Sanjay Kaul, former country manager of Apple India, has launched his startup, Sofyx — a social commerce platform for general traders dealing in smartphones and accessories. Kaul is supported by co-founder Mukesh Kachroo, former CTO of US-based Gain Capital Group, according to a statement on Tuesday.
In 2018, 140 million smartphones were sold in India with just over half of those selling from general trade retailers. With the smartphone industry growing at a double-digit rate, Kaul hopes to use Sofyx to bridge the gap and bring together the mobile reseller community along with other stakeholders like telecom operators, device manufacturers, distributors, and other vendors on a single platform.
One of the key goals for the company is to improve customer retention and drive footfall to these small retailers, according to Kaul. With this intent, the company is launching its services with top smartphone selling shops in Delhi NCR. These shops contribute to over Rs2000 crore in smartphone revenue per year.
“Our estimates show that general trade in India sells over $12 billion worth of mobile phones a year. In the next five years, this business will grow to about $16 billion a year as feature phone market transitions to smartphones. There are more than 300,000 general trade shops selling mobile phones in the country and they are spread out in every nook and corner of India. Sofyx will enable a significant number of these stores by partnering with them as their single point technology partner.” Kaul said.
According to Kaul, while larger businesses may be positioned well to plug into a rapidly evolving digital India, smaller businesses still lag behind. He believes Sofyx can “transform these small stores into a significant channel that brands, distributors, and customers would love to engage with”.