288: Deep Bajaj – PeeBuddy

288: Deep Bajaj – PeeBuddy

 

Podcast highlights:

  • [01:30] For listeners who don't know, what is PeeBuddy about? -- PeeBuddy is India's first female urination device. One of the first issues we went after was the lack of friendly toilets for women in this part of the world. PeeBuddy is a device that allows women to stand and pee so they don't have to deal with unsanitary toilets. It also helps empower women who for medical reasons may not find it easy to go to toilet in a traditional way.
  • [27:35] What was it like to be a man selling a female urination device? -- It was a combination of difficulties. Certainly being a man talking about a sensitive issue for women was hard. At one point the BBC did a story on the product in both English and Hindi. From the English story we received lots of complements from people who were very supportive; but from the Hindi we received a lot of very harsh criticism. The trolling was really bad. There were some really filthy comments directed towards us. These nasty comments always came from men. Women, in contrast, were more suggestive and supportive. Women would help us see things we might have missed.
  • [41:25] Where do you see things going from here? -- We have other problems we want to try to solve. For example, menstrual cramps. It's not a good thing when young women are forced to take pain killers all the time. We want to scale PeeBuddy and really get the word out there. The work will never be complete.

Podcast notes:

  • NOTE: This episode contains explicit language.
  • [00:05] Welcome Deep Bajaj, founder of PeeBuddy, to ATP Stories with host Graham D Brown.
  • [01:30] For listeners who don't know, what is PeeBuddy about? -- PeeBuddy is India's first female urination device. One of the first issues we went after was the lack of friendly toilets for women in this part of the world. PeeBuddy is a device that allows women to stand and pee so they don't have to deal with unsanitary toilets. It also helps empower women who for medical reasons may not find it easy to go to toilet in a traditional way.
  • [03:15] There is a story with you and the Mumbai marathon. What happened there? Can you fill us in? -- In the beginning it was hard for us trying to break into the Indian market with this product. We were not having much success. One day we got a call from the organizer of the Mumbai marathon who wanted to meet with us. It was really a life-changer for us because once we had the buy-in from this big organization and event, other events followed.
  • [08:25] How many units did the marathon organizers buy from you in the first instance? -- We sold them 10,000 units. It was a big order for us and we only had three days to deliver. Until then, which was a year and a half into the business, our total sales were probably around 50 to 60 thousand. Now we've sold about a million units. We were really trying to do something new with the product because this simply wasn't a product category in India at that time.
  • [15:22] We probably have listeners who are thinking you've just been very lucky to have the successes you've had. What do you have to do get more of this in your life? -- Faith; only faith. Always remember there are really good people out there and maybe they can't make it. Use that motivation to push yourself and be grateful for the successes and fortune you do have. It's certainly not the case everything just fell into place for us. We were rejected by a lot of investors, so there's lots of work we've done to get to this point.
  • [18:25] Let's talk about rejection. Do you know how many stores you've approached or meetings you have had? -- Thousands! Personally got out and tried to meet with 400 to 500 people in an effort at active outreach. There's also been thousands of emails and calls. Rejection happens every day. Negativities happen every day. It takes a toll on you.
  • [21:53] Going back to how you got started, where did the genesis for PeeBuddy come from? Was it something more than one-off big events. What is the problem you're solving in India? -- Back from 2006 to 2010, did event planning; organized small and large-scale festivals, concerts, shows, etc. One of the biggest issues was we just couldn't keep the portable toilets clean. In 2013, went on a road trip and noticed none of the women were drinking water because at every fuel station the toilets were not clean. After looking more into this problem, it became obvious millions of women were traveling and also facing the same problem. This led to the genesis for PeeBuddy.
  • [27:35] What was it like to be a man selling a female urination device? -- It was a combination of difficulties. Certainly being a man talking about a sensitive issue for women was hard. At one point the BBC did a story on the product in both English and Hindi. From the English story we received lots of complements from people who were very supportive; but from the Hindi we received a lot of very harsh criticism. The trolling was really bad. There were some really filthy comments directed towards us. These nasty comments always came from men. Women, in contrast, were more suggestive and supportive. Women would help us see things we might have missed.
  • [37:30] Do you have fans? People who are sort of advocates of PeeBuddy? -- We have some people, yes. They are not on our payroll. There are a lot of customers who have helped us open multiple doors. For example, the Fortune 40 Under 40. There was a customer who put forward a case study looking at all of our products and gave this to Fortune. These customers are our brand ambassadors.
  • [41:25] Where do you see things going from here? -- We have other problems we want to try to solve. For example, menstrual cramps. It's not a good thing when young women are forced to take pain killers all the time. We want to scale PeeBuddy and really get the word out there. The work will never be complete.