Mohit and Gaurav started their entrepreneurial journey to connect villages with better medical services using telemedicine in 2002. Based in Bhopal, the only capital they had was a PC and no cash at all. Interestingly, they rented office space in the premises of their first client and opened the bank account after they received the first cheque. Banks normally don’t allow you to open an account with cheque, but it was somehow negotiated! The client received the printed proposal only after the cheque was encashed and a printer was bought. The first lesson was learnt - everything is negotiable and one must negotiate!
The Madhya Pradesh state government had no defined policies or laws for telemedicine at that point of time. They had to dump the idea due to lack of support from the state government. However, they didn’t give up as it was a complete and motivated team with Tufail and Arun joining the founding team full time in Jul 03. To survive the down swing in 2003, the company made all kinds of customized software from Less Paper Office to Land Record Management Systems to School Information Management Systems. Meanwhile, they also contributed to some of the India’s leading e-governance projects like Gyandoot and ‘Gyan Sanchar’ that included consultancy to IBM Canada. All this was good to keep going but wasn’t enough to satisfy their drive to make a decent contribution and having no pockets (never mind them being deep!) It seemed impossible to work with government agencies with fairly lengthy tender-driven processes and even longer payment credit periods.
In Feb 2005, Mohit made his way to Mumbai to look for new ventures for sustainability. He wasn’t sure what he would find in the nation’s financial capital. He got introduced to a leading used car dealership in Mumbai quite by accident. The dealership wanted to get a used-car inventory management software developed. Despite the fact that the dealership had almost finalized a Mumbai-based software-development firm for the software, Mohit convinced them to give him the opportunity. He bagged the Rs 10,000 order (almost half the competition’s price) and spent two months at the dealership to understand and successfully implement the software. The development team back in Bhopal did a good job with this software. The customized software solution later became a standard software product and was termed as ‘Trading Cars’. Without an office or a team to support him in Mumbai, Mohit sold ‘Trading Cars’ dealership to dealership. At one point of time, every Mumbai used car dealership worth its salt was using ‘Trading Cars’.
The understanding of ‘Trading Cars’ and his interactions with used car dealers made Mohit realise the fact that the car buying and selling process isn’t smooth. He learnt that consumers rarely come out of the car buying experience feeling good about it. He also believed that the Indian car consumer deserves much better than what he gets. To improve the process, the company tried to connect all the Mumbai dealerships with a web interface so that they can trade among themselves and serve customers with better inventory. However, none of the dealerships used it and we realised our mistake in just ten days. We then decided to bring all the used car stock of multiple dealerships directly to car buyers and save them the effort of going from dealership to dealership. Thus, CarWale was launched on Oct 2005 with 500 dealers’ used car listings. We kept on adding free tools, services and information for new and used car consumers and today we are India’s most visited online automotive portal.
To know how we are doing at the moment, please read About CarWale.
PS: Three of our four founders, Mohit, Arun and Gaurav, share their alma-mater, Sainik School Rewa. Also, Mohit and Tufail are batchmates for their Master’s in Management degree from the University of Goa.
‘Trading Cars’ was coded and authored by Rajeev and Banwari, who are batchmates and have been best buddies from their engineering days. This duo also delivered all the core applications at CarWale. Banwari heads content and research and Rajeev heads technology.