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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Meet Bhagirath Sorathiya whose Rs151cr business chain rivals foreign brands

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Bhagirath Sorathiya, a serial entrepreneur from Surat, has carved out a market niche for his business. His company, Dolphy India, offers hygienic devices for three-star hotels such as smart automated washrooms, sensor taps, and automatic hand sanitizer dispensers.

Bhagirath Sorathiya, like many business scions, could have taken it easy by joining his father’s firm in Surat, but he opted to go out on his own and start a pharmaceutical business with his cousin while still in college.

Later, at the age of 24, he quit the firm and founded Dolphin E-Commerce, a company that offers a variety of items on ecommerce platforms like as Flipkart, Amazon, and Snapdeal, including home and kitchen appliances, treadmills, and gym cycles.

In 2017, he took a risk and founded another firm, Dolphy India Pvt. Ltd., in an area dominated by international brands.

The Surat-based serial entrepreneur. explains, “Top Indian hotels always employed international brands to preserve quality, whether it was the washrooms or equipment like the electric kettle and hair dryers.”

Bhagirath  emphasizes that the items were both pricey and unavailable on the local market when the hotels need them.

He says, “This inspired me to enter this industry and build an Indian brand.”

Dolphy produces hygiene solutions such smart automated washrooms, sensor taps, automatic hand sanitizer dispensers, automatic urinal flushers, and ULV Fogger Sanitizing Machines. The brand has grown at an annual rate of 80-120% and had a revenue of Rs 96 crore in the previous fiscal year, while Dolphin had a turnover of Rs 55 crore in the same time, for a total sales of Rs 151 crore.

With Dolphy, Bhagirath has met the challenge provided by global companies and developed a market niche for his brand.

The firm, which initially targeted three-star hotels, was launched in 2017 at the Goa Food and Hospitality World Expo in Goa. He had put in roughly Rs 5 crore into the company.

“We concentrated on creating high-quality items. We imported the materials from Hong Kong and the United Kingdom and constructed them in India, with the necessary certification for top quality. To address this, we established our first sales office in Bengaluru in 2018 to bypass wholesalers and engage directly with retailers.”

Within a year, we opened ten more offices in Pune, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Goa, and Gurugram.”

Their headquarters are in Surat, where they also maintain a 50,000-square-foot warehouse. The firm made Rs 17 crore in sales in its first year.

“We realized there is room for innovation in this sector,” Bhagirath adds, recalling the techniques he used to boost the brand’s market share.

He says, “We began with basic products such as soap dispensers and hair dryers, but after conducting market research, we launched approximately 200 products (which included washroom layouts, kettles, hand dryers, soap dispensers, paper dispensers, magnifying mirrors, toilet roll dispensers, and automatic sensor taps). Parallel to that, we formed a staff of 20 employees solely dedicated to exhibits and exploring new possibilities.  We broke into the Australian market and are now steadily expanding into New Zealand.”

Bhagirath, never one to rest on his laurels, sought for fresh chances.

He realized that airports, shopping malls, and corporate offices might all be fantastic places to start a new business. To specialize on commercial restrooms, we developed a distinct team.

Bhagirath says, “We concentrated on R&D and product development. Our team developed new goods and concentrated on this (new) market,”, following Dolphy’s market expansion.

He continues, “By 2019, we had signed a two-year deal with the INOX chain for restroom maintenance in its theaters, which we just extended.”

Vimala Ben Sorathiya, his mother, is a homemaker, while Vipul Sorathiya, his younger brother, runs the family business.

In 2006, Bhagirath finished Class 10 at Sanskar Vidya Bhavan and Class 12 at Kasturba Vidya Bhavan. He then earned his BBA from J Z Shah Arts & HP Desai Commerce College and went on to do his MBA at R V Patel College in 2011.

Dolphin Pharmaceutical was founded in 2008 by him and his cousin Haresh Sorathiya when he was still an undergraduate student.

The firm first sold antibacterial drugs in Gujarat before expanding into exports. He departed the firm in 2014 after realizing he lacked competence in the pharmaceutical industry. He also intended to put his MBA expertise to good use.

Dolphin E-Commerce was founded in 2014 with a Rs 5 crore investment, and there has been no looking back since. Today, Bhagirath employs over 200 people and is continuously searching for new ways to innovate, such as the ‘hand dryer plus air purifier’ they produced recently to combat germs in restrooms and the ‘hand wash cum dryer’ they invented lately.

He says, “Hand dryers are our strongest product, because they enabled us get into the market.”

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