Finding success in unchartered space

Tracing the entrepreneurial journey of Suraj Goyal,CEO, PrintBindaas on how his maiden venture is revolutionising and modernising the Indian print industry for the digital age reports Priya Raju.

04 May 2013 | By Priya Raju

When you walk into the PrintBindaas office you will find a team of 15 people operating out of a small office space at Pravasi Industrial Estate at Mumbai. And at the helm of affairs is Suraj Goyal, chief executive officer, PrintBindaas, web-to-print solutions provider is the brain child of Goyal who is an engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, BHU and has studied MBA from Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar.

Goyal has over 15 years of work experience with Indian companies and multi-national companies like Wipro and NCR Corp in the business development and partner management space. We were amazed to see how Goyal with no print background is revolutionising the web-to-print market in India.

Leap from sales to web-to-print

While working with these companies Goyal got an opportunity to handle Asia-pacific partners from Mumbai. He took up the opportunity and joined SAP. In Mumbai, Goyal helped a US-based direct marketing company to set up back office in Pune. During this period he got introduced to web-to-print while running a pilot for the company and working on the business plan.

Goyal says, “The whole process of setting up the company helped me understand the business better and to lay the foundation of PrintBindaas.” Goyal noticed that there were no major players in the e-commerce web-to-print space. Finally Goyal went ahead with his instincts and his knowledge about e-commerce and quit his job in September 2010 to concentrate on PrintBindaas. Simultaneously he hired people to work on content development and raised funds with help from family, friends and other investors.

The strategy: Positioning as an e-commerce business

Goyal noticed that there were no major players in the e-commerce web-to-print space and decided to position the portal more as an e-commerce business. Goyal explains, “It was a well thought decision to position PrintBindaas as an e-commerce website since print business has globally gone down whereas online printing business is growing.”

Since the technology plays a critical role in a web-to-print business, the company decided to develop its own software. They had initially outsourced the software development to a Bengaluru-based company. But the company did not understand the domain well and after months of investing resources and time there was no desired result, that’s when they decided to develop the software on its own. In India there are issues with bandwidth and most of the software available off the shelf in web-to-print technology makes the client wait for few minutes before the design opens. Eventually, the customer moves to a different website.

 Goyal added, “Speed plays an important role in an online portal. Having our own technology gives us the flexibility in terms of design and also helps us to fine tune the requirements and upgrade the website as required. For example, our new technology, automation of print procurement software for large corporate has helped move up in the business within six months.”

Goyal roped in his childhood friend Rishi Dua who is a graduate from IIT Kanpur with vast experience in software development to join the business. Rishi Dua is the chief technology officer and heads the technology team based in Delhi. The technology team has successfully developed the software and since the launch of web portal in May 2011, there has been no looking back.

 Business model: Targeting SME’s and educational segment

According to Goyal, the web-to-print portal should enable the client to completely customise their design and order as per their requirement. Initially they decided to target the small and medium enterprise but in the process realised that it required lots of time and marketing expense to service this sector.

Hence, they looked for an alternative and worked on enterprise and educational segment. Few of their large clients in the enterprise segment are Pidilite, Western Union, Atos, Talwalkars, First Data and BJP where they help automate the print and merchandise ordering by way of an online portal for the companies and their dealers.

PrintBindaas has also developed online modules for year books which allow the user to design, proof and customise the books which is gaining popularity among students. They now cater to major colleges like most of the IIMs, IITs, ISB, XLRI and various international and leading schools.

Marketing strategy: Young brand ambassadors

The company has adapted a unique marketing strategy to target the younger generation and has appointed brand ambassadors in each college to which they cater to. These ambassadors interface between college and the company for the different events and activities that can be facilitated and coordinated for a better business relation. The company has also roped in students to publish an inter-college magazine and strives to drive more traffic to their website with the help of social networking websites, blogs etc.

 Further, the company has tied-up with Xerox for ensuring quick delivery of print products across India which is very much required in an online portal. “The idea was to align with several Xerox digital printers and outsource work to them. We have an in-house commercial print facility to meet the urgent print jobs as well. Apart from the in-house digital set up, the company has partnered with several offset printers and digital printers with support from Xerox at various locations. By using the online platform, it has been serving pan-India market, and even international clients. The company has branches in Delhi, Ahmedabad and Mumbai. For logistic they have signed up long-term contracts with logistics companies Blue Dart, First Flight and Fedex to help ship products nationally and internationally.

Lessons learnt and mantra for entrepreneurs

According to Goyal, being persistent and flexible is one of the important qualities in an entrepreneur. One should have the ability to keep up with the changing times and should always have an alternative to the existing business plan. One should lookout for like-minded people and robust partners for perfect partnerships.

The web-to-print market is large, has potential for further growth and is scalable. “The customer retention rate in a web-to-print company is not more than 5%, so it is important to have a good sense of customer base, expanding product portfolio and making innovative solutions available. Also one should constantly generate new ideas, and deliver quality products to the clients.”