interview with ace turtle ceo nitin chhabra

Ace Turtle is a 3 year old startup helping traditional brick and mortar retails like Puma and Ray-Ban to create their online presence. The firm also creates a platform for these retails to integrate their online and offline business with a clear view of its supply chain. We caught up with Nitin Chhabra, the CEO of Ace Turtle to understand his idea a bit more. Excerpts :

Q. Can you give me a background on Ace Turtle and its organization structure?

Ace Turtle is a leading technology driven platform company that provides direct to consumer web commerce solutions for leading domestic and global retail brands. Ace Turtle with its proprietary platform, integrates online and offline retail channels automating and optimising Omni-Channel fulfillment. The platform provides brands with a single view of inventory and a single view of customer. It helps reduce the costs and complexity of Omni-Channel transformation for brands by using their existing framework and systems. Ace Turtle’s solutions are currently used by brands such as Ray-Ban, Puma, Max, Arrow, Flying Machine, Ed Hardy, US Polo, Fossil and more. Ace Turtle’s Omni-Channel platform comprising of technology, logistics and customer support enabled brands and retailers to improve the post-click commerce experience of their customers.

Our organizational structure includes over 100 people who work on various teams. As our platform caters to the clients’ multi-channel strategy, our team is divided into specific domains that includes marketplace, web-commerce and in-store retail. Within all these segments we have dedicated team that takes care of building the product and improvising on our tech capabilities and a team that manages logistic and fulfilments. Moreover, we also have a in house sales and business development team that takes care of client acquisition and pitching process. All the teams report directly or indirectly to the top management.

2. Can you give us an idea of its funding and investment background?

We had $300,000 of Seed money. We recently raised our Series A funding from Singapore-based Vertex Ventures and C31 Ventures (the venture capital arm of CapitaLand).

3. How this idea popped up?

Berry (Singh, COO) & I started our entrepreneurial journey with Ace Turtle towards end of 2013. In my last corporate role with one of India’s largest retailer, my responsibility was to identify international brands relevant for India and launch them in India through a joint venture or a long-term franchise contract. I had the opportunity to interact with CXOs from various international brands where the integration of online and offline commerce had a positive impact in the tough environment. This got me thinking of how technology can be used to make Indian’s retail more efficient. I would discuss this often with Berry who has been my colleague and friend across three organizations. We wanted to bridge the gap between online and offline retail that we felt is apt for a country with infrastructure challenge especially with a large geography but also a large young consumer base.

4. What kind of gaps in the omni-channel distribution Ace Turtle is poised to fill up?

Internet has made product discovery convenient for customers. Consumers now can compare a plethora of products, read the reviews and click to buy the same. However, for customers who are looking to discover a product online and buy it from a store, there has been a challenge of getting his/her choice of product from one particular store. This is because when the assortment of product is done in a particular retail store, the fulfillment was done only from the closest store or warehouse. This always created a gap between the demand of the customer and the ultimate fulfillment from the store.

Ace Turtle bridges this gap and ensures seamless integration of both online and offline platform providing an experiential retail to the consumers. We ensure to provide consistent level of service across all channels, keeping close track of customer’s preferred touchpoints. Our Endless Aisle solution which is built on the Rubicon platform system with a custom-built application or site can host the extended catalogue on a kiosk where a customer can place the order (with or without assistance) and the order will be fulfilled based on assigned rules in the system. Also, we have another solution called Ship from Store that allows optimum fulfillment of orders through efficient allocation mechanism. Our platform also provides brands with a single view of inventory and a single view of customer. It helps reduce the costs and complexity of omnichannel transformation for enterprise retail clients by using their existing framework and systems.

5. How the Rubicon solution helps the brands, and the end users, if any?

Ace Turtle’s proprietary product Rubicon, is a technology platform which can seamlessly integrates to Sales channel (like website, marketplaces, apps, kiosks etc.), fulfilment stock points (like stores, warehouses) and brand’s technology eco system and delivers an enriched single view of Order, Inventory, Price and Catalogue. The platform correlates tons of incoming data to make real time intelligent decisions to offer seamless omni-channel solutions.

The four CORE MODULES of Rubicon are Order Management System, Inventory Management System (IMS), Catalogue Management System (CMS) and Logistics Management System (LMS).

Order Management System (OMS)
Rubicon’s distributed OMS provides the capability to manage orders received over integration from any digital channel like .COM, marketplaces, customer care and supports channel like kiosks, digital magazines etc. The system hosts a real-time engine which allocates the order to the most preferable fulfilment point by evaluating various parameters like availability of inventory, proximity to customer, serviceability of logistics, SLA adherence etc. If the order is not processed in a specified time frame (configurable), the system automatically de-allocates the order and allocates the to the next best stock point. The system then allocates the best logistics partner to fulfill the order based various parameters like cost, SLA, serviceability, performance etc.
The store representatives can use the Rubicon web Panel or through integration can leverage their own POS system to process the order. Similarly, warehouses can use Rubicon panel or their WMS system over integration.

Inventory Management System (IMS):
Rubicon hosts a Global inventory management system which provides a single view inventory to manage and publish inventory across all channels. The global inventory helps Brand’s to target more potential sales. The system publishes and updates inventory for each sales happening from any channel to keep other channels in sync in the real time.
Catalogue Management System (CMS) enables the users to create catalogue for the products to be sold across channel with the relevant set of attributes and helps in managing digital assets like product images videos, 360-degree product videos, etc.
Logistics Management System (LMS) hosts a pre-integrated ecosystem of various last mile logistics partners to leverage a last mile partner for delivery depending on the goals the brands want to achieve. The system provides end to end tracking of the order from allocation to customer delivery through real time status exchanges.

6. How many clients/customers you have so far?

Our clients are enterprise Brands that operate across multiple channels We currently have 20 such large brands.

7. Is Rubicon based on AI and ML? and who are your partners? (Basically, the kind of technology you use and your technology partners)

Rubicon uses data on platform to enrich algorithms. We have two types of algorithms. The first one is in the process of order allocation.

The order once placed is allocated to the most preferable fulfillment point. The system considers the availability of inventory, proximity to customer, serviceability of logistics, SLA adherence and allocate the order to the most preferable stock point in real time.
The second algorithm that works on logistics and fulfilment process ensures that once the order is placed, there is a host of pre-integrated ecosystem of various last mile logistics partners that can be leveraged. The allocation logistics partner depends on parameters like cost, serviceability and the time required to deliver the order depending on the goals set and targeted by the brands.

8. The kind of advantage your platform offers Vs traditional platforms.

Rubicon platform is one of its kind that provides the benefits of engaging and seamlessly integrating with both online and offline platforms. Hence, there is no comparison with traditional platforms.