As we approach the end of 2012, we’ve taken some time to reflect on this past year. It has truly been a whirlwind. At this time last year, Diana was preparing to travel to India for our first pilot. We had a grand vision, a ridiculous amount of passion, some research to back us up, and a small amount of funding from MIT. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.
Since then, we’ve won a couple business plan competitions, recruited a team, and registered our company in both the US and India. We were fortunate to start working with Selvan, our Director of Field Operations, whose hard work and dedication is truly the reason we’ve accomplished as much as we have. As Selvan transitions into a new role focused on product testing and catalogue development, our field operations are now in the capable hands of Poonacha, who has helped us hire and train our sales executives and grow our shop network and sales.
We’ve been excited by the early successes that we’ve achieved. A few months ago, we had an empty office space, one employee, and no sales. Now we have a busy office with five employees, we’ve sold 300+ products, and we’ve watched how the products in our catalogue are actually changing lives and improving businesses. We have customers, revenue, and proof that our model works.
We’ve also got a long way to go in building this business. We have the day-to-day hills that we climb, such as navigating the Indian legal landscape, or developing a more robust data collection system. It’s easy to get caught up in the daily hurdles, but we always refer back to our grand vision: Essmart as the channel where thousands of local retail shops can improve their businesses and millions of households can access products that improve their lives. Distribution is the first step, but our dream is to build up the entire technology-for-development ecosystem by encouraging suppliers to design better products, and commercialize more products.
2012 was a roller coaster ride, and we expect nothing less from 2013. Thank you for joining us on this ride. We hope you’re enjoying it as much as we are.