Owning a team jersey with one’s name, number and logo is a matter of pride for sports enthusiasts. So imagine when it has been made in Kerala, that too tailor-made to your fit? That is where Hyve Sports steps in. India’s first online customisation portal for active wear that took its baby steps from Technopark
Owning a team jersey with one’s name, number and logo is a matter of pride for sports enthusiasts. So imagine when it has been made in Kerala, that too tailor-made to your fit? That is where Hyve Sports steps in. India’s first online customisation portal for active wear that took its baby steps from Technopark was an incubatee with Kerala Startup Mission two years ago. Today, Hyve has a client base of 3000-plus across India, all the way to the State of Jammu & Kashmir.
Within a short span as a startup, Hyve received its first bulk order last year to design jerseys for Kerala State Sports Council for which the startup was also an official partner. “Soon after my post-graduation from IIM-Ahmedabad, I chose to start a business on my own and so pitched my business plan to CIIE, IIM Ahmedabad and got funded through The IIM Mavericks program. So I came to Kerala and became eligible for an office space by KSUM,” said Rakesh Rajeev, founder of Hyve.
His plan was to start active wear for sports teams of corporate companies. For a first-hand feel of the venture, he worked as a daily wage labourer at a factory in Tirupur, the textile hub of India. He then started out alone, operating a set of machines from his parents’ house with the couple giving him a hand.
Hyve is now a team of 25 with 10 core members who are graduates from IIM, IIT and NIFT. The team recently shifted to KINFRA International Apparel Park with a world class production unit set up. They will soon start a manufacturing unit in Tirupur and a sales unit in Bengaluru. “The greatest advantage of our online portal is that clients can also get single pieces tailor-made at no extra cost. They can choose their favourite design and then customise using the online tool.” added Rakesh.
Initially, the t-shirts were made in Tirupur with Hyve’s coded customisation portal and a front-end sales team. The startup has Delhivery and PayU as their logistics and payment gateway partners respectively. They have also been associated with major companies like Myntra, Google, Allianz and Infosys.
“I have loved all kinds of sports since childhood. My mother, Latha P K, was a national athlete and everyone in our family has a keen interest in sports. So, I wanted to start a business related to the field, connecting with people in the sports fraternity. That is how Hyve was born,” he recounted.
Marketing in Technopark, Infopark and IT parks in Bengaluru apart, the company gained traction through word of mouth. Associating with many turfs in Bengaluru and participating in their events helped strike many a deal. Hassle-free customer service has been a guarantee from the start.
Getting till here was no cakewalk though. Rakesh noted that as a non-IT firm, starting a manufacturing unit in Kerala was a challenge, especially when hiring manpower and setting up infrastructure. “It took a while for a support system to develop, but more doors opened for us as we grew.”
The portal plans to expand in the B2B segment. The brand is also keen on tie-ups with leagues and clubs at the national level. Hyve is due to launch their retail brand Elk in a year. “Our aim is to build a brand that India can be proud of, to build a strong base in India and gradually grow on a global scale, exporting active wear from Kerala to other countries,” summed up Rakesh. For details log onto www.hyvesports.com