IN SCHOOL

Blast from the past

Why is Let’s Barter India ‘like’d by a steadily growing community of people wanting to exchange goods?

Let’s Barter India is an online community on Facebook which provides a platform for people to barter things without spending a penny. It was founded in September 2015 as a Facebook group and launched an app in August 2016 to make interactions between customers easier. Let’s Barter India offers a s olution to get something new without burning a hole in your pocket; to take out the unwanted and get the wanted. It was founded by Pooja Bhayana and Sahil Dhingra and has its headquarters in New Delhi. We got in touch with Pooja Bhayana and here is what she had to say.

How did you come up with the idea for Let's Barter?

Let’s Barter was formed as an answer to our own pain point. Sahil, the co-founder, was looking to giveaway some not-so-used tablets he owned, but was getting really low prices for them on classified sites. That’s when I suggested that he should probably barter it for some PS4 games with a friend of theirs. We realised the potential of the idea via this activity and also noticed that there weren’t many community-based bartering platforms. So we decided to make our own.

How has the journey been so far? What's the biggest hurdle you've had to overcome?

The journey for Let’s Barter has just been amazing. The highs and lows of this one-year have given us a number of key learnings, most of which have changed us as people. What started as a Facebook group for friends is now the world’s largest community for barter with over 1,83,000 engaged members and our own app.

The main hurdle we have had to overcome is that of re-introducing an old concept.

How has starting a business affected your personal life?

Being an entrepreneur has a direct impact on you as a person and your life, especially your social life. You also learn patience, hustle, clear communication and effective PR.

The journey of a entrepreneur is a long, struggling and sometimes dark one, and not every time do you have peers and family standing by you. It has made us stronger, smarter and humbler.

Most start-ups face difficulties in scaling up and making the business profitable. Have you encountered such problems?

The key here is to understand what your consumers want, and where your consumers are. Sometimes our vision is blurred with what we think that the customers might want. At this stage it is essential to speak to users and build according to their expectations. As we are currently in a pre-revenue stage, we wouldn’t be able to comment on profitability.

With the current atmosphere of intense interest in start-ups and the easy availability of capital, how do you see the start-up landscape in a couple of years?

While we agree that there is an intense interest in the start-up space because of all the new ideas coming in, we differ on the point of easy availability of capital. Investors are now being more cautious about where they put their money and how it will fetch returns. We strongly believe that the future of the start-up space is going to be defined by companies that are going to focus on self-sustainability and profitability rather than high valuations and exits.

Where do you picture your company in the near future?

We have big plans for Let’s Bar t er India, not just on a national but on an international level too. In the near future, we want to take this concept (via the app) to most cities of India especially tier 2 and tier 3 cities. We also want to replicate this concept on the grassroots level and see how we can make a difference.

Being an entrepreneur has a direct impact on you as a person and your life, especially your social life. You also learn patience, hustle, and effective PR, all of which translate into real life.

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