The Indomitable Entrepreneur

Meet KS Bhatia, a far-sighted entrepreneur and motivational speaker who staunchly believes in the principles of hard work, perseverance, and optimism

By: Bhavya Gaind

As the COVID pandemic induced lockdown brought every industry to a standstill, visionary entrepreneur KS Bhatia silently built his empire while placing one brick at a time and as destiny would have it, he eventually paved his way to success!

The brain behind India’s largest wholesale B2B company coming up with a complete range of appliances, hardware, sanitary ware and industry supply, Bhatia has carved a niche in the industry with his proficient expertise and wise acumen.

The Founder of Pumpkart and Figgital, Bhatia exudes an indomitable will that has helped him reach new heights with each passing day. Here’s more about his inspiring journey.

Walk us through your atmanirbhar journey as the CEO of Pumpkart and Figgital. What are some challenges that you had to encounter?

We started Pumpkart in 2014 and came into limelight when we were praised by Sundar Pichai, Chief Executive Officer of Alphabet. That day onwards, we started thinking big for Pumpkart.

At the onset, we changed our business model from B2C to B2B, owing to which we faced many difficulties to sell pump to the retailers (as brands were not comfortable to disturb their existing distributor network). Next up, we brought our two white-labelled brands in the market.

A key challenge that we faced was to create a strong brand identity in the customer’s mindset. So, we brought Kapil Dev as our Brand Ambassador and also to endorse one of our white-labelled brands – Panatech. This proved to be the first success in the B2B platform.

Under the excitement of this success, we ended up making a big mistake of bringing electronic products under the Pumpkart platform as well. We failed in selling electronics to the retailers as they didn’t accept buying from such a platform that is a pioneer in pumps. So, this didn’t work well.

However, I never gave up and eventually launched another platform, Figgital to sell electronics. Initially, whosoever came to know about this venture, made fun of me but that didn’t impact me to the least.

We took the plunge with the vision to make Figgital a hyperlocal platform for electronics where we could give the delivery of all our electronic products as well as pumps via this new hyperlocal model. This model has worked well in the food and distribution industry with organizations like Zomato and Swiggy, so we thought to follow the same in the electronics and appliances industry, but something else was written in our fate as the corona pandemic induced lockdown happened and our dreams washed away.

The entrepreneur in me still didn’t give up and I thought of doing something innovative while sitting at home. This time I thought that I’ll do this very silently, so in case I failed, nobody will make fun of me. When lockdown happened, it was peak summer season and the retailers urgently needed pumps for their customers and luckily, we at Pumpkart, had a huge stock of pumps which we couldn’t sell as our mindset was twisted to electronics last year. This way, we won the hearts of those retailers who could earn some profit by selling our pumps as the supply chain was badly affected because of COVID and manufacturers were unable to supply pumps to the distributors/ retailers. From here, we got another idea to create Pumpkart franchise stores in the regions.

In the month of May and June, we could make around 15 franchises in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, and we also converted our 13 service franchises to Pumpkart franchises.

We started making electronic franchises as well under Figgital and we could establish 25 franchises of Figgital in the region. So, this was the twist in our business when we were unable to make even one big brand. We could do this in just 4 months with the blessings of Corona.

Moreover, when our Prime Minister gave the message of Atmanirbhar Bharat, it was completely matching to our business model. During that time, I felt that 25% of the mission is completed as I got a new path to take my vision to big heights.

Till we reached September, we had signed an agreement with one of the states to open 175 stores of Pumpkart and Figgital. This dual model of online and offline clicked very well and now our vision is to open 500 stores of both Pumpkart as well as Figgital by March 2022.

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