“The biggest challenge in the online printing domain is pricing,” says, Printvenue.com’s Sourabh Kochhar

Established in 2012 with a seed capital of one million Euros, printvenue.com is one of the top web-to-print portals in the country. The founder, Sourabh Kochhar, is an IIM(C) graduate, who has proved his mettle in top notch companies like McKinsey before successfully adapting the online printing solution business to the Indian economy. He has spearheaded the company's growth from nil to 3,00,000 customers in merely a year.

27 Mar 2015 | By PrintWeek India

Recently, the Rocket Internet-backed printing platform raised USD 4.5m of funding from Asia Pacific Internet Group (APACIG). APACIG is a joint venture of Rocket Internet and Ooredoo. Through this funding, the company will join APACIG’s network.
PrintWeek India interacts with Saurabh Kochhar, co-founder and MD of the company.
PWI: Saurabh Kochhar, you are an IIM (C) graduate and worked with McKinsey. Why did you try to set up a print business where you didn't know the nuances of running a franchise?
SK: Having an experience with print business and working closely with a company called Prosell – which supplies point-of-sale material to many MNCs, it was easy to get into the printing domain. Also, I always had an idea at the back of my mind to start up my own venture and hence decided to take the plunge given the gap in the existing printing market.
PWI: What were the main challenges in adapting the online printing solution business to the Indian economy?
SK: The biggest challenge in the online printing domain is the pricing – the prices in India are one-fourth to that of the other countries we operate in, the other challenge is getting the stable supplier base. Also, the market for online printing is still very nascent and needs a lot of pushes to gain the user trust.
PWI: What kind of re-engineering did you do to the traditional print business model in order to service the corporate clients; as opposed to SMEs across India; as opposed to B2C online customers?
SK: We have invested a lot in automation of our backend processes and also have developed a supply chain that caters to different needs of the individual customers and our corporate clients. All these changes have earned us more than million customers and the orders.
Employee best practices at Printvenue? 
We just don’t have employees; we are a one big family.
PWI: What sort of data analytics process do you adhere to engage with customers? 
SK: As the customer data is centric to growth, we try to closely track our customer journey and their decision-making process. We primarily focus on the relevance and the availability as these are the key metrics to understand our customers closely.
PWI: Printvenue.com ran a series of TV commercials. What was the plan? Plus your merchandising of AAP during the Lok Sabha elections.
SK: Our TVC revolves around the concept of personalisation as it is very nascent in India and there is a need to create mass awareness about it. Our whole idea behind the merchandise of AAP was to meet the demand of the ongoing election fervor and also stay relevant to the content. 
PWI: How many Printvenue.com centres are there, now?
SK: Presently, we have only one hub in India. As far as our sourcing and manufacturing are concerned 60% of it is in-house and the rest of it is outsourced to various partners. In 2015, we would like to explore franchise stores to compliment our online growth and to expand our business globally.

PWI: What works better? A printing business that had a number of outlets? Or a print franchise?
SK: The number of outlets or print franchise depends on the model of the business. Franchise model is more difficult to manage and the other one is capital intensive. So it basically depends on the strength of the company so as to which model it should move to.
Work culture at Printvenue 
We are go-getters. A whole lot of fun together makes the work culture for Printvenue.
PWI: How does Printvenue.com’s strategy work for its equipment and suppliers?
SK: So, we have engraving, embossing, sublimation and wide-format printing in-house and other technologies are outsourced. Engraving is done with German optical kit based machine and for sublimation we use Epson kit with both 2D and 3D press.
PWI: What is your advice to a new entrant? 
SK: There are many print managers, so there is no differentiation as such there. Rather they should focus on technology and do something out of the box. Marketing is generally expensive and is one of the core activity to be taken care of.
PWI: In this line of business does one need to focus on net margin?
SK: It is always a tradeoff between quality control versus availability and speed. Net margins are a very important factor, many a times cost calculation are not accurate and make the business unsustainable. 
PWI: Do you think the print industry changed much in the three years you have been a player in it?
SK: The print industry has only started to change now. The next two will see a major shift. 
PWI: You have grown fast. And, as a result, there have been customer complaints. Some of them have been published online. Do you think that is part of the problem in this day and age, a company such as yours with its high growth; a high profile model can become tainted?
SK: Yes, unfortunately, that’s the bane of an online model. People who criticise you are far more vocal than those who love you. Rest assured, each of the complaints has been resolved and rectified. We have seen more than 60% of people who complain returns back to us.   
PWI: Describe your web-to-print platform for us.
SK: We have more than 600+ products with us to choose from and lakhs of design templates that can be easily customised. Once ordered our software has automated the entire process of pre-press and is ready for the print directly. 
Mantra at PrintVenue? 
Work hard; party harder.
PWI: So if you’ve to deliver a talk today at IIM (C) on the subject, what’s the three bits of inputs you will give future entrepreneurs on how to go about the business?
SK: Three things: Perseverance – to persevere without giving up, they feel they are close to their destination; To be rigorous – because hard work is a must element to reach your mark; Flexibility and agility – Be flexible and open. Accept all the positivity and negativity around and be willing to work on both constructively.
PWI: Final question, what’s been your proudest Printvenue.com achievement?
SK: I am proud of the entire journey so far and all the milestones that we have crossed on the way. Most recently we have been recognised among the Top 100 Global companies 2014 award by Red Herring. So there is no one such proud moment rather there are many.
Established: July 2012
Number of employees: 100+
Locations: Corporate office – Gurgaon
Presence: All over India, Singapore and Australia