At the end of last year Business Because featured MBA graduates in their feature ‘MBA Startups to look out for in 2021 – a coronavirus special’. We caught up with one of the founders, Deepak Ojha, to hear about the social venture ‘Localing’ that grew out of last year’s Covid crisis.
Established in May 2020 with the aim of providing digital capabilities to local businesses, especially at a time of uncertainty.
‘A lot of businesses at that time were under financial stress given the UK lockdown. Digging deep into the problem made us realise that the pandemic has just accelerated the downfall of small and micro-businesses, which were already struggling to compete with global e-commerce giants,’ said one of the founding team members Deepak Ojha.
Deepak explains further about the ideas behind the start up ‘Localing‘.
Localing is a social venture aiming to provide digital capabilities to local businesses. Every local store will have its storefront, where they can sell their products and services and offer local deals.
For customers, it would serve as their local e-marketplace, aggregating product, and service providers in their area.
We provide a platform for businesses to reach local customers through digital sales and marketing channels. Businesses advertise package deals and discounts, exclusively available and easily purchasable at Localing by local members of the community.
These deals can be redeemed in-store at the customer’s convenience, not only leading to greater sales volumes through secondary purchases but also increasing customer stickiness through the Localing loyalty point scheme.
How did the idea for your business come about?
We came up with this idea during the Cam v/s Covid hackathon organised by the HackCambridge Foundation in May 2020.
A lot of businesses at that time were under financial stress given the lockdown. Digging deep into the problem made us realise that the pandemic has just accelerated the downfall of small and micro-businesses, which were already struggling to compete with global e-commerce giants.
The basic skeleton of our business was created during the three-day hackathon, which we eventually won. After the hackathon, we received encouragement from leaders of local councils around Cambridge, and we decided to take Localing forward.
How has your MBA helped you develop your business?
My Cambridge MBA greatly helped in realising the idea of Localing.
Firstly, the core concepts taught in the Entrepreneurship, Marketing, and Strategy courses helped us build a strong value proposition in the first place, which helped us win the Hackathon competing against some well-established teams. This knowledge is also helping us create an appropriate strategy for launch, customer attraction, conversion, and retention, or creating the equity structure of the company.
Secondly, the MBA helped us connect with people who helped us through our journey. From professors to mentors who guided us at every step, everyone has a Cambridge Judge Business School connection.
Where are you with the business right now? What are your plans for the future?
We are currently finishing our product development. With no open-source multi-vendor e-commerce platforms available, we had started from scratch, from our landing page, to the AI capabilities.
We aim to finish the product and launch in 2021 along with starting our journey on the Cambridge Judge Accelerate Cambridge programme.
What are your tips for staying positive during the pandemic?
I can share two tips here:
We live in a fast-paced world where most of us are racing towards something or the other. This pandemic has slowed down the world and has allowed us to self-reflect, work on things that have been ignored all along, it could be a hobby, a relationship, or a new skill for the future.
Set up small goals for yourself, something independent of external forces. Accomplishing these goals would give you a constant sense of achievement, which is necessary in these times to keep the fighting spirit high.
Business Because first published this article in December 2020.