According to the report by the Global Industry Analysts, the worldwide office writing and marking instrument market is expected to reach almost $22 Billion by the year 2017, with paper based products holding the key share share. The growth is expected to be powered by the demands from Middle East, Latin America and Asia-Pacific region of the world.
A number of regional startups have sprung up, with a one-stop solution for all the office supplies. Brainchild of Vineet Neeraj, Karthik and Mohan, the Chennai based venture Kobster is looking to tap fast into this segment. With a clear focus on the small and the medium enterprises, home businesses and startups, Kobster provides offices with everything, ranging from office stationery to vending machines to cleaning equipment and thus providing a unique proposition to the offices.
The office supply market is currently unorganized in India with emergence of no key player. Kobster is looking to simplify the process by cutting the middleman and the need to manage multiple vendors for the products by sourcing all their products from them. Kobster maintains an inventory of the fastest selling products and provides a credit account policy where the enterprises can apply for credit on their purchases for 7-21 days (though this feature is currently limited to Chennai only).
Soon they will be launching an e-procurement software which will be tightly integrated with Kobster website. The idea would be to make the entire purchase as transparent as possible for the corporations. By having an approval process in place within the company between the administration and management, all the purchases would be forwarded to Kobster.
Kobster is not alone in making use of this opportunity in the office supply segment. We have seen the rise of Indian startups looking to tap into this niche sector, with the presence of eSupply OfficeEyes and 1Click1Call both of which bring their own unique offering to the tally. While the former focuses purely on the organizational procurement, the latter provides supplies for both offices and the schools. This sector is surely seeing a lot of activity not only with the B2B model, but also by directly engaging with the consumers by expanding the share to school supplies and stationery.
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