Carbanio, Pioneering A Revolution In Digital B2b Trade Of Chemicals
With a vision to become the world’s largest B2B online marketplace for the chemical industry, Carbanio.com is rapidly pacing towards buying and selling of chemicals to strengthen the relationship between academia and industry for research & innovation.
The visionary, Dr. Rafi Shaik, Founder, and Chief Scientific Officer actively looked to digitally route the complete process of the buyer raising a request for acquiring chemicals to the seller furnishing the goods a few weeks later in a few easy steps through Carbanio.
For a number of industries, going digital has proven to be a blessing in terms of sale growth and soaring revenue in the last two decades. But if we dig deep for the chemical and the procurement industry, the market has not seen much of a change, stagnation has prevailed for a while now. In a country like ours, where the internet has taken over the market hugely, it’s unfair to be dealing with such a tedious process to procure chemicals through an overriding and long drawn trade of chemicals.
Carbanio is just the solution to this problem. It is the first B2B marketplace that supports both the Chemical industry and Academia to reinforce research & innovation. It is a digital revolution in the industry of buying and selling chemicals.
Their firm belief has introduced a service to the industry that would solve the problem of buying chemical products from a number of sellers without going through any hassle. At Carbanio, a team of professionals is working towards the issues at hand aggressively and is encouraging a digitized route for all the buyers and sellers to make the process comprehensive.
Dr. Rafi Shaik, Founder, and Chief Scientific Officer, in conversation with Business Connect Magazine, gives us an insight into his venture,
Business Connect: Tell us a bit about the company including its services.
Dr. Rafi Shaik: Carbanio is an online B2B Marketplace for Chemicals which has created convenience to Businesses and Academia to buy ready stock of Chemicals from multiple sellers and ensure delivery of the product at their doorstep.
Business Connect: How and why did you decide to create it?
Dr. Rafi Shaik: While pursuing Masters and Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry, it was a daunting task to buy Chemicals for research. To procure chemical, it used to take weeks to months as there is no information available with us about who sells and whether they have stock of that chemical or not. Even our professors had a tough time in finding chemicals to continue research. I have struggled a lot to do my research due to non-availability of Chemicals. Normally it takes 4yrs to complete Ph. D. but it took me almost 6 years due to the constant non-availability. After completing my Ph.D., I left for Taiwan to do Post-Doctoral research and I saw the same issue of non-availability of Chemicals.
When I joined pharma companies in India, the trend of non-availability of Chemicals continued and this enormously impacts research in India. This problem pushed me to do something in 2015 which will help researchers like me to know where we can find ready stock of chemicals so that as a researcher I can contact the supplier immediately and buy chemicals.
Being from a non-technology background, little was my knowledge and know-how on how to build a site. I tried using known channels to develop a website, but it did not work well as there are no websites which I can refer to and technology people do not know anything about Chemicals or Chemical Industry.
After multiple iterations; in 2017 I was introduced to Vijay Devarakonda by a common contact. We sat together brainstormed for hours on the problem of buying Chemicals. Since he is not from Chemistry background, initially he did not believe and he did his own research on the internet and then finally concluded that yes, it is worth solving this problem.
Initially, my intention was to launch only a site which will display ready stock of Chemicals and the seller’s name so that the interested buyer can contact offline and buy chemicals. But after continuous discussions with our users, we have decided to launch an end-to-end marketplace which is an aggregator which not only displays ready stock of chemicals, but also the buyer can make payment on the platform and we will deliver the Chemical to their doorstep.
Since I have already burnt too much money and time in trying to build the site, we have decided to build a platform which meets 3 main features which will help us in understanding the market reaction and get user feedback i.e. Display ready stock of Chemicals, Payment Gateway and Pickup from Seller and Deliver to the Buyer.
Though these 3 features sound simple, these are the most complex ones which we have built till date. When we talk to the sellers, initially they were not ready to partner with us as they did not believe in online business, payment gateway partners did not support initially as there is no referential platform which is similar to Carbanio and logistics partners were not ready as they do not know how their business model works for chemicals.
After struggling for months, we have finally launched our platform naming it as Carbanio which means Carbon in the Italian language.
Business Connect: How are you different from your competition?
Dr. Rafi Shaik: Unfortunately, India does not have its own marketplace for Chemicals. There are few listing sites for Chemicals and they belong to China. Companies in India use those listing sites as an online medium to reach buyers by paying a premium and likewise buyers.
Listing sites did help a little to the businesses, but the time taken to procure chemical remained the same which is weeks to months. We wanted to remove the hurdle of enquiring and receiving quotations which are a traditional method of procuring chemicals.
