After studying law I vectored towards journalism by accident and it's the only job I've done since. It's a job that has taken me on a private jet to Jaisalmer - where I wrote India's first feature on fractional ownership of business jets - to the badlands of west UP where India's sugar economy is inextricably now tied to politics. I'm a big fan of new business models and crafty entrepreneurs. Fortunately for me, there are plenty of those in Asia at the moment.
Satanik Roy | 25 Co-founder and chief product officer, HyperXchange
Satanik Roy was in college when he realised that the key problem students in the final year faced was disposing of their belongings before they graduated. On the other hand, students getting into college were on the lookout for mattresses, buckets and air coolers. All he had to do was connect the two and HyperXchange was born.
The entrepreneur in Roy soon realised that his ambitions would be limited unless he entered a category that was more remunerative and ubiquitous. Mobile phones, laptops and tablets were among the options. What cemented his decision was the realisation that, “You can fit a ₹1 lakh phone into a small box unlike other categories where the products are bulky and logistics become complex,” he explains.
There were other challenges too. He needed to procure second-hand phones, tablets and laptops efficiently with an on-the-spot decision on how much to pay. There was also the need to gain the trust of sellers. HyperXchange developed Farday, an AI-based machine that checks and certifies products as they come in. They are then refurbished and put on sale on platforms like hXkart.com (owned by HyperXchange) and Amazon Renewed.
So far HyperXchange has raised ₹42 crore in both equity and debt funding, and Roy is flanked with three other co-founders who bring in organisational and management skills. CP Gurnani, CEO of Tech Mahindra, who is an investor, says, “The sustainability aspect of the refurbishing market drew me into the business. With an increasing number of students and professionals working from home, I only see this market growing and hopefully reducing our e-waste,” he says. The lockdown saw HyperXchange double sales to ₹50 crore in 2020.
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For now, Roy is focussed on making the second-hand experience no less than the thrill of buying a new product. Roy calls these products AGAiN (As Good As New). The phones, laptops and tablets come in a box with a warranty. “We want to ensure customers have the same level of excitement when they buy a product from us,” he says. He’s also taken the first steps in branding, and plans to set up lounges that double as experience centres.