 2015 is now the world’s largest community for barter on Facebook. We are bringing about a revolution in the mindset of Indians and reintroducing a concept that had become extinct.”
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