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How a Pune direct selling company earned revenue of Rs 419 crore despite lockdown

Netsurf Network went full thrust on a mobile app and changed the business model from person to person to screen to screen.

Written by Dipanita Nath | Pune |
May 11, 2021 1:02:21 pm
Sujit Jain, Chairman & Managing Director, Netsurf Communications

The data showed something strange happened to buyers last year. Unlike before, they wanted more agricultural material and healthcare products and very few cosmetics. “I think a lot of people went back to farming as a way of earning their livelihood. They also became more concerned about using nutritional products to boost their health,” says Sujit Jain, Chairman and Managing Director, Netsurf Network.

The Pune-based company is among the few in the country to have beaten the economic showdown that accompanied the pandemic. In 2019-20, they earned revenue of Rs 270 crore and topped that in 2020-21 by making Rs 419 crore. “In 2021-22, we are targeting Rs 650 crore — that is the kind of growth direct selling companies are experiencing due to the pandemic,” adds Jain.

Netsurf Network is also working on strategies to go public.

The pandemic had challenged Netsurf’s business model as well. As people shut their doors and stayed at home, the company could no longer rely on person-to-person direct selling. They responded by pushing their mobile app among distributors and retailers. People could now use the mobile app for transactions and business promotions while the distribution network delivered the goods.

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This change, from person to person to screen to screen had the greatest impact on the business. “At present, we have 6.5 lakh apps downloaded, out of which 3.5 lakh were downloaded in the last year,” says Jain.

Netsurf’s core of direct sellers also increased during the pandemic — a 75 per cent growth in their numbers from the previous year as a lot of people went back to their villages and small towns. “That is an unbelievable growth we have seen in our entire history,” says Jain, adding that the company is present in almost every state in India.

“We were to expand into the US and Thailand, but the pandemic delayed the plans. The US is the cradle of the direct selling industry and would be the best place to reach the world, while Thailand would push our Look East Policy,” says Jain.

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