Engineer ManeetGohil explains why he abandoned his job to develop Lal10, a business that helps creative manufacturers and MSMEs digitise their physical inventories and sell their craftsmanship in worldwide marketplaces.
Growing up, ManeetGohil was inspired by his grandpa, a micro-entrepreneur who managed a leather footwear factory in Jalgaon, Maharashtra. On the surface, the firm appeared to be a success, with a revenue of Rs 3-4 crore.
Because of this insecurity, Maneet’s father went into engineering to supplement his income, and as Maneet grew up, he followed suit.
He earned a Bachelor of Engineering degree and a Postgraduate Certificate in Industrial Management. The 33-year-old began working for Flipkart. For the first time, the concept of working with rural MSMEs struck him here. He claimed that his grandfather’s troubles to make ends meet while owning such a significant company had haunted him for years.
Maneet and his buddies SanchitGovil and Albin Jose resigned their employment in 2017 to travel around the country and meet MSMEs. They visited 18 states and met almost 6,000 individuals, depleting all of their funds. When the trio walked about, they focused on three issues: market access, raw material sourcing, and a lack of funding or loans. They also realised that the supply chain is a major issue.
These insights shaped the company Lal10, which Maneet founded in 2017 with José and Govil as co-founders.
Lal10 is a B2B firm for creative manufacturers that utilise their team’s ‘Lal10 Karigar’ software to digitise their physical inventories.
Maneet claims the name is a play on lalten or lantern, and it fits with their goal to “bring light into the lives” of manufacturers.
The startup is now working with 2,200 MSMEs across Odisha, West Bengal, Assam, Manipur, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Telangana. According to Maneet, the enterprises sell their products to buyers in the Middle East, the United States, Japan, and Europe. He adds that they are on target to achieve a revenue run rate of $100 million in the coming year.
Lal10 provides home furnishings such as curtains, bedsheets, rugs, men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing, as well as traditional Indian patterns. Lal10, according to Maneet, also assists these manufacturers in obtaining financing. The organisation has helped textile makers like Mohsin in Delhi, who performs block printing, expand their sales.
Nevertheless, Maneet claims that Lal10 has 102 employees at its Noida office. They also have satellite offices and a point person at each location.
Lal10’s owners hope to be the “Alibaba of Indian MSMEs,” increasing their supply chain from 2,200 to 12,500 this year.
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