STARTUP NAME: Tricycle
DOMAIN: Brand/Design Agency
Tricycle uses strategic and design intervention to build a distinctive projection for a brand. From brand identity creation to brand positioning, to corporate collaterals, experience/workspace design, communication design, corporate films and more… they help a brand define itself and be in line with its business vision.
They are essentially a startup for startups and are aware of their issues and opportunities. Tricycle, is on the mission to contribute to the cause of entrepreneurship and make a positive impact.
The organizations of today are different in many aspects because times have changed, and there are a lot many factors that need to be considered. Technology is playing a vital role more than ever before. Social responsibility and commerce both have become important, and our world has become more connected. Branding as a discipline is becoming increasingly important and relevant in today’s times.
Tricycle aims to be the preferred branding agency for the new age enterprise.
They are helping business owners create a sense of distinction and turn their respective businesses into powerful brands. While brands seem to understand the value of branding, the understanding of the concept may not be thorough. People still think visibility creation and advertising is what branding is all about. Tricycle are helping owners and the leadership team achieve a clear understanding of the kind of organization they are building to ensure they can build both a complimentary culture and perception around it.
Samyadeep and Kaushik are the founders of Tricycle. The Cofounder and crew had a discussion with the founders of Tricycle and here is the summary of the discussion.
How did this idea strike you?
Samyadeep: I was working in the brand consulting domain in Mumbai, and I found that most of the companies who came to us were established. The service was outside the reach of many – be it the family-owned enterprise or upcoming challenger brands and startups.
With the government promoting entrepreneurship in a big way the new business owners needed to get support in not only the operational aspects of the business but also in terms of how they could effectively market their offering and build a strong brand.
There is also the existence of a healthy family business owners base in the country.
These businesses may or may not be very glamorous, but they add serious value to the economy. Someone had to take care of them and help them genuinely unlock their brand potential. That’s the space we wanted to cater. Basically, we wanted to do the hard work of helping a company through its early steps in branding and be around to help them grow to their full potential.
This prompted the inception of TRICYCLE.
The journey so far (When you launched, how is the traction so far?)
Samyadeep: It’s been a satisfying journey till now, the fact that we have been able to create viable business impact for our clients is a great feeling. I always wanted to create an intellectual organization and not just a commercial outfit, so we are taking the right steps and moving as per our plan.
We work with startups, family-owned business and established entities wanting to change. We have been getting referrals and using our network till now, and we now would slowly begin to market ourselves going forward. We have broken even already and are also marginally profitable
The market is one with potential. In fact, wherever there is entrepreneurship happening, there is a potential for us. Now that we have stabilized our operation and our model is set, we now want to be part of ecosystems and explore opportunities through collaboration. We are talking to incubators, institutions and other private organizations where we can together add value.
I am from IIT BOMBAY, which is known for its entrepreneurial competency; I hope to reach out to my institute for guidance and support.
What is the biggest challenge you faced while establishing your startup?
Samyadeep: People didn’t quite understand what we did initially, and we got compared to everyone else. We use strategy, design and execution to form a consistent and cohesive brand planning and implementation platform. We are a consulting firm, design house and an advertising agency roped into one with a very strong strategic focus.
We bring in a strong understanding of the business along with high calibre design competency to give our clients a distinctive and relevant roadmap to build their respective brands.
How did you overcome it?
Samyadeep: By sticking to the plan, doing the necessary trade-offs and continue to believe in our idea every day.
We have been completely against the tide in many ways, and we initially did not make ourselves visible. We never believed in blowing one’s trumpet, never went out of our way to socialize and network, things that conventional logic would always suggest you.
We were different and believed in demonstrating the difference, we had a different business model, and it had to come out through our conduct. We spoke to everyone with the same passion. We would ask a lot of tough questions before deciding to work with anyone. This was a new approach, especially in a service segment; we never thought service providers had the power of evaluation. This made sure the guys who came to us, really believed in us and the subsequent journey was smooth. They became our endorsers and connected us with opportunities they knew. Our first two years have been like that, now that our model is validated, our operations are stabilized, and we can talk about some serious and successful intervention we will slowly reach out to opportunities proactively.
What is the biggest learning so far in your entrepreneurial journey?
Samyadeep: First-year was challenging because we had to do everything ourselves, from client acquisition, presentation, operations to accounts to finance, to budgeting and firefighting.
Getting clients to understand our model, since it is a niche one was another major issue.
We got compared to many offerings that were far from us, and clients come with their baggage of experience. Though we had strong individual credentials, we had to build the company portfolio. The learnings are many, especially that one has to believe in yourself and push yourself at every stage. Being a founder, you need always to stay motivated to motivate others.
There will be good days and not so good ones, but nothing can be bigger than the dream you are pursuing. Operationally the founder needs to be really hands-on, you need to double-check everything and can’t expect anyone else to deliver.
What’s your revenue model?
Kaushik: Ours is a service fee model. Clients engage us and pay us for our interventions. In the case of startups, we at times subsidize our commercial fees to accommodate them, provided we see potential in their offering and clarity in their vision. We believe in forging lasting relationships and partner our clients in their respective journeys
What are your future plans with your startup?
Kaushik: Our model helps us in a way that we are geography agnostic principally. We could be working for anyone sitting out at any part of the world. Having said that, we are currently based out of Pune, and we hope to expand to two more locations in the next two years before starting our international operation.
We have our thoughts on the same and hopefully should sort this out.
Who are your competitors?
Kaushik: Ours is a niche operative space, and it takes time for prospective clients to understand our model. Since we are a consulting firm, a design agency and an advertising firm roped into one, at times we face unnecessary and irrelevant comparison, there is also a certain level of mediocrity and price-cutting that happens in lesser evolved markets so getting the mind shift becomes a challenge.
Also, mostly startups, especially the bootstrapped ones, face challenges on the money front so getting them to see the value of the function and commit to it financially is always a challenge.
How are you planning to outpace your competitors?
Kaushik: I would say our focus would be on ourselves than others as ours is not a straight forward model.
We would want to better our performance, strengthen our competency, reach out to more potential clients and look at reinforcing our reputation with each assignment. If we can come together as a team to deliver, and if we can remain committed to our culture, we will definitely have a sustainable advantage.
Take first step of branding your startup by reaching email@example.com
Know more at http://tricycle.co.in/
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