Yes, you have read it right! Now it is possible to avoid the drudgery of weekly/monthly or daily visits to the grocer’s because now you can simply download the GetBaqala application and do your grocery online from the comforts of your home. GetBaqala will reach the grocery to your doorstep within a very short time and you can use your usual grocery shopping time for something that you never get the time for! BTW speaks to the GetBaqala Co-founder and Managing Director Amjad Puliyali to understand this life-changing mobile App.
Tell us briefly about yourself.
My name is Amjad and I am 33 years old. I was born and bought up in India. The major part of my career was based in Dubai, and before I moved in here I was working in Bangalore for about a year with a big data startup, Vizury.
Give us a brief summary about your educational and professional background.
I completed my graduation from the University of Calicut, Kerala. I always had a fondness for computers during my studies. Back then, information technology and the like were the newest areas of study and I took a diploma in web centric computing from NIIT. Post this a certification from Oracle as Database Administrator (DBA). However, I did not pursue a career in coding or DBA, I eventually found interest in SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and kicked off my career as an SEO executive back in 2005 in Chennai. Two years down the lane I landed myself a job in Dubai as a Search Marketing Manager at Emirates.com. My role here was to manage their Global PPC (pay per click) and SEO in-house working with their agency in London. Since then, I have been actively building my career in digital marketing with a specialty in performance marketing. The last stint in my career was as a General Manager for India, Middle East & Africa for Vizury – a Bangalore based Big Data Startup focusing on Growth Marketing tools for large eCommerce companies like Souq.com, Namshi, Flipkart and other mobile first companies such as Careem, Anghami etc.
When and how did you get around to developing the GetBaqala application?
Last year I decided to move to Bangalore for a change from the busy life in Dubai. My stay in Bangalore gave me a new perspective on how much India has changed over the decade. Every nook and corner had a startup catering to almost all the immediate needs of the people around. The moment you land at Bangalore airport you book an OLA Cab (which is Uber’s competition in India), once you get home you order food with Swiggy a food delivering App, then you buy your groceries via Grofers or BigBasket and your laundry is done via washapp – there is now an app for almost everything to meet your instant gratification. This got me thinking as to why we don’t have any of this in GCC – we have amazing malls and hypermarkets but there is no on-demand app for your daily needs. Although there is Careem for Cab Booking and Talabat for food ordering – it’s very clear that next on demand app is going to be groceries hence we started working with an MVP back in Dec 2015 and got the MVP ready by March 2016. Our next challenge was to determine our launch market. We had a number of options but narrowed it down to either Dubai or Bahrain and finally closed it on Bahrain for our startup operation.
‘GetBaqala’ is an interesting name. Tell us more about the application and how did this idea related to grocery strike you?
Baqala in Arabic means Grocery – even though in Bahrain most people refer Grocery as “Barrada” –the popular term in GCC (including UAE and KSA) is Baqala – once we had the category term we need to come up with a catchy unique phrase around which we can develop a brand– so we come up with GetBaqala – which means Get Groceries or alternatively you can GetBaqala mobile App.
What have been the initial challenges and how did you overcome them?
As a startup challenges are part of your daily routine, it comes and goes – the best way to tackle is it to have a great team and mentors around you – when you are stuck always reach out to people who can help you to overcome this particular challenge. Due credit goes to my family. They have been my support system through thick and thin.
How can GetBaqala qualitatively improve people’s lives?
Our mission to give our customers a break from the hassles of grocery & household shopping. Why spend 2 hrs in a supermarket when you can spend that time with your friends and family or finish that project or book or take up a new a sport activity. We see a lot of people coming back to us with repeat orders just because they can do what they love to do and leave the grocery shopping hassle to us.
In this age of increasing online shopping websites, how is GetBaqala unique?
Baqala work on marketplace model and we are bringing offline retailers online and our users can get anything delivered to their doorstep within minutes. Our focus is on customer satisfaction is what sets us apart from other websites. Since it’s a hyperlocal marketplace we can guarantee the shortest delivery window maximum 2hrs or a slot that the customer choose. Unlike other websites we don’t stock inventory or we don’t have any warehouse – we are a pure play tech player connecting local merchants with mobile savvy shoppers in the neighborhood.
Where do you see GetBaqala in the next 5 years?
We want to become the leading hyper local marketplace for anything and everything for your daily needs. In 5 years the way we do local shopping will change significantly, we should be able to get anything delivered within 2hrs from local shops whether it’s groceries, fruits, vegetables, food or anything, which is in the daily need category. Ideally GetBaqala will be the place where you can buy anything from your local market with a few tap and get it delivered to your doorstep.
What according to you are the essential qualities of a successful entrepreneur?
I think as an entrepreneur you should have a clear vision on where you are heading and once you have a clear vision you need to build a strong team around you to execute the vision, also make sure you don’t run out of cash, so be super diligent on where you spend
What is your message to aspiring entrepreneurs of Bahrain?
If you are a fresher from college go and gain some experience before you start, work in a small company or work under a great boss where you can learn a lot in a short span of time. If you think it’s getting too comfortable then it’s a signal for you to move on. For people who are ready to take that plunge – always think about “you need to start somewhere to get somewhere” and once you start make sure you are making incremental progress every day”.