Shubhra has brought GaragePlug a long way - from small India customers to global top-tier customers and a thriving presence in ME, with added clarity in segment and positioning. She's also super effectual, doing all this very, very efficiently. Find out all about her experience building GaragePlug and learning with Upekkha.
Shubhra's SaaS Journey
- With over 20 years of Technology and Management experience, Shubhra joined GaragePlug as CEO, full-time in 2018, a year after her co-founder/husband Ashish Shrivastav began building the platform in Bangalore
- The idea of GaragePlug began early 2017, with Ashish who had domain expertise in Automotive After-sales from his years working with Toyota and Rohit Bhatnagar, who came from a Product, Tech and Marketing background, along with the mentorship and guidance of their advisor, Mr. Kaoru Kuroda
- Even before they learnt about the principles of Effectuation at Upekkha, they began with whatever resources they had at hand.
- Towards the end of 2017, they launched their first MVP - a small mobile-first app that could be used by any automotive technician or mechanic. It helped them become effective entrepreneurs and helped them manage their business operations as well as handle customers
- To their surprise, within a few months itself they got hundreds of sign-ups and from that came their first 10-15 paid customers
- This helped them validate that this kind of SaaS product was definitely in need, but they struggled with how to price it well or scale it sustainably
- As they gained more traction in the Indian market, they focused their efforts on applying all their learnings from their first set of customers to build the next level of the product
- In 2018, they started marketing more, approaching more garages and workshops
- Their initial market was more attuned to India, but they were not able to scale with the ticket size they had at that time, which is when they started looking at product fit for global markets also
- They juggled a lot that year, from trying to figure out how to scale, how to sell, what price to sell at, what kind of product roadmap they should have etc.,
- The team tried to go with the flow, learning more things as they made more mistakes and tried to implement what they learnt
- GaragePlug was doing well in terms of acquiring customers, but in terms of scaling the business, increasing their MRR and taking the startup to the next level of growth, they felt clueless and lost. They then chose to apply to Upekkha's Accelerator Program and were selected
- Today, they are a global company with GaragePlug's presence in 12 countries
- GaragePlug also pivoted during the pandemic to provide a 'Touchless Auto Service' ecosystem with cashless transactions and logistical support for workshops to send someone to pick up vehicles from the customers' homes and return it back after service
- Their foray into the Middle East market was a game changer for them, as they trudged through hot weather, from start of day to close of business, visiting 20-40 garages each day, meeting owners and technicians to find out their pain points, needs and forging connections. This paid off, because now nearly 80% of their business is from ME and they grew 3x last year alone.
How Upekkha helped GaragePlug
- From the very beginning, attending Upekkha's sprints gave them very clear direction when it came to what geographies they should target, how to price their product and what kind of processes to follow for sales, customer success and more
- It helped create a mindset shift from talking about the product's features to showcasing the real value that GaragePlug provides to its customers
- They got guidance on implementing all the insights they gained from understanding their customers' problems and needs. Upekkha also showed them a clear path on what they needed to do next
- Upekkha also helped them create a value-based pricing model by getting them to break down their product into different modules and learn from customers how exactly they derived value from each module. They then priced each module accordingly
- Now they do custom pricing from customer to customer, based on the modules they need and the kind of value they derive from it. This helped increase their ticket size
- Shubhra shared that without Upekkha, they couldn't have imagined reaching the level of growth and scale GaragePlug is at now, even if they had put in more years on their own
- Upekkha's workshop just as COVID-19 started affecting the world, helped them equip and prepare themselves much before the lockdown. They were able to send all their employees back from home and also help provide any infrastructure required. This also helped GaragePlug remain in good stead and continue to help their employees perform better with the tools and guidelines they have in place for remote work.
- The Upekkha Tribe really has your back, providing a sense of direction, real friendship, support and different perspectives to help deal with the ups and downs of entrepreneurship
Other Key Takeaways
- Understand the power of market research as well as empathizing with the customer's problems and needs
- Adding value to your customers and really making their life or work easy is what they are willing to pay for
- This way your customers also turn into your ambassadors, bringing in increased referrals
- Learn how to build value-based pricing models
- Figure out which marketing channels your customers use frequently, including the channels they use to get their customers, and leverage those channels
- Sales is an art. 80% of it maybe by logic, matching solutions to painpoints but the remaining crucial 20% is always achieved through emotion. Building good relationships will inevitably lead to great things, like customers wanting to invest in you!
- Post-COVID, going completely online with the Sales process has actually worked out well for GaragePlug, because before they used to average 2-3 individual demos a day, now they do 2-3 slots a day and each slot has about 6-7 potential customers
- How much does money matter? Money is required definitely, but money is not the only thing that matters towards growth. Building any business needs strategic thinking, clear vision, and strong leadership, without which you can't grow or scale your business sustainably. Money can't buy any of that.
- Building a business does not happen overnight, if you're reading stories that seem like that, then they are just that - stories! You need a lot of strength, patience and perseverance. Remember, just building a great product does not mean you will have a successful business. You have to solve a problem that provides real value to your ideal customer, and they should be willing to pay you for it, for the rest there is Upekkha
Upekkha is a Value SaaS Accelerator for B2B SaaS Startups to help find their flywheel revenue, enhance their freedom, flexibility and optionality, as well belong and benefit from an exceptional tribe of SaaS Founders that truly has each other's backs. Find out more about Upekkha's VSF Basecamp Program at www.upekkha.io/apply
Watch the full video of her FB Live here: bit.ly/UpekkhaLives