God’s Own Malayalis: Lakshmi Thampi – Helping Homepreneurs & Small Enterprises Go Online

In the past decade, the world has grown closer. You can now order anything from anywhere and get it delivered to your doorstep. But local markets have not been given as much importance, and unless you live in one of the metros, you still have to step out to buy groceries.

That’s the world Lakshmi Thampi wants to change. Lakshmi wants to bring businesses and service providers around you to your fingertips. To meet this goal, she created Hylo. Hylo is an app that lets you connect with your newspaper vendor, milkman, and even your kid’s music teacher. Talk about one app to rule them all!

In an earlier post, we talked about how Hylo (@gohylo) has been released in Thrissur, and how it will make things easier for shoppers in Thrissur. But it got us curious to know the story of Hylo and Lakshmi’s view of the world.

We spoke to Lakshmi Thampi about her story and this is what she said.

Why did you become an entrepreneur?

Being an entrepreneur gives you the power to live life on your own terms. But it also comes with huge responsibilities and the opportunity to change lives. It is this confluence that drives me to be an entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, I can make a small impact on some people’s lives which will eventually cascade to many.

What prompted you to create HyLo?

As a tech person, I relate to digitization and technology as a whole. Always felt that small enterprises and entrepreneurs can benefit from the digitization of their daily transactions with integrated banking and payments. I wanted to create a platform that would be a networking ground for homepreneurs.

I started my career as a telecom engineer at LT Infotech, then moved to work on mobile stacks at Sasken. Mid-career, I moved to Gurgaon and switched to content and digital media. But I had always been interested in small enterprises and initiatives, and so I started volunteering at https://www.tokabox.com and https://www.facebook.com/groups/gurgaonmoms/. It was also around this time that I started creating my first prototype of a platform for small vendors – https://www.facebook.com/Happyhandpicker/.

I had also been a part of a FinTech startup called Teknospire where we worked on digitising the rural banking sector. And along this journey, I kept working on a system that could help homepreneurs and small enterprises to go online, improve their operational efficiency, and have the muscle to qualify as worthy investments to banks and other financial institutions. This quest eventually led to the creation of Hylo.

Why did you choose Thrissur and not any other city?

I am a “Thrissur-gedi” through and through. I was born here, studied here, moved away for work, but the charm of Thrissur pulled me back.

Who would you say is your role model?

It is hard to zero in on one person. In different aspects, I like to emulate different people.

In business, I like what Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) does.  He says, “Skills are cheap. Passion is priceless.” It has been my passion to create a platform for homepreneurs and small enterprises that have kept me going.

I try to be hardworking like my mom and resilient like my dad. I try to be as patient as my hubby @techentrepreneurvishal (and co-founder of Hylo), as cool as my son (@pranavg2504), and as accepting as my sister-in-law (@vikramsheetal).

If there is one thing that you’d like to have on a billboard, what would it be?

“Live and Let Live”

We are always told that it is a “dog eat dog” world. But that’s not necessarily true. There’s always a win-win scenario if you look hard enough. Hylo is my effort to do so – it is my effort to create an ideal economy. If you are a seller, you can offer your products or services at a cost. If a buyer feels that the value derived from the product/service justifies the cost, a transaction is made. Hylo removes the hurdles created by location. It offers a win-win solution to its users.

What are your future plans for Hylo?

We plan on launching in Ernakulam. Ernakulam is the financial capital of Kerala and the city has many small and medium-sized enterprises that can benefit from pay modules, invoicing, and inventory management. This coupled with the user interface that Hylo will provide to customers will help Ernakulam go digital and make life easier.

We are also working on a model that makes deliveries possible (presently, we utilise the delivery mechanism that retails have in place and self-pick up in the case of homepreneurs).

Don’t forget to download Hylo and give it a try.

You can also follow their Instagram page @gohylo for updates and offers.

Govindan Khttp://www.pinklungi.com
I believe in challenging the status quo; I believe in thinking differently. I think differently because I try to absorb knowledge from anyone - regardless of the industry they’re working in.

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