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BW Businessworld

Seamless Sleep Solutions

Since its inception, Wakefit has served over six lakh customers and garnered one lakh reviews online

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WAKEFIT HAD A RATHER serendipitous encounter with the pandemic that opened up a plethora of opportunities for them to capitalise on. Having recorded INR 220 crores in FY 2020, Chaitanya Ramalingegowda takes pride in the brand’s product innovation and customer-centric approach that gives them a com­petitive edge. Today, it is seen as one of the top D2C furniture and sleep startups in India. 

Since its inception, Wakefit has served over six lakh customers and garnered one lakh reviews online. “Today, close to 20 per cent of our total revenue is generated from the sales of our home solutions products. We have also bolstered our capex, warehousing capabilities and technol­ogy stack to enhance seamless operations across the country,” says Ramalingegowda. These moves have helped the brand recognise oppor­tunities for scale and growth - to secure their Series B funding of INR 185 crores, raising the company’s valuation to INR 1900 crores. 

The company seems to have weathered the Covid-19 storm well, given the work that has gone into earning customer trust in the past five years. They have also made heavy investments in bolstering machinery and manpower. Ramalingegowda states, “Our expansion to offer home solu­tions in addition to our pre-existing range of sleep solutions has helped us remain on track to record 2.5X growth in revenue, growing from INR 199 crores in FY 2020 to having expectations of closing FY 2021 at INR 450 crores. In our efforts to expand our reach and depth in deeper pock­ets of India, we have set up 22 warehouses across the country and facto­ries across three locations.” 

Innovation is a key aspect of growth and very critical for the success of a business, believes Ramalingegowda. Wakefit is a customer-centric brand that strives to offer affordable products and top-notch quality at all times. “As a D2C brand, being constantly connected with our custom­ers is an added advantage. All our products are curated to fit the needs and goals of our customers. We attribute our success to our constant product innovation and our customer-centric approach. Innovation, to us, is about creating world-class products at a price that enables people with a monthly house­hold income of INR 30,000 or more to enjoy the Wakefit expe­rience,” states Ramalingegowda. 

Rigorous Workforce Training

Nothing comes easy for an entrepreneur without a power-packed team. The employees are the pillars of the company and an important factor in the growth of the business. Ramalingegowda says, “We plan on increasing our manpower by 400 per cent by FY 2021, going from 600 employees in March 2020 to 3000 employees by March 2021. A large part of this workforce will be machine operators, carpen­ters and customer delight execu­tives. These integral employees will undergo rigorous training under the ‘Wakefit Academy’ initiative, where allied and lateral upskilling will be imparted. Further, mid-level managers and senior leaders are being hired in most functions across the company.” 

Promoting and protecting employees’ interests and keeping them motivated is also paramount to the company’s success. Ramalingegowda states, “When the pandemic struck last year, we ensured that all our employees felt secure in their jobs and received support and assurance from the leadership team. We also recently announced our (employee stock ownership plan) ESOP buyback option worth INR 15 crores that is set to benefit a pool of 15 - 20 early employees. Further, the ESOP eli­gibility is expanded to include another 60-70 employees.” 

Sharing the growth plans of the company, Ramalingegowda trusts in looking inwards and collecting customer data to improve their lives at every stage of their life. He adds, “We are obsessed with solv­ing customer problems and provid­ing them with a seamless and delightful experience. Our internal training, marketing and product innovation efforts are directed towards creating avenues to make customer lives better at every stage of growth.”

CHAITANYA RAMALINGE-GOWDA

CO-FOUNDER: WAKEFIT

FOUNDED: 2016

SECTOR: HOME AND LIFESTYLE