Droom is a marketplace for used and new automobiles.The company facilitates online transactions by creating tools that help create trust between buyers and sellers. Best-selling tools include Orange Book Value, an algorithmic pricing engine that suggests a fair value for a used vehicle and Droom History, India’s largest repository and background check on an automobiles' history. Droom has offices in Gurgaon and Silicon Valley.
I remember the first time Sandeep Aggarwal called me to tell me about his new idea, Droom (‘To dream’ in Dutch). I knew then that if Sandeep was starting something new, we had to be involved. We’ve known Sandeep from the time he started Shopclues. There was no Lightbox then. But as a group of individuals, the now Lightbox partners made an angel investment in his vision, his passion and his determination to succeed. And through that investment, we built a relationship, a friendship, based on trust and mutual respect.So, when Sandeep called, you can imagine I was all ears. Partly because it had to do with cars, but mostly because it was Sandeep. In fact, it was Sandeep 2.0 - along with the passion, the vision and the determination, now came a battle tested entrepreneur with a tremendous amount of exposure and experience in the Indian market and in scaling businesses.Outside of Sandeep though, I understood very little about opportunity and he was looking at a large round with a sizable investment from us. Now that we’ve done the deal, I can tell you it was a major decision for us. Droom is the largest series A bet we’ve ever made. And since it was such a big deal for us, I thought this was an ideal opportunity to walk you through how we decide to make investments in general.When we dive into prospective investments, we normally ask the same 3 core ques-tions. First, Does the space excite us? Second, how differentiated in the model? Finally, is the founder someone we want to work with - this last one is so critical for us. As a fund, we maintain a very small number of investments, mainly so we can work closely with our entrepreneurs. If we can’t see ourselves being able to create a long term partnership with the founder, its very difficult to make the investment - irrespective of how promising the deal looks.Quickly, let me tell you what Droom does - It’s an online marketplace to buy, sell and service used automobiles.Okay, let’s talk about how we dissected Droom!Read more
From left to right: Sandeep Aggarwal, Rishabh Malik, co-founders at Droom with Sandeep Murthy, Sid and Radhika Aggarwal (CEO at ShopClues)
We have a culture of fundamentally solving problems. We place huge emphasis on speed to market and the power of prototyping. It is almost impossible to get everything right.
Experiment, fail, learn and repeat. Try things at a small scale and at a low cost, and quickly assess if they work or not and then take a call on what is worth scaling up. The experiments should either stop or continue based on consumer feedback.
We are technology investors, building new business models. This approach has served us well, but in the modern climate where technology is disrupting traditional industries.
Hitendra and I discovered this opportunity through an iterative set of conversations that took place prior to funding the business. It was this deep engagement and exchange of ideas, even before there was an economic incentive that allowed for a strong relationship with an open exchange of ideas to develop.
It’s really hard, but so powerful. The "hack" culture of Facebook or the "do no evil" approach of Google or the "respect everyone" culture of the Mahindras. It is amazing to see what great things can be accomplished when a founder drives core values effectively through an organization.
How we see the market opportunity in India. Lightbox partners Sandeep Murthy, Sid Talwar, Prashant Mehta, Jeremy Wenokur, talk about fragmentation
Those that make it through are not unscathed – they have battle wounds. The challenges of the first year take their toll… emotionally, organizationally, culturally. While the first year has likely felt like a sprint, it is important to remember that this is a marathon and it is impossible to continue to run a marathon at a sprint pace.
Handling a downturn has little to do with what you do when the downturn starts, but more to do with how you built during the boom. At the start of a downturn, if you’re asking “What do I do now?” it’s probably too late.
A business without differentiation quickly becomes commoditised weakening margins. Operational improvements become a hygiene factor in highly competitive markets.
Droom is the largest series A bet we’ve ever made. And since it was such a big deal for us, I thought this was an ideal opportunity to walk you through how we decide to make investments in general.
AI in Indian education technology is probably the most advanced in the world. It is challenging traditional western models as well as integrating effectively with public and private systems in India.
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