Cover Story: Silicon India
Marmeto – Bootstrapped and Growing at Full Tilt
The Indian eCommerce bubble has expanded in a very short time, and so has the number of startups in this domain. However, staying alive and running in this aggressively changing domain is no easy feat. Based out of Bengaluru, Marmeto is a completely bootstrapped eCommerce startup specializing in tech services & product that help businesses scale to soaring heights. Marmeto’s expertise lies in Shopify accompanied by web designing, web development, custom software development and. Established around mid 2017, Marmeto registered exceptional success in a very short span of time. The company was able to scale exponentially due to the diverse minds who sowed this idea and then worked from scratch to place Marmeto at its current heights.
Shashwat Swaroop, an engineering drop out, laid the foundation to his startup journey in the early years of his college life. Focused on the ecommerce domain, the startup was driven by 4 Co-founders. The team scaled the business up to approximately 150 orders a day. Unfavorable conditions kicked in and the team had to take the hard call of shutting it down. From thereon, Shashwat took a detour towards consulting startups only to soon realize that it was never his vision and that it was not where he wanted to be in the longer run. Shashwat decided to call it off and started laying the foundation to what is now, Marmeto.
Shashwat was joined by his startup companions in college, Saurav and Prabhat, in this journey.
Saurav is the architect of the after sales executions for Marmeto. His acumen in operations, marketing and team building was key to Marmeto’s business & growth strategies. Saurav plays a very important role in Marmeto’s operations, right from recruiting candidates for the project to the project delivery, including finances, marketing, and expansion.
The youngest of the trio, Prabhat has acquired significant knowhow & experience in Web Design & Development in a very short span of his career, which was as early as his initial years in college. Skilled in User Interface Design & User Requirements, Prabhat became the technical backbone of Marmeto.
Shashwat, in his years into startups, toiled and perfected the art of execution. Problem solving is the most quintessential ingredient for the success of any organization. Everybody has an idea, but what matters is- who solves it first. Shashwat quotes, “Let’s not build a tech company, but a company that can provide value to another company using technology”.
Starting off, the trio did not really decide on where to head. Over the time, the picture got clearer and Marmeto became a renowned name among ecommerce industry players. The growth of Marmeto, has been of organic nature. As a Product Lead for one of the many Products in Marmeto’s portfolio, Shravan Kumar talks about growth and explains that the nature of Marmeto’s clients, project delivery and service, gave a lot of opportunities to learn and grow. “We aim for the sweet spot, where we understand the project’s demographics and help the client understand the same. Since, a problem can have n number of solutions, it is difficult to a certain extent to keep everyone on the same page. But what matters is that everyone is satisfied and pleasantly delighted with the service”, says Shravan.
A Sure Footing in the Indian Market
Marmeto began its operations with the domestic market. Given the customer segment here in India, more than tech, it was more important to address the business side of the problems for companies. The team focused on ways to mould the tech to add value to businesses of its clients. The current Indian market sets a bottleneck for solution providers in terms of business. More often than not, Indian firms struggle with understanding and identifying the real complexities that lie within their own business, indirectly affecting the payments when the product or solution is delivered. Shashwat quotes Steve Jobs- “People don't know what they want until you show it to them. That's why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page”. Shashwat, Saurav, and Prabhat therefore deduced that it is more important to first understand where the particular business wants to go and whether the solution/product or feature demanded by the client can actually scale up within time.
Saurav is always very alert and attentive towards the market’s changing trends & dynamics. Through day-to-day communication with clients, Saurav has been instrumental in identifying the underlying crux of business problems. “I believe if we do not listen, any solution that we derive will not work out and will more often than not, contain loopholes. We cater to a diverse range of clients belonging to a diverse range of industries. Each client faces a specific type of challenge, therefore we make sure we understand our clients thoroughly before laying the strategies to solve it”, explains Saurav. Only after having identified the problem statement, Prabhat takes the steering to resolve those bottlenecks.
“From the tech perspective, suppose we built a feature on the client’s web page and it didn’t convert to anything, we look at the problem from a different angle and try to reengineer the data points with the same values that they had provided earlier, eventually getting conversions. So we did not just hand over the project and forget, instead, we also looked at whether or not it is adding value to their business”, further explains Prabhat. Prabhat also ensures that the technology trends and changes introduced in the market, is well groomed within the Marmeto’s tech team.
