Greendust refurbishes factory seconds to sell to customers at heavily discounted prices. Aside from the environmental benefits, value conscious customers get the chance to buy aspirational brands at amazing bargains and simultaneously, manufacturers have an alternate route to upcycle "damaged" product that would otherwise be discarded. As ecommerce in India grows, Greendust takes a thought provoking stance.
Hitendra Chatruvedi met with us as he was getting ready to leave Microsoft. He’d just built Micorsoft’s OEM sales business in India to a $400MM machine. But he was eager to begin the next adventure. He saw an opportunity in B2C reverse logistics, an unusual choice in a market where Flipkart had begun getting hugely popular (and fabulously funded) in India. Logistics was a bad enough word, to add reverse to it, made it even less exciting.
But Hitendra was smart, articulate and above all passionate. He knew what the opportunity in reverse logistics could look like as he had spent a few years building a similar business in the US and was clear that there was a huge market opportunity in India. Hitendra and Sandeep discovered this opportunity through an iterative set of conversations that took place prior to Sandeep funding the business. It was this deep engagement and exchange of ideas, even before there was an economic incentive that allowed for a strong relationship with an open exchange of ideas to develop. And in 2009, Hitendra incorporated a company called Reverse Logistics Company (RLC) and set out to raise funds.5% of what is sold in the market come back through product defects, damage, overstock, end of life and customer returns.
Here are the basics of the reverse logistics market.
Interesting but did not our cup of tea. Logistics and waste management didn’t seem like a good fit for our technology and data driven approach to building consumer businesses. But Hitendra was a solid entrepreneur and someone Sandeep was keen to work with. Based on our strong reference to the Mumbai Angels and an introduction to a former company from our portfolio (FirstBazaar - GreenDust’s first customer), Hitendra began his journey with Rs. 60lakhs ($100,000). And with some capital in the bank and a customer acquired, Hitendra set to work to make refurbished a very attractive word and a very profitable world.
Hitendra and Jeremy in our garden at LBVC15
Hitendra and I discovered this opportunity through an iterative set of conversations that took place prior to funding the business. It was this deep engagement and exchange of ideas, even before there was an economic incentive that allowed for a strong relationship with an open exchange of ideas to develop.
Using technology to create a new economic model, Greendust’s ambitious founder talks about creating a “parallel universe” where the young and aspirational can sell old products and buy heavily discounted factory seconds.
As a result of declining costs, solar power has already attained grid parity in several states such Maharashtra, AP, Kerala and West Bengal.
In this investment we are doing our small part in affecting the consumption patterns of our society. Harvard University sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson claims the earth can support 10 billion people – a number others predict may be hit by 2100.
We have a culture of fundamentally solving problems. We place huge emphasis on speed to market and the power of prototyping. It is almost impossible to get everything right.
We spend a lot of time thinking about the changing nature of ownership. It’s amazing how much “stuff” most of us collect over time. And how little we actually use in everyday life. It makes you start questioning consuming and purchasing habits in general.