Zefo: Mining gold from old goods

How Zefo became the god of all things in selling used goods

Everything about entrepreneurship, the good, bad and the ugly of it, fascinates me. I take a keen interest on startups and venture capital firms and have written extensively on fundraises, M&As and business strategies. I can safely say changing tracks from engineering to journalism has been one of my best decisions. When not working, I indulge in almost every Indian's poison, cricket, playing or watching. I am a foodie and video game buff.

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(Left to right) Karan Gupta, Rohit Ramasubramanian, Arjit Gupta and Himesh Joshi
Image: Nishant Ratnakar for Forbes India

Rohit Ramasubramanian | 27
Karan Gupta | 28
Himesh Joshi | 29
Arjit Gupta | 29
Co-founders, Zefo

Rohit Ramasubramanian, Karan Gupta and Himesh Joshi were colleagues at the Boston Consulting Group in Mumbai before they all quit in turns by mid-2015. Along with Joshi’s friend Arjit Gupta, they zeroed in on selling used goods by launching Zefo in August 2015, but not before contemplating starting a consumer products company and a food delivery business.

Then, the sale of used products was dominated by the likes of Quikr and OLX. No startup handled everything from supply and logistics to payments. No wonder few gave Zefo a chance. “It is an operationally complex business. Not everyone believed that it was going to be the next big thing,” says chief executive Ramasubramanian.

However, Zefo has proved its cynics wrong. It raised $15 million from Sequoia Capital, Helion Ventures and Beenext, and currently clocks about ₹15 crore in monthly sales.

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It not only buys products directly from consumers before refurbishing and selling them, but also from behemoths like Flipkart, Amazon, Urban Ladder, Pepperfry and Micromax.

“Their model is better than the marketplace [model] because you take in the inventory. The margins are better and there is more credibility,” says Abhishek Goyal, angel investor and co-founder at Tracxn, a startup tracker.

Ramasubramanian is aware that he has to price his products wisely considering the discounts that online retailers offer on similar new products. Also, he needs to ensure a steady supply of products which are in demand.

So far, Zefo has done well and the quartet is striving to ensure that their success is not written off as a fluke.

Click here to view the full Forbes India 30 Under 30 list

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(This story appears in the 16 February, 2018 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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