I was chasing up a lead when I came across Abhishek Shogani, the Director of Engineering at Pitney Bowes. Somehow Abhishek and I got along well over the phone and he liked our concept and asked for a demo of the platform. Long story short, I found myself sitting in the huge glass fronted, wood-panelled conference room at the Pitney Bowes office in Delhi. From the glass front, I could see hundreds of people hard at work. If that does not awe a startup entrepreneur they would need iron nerves. I was not even sure what was about to happen as I was well aware that there was little that Pitney Bowes did not know or do when it came to cross-border technology.
From running the backend software for some of the largest postal and logistics organisations to building the backend software of some of the major e-commerce businesses in the world to building some of the most privileged government software worldwide, Pitney Bowes has the reach that entrepreneurs dream of. Take a look at Pitney Bowes’ history and you see 60 years of the global footprint in everything from logistics to data. Basically, I was sitting in the one office I would want to be in if I wanted Eunimart to succeed. They held the keys to the treasure trove of data and technology that could make us really successful.
Imagine my surprise when they proposed that Eunimart become a part of their accelerator program. I kid you not, I did not even know they had an accelerator program at the time. You would not know that form my expressions though! Cut to a month later and I was standing in the Shangri-La’s — Eros Hotel at New Delhi at the Pitney Bowes Accelerator Community Mixer event. The event was a list of who’s who from the Pitney Bowes community with everyone from James Fairweather and Munish to Abhishek Shogani and Ashok Madaravelly being present. Luminaries present at the event included luminaries like Rahul Narvekar, founder of fashionandyou, NDTV Retail and Indian Roots, Mr Yaduvendra Mathur, Additional Secretary to the Niti Aayog. Summum bonum, it was a mix of some very eclectic and knowledgeable people.
I decided to go ahead and ditch my presentation which I had built over a few sleepless nights and go talk to the people in the room. This was obviously the right idea as my brusque and hard-hitting pitch found its mark. Immediate reactions from Mr Mathur and Rahul followed and I knew that I had succeeded in creating an impression. Having achieved the first goal, I spent the rest of the evening talking to the people and imbibing ideas.
We have huge expectations from the Pitney Bowes accelerator. They have APIs which could make our platform highly efficient and successful if we use them efficiently. Pitney Bowes location intelligence will help us build the customer engagement and conversion tool that our sellers will benefit from a lot. Enterprise sellers and big brands have access to consultants who have access to large data sets which allow them to make better judgements on the kind of digital marketing spend and targeting that they wish to do. As such, these brands end up becoming hugely successful.
What Small and Medium businesses really need today is an access to similar data and an ability to target and convert potential customers into paying customers. One of the main differentiation between businesses that are successful in e-commerce and the ones that aren’t, is data which gives the former a significant edge. Other APIs such as the Customer Information API that allows sellers to access customer information that they are normally not privy to. Overall, the technology is fascinating and the breadth of scope stupefying. We will look to make the most of this opportunity.