ByÂ Raju Moza:
RM- So Prashanth, how did the idea of Kidloo come in mind?
Prashanth Gowiraju: The inspiration behind this idea was my kid. He was born in 2008. As a young father, who was born in an era where toys almost didn’t exist, it was a struggle to understand which toys to procure for him and from where. There was neither a place, nor a known toy shop or a brand associated with toys, hence an idea stuck to exploit this opportunity. Then I set the ball rolling with extensive research visiting stores and malls and went to various parent forums, spoke to innumerable people.
I found that there is a huge gap between what kids actually would love to play with and what we give them to play. Most of the times we have observed that “parents gift their kids with what they personally like to play around with than what the kids would love to play with”. With that research for almost a year, I understand the gap and market needs. Kidloo was born in Feb 2011.
Initially you started online but now you have ventured offline. Was it planned or the online store was not giving business as envisaged?
Offline was part of the plan from day one. Online has been created more for convenience and offline stores are for experience buying. We initially launched online to gain the massive experience personally. We could grab in more than 10K variety of toys and 300+ brands.
Own stores or franchisee? What was in plan? What is the current status?
Our expansion plans are the franchise way. We have set up our first store at a spread of 3000sft in Hyderabad. We should be live with 5 more franchisee stores by end of the financial year
So how old are you as an entrepreneur now? Enjoying it or regretting it?
I am 31 now. It’s been 4 years since I started my journey as an entrepreneur. I wouldn’t say its easy; difficult times make you regret. Staying focused and having the right people around you is the key. I thank my wife who keeps poking me whenever I am down.
When you started, was the start up ecosystem different; with charged up people everywhere? Now it looks a bit gloomy with all the bad news that keeps on coming.
From funding perspective yes, but it was accentuated towards tech sector where top line numbers and rosy valuations were talk of the town. Investors sadly compare our innovations to west.
Besides funding, what is your overall view of entrepreneurship and start up culture in India? Has it deteriorated or is it the same? I personally don’t find the same vibes as before 2008 Lehman brother crises, what’s your take?
Entrepreneurship spirit is high in India but I feel it needs to be channelized properly, ignited and encouraged. There are several factors which inhibit the growth of entrepreneurs, like societal pressure. In our society earlier, politicians were role models. Now that space is occupied by either film stars or cricketers. Unless entrepreneurs don’t become the role models for a generation, the economy cannot deliver. In India there are more businessmen than entrepreneurs.
Do you fear this not working as an entrepreneur?
Fear was a part of my mind during the initial days, but your passion and hunger for success overcomes your fear during the journey. Staying focussed and believing in your idea is the key.