The journey to becoming the CEO and Founder of DRU GOLD for Akhilesh Agarwal started with his family-run business, Sri Krishna Jewellers. He began as a sales executive and worked his way up to head the operations over the years. After receiving the ‘Times Jewellery Retailer of the year 2016’ award, he decided to start DRU GOLD. The decade’s worth of experience in this industry helped him pick valuable on-ground consumer insights that paved the way for solving gaps faced by people through DRU GOLD.
Established in 2020, DRU GOLD is in the business of ‘Cash against Gold’ and ‘Releasing pledged Gold’. The revenue model is buying gold at a lower price and selling it at a market rate. “My vision behind starting DRU GOLD is to tackle the challenges consumers face with the gold recycling industry. We intend to bring in more transparency to the industry and operate with innovative offerings and higher moral standards to benefit the customers,” says Akhilesh. The company aims to ensure transparency in the market and support the Make in India initiative to curb the imports by helping the industry reduce dependency on imports. “We firmly believe in providing an empathetic experience with transparent and scientific methodology from gold assessment to gold encashment,” adds Akhilesh.
With around a decade’s experience in the gold and jewellery industry, Akhilesh decided to pursue the opportunity to meet customers’ demands with a company that strives for commitment to excellence and adheres to the most robust moral and ethical principles both internally & externally. Akhilesh believes that about 65% of the market is controlled by the unorganised sector, which values gold at a meagre rate (as low as 60% of the actual worth), and they charge very high-interest rates which range from 15-40%.
Understanding that the Gold recycling industry is a very unorganised market, he believes there is a vast scope for bringing transparency and better procedures to benefit customers. And to tackle these challenges, DRU GOLD provides an empathetic experience with transparent and scientific methodology from gold assessment to gold encashment. “I believe that gold is the best asset class. We have seen many retail investors changing their preferred asset class over the past few years. Many more investors have taken to gold as their preferred asset class. This is due to the stability and reliability of gold. It is movable, transferrable and it can be liquidated very quickly in times of need,” he adds.
When DRU GOLD was started in January 2020, Akhilesh’s plans and projections were designed keeping in mind the risks of the industry, but never in his wildest dreams did he anticipate a pandemic leading to the entire company’s operations on halt. “When the doomsday hit the entire world, due to COVID, we could not function. I couldn’t plan well like some Fortune 500 companies who could make the best of the situation. Since then, I have decided to make best and fast decisions, keeping the worst of the worst circumstances in mind, to stand tall in the market,” says Akhilesh. Although COVID-19 did impact DRU GOLD’s functioning for a bit, they did stand tall and expanded its reach to 15 stores, making it the first start-up company in India to open 15 stores in 2020. To date, the company has served 2600+ customers,
even amidst the pandemic.
Shedding light on some of the ethics that keep him motivated to do more, Akhilesh said that discipline is the key to success. Adding to the same, he said “one must always stay put, and never deviate from their goals and visions. Unexpected situations come in everyone’s lives. My sincere advice to everyone is “never give up.” Most importantly, when you are ethically right and principally strong, you will win one day and achieve everything you are working towards.” Akhilesh completed Business Administration from Amity Global business school, Hyderabad and did a specialisation in Mergers & Acquisitions from Wharton Business School (Pennsylvania). His day starts around 6am, followed by an hour of exercise. He reaches the office around 9:30 am and likes to be calm in the office. “I try to listen and understand everyone’s opinions and suggestions. I analyse all the suggestions and make decisions which I feel is right for the company and its people,” says Akhilesh.
As far as DRU GOLD’s future is concerned, Akhilesh hopes to take DRU GOLD globally and drive investors who see it as an eminent investment. Currently operating out of 15 stores in Hyderabad, the plan is to open 15 more stores by year-end. “With our fast-paced growth approach & excellence across, we plan to go global soon in the coming years with Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka and China as potential markets for us,” concludes Akhilesh.