Good health is no longer limited to eating right and exercising, but also taking care of one’s mental well-being. And one of the most important indicators of sound physical and mental health is a good night’s sleep.
And as the pandemic spreads even further, Bengaluru-based sleep solutions startup Wakefit.co is ready to seize the opportunities in the market.
In July 2020, the startup expanded its product offerings and launched home solutions.
“Our growth plan encompassed expansion into home solutions, but the timing of our launch has ensured that we cater to pent up and new demand for a sector that has gained prominence since the pandemic started,” says Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, Co-founder and Director of Wakefit.co.
COVID-19’s impact on Wakefit.co was a bit different than what it was for many businesses. While the country was in complete lockdown and the logistics sector was at a standstill, Wakefit.co's business was initially adversely impacted in March and April. However, with the launch of the new vertical, relaxed lockdown restrictions, and a revived demand allowed the startup to exceed its pre-COVID-19 numbers in June and July.
Founded by Chaitanya and Ankit Garg in 2016, Wakefit.co’s vision was to revolutionise the way India sleeps.
The D2C (Direct to Consumers) startup began by offering premium mattresses at affordable prices, directly to a customer’s doorsteps. Eventually, it also launched sleep accessories like back pillows, neck support pillows, and comforters.
To tide over the COVID-19 crisis, the business decided to primarily focus on aligning its workforce with strategy. “People are spending more time at home, and want to create a healthy, comfortable, and ergonomic space at home,” says Chaitanya.
Wakefit.co’s new home solutions range includes furniture such as work desks, wardrobes, office tables, bookshelves, wall shelves, sofas, TV units, and shoe racks, among others.
“The new normal is prompting consumers to make informed decisions about home solutions, and invest in transforming the living space into a more wholesome environment that is conducive to multiple functions,” he adds.
Wakefit.co manufactures its products in-house in its manufacturing unit in Bengaluru. It has six backward integrated factories across Bengaluru, Jodhpur, and Delhi. The startup sells its products across India through its website and ecommerce marketplaces such as Amazon and Flipkart.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Wakefit.co has recorded a surge in demand not just for its signature mattresses, but also for its sleep accessories.
Interestingly, customers who were usually reluctant to shop online, are now opting for contactless virtual purchases. “This change in behaviour is mostly aided by building policies around returns,” explains Chaitanya.
And finally, with an uncertain economic scenario prevailing, affordability becomes an important factor when it comes to consumer behaviour. Wakefit.co is ensuring that it offers the best products to its customers without causing a dent in their pockets. This is possible by building a full-stack integration and eliminating middlemen.
Restricted movements in red zones also resulted in an increase in call volumes for Wakefit.co. However, the team was able to manage consumer queries, doubts, and grievances quite well.
“We are confident of sustaining our growth trajectory in the next few months as consumers wake up to sustainable benefits of ecommerce that other developed economies are already familiar with,” he adds.
Priorities during a pandemic
Wakefit.co secured a funding of Rs 65 crore from Sequoia Capital in its Series A round last year. While the startup is in talks with interested investors, it does not have any fundraising plans just yet, and is confident of driving growth through revenue generated.
Recently, the startup invested Rs 15 crore in capex. “The drastic shift in customer behaviour and core markets have prompted us to think through long-term growth considerations,” Chaitanya says.
Broadly, Wakefit.co plans to prioritise investments in three areas — research and development, hiring talent, and strengthening the brand. The startup will extensively focus its investment in R&D, providing state-of-the-art products through research and innovation at the product development stage, offering products via its D2C business model.
“We have ensured cutting-edge machinery to ensure minimal human intervention in the production process,” Chaitanya explains.
Secondly, the startup is hiring about 200 employees to facilitate its growth plans. Lastly, it will be investing in campaigns to build stronger relationships with customers. Wakefit.co's production and distribution networks across markets are aimed to aid the startup’s financial health and sustainability.
Additionally, a prolonged shift to remote working called for enhanced IT infrastructure, workforce planning, and digital upskilling. Wakefit.co is investing in these as well.
Taking sleep seriously
A RedSeer Consulting report of 2019 suggested that the home and living market in India stood at $28 billion and was set to reach $50 billion in five years. Out of this, 15 percent of the furnishing market was constituted by mattresses.
Wakefit.co competes with the likes of KurlOn, SleepyCat, Cuddl, Duroflex, and Sleepwell. More recently, after the launch of its new product line, Wakefit.co has entered the furniture segment, alongside players like Urban Ladder and Pepperfry.
The startup generated revenue of Rs 81 crore in FY2019 and is targeting revenue worth Rs 200 crore this year. It claims to have served more than five lakh customers in the last four years. Wakefit.co boasts of recording 3X revenue growth year-on-year since inception.
The co-founder says that close to 10 percent of the startup’s revenue is generated from its recently launched range of furniture solutions, serving over 5,000 customers since its launch.
Given the evolving market, Wakefit.co is determined to capture new business opportunities. The startup believes that this is the right time to target the Tier-II and III cities and towns aggressively. It also plans to expand its services to more than 19,000 pin-codes.
For FY21, Wakefit.co is targeting revenue worth Rs 450 crore.
“Products such as work desks, wall shelves, bookshelves, coffee tables, dining tables, sofas, wardrobes, and more will drive up demand in addition to our pre-existing sleep solutions range,” says Chaitanya.
YourStory’s Pivot and Persist series spotlights Indian startups that are pivoting to seize new business opportunities, transforming their business models, and offerings to navigate the current COVID-19 crisis.
Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta
Want to make your startup journey smooth? YS Education brings a comprehensive Funding Course, where you also get a chance to pitch your business plan to top investors. Click here to know more.