Akshay Wadhwa, CEO, Bluerickshaw
Being a fashion designer turned tech entrepreneur who was always obsessed with having global recognition, paved my way to be an internationally acclaimed designer with a start-up that has combined deep industry experience in fashion, design & manufacturing with tech.
Our guest for today, Mr. Akshay Wadhwa definitely has a filmy story which includes grandfather working on pavements to grandson becoming a successful entrepreneur. The second wave of COVID hit the country as soon as he launched his business and whatnot. Overcoming all the challenges, Akshay is here today talking to us and inspiring us.
The story behind the name ‘Bluerickshaw’
Akshay Wadhwa is a fashion designer turned tech entrepreneur. He founded a startup during COVID lockdown and named it Bluerickshaw.
Our host Ashutosh Garg asks Akshay the story behind it. To this, he tells us that in the late 1950s his grandpa used to sell goods on a pavement in Delhi. It was very difficult for him to travel to different parts of the country to buy goods for selling purposes. After two years when he had little money, he bought a rickshaw to travel to other states to buy goods for his trade. He painted the rickshaw blue as his brand mark.
Taking forward this legacy, Akshay Wadhwa named his startup ‘Bluerickshaw’.
Lessons Akshay learned from the challenges he faced
Bluerickshaw is a company involved in B2B operations. They work with sellers and SMEs from different states with their business spread across India, US, and Canada.
Akshay tells us that when he launched his business in India, he started getting orders from US and Canada as well. Unfortunately, the second wave of COVID hit the country and India went into another lockdown making it almost impossible for Bluerickshaw to get supplies and complete the orders. However, Akshay did not look back and went to the high commission to ask for special permission to do his job.
Connecting small buyers and sellers
Akshay tells us that he wanted to connect small sellers and SMEs from different states with his business. It was quite a challenge for him to make sellers understand their credibility. He had to reach the small sellers and get them to the main market.
Bluerickshaw has created a seamless experience for buyers and sellers. Bluerickshaw takes care of the end-to-end trade for both the parties.
Bluerickshaw is highly professional in its work. They ensure that the people they are working with are worthy. Sellers and buyers have to undergo the process of verification by the company. There is a 5 point checklist for the seller and other measures are taken to verify them. For the buyers front, they have designed the system in a way that no party becomes a defaulter.
Sectors in focus
Akshay tells us that the sectors he is focused on are handicrafts, textile and fabrics. He adds that coming from a fashion designing background, he has a good knowledge about these things and he sometimes helps the small sellers on these subjects which also builds a good relationship with them. The sellers get to sell their products in their own name and Bluerickshaw acts as their facilitator.
Building a SaaS platform for Bluerickshaw
Akshay says that the best way to connect sellers and buyers from different parts of the world is by putting on a virtual trade show with facilities for end-to-end buying and selling.
How do the buyers and sellers reach out to Bluerickshaw?
Akshay tells us that many buyers and sellers have reached out to him through social media. Many mailed him regarding business. He also tells us that he is getting a lot of support from the government of India as they are connecting small sellers and SMEs to the main market and this is a problem that the government is trying to solve.
We launched in March 2021 and by June we shipped out 1200+ orders.
We partnered with Tazapay to provide credit to buyers for around 70% of merchandise value up to 25,000 USD
Partnering with ASSOcham we onboarded 361 rural artisans from tribal areas
Got in touch with the consulate generals in Canada & USA to support our cause
Pre launched art.bluerickshaw and closed our Angel round of funding.
One of the top ten designers of Vancouver Fashion Week in 2016 and covered in British Vogue. We’ve received The startup India recognition & interest from Fieo and several trade promotion council. Being a fashion designer turned tech entrepreneur who was always obsessed with having global recognition, paved my way to be an internationally acclaimed designer with a start-up that has combined deep industry experience in fashion, design & manufacturing with tech. The vision is to imagine a world where a small store in Milwaukee in the US can seamlessly procure 10 copper bottles from a seller in Baradari, UP. After my show in Vancouver and being labeled as one of the top 10 designers in Vancouver fashion week, where I was on a different high, I approached a few stores in Yaletown to stock up my collection in less than 5 minutes. I was pretty much thrown out from the store & the same thing happened in the US. That was the defining moment for me & I was determined to penetrate this market in a very short span of time. Later, my collection was sold in 130 stores across North America including Anthropologie in New York. We truly believe in strong cultural values & being honest and transparent which is very evident from our workplace to our platform & translates into the bonding of trust & belief. Bluerickshaw’s platform launched in March 2021 but the company was formed in August’2020. Currently, the market for small sellers in India is very fragmented and they are unable to market their products globally. On the buyer side, there is an issue of trust and credibility and the complexities of export compliances in sourcing products directly from Indian sellers. Bluerickshaw provides an end-to-end solution to buyers across the world, providing access to high-quality goods from India. There are various factors that make us different from the rest: