Automobile are the need of every home today, we all dream of our own home and automobile and now a days this has become a status symbol, but many a times middle income people are unable to buy expensive cars due to high price tags, many a times banks do not approve loans and sometimes people are not able to arrange finance due to other financial priorities, but now everyone’s dream of buying a dream automobile would come true. Today we are presenting The Interview of Mr. Sameer Malhotra CEO of one of the India’s biggest & largest offline bidding platform SAMIL.
SAMIL is a new breed venture and OneStop destination for all pre-owned vehicle & equipment requirement that has very successfully bridged the gap in expectation between buyers and sellers of pre-owned vehicles and equipment by offering innovative & transparent bidding platforms. We are the only entity in the country that offers such augmented, “Physical Bidding” facility for used vehicles and equipment at most optimal price.
The inception of Shriram Automall India Limited (SAMIL) dates back to February, 2011 in the quest of providing well-structured bidding platforms for the acquisition or disposal of pre-owned vehicles and equipment. The Company emerges from Shriram Transport Finance Company (STFC), which is India’s largest Small Business Finance Company. Established in 1979, STFC introduced the concept of organised financing in second-hand trucks segment while strategising its presence in 5-12 year old truck which leads to its market share of 25%. Pan India presence of the company has been cultivated with its 569 branch offices, employing more than 17,000 employees and serving a customer base of approx. 1 million. Lets see what Mr. Sameer Malhotra has to speak about his dream project and venture.
What is the Name of Your Venture? Any specific reason for this name?
Ans. Shriram Automall India Limited ((SAMIL) – A combination of Shriram Automall & India Limited) is part of Shriram Group and its first name is derived from its lineage to the group. It is OneStop destination for used vehicles and equipment transactions. It is like a “super-mall” meant for used automobiles, where customers from anywhere and everywhere in India can visit to source, park and dispose their used vehicles and equipment. Hence we call our setups as “Automalls”
Who is your target Audience/clients?
Ans. Anyone interested in procuring or disposing used vehicles and equipment in the country is our client. Everyone from transport fraternity including Original Equipment Manufacturers, Transporters, Dealership, Rental Companies, Vehicle Aggregators, National & Private Banks, Non Banking Finance Companies (NBFCs) and Insurance Companies are now a part of our family
We offer wide range of used vehicles and equipment of all make and models including pre-owned Commercial Vehicles, Construction Equipment, Passenger Vehicles, Tractors, Two Wheelers and Three Wheelers in the country through the most innovative Physical bidding, Online Bidding and negotiated transaction platforms in the country.
Where your venture is based (city, state, country) & what are your geographical target areas?
Ans. SAMIL started its eventful journey by setting up its first Automall Facility in Chennai on 26th February’2011. Since then, with an aim to provide the most organized used vehicles and equipment transaction platforms and services to our esteem customers, we have reached every nook and corner of the country today with 70+ Automalls and 150+ Bidding Locations!
STATE WISE BIFURCATION
Jammu & Kashmir
What problems does your venture resolve? What are your products or services?
Ans. SAMIL is a new breed venture and OneStop destination for all pre-owned vehicle & equipment requirement that has very successfully bridged the gap in expectation between buyers and sellers of pre-owned vehicles and equipment by offering innovative & transparent bidding platforms. We are the only entity in the country that offers such augmented, “Physical Bidding” facility for used vehicles and equipment at most optimal price.
SAMIL offers a plethora of platforms and services for used vehicles and equipment in the country:
- Physical Bidding
- Online Bidding
- SMS Bidding
- Private Treaty
- MySAMIL Mobile App
- OneStop KIOSK
- New Look Refurbishment
- General/Life Insurance
Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it come to an existence? What motivated you to start your own venture?
Ans. As a person, I have a habit to dig deep in terms of analyzing situations and opportunities before moving forward; which in turn helps me to do the right things at the right time. In India the pre-owned vehicle & equipment industry was opaque and unorganized and desperately required a local solution that can transform it to a transparent and organized one through pragmatic innovation. On 26th Feb 2011 we inaugurated our first Automall in Chennai, today our bidding platforms are now most trusted platforms to transact pre-owned automotives and other value added services like parking at 150+ locations, New look refurbishment, Valuation, Documentation and General/Life Insurance has made us customer’s OneStop Shop.
There are multiple, organized, easy to use online bidding or classified platforms today that offer, reliable inventory of used vehicles and equipment listed at optimal price points, but these platforms and other services were not available some time back and that’s what struck me. Being the Country Manager & Director, Asia Subcontinent for Ritchie Bros. back then, I wanted to make the unorganized used automotive industry of my country, an organized one, as is present in advanced countries. Thus we laid the foundation of Shriram Automall which is now India’s Largest & most trusted transaction platform for all pre-owned vehicles and equipment.
Who are your biggest competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
Ans. Being a trusted market leader, Shriram Automall focuses on addressing demand of all types of used vehicles and equipment demand in the country through its well established infrastructure in the form of Automalls located in every nook and corner of India including the rural & semi urban areas. We do not have major competition in India for physical bidding, if we compare our way and scale of doing business with pure online bidding platforms. The huge infrastructure and innovative transaction practices that SAMIL offers are one of its kind that provide immense value for money and total transparency to our values customers. We consider us as our competitors and that is the reason why we believe in breaking our own benchmarks, year on year.
We are the only company in India, who offers physical bidding at such a large scale through our well structured Automalls, also our USPs like physical vehicle inspection, process where vehicle price are determined by customers and customers first policy make us stand out. Also being a part of Shriram Transport Finance Company (STFC) – The largest NBFC in the country, gives us an extra mileage.
How did you identify your co-founder? Tell us something about your co-founder/s.
Ans. I was having this idea in my mind for a long time and soon I found out that Shriram Transport Finance Company (STFC) – India’s Largest NBFC was also looking forward for something similar and that’s when we decided to join hands and become the co-founders. The extensive knowledge I possessed during my tenure with Ritchie Brothers of the process and Shriram Transport’s extremely well market understanding and customer relation helped us lay the foundation of Shriram Automall.
Shriram Transport Finance Company (STFC) is India’s Largest NBFC and holistic finance provider for the commercial vehicle industry and seeks to partner small truck owners for every possible need related to their assets. It has PAN India presence with 962 branch offices. Based at Mumbai, it manages assets under management over Rs 81,500 crores and has a live customer base of app. 15.40 lacs
How did you hire your first team members? What skills do you want in your employees/team?
Ans. Structured, process driven Physical Bidding and Automall facility was a new concept in India. Hence, we had to start with the most important task of educating prospective employees about the benefits and the innovation that we were bringing in to the industry. Once they realized how our platform and services are poised to change the fate of used vehicles and equipment industry, they were on board with a positive outlook.
I always believed every individual is blessed with some distinct qualities, however, in my employees/team I look for people with real enthusiasm, willpower, patience, willingness to learn and passion besides experience and relevant knowledge. Once I found the right people, I personally groomed them so that they execute their roles to the best of their potential and achieve desired results efficiently.
So, that’s how I hired my first team members & this approach has a trend-setter that my core team follow while hiring future employees. We look for infinite energy, endless enthusiasm and courage to take decisions or accept challenges, unlimited patience and inherent passion in my employees, which has and continues to help SAMIL to grow and create a trusted name in the country!
What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years, next 5 years?
Ans. Shriram Automall is moving ahead with great momentum and plans to capture a larger share of the industry. With great H1 results already achieved and upward sale trends in the pre-owned vehicles & equipment industry, Shriram Automall is determined to grow by over 30% in next 2 years and we also intend to set up 100 well built Automall facilities across the country by then.
Where do you want to see yourself in next 10 years?
Ans. In a short span of 6 years, while sticking to our core values & vision to evolve, we have successfully served over 6, 80,000 SATISFIED CUSTOMERS involving over 5, 70,000 TRANSACTIONS till now, which is a great success story in itself.
Yet I believe “No one grows with history of past successes, rather it is continuous, well planned efforts that yield continued successes”. So, in next 10 years I wish to work towards making Shriram Automall the most preferred platform for trading pre-owned assets which has real, tangible physical presence spanning all major cities of India, providing high quality services while continually striving to connect & build strong relation with prospective customers.
What are your goals over the next 1, 3, 6 and 12 months?
Ans. After attaining robust business results in H1, now we aim to make the second half of Financial Year (FY) 2017-18 more successful by breaking our own records. Also, we look forward to expanding our presence further by adding 10+ new Automalls to our currently operational 70+ well established Automalls, reaching a total 80+ Automalls by October 2018.
Have you risen any funding? Or have any plans for the funding?
Ans. When the idea of making India’s most unorganized used vehicle & equipment sector organized by creating the largest physical bidding platform in the country, many investors were quite keen to explore the possibilities. This first round of funding that was required to set up the whole concept in a structured manner came from STFC. With an extremely professional team and a transparent process we reached the breakeven point in the first year itself and are now self sufficient for all our workings and requirements.
There is no immediate funding plan as of now however we are looking forward for a strategic expansion in India and to other countries and may require funding in future based on our requirement.
What were the problems you faced during the starting days and how did you resolve them?
Ans. Challenges are a part of every business; thereby we also have experienced our share of them. The biggest among them was to make the market understand the concept of “Automall” and “Physical Bidding”. Thereby, being the first of a kind in the organized sector, we took the responsibility to educate people about our transparent & unique platforms. At the same time, hiring people with the specific skill set & again train them to be well equipped with the new process & platforms was another challenge. All the above mentioned required a huge investment of both time & money.
Yet with vision to grow, we provided training & development to the selected employers, making them ready to serve the customers and clients with a better & transparent way to acquire & dispose used vehicles & equipment in the country. It took a significant amount of time, and we took it to build a team of around 1,000 trained people around the country, establishing 70+ Automalls.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now? How did you overcome those challenges?
Ans. As I already mentioned, bringing the new organized concept against the long prevailing practices of the unorganized used vehicle and equipment transaction sector, was not an easy task. Yet with the vision, right strategy and above all honest intention to provide India with the best in class used vehicles and equipment line up through the most reliable, optimal and transparent bidding platforms, we made it possible to educate, train more and more people year on year & we hired the desired employees for serving our valued customers and meeting their used vehicle and equipment requirements across India.
Are you married, single or in a relationship?
Ans. Yes! I am happily married.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
Ans. Telling the reality I am living by my hobby. Work I do makes me happy and I am passionate about doing it. Still to name some when I find some spare time, I try to spend it with my family. I also like to play games like golf & squash, and read and discuss about country’s political & economic development with friends.
What’s your favorite food & holiday destination?
Ans. Because of mostly being on Travel, there are times when I find myself missing the homemade food. So, I guess homemade food especially homemade Rajma Chawal is what I crave the most.
And to name my favorite holiday destination I would say Singapore as I’m the kind of person who loves to lie on a beach and soak away my blues on a tropical island. Thereby I consider holidays spend alongside beaches as my favorite.
Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?
Ans. I personally consider Dave Ritchie as my idol, as it’s his saying “Our business is good when business is good, and our business is better when business is tough” which motivated me to push myself a little more every time to achieve my goals.
What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Ans. Being the entrepreneur running the No.1 Company in used vehicle and equipment transaction industry, I have witnessed that employees are more of the perfectionists and try to do everything on their own while following the mantra “If you want it done right, do it yourself”, on the other hand entrepreneurs look for ways to get things off their plate. So that they could focus on the things only they can do. Also, entrepreneurs thrive on risk whereas employees avoid it.
If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Ans. I guess this is a theoretical situation so my answer would be that I am already doing what I wanted to do and may relive the trajectory without any change if I were to start my career once again. May be the second time achieving the pinnacle will be quicker as there won’t be any time wasted in “reinventing the wheels”
21. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & Social life?
Ans. Being an entrepreneur hasn’t affected my family and social life as you might think, as in my career very soon I understood that balance between family, social life and work isn’t achievable. Thereby instead of seeking balance, I believe in prioritizing things, which helps me plan my week both effectively and efficiently while making me not to miss special family & friend’s moments. Moreover I strongly feel that my colleagues as a part of my family as well.
I believe the areas of our lives rotate through seasons. So, if you will focus on excelling in one area of your life, others will suffer. Thereby, instead of fighting for an unachievable balance, recognize that one thing will always have to take precedence over the others.
22. Anything, you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
Ans. I would like to say one simple thing “follow your passion or make your work your passion”. After all you don’t have to be a startup CEO or even own your own business to be an entrepreneur, but the entrepreneurial mindset is one that attracts success.
23. Tell us something about your education & family background.
Ans. I am a graduated from Delhi University, I have done ICWA(I) and completed postgraduate studies in financial management from the Sardar Patel College of Communication and Management.
24. What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other start-ups in similar domains?
Ans. Shriram Automall India Limited (SAMIL) as a company was brought in the Indian used vehicle and equipment market to help customers all across the country acquire and dispose used vehicles and equipment at optimal prices in an ethical, organized manner.
We offer all segments of pre-owned vehicles and equipment ranging from pre-owned commercial vehicles, construction equipment, Passenger Vehicles, Tractors, Two Wheelers and Three Wheelers under one roof. SAMIL today is the only name that offers multiple bidding platforms to acquire best in class used vehicles and equipment at customer convenience. Also our professional allied services like parking at 150+ locations, New look refurbishment, Valuation, Documentation and General/Life Insurance has made us customer’s OneStop Shop
25. What do you think is the biggest threat to the success of small businesses & Start-ups today?
Ans. There could be many reasons for a fledgling company to falter in its early days of existence.
Too many obstacles both unique and common a new business may face:
Sluggish Demand – It doesn’t matter how many positive signs an economist predicts: Without customers, businesses can’t grow. So entrepreneurs rightly identify sluggish demand as the biggest threat to their start-up.
Funding – Generally most of the start-up or small businesses identify lack of capital as the biggest threat to their business.
Competition – Entrepreneurs cite increased competition within the same space as a major threat to their success. The solution to this problem is to build a better brand. Credibility often starts with a great website, a focused online marketing strategy, and media coverage besides a robust infrastructure to sustain the onslaught from competition.
However I feel if an entrepreneur has the required passion, right concept, right people and belief in its concept, there is no one who can stop him from reaching the set goals as the opportunities are vast today and growth can happen in no time.
26. Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
Ans. According to me success is not one thing or many things. It also does not mean, in Success, a person should be highly influential or capable. Success requires courage, an interest and intensity in a person to achieve a desired and defined goal.
So, Yes, I do consider myself successful. I think my willingness to take on new challenges and work hard sets me up for success. As most successful people has not achieved their distinction by having some new talent or opportunity presented to them. They have developed the opportunity that was at hand.
27.Please share complete name, address, phone number, email id & website of Your Business & Contact Person along with the pictures of your founder, co-founder, team(if-any) as well as your logos.
Ans. Founders Name – Sameer Malhotra
Company Name: Shriram Automall India Limited (SAMIL)
Address: 2nd Floor, Best Sky Tower, Netaji Subhash Place, Pitampura, Delhi, 110034
Phone Number: 011 4141 4444
Email ID: [email protected]