By not staying put to being a traditional agency, Marmeto grew to earn the respect and trust of a plethora of clients. Every project that Marmeto undertook, the firm made sure that the client gets the value out of it in terms of experience. This helped the firm to build a healthy relationship and grow its number of clients exponentially through only word of mouth or reference. Until recently, Marmeto did not even have a sales team to market their services. The growth, as evident, had been organic all the while due to a sole reason: Marmeto delivers ‘professional services in a personal way’. Google reviews given by Marmeto’s clients are testimonies to Marmeto’s out-of-way approach to resolving clients’ business problems.
From doing everything to focusing only on solutions to diving deep into Shopify platform, Marmeto has refined and perfected its offerings and executions. Shopify is an Ontario based leading omni-channel commerce platform. It allows businesses to use the software to design, set up, and manage their stores across multiple sales channels, including web, mobile, social media, marketplaces, brick-and-mortar locations, and pop-up shops. Shopify currently powers over 800,000 businesses in approximately 175 countries and is trusted by independent business owners and brands such as Unilever, Allbirds, MVMT, Kylie Cosmetics, and many more. Marmeto came together with Shopify to build solutions which can help Shopify enter the Indian market and become a better fit for the Indian audience. Ever since, the success graph for Marmeto has just climbed year on year.
Trust begins from within
For an organization that believes in relationship and trust, Marmeto has set standards even within the office premises. The company has built a culture of collaborative growth. As Anisha Singh (Human Experience Architect) puts it, “Team bonding is really important for us. We believe constant interaction is what does the magic and makes us more of a family than mere colleagues. We don’t use the word employees here, rather we call ourselves a team or team members. This is because it gives a sense of positivity and ownership”. As Marmeto’s growth culture approves, Ajay Sharma, Operations Executive, who joined the firm a couple of years back, is now overseeing crucial office operations as well. Marmeto invests considerably on soft skills training to assist the team members to converse confidently within the firm and with clients as well. More so, Marmeto has always on-boarded passionate minds only. Marmeto has often adopted ‘out-of-the-box’ recruitment practices, wherein candidates are required to take a seat with few team members, and try to have a conversation with a team member who is pretending to have just gotten fired. In other unique practices, Marmeto calls the candidate on his/her way home enquiring about the interview as way of feedback. This also paints a picture of the candidate’s eligibility for Marmeto. This gives the advantage of having people who can have a shared vision of growth for themselves and the organization.
Synergic Growth & Expansion
From the business perspective, both -supply and demand needs to be balanced. While the demand was taken care of as Marmeto was successful in creating value for all the merchants that were coming on-board, the supply still required to be catered to complete the ecosystem. Therefore, Marmeto has been putting forth a lot many tools and SaaS based solutions for the developer side. “We, as a development company, realized that there were few tasks which should not depend on the developers and that those tasks were consuming a good chunk of developers’ productive time preventing them from learning something new”, adds Shashwat. Given this situation, Marmeto intends to develop more holistic solutions that ease the work on both sides – the merchants’ and developers’. By sparing merchants from becoming dependent on a 3rd party development team, Marmeto has earned quite a reputation via its efforts to build true RoI for its clients. “We would like to play fair and justify every action and effort to be ROI driven. This is the key to a sustainable business in the longer run. That’s what we have been doing, and of course that’s what we believe”, says Shashwat.
“The kind of limelight that our reputed clients bring in, thrusts a deep pressure on the delivery that needs to be done. We have clients like KKR, The Hindu, and this requires a fresh company like ours to perform and live upto the expectation. This team cannot function like a typical IT team. It needs to take personal approach and therefore requires rigorous team building in order to take on the challenges and perform spectacularly. This is what I have been focusing on. Every day, you cannot go to the past and make a brand new start, but you can start now and make a brand new end”, explains Saurav.
In a short span, Marmeto has proven its mettle and has added quite a few reputed names to its customer base; Shopify being the premiere one. DHL, PayPal, The Hindu, Lenskart, Kolkata Knight Riders, Paypal, and Wonderchef are few other names worth mentioning. Marmeto’s primary goal is to be a trend setter in the ecommerce domain and serve both sides of the ecommerce ecosystem- the merchants and the customers. Moreover, vertical expansion is the pipeline for Marmeto’s future endeavors. The firm is currently in synergy to build more collaboration and partnerships, which will help to reach more demographics, identify more dynamics in the industry and help Marmeto to connect with various kinds of organizations with diverse experiences and thereby pave its path into a plethora of industry segments.