poshaQ was incepted by Yash Saxena and Ruchit Dalwadi in 2016 to enable shoppers to make better purchase decisions. Their vision was rewarded when poshaQ’s leap of faith enabled it to be future ready to weather hard times such as 2020.
Two budding entrepreneurs Yash Saxena and Ruchit Dalwadi started their journey by building a styling recommendation system for fashion products. “This journey sensitized us with different issues that shoppers face while making a purchase decision and enabled us to build a sales conversion stack in fashion retail as well as expand into other verticals,” the duo tells DKODING. With 10x growth year-on-year basis, poshaQ’s clientele includes the likes of Amazon, Myntra, Tech Mahindra, Capgemini, Vero Moda, ONLY, and Jack & Jones.
The e-commerce ecosystem is facing an information gap — insufficient, outdated and incorrect info often discourages the customer from buying. Approximately 85% of shoppers leave their journey on the PDP page due to information disparity. Dalwadi explains, “The information gap affects decision making, search engine optimization, sales and conversion. We are building a sales conversion stack that generates AI-based tags, content, accurate images as well as similar/ complementary product recommendations that help brands and retailers to improve their sales conversions.”
Weathering the Hard Times together
In nearly five years of its operations, poshaQ has been through its many highs and lows. Artificial Intelligence, as a commercial technology, is still at a very nascent stage and knowledge available via open source goes only so far when building a product that delivers business accuracy. Then came the unprecedented business obstacles created by the public health emergency.
Right before the pandemic hit, poshaQ was gaining momentum with growing overseas orders. Nonetheless, the breakage of the global supply chain hurt the market to an extent that some businesses shut down their operations. But not poshaQ. Dalwadi ponders, “The pandemic only delayed our plans, not derailed them.”
Saxena further adds, “At poshaQ, we firmly believe in partnerships and we have always been bullish about forging new ties that help us expand. We already have a strong foothold in the Indian market. We’re now eyeing European and North American markets. We have spent significant time in setting up our sales channels in these geographies that will come to its fruition very soon.”
The duo managed to keep things smooth through sheer determination and a brilliant team. Saxena tells, “Our initial challenge was to come up with smarter ways to build such technology with a small startup team. That also includes retaining talent.”
Dalwadi seconds, “While the climate is changing in India and more people are aspiring to join startups that are at least at series A stage, the talent deficit still remains in early-stage startups.”
The duo believe that they managed to retain their top talent thanks to their organizational culture, and the faith their employees showed in them as they weathered poshaQ through hard times.
Importance of Self-Sustenance
For the posahQ founders, ‘self-sustenance’ is the key to growing business in a difficult environment. Saxena explains, “From the business perspective, we have always been laser-focused on self-sustenance and being cash positive, unlike the cash-burning trend you see around. These fundamentals have helped us navigate through the toughest times in our four-and-a-half year startup journey, including the very difficult times of COVID where most of our competitors are shutting down their operations.”
Dalwadi reveals the biggest edge that helped them survive when the entire market faced collapse, “From a product/ tech perspective, our in-house team has built the fastest AI infrastructure that enables us to iterate products faster and better than our competitors. This gives us an edge in our go-to-market time.”
Finally, the duo gives the same single-point advice to emerging entrepreneurs. As per Saxena, the advice is to solve sustenance first and then think about growth. He suggests, “Figure out sales first then go about developing a product,” further adding, “Go lean and go fast. Talk less, do more. Last but not the least, enjoy the journey and don’t just wait for the destination.”
Dalwadi topped up the words of wisdom by saying that their advice to even their younger selves is simple — “grab the opportunity”, he goes on to add, “You’ll never be ready to grow,” further adding, “so if you get an opportunity but don’t feel prepared, don’t think much and take a leap.”