While industries across the globe are catching up on the digital transformation wave, the B2B segment of customised goods is still developing in India. Bizongo is playing a critical role in revamping this space with their proprietary digital platforms for Digital Vendor Management, Supply Chain Automation & Supply Chain Financing. In the latest news, the organisation has reported a 5X growth in its topline from pre-pandemic levels.
Analytics India Magazine caught up with Bizongo’s COO & Co-founder, Aniket Deb, to get an insight into Bizongo’s offerings and how the company is impacting the Indian landscape.
AIM: What role has tech played in the growth of Bizongo?
Aniket: Technology is at the core of all our operations, and we take a lot of pride in calling ourselves a tech-enabled B2B e-commerce platform for customised goods. Our business model essentially focuses on bringing a tech-first strategy against a trade-first approach through cloud-based digital vendor management, supply chain automation, and supply chain financing. This approach has helped us turn profitable while reporting positive EBITDA numbers and surpassing $200-million in September 2021.
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Further, during COVID-19, when the market for many goods and services slowed, B2B SaaS solutions saw increased adoption due to evolved remote working habits and consumer and business consumption patterns. So as we envision digitally transforming the fragmented and unorganised yet unique B2B segment of customised goods, our technological capabilities have allowed us to address the pain points faced by manufacturers and buyers and bridge the gap between the two communities. Especially during the pandemic when supply chains came under strain, our robust technology platforms helped businesses automate the process, keep the system up and running, and be prepared as they cater to the essential requirements of consumers in this time of crisis.
AIM: Tell us about your flagship products and services.
Aniket: With a focus on packaging, textiles, apparel & other contract manufacturing goods, we have developed proprietary digital platforms that enable us to offer end-to-end tech-based B2B e-commerce solutions, right from vendor management to supply chain automation and supply chain financing.
Our first platform, Partner Hub, brings together the largest manufacturer network in India for customised goods, allowing manufacturers and sellers to optimise resources. Approximately 34% of business productivity goes into streamlining processes, and this number only increases as businesses expand. Here, Partner Hub unites all the fragments of accepting purchase orders, managing inventory, and tracking multiple shipments and offers a clear, actionable dashboard with real-time updates on order status and required actions to accelerate the process.
Our next offering is the Procure Live platform, which understands the complex procurement process and resolves a host of challenges for buyers, such as managing multiple stakeholders, lack of accurate data, discovering the right suppliers, and managing distributed payments, among others. This new-age digital platform transforms the way businesses procure and manage inventory and automates the procurement workflow while keeping costs in check using the Auto-replenishment feature. This allows businesses to achieve higher returns by optimising the total cost of ownership, managing bandwidth, increasing stock availability to 100%, and avoiding stock-outs.
Finally, our packaging design and artwork management platform, Artwork Flow, adds the last piece of the B2B eCommerce puzzle. The cloud-based platform helps the entire team get to one place, proof artworks faster, and manage assets in one place, meaning faster approvals, fewer iterations, more productivity, and increased speed to market.
AIM: How does Bizongo contribute to India’s growing data science ecosystem?
Aniket: At Bizongo, we process and automate large amounts of data from our Digital Vendor Management software and Supply Chain Automation. Analysing this data helps us in customising our service offerings and connecting the enterprises with the vendor. In addition, it also helps us understand the vendor behaviour patterns and allows us to make informed decisions for supply chain financing. The holistic data on demand of different products offered by a business helps in proper resource allocation and realising a maximum profit for our partners. Further, the demand for customised packaging has been increasing, and to meet this demand, a comprehensive study on customer preference is essential. We are leveraging all the data that we collect to bring more customisation options to our product offerings.
AIM: What are your insights on the battleground of technology companies in India’s B2B e-commerce sector?
Aniket: B2B eCommerce is a $500 billion industry, and globally, this market is way bigger, at least six times, than B2C eCommerce. In the current context, technology players are increasingly gaining confidence and traction from investors. Despite pandemic-led disruptions, B2B eCommerce platforms such as Bizongo have underpinned their profitability and journey to positive unit economics by their technology and innovative IP solutions.
Over the past 18-months of the pandemic, adopting a digital and automated supply chain ecosystem through platform-driven methods has become key for business growth for traders, dealers, wholesalers, and retailers. According to research by Marketwatch, 72 per cent of manufactures have increased their spending on B2B e-commerce operations. I believe that this untapped opportunity makes B2B e-commerce a lucrative space for both tech businesses and investors.
AIM: What is the positive unit economics, according to Bizongo?
Aniket: For Bizongo, the positive unit economics maintains a positive contribution margin per unit for orders through our vendors. We have always maintained positive unit economics, and we will continue to do so. The lifetime value we offer to our customers is very high, along with the net NPV. We do not spend too much money on marketing or customer acquisition, which helps us maintain healthy unit economics. We have reported positive EBITDA numbers in September 2021 and turned profitable.
AIM: Tell us about your experience providing digital services for healthcare equipment procurement during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aniket: Very early on, we realised that the ecosystem for PPEs was very similar to the other customised goods segment that we catered to. The manufacturing was fragmented; access to quality suppliers and guaranteed on time and in full delivery was very low. To aid the critical buying process, we quickly onboarded quality vendors and got them digitally equipped on our platform. Through this, we were able to give the hospitals, NGOs, and other buyers complete visibility in their procurement of PPE products and end any hassles. Through fundraising campaigns and quick tie-ups with NGOs and trusts, we were even able to match funds to the more crucial procurement requirements.
AIM: Your clientele base consists of big companies. What are some of the challenges you have faced catering to different needs?
Aniket: We have seen that owing to the scale of operations; most large corporations have long-standing relationships with their vendors. In view of these relationships, enterprises find it difficult to switch vendors or disclose information on their vendors to external parties even if it is required for adopting technology for improving efficiency. Here, we have built a robust ecosystem for our customers to choose and manage their existing vendor base digitally and even connect with new vendors if need be. In parallel, we also recommend these companies to focus on the overall cost optimisation in the process, rather than improving individual product pricing, as it has a significant impact on the life cycle.
AIM: How do you plan to use the latest round of funding?
Aniket: With the latest round of funding, we have worked towards extending our modular digital service offerings to other sectors, such as apparel and textiles, in the customised goods segment. With the view of putting Bizongo on the world map, we are also gradually expanding into South-East Asia and other international markets.
AIM: Elaborate Bizongo’s expansion roadmap.
Aniket: As mentioned earlier, we are strategically planning to expand our services in the international markets, starting with Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, and the rest of Southeast Asia. We will study the acceptability and adoption of our services and accordingly plan for further expansion. We also aim to leverage this expansion to boost the massive manufacturing potential of Indian MSMEs and bridge the demand from the Middle East, Europe, and the US. Recently, we also created our advisory board and brought onboard industry veteran and Vice-Chairman of Asian Paints, Manish Choksi. As we look forward, our objective is to transform Bizongo into the most aspirational B2B technology company with a people-centric approach and a strong work culture.