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SPARK OF THE CORPORATE

A successful entrepreneur, who always believed in the power of unique ideas and entrepreneurship, is Vinay Sanghi. His journey from a former CEO of Mahindra First Choice to the present entrepreneurial stand is eventful and remarkable. By establishing CarTrade.con, the leading auto classified portal in the country, a niche in the major cities is being created by Sanghi.

The life before CarTrade.com ...

At the early age of his college studies, Sanghi has decided to enter into his family business San and Sanghi. The family business is mainly into car dealership. After his studies and once Sanghi entered his family business, he realized that there was no platform from where one could find the used cars and platform for the sale of the used cars. Earlier he was associated with San and Sanghi as Partner and Director from 1985 to 2000. From 2000 to 2009, Sanghi was associated with Mahindra Firstchoice Wheels Ltd. as CEO.

The beginning ...

With this pain-point, Mahindra First Choice was started by Sanghi in 2000. Sanghi could start by entering into a joint venture with Mahindra & Mahindra, Sah and Sanghi and also with HDFC. Within a span of eight years after entering into the Joint Venture, Sanghi could successfully transform the start-up joint venture into a full-fledge used-car retailer, which is well established and organized. Sanghi has transformed the Joint venture into one of the largest used-car company in India. By this Sanghi has reformed the market for cars into two different kinds - New and Used.

Even after which, Sanghi felt that there was a loophole in the aspect that there was no specific marketplace for the sale of inventory at market prices. With the notice of this pain-point, Sanghi has decided to develop an auction platform for the used cars and hence was the main reason behind founding CarTrade.com. It was initially started as ‘MotorExchange’ and as time passed, Sanghi has launched ‘CarTrade.com’. CarTrade Exchange was a B2B (Business 2 Business) and CarTrade.com is as B2C (Business to Customers).

The stint at CarTrade ...

Since its inception in 2009, the driving force behind CarTrade.com is its founder, Vinay Sanghi. Vinay is a well-read professional who has been backed by a commerce Bachelor’s Degree. Sanghi founded the auto classifieds platform in the country by carrying almost two decades of experience in the automobile industry.

When Vinay was working in his own firm, he realized that the used car market in India is unorganized and was completely fragmented and there is an urgent need for a single – point platform which can be used for purchase or sale of the used / new cars. This he could successfully achieve by entering into the joint venture.

He figured out very early in the game that the people in India are willing to buy even the used cars and people are checking for it online for buying the used cars. The sale of the used cars is three times more than the sale of the new cars. Almost 30% of the car purchasing in India is being influenced and done through CarTrade.

The earlier fragmented sector was revolutionalized by Sanghi and the startup has been transformed into an organized retailer. By acquiring CarWale, Sanghi has not only made CarTrade as the leading Auto classifieds but also has increased the network of the dealers.

By acquiring one of the rivals Carwale, CarTrade now leads the market in both the new and the used cars market. In the words of Sanghi, the main objective behind this acquisition is to build the largest auto platform and lead the new and used cars. This provides a strong leadership in the market and transform as the country’s largest dealer network. Sanghi tried hard for obtaining the funds for the company. In view of his leadership and growth of the company, many companies have come forward and has invested. Sanghi could successfully raise around $30.2 Million. Some of the investors are Tiger Global Management, Warburg Pincus, Canaan Partners.

Challenges faced...

One of the main and the biggest challenge faced by CarTrade.com and Sanghi is to change the mindset of the people by the use of technology and also by using some other online sources. Sanghi has overcome this challenge successfully by cleverly choosing and using the mix of mass media in all the different aspects which includes television, radio and digital media in order to build awareness among the people.

Sanghi had to face many challenges to reach to such a stage. One of the major challenges was getting dealers on the platform. His family business helped him to some extent in providing some of the insights and contacts. But the main concern from the dealer’s point of view was to how far internet would really work for them. Sanghi had to meet many dealers and most of them refused. Without losing hope, he tried hard and now the company has more than 9000 dealers. Getting consumers and employees was also a difficult task. It is only his belief and passion which made Sanghi to sell his idea and turn successful. Even now, Sanghi opines that his job has not ended.

Leadership strategies...

There are around 9000 dealers who use the platform of CarTrade.com. CarTrade differentiate itself from others by certifying around 25,000 cars per month and by facilitating the largest price check tool. Television advertising was one of the smart strategies taken up by Sanghi at the right timing, which lead to drastic growth in the number of customer base and also developed trust and belief in the minds of investors, which made the investors to come forward and invest. Sanghi always believes in bringing a change and difference and which he believes can be done with his unique ideas and his style of entrepreneurship.

One more strategy, which resulted in growth, was the acquisition of CarWale, which was leading in new cars. A leader in used cars, acquiring a leading in new cars and thus CarTrade has been transformed as a leader in both used and new cars. Sanghi believes that optimization of the funds by investors is only by investing in validation of the business model and growth plans in the Indian online auto space. CarTrade is the online auto classifieds portal serving for those who are into either purchase or sale of the new or used cars.

His heights of success...

Under the leadership of Sanghi, CarTrade.com has become a pioneer in the untapped market, and with respect to the growth for the pre-owned cars, 10 – 15% increase is observed. By proposing unique offerings from time to time and by improving the website and by developing and designing different strategies, Sanghi has developed CarTrade.com as a pioneer. With over 4,000 dealers CarTrade is spread across 80 cities across India and also around 20 franchise stores. The online portal also includes the list of almost 165000 used cars which includes certified used cars as well.

Sanghi was successful in developing grand inventory of more than 30000 used cars. Number of filters have been initiated and installed enabling the customers for to ease their choices. A certified report stating about the condition of the car accompanied by the 100 day warranty is also being provided to the customers. Sanghi under his leadership has made CarTrade.com as one of the pioneers and leaders in the respective market.

CarTrade.com has more than 30,000 vehicles and around 2000 dealers who have been listed in the site and trade more than 8000 vehicles every month. The team of CarTrade.com has increased to more than 350 people and out of which 250 of them are exclusively work on providing training to the dealers. Added feather to the cap of the Sanghi and CarTrade.com success, the website is visited by around 3.7 million customers every month. Sanghi was even successful in establishing more than 20 franchise branches in India. He was successful in entering into tie-ups with many of the corporate, banks, NBFCs, insurance companies; leasing companies, supply companies etc.

Lessons from entrepreneurship...

One of the biggest learning is that Sanghi is that he could understand the time taken for the behavior pattern of India for accepting and adapting to the change. Some amount of patience is required for the change to be executed.

Two cents for future entrepreneurs...

• Too many things cannot be done at the same time or an entrepreneur can change the direction.

• Always believe in your own idea, even at the tough times of doubt.

• Investors will have ideas, employees will also have ideas, but ultimately it is the belief of an entrepreneur, which leads to success.

Personal life...

Vinay Sanghi has graduated in Commerce from Sydenham College. He has completed his MBA from Sydenham Institute.

Awards and accolades...

Forbes has identified CarTrade.com among the top 10 sharply focused Ecommerce players in India.
Vinay Sanghi was the speaker at ‘Auto Summit 2014’.

Hope readers caught up the spark...

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