Unpacking Packaging- Bizongo- A vertical perspective to B2B platforms

SHUFFLE MOMOS, a small business based in Gangtok, Sikkim, shares at least one thing in common with large online retailers like Myntra, Firstcry, Lenskart, etc. The need for packaging. While their requirement is small compared to the massive volume of shipments that these mentioned online majors do on a daily basis, it is an integral part of her business.

Packaging, the old brown cardboard boxes of the yore has come a long way. Today, it is a big influencer for consumers while making purchasing decisions, key lever for brands to communicate good experience and ensure brand recall.

Beginning and the early pivot

Three years ago Aniket Deb, Sachin Agrawal, and Ankit Tomar started developing a platform for Polymers and Chemicals. They were joined by a bunch of 10 young believers who left their respective jobs in companies like PayPal, ITC and more to create Bizongo’s foundations.

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“Setting off with a good bunch of people was top priority, a good culture is as important as a good business model”

One year into this journey, the team was still in the process of grappling with Chemicals, Polymers, and Packaging. But it was in Packaging that they found the most effective and sustainable business model that could help create a scalable business. After much deliberation the team decided to drop chemicals and polymers. From addressing customization issues, finding the perfect suppliers, to building the e-procurement solutions, Bizongo today aims to create a holistic packaging ecosystem.

“We have learnt that peer to peer learning is one of the strongest learning methodologies”

Opportunity

I met Aniket in May 2015. At that time we were doing a study on B2B platforms. When he mentioned to me about the idea of a platform for packaging, try as hard as I did, I could not come up with names of any large packaging player in India. Companies like Essel Propack and Uflex have built large market-caps delivering packaging solutions from India, this I learnt during my bit of research later. This is not surprising because both the supply and the demand side are extremely fragmented in the packaging world.

Packaging in India is a $40B industry. There are over 30,000 suppliers manufacturing a variety of packaging catering to the demands of everyone in the ecosystem, from large international FMCG , local restaurants to the home enterprises.

The vertical value proposition

With a pan-India supplier network, the Bizongo platform aids in discovery that can help administer localized supply. With the Design lab, a customer can build their own personalized catalogue and get complete analytics to reduce expenses, digitally manage invoices, PO’s and multiple shipment records to easily maintain data.

One of the obvious challenge with B2B platforms is the credit cycles. The focus on just packaging lends well to building stronger relationships with the customers and the manufacturers. This goes a long way in brokering the best deal for both parties and in the process help manage working capital.

Going vertical for the company meant higher take rates, more sustainable contribution margins and for our partners both on the supply and demand side better experience

Discovery is not the only moat, design, financing, logistics, quality control are some of the many other value added services that can be rendered on the platform.

By building an easy-to-use and interactive platform that helps customers browse & discover their required packaging products, Bizongo is addressing discovery and procurement gaps with technology, innovation and end-to-end solution.

Exciting times

The process has only began. Bizongo has more than 2,000 suppliers across India on their platform. The platform drives majority of Xaomi’s secondary packaging requirements today. They are helping with packing solutions for a bunch of e-commerce companies like Myntra, Firstcry, Lenkskart which on a daily basis ship over 500,000 packages. They are working with a large FMCG to help design their festive packaging, also developing innovative sustainable packaging to deliver food for new age health focused companies like Curefit.

“We went horizontal as a platform in our early days. Key learning has been to drive deep down in a particular category, build value added services which cater to all problems in the particular category. This helps build a stronger and sustainable base of partners both on the demand and the supply side” says Aniket.

If you think you are doing something interesting please do reach me at ranjith_menon@idgvcindia.com