We want to digitize the entire process of buying and selling which not only helps buyers in procuring ready stock but also scales the sales of chemicals and enables the supplier to do business 24/7.
Business Connect: How challenging is it to run a startup in an atmosphere of cut-throat competition in the market?
Dr. Rafi Shaik: Fortunately there are no direct competitors as this industry is niche. We have other challenges as a startup which will remain a challenge for a couple of more years like changing the mindset of both Buyers and Sellers.
Business Connect: What is your current business model?
Dr. Rafi Shaik: Carbanio.com is a B2B Marketplace wherein we have 2 types of Customers – Businesses and Academia. Businesses can do both selling and buying, whereas Academia can only buy Chemicals.
Businesses, based on their inventory, they can publish their stock as New, Discounted and Free Chemicals, wherein Free Chemicals can be procured only by Academia. Unlike the listing sites, Carbanio.com strictly allows ready stock of Chemicals to be published by the Businesses.
No individual can buy Chemicals from Carbanio unless the registration is as per government compliance. We wanted to make our platform as free as possible just like other B2C marketplaces. We do not charge any fees to neither the seller nor buyer to register in Carbanio.com. We charge only when a sale happens.
Business Connect: Who are your clients?
Dr. Rafi Shaik: Our clientele list is long, we have more than 20 Universities and 3500 businesses which buy Chemicals from Carbanio.com
Business Connect: What kind of change do you want to bring with your products/ services?
Dr. Rafi Shaik: We strongly believe that Chemical industry needs a service that would help buyers of chemicals procure products from multiple sellers without much hassle. We want to offer a unique experience to customers, something that will enable all the parties in the industry (buyers and sellers) digitize their sourcing process.
Businesses and Academia can buy ready stock of chemicals from 1mg to a ton without any hassle. We want India to become self-sustainable in chemicals by leveraging Carbanio.
Business Connect: Is hiring a tough task for startup companies? How do you cope up with this obstacle?
Dr. Rafi Shaik: Yes absolutely. As every startup faces hiring challenges, we also face the same. Most of the candidates look for corporate companies which are stable and have a brand image in the market.
We hire based on their experience and capabilities rather than educational qualifications. We do not negotiate with a candidate and we ensure they are offered as per market standards. This helps us in hiring quality and experienced professionals.
Business Connect: How optimistic are you about the investments? Are you looking for any?
Dr. Rafi Shaik: B2B segment is now growing. Quite a few B2B startups have raised funding. This proves that investors are positive in diversifying their funds. Yes, we are planning to raise funds which will help us in growing and expanding further.
Business Connect: what are your future plans?
Dr. Rafi Shaik: By the end of 2019, we will be launching Carbanio.com internationally which will help buyers across 193 countries to buy Chemicals from Indian manufacturers and suppliers.
The aim at Carbanio is to form an easy channel for buyers choose what suits their requirements the best and at the same time get the access to order it from multiple sellers, all under one roof. Quality is at the topmost priority, hence the buyer can be sure about the chemical purity and also compare the prices at the same time. The only kind of chemicals you will see available online that are in stock with the sellers, ensuring that there is no waiting period for the buyer in regard to any product. Here you will be at the fancy to receive the product at your doorstep, canceling out on the worries of shipping and delivery.
This virtual wonder is not just for the buyers, even the sellers can avail the services of a true sourcing partner for small and bulk quantity chemicals. If you are a seller, your access would be to a greater number of consumers with constant feedback for improvement. The revenue and business experience an immediate boom with a shorter buying route resulting in an increase in volume. Carbanio promises transparency for both buyer and seller a platform that can be trusted for a global network with massive reach.
Their will to continuously develop and research has strengthened the industry, they also encourage a number of industries to offer chemicals that are of no use to them, to the institutions for research at zero cost. This will not just benefit the students but also the professionals from the industry to develop a mutually beneficial relationship to help the industry move forward in sync and harmony.
Dr. Rafi Shaik and Mr. Vijay Devarakonda have efficiently arranged transparent pricing for buyers to take quick and effective decisions. Regardless of what the size of the company is, it’ll be treated equally. They have developed an opportunity to flourish for the buyer, seller, scientist, and the academia, introducing ample employment opportunity in the picture.
Carbanion is ‘one stop shop’ for all your chemical shopping needs from specialty, agro, pharma, basic and catalogue chemicals to chemicals in bulk or for research. Avoid delivery delays and let go of searching vendors, serve all your chemical needs at competitive prices on this digital platform with an assurance of delivery at your doorstep.
World’s first platform to buy chemicals online, Carbanio.com, is bringing academic institutions and chemical industries together boosting a strong bond and chemical donations.