Cashback with Style

To me this post isn’t about StyleupIndia, claiming to be India’s leading cashback site and more. Neither is it about how they pay cash back to customers who make purchases from the retailers listed on their site.

But it is all about how a young determined individual from an Indian middle class family is fighting all odds to live the startup dream. One thing for sure, the startup fever is all over India.

Follow the dreams of Raj Kothari, founder of

[hero heading=”Raj Kothari, Founder, Styleup India”]I always had a belief that if you really want something, you will find a way to do it. There will be no stopping you. [/hero]

1. Startup Pitch

StyleupIndia is a cash-back website helping online shoppers get free cash-back when they purchase anything from Amazon, Flipkart through our site. We get commission for each purchase and we return around 80-90% to our customers in the form of cashback.

2. The Motivation

For me, what’s more important is pursuing what I really want to do. But I’d also add that middle class people like me who have got lot of responsibility towards their family have to be a little careful while pursuing dreams.

I was working with an IT company when I launched my startup in July 2014. Thanks to enormous online shopping trends in India, our startup got 1600 users within one month of its launch which was a big boost and provided a sense of accomplishment. I always had a belief that if you really want something, you will find a way to do it. There will be no stopping you.

3. The Human Capital

I along with a college friend Shruti Kalathil started it. Shruti handles all the operations at StyleupIndia. Besides our startup, we also work for an IT company.

4. The Beginnings

When I finished partnering with all the merchants, the next thing was to make a very decent bootstrap website. Shruti came and she said, “Well if we just come up with a cashback website then people are going to love it”. I know there are so many people in my friends circle who shop online, but will the idea work? I kept asking but decided to give a shot. Thanks to my engineering degree from NMiMS, I was able to develop the website within a week. The stage was set and it was showtime.

5. Value Proposition

We started with very less investment, just the domain and web hosting expenses. There are lot of cashback players in India with different type of model or system. But there were lot of tracking issues and missing sales issues with most of them due to which users lose faith in those companies. Our USP is we allow the user to claim their cashback explicitly on our website. As a result, we keep track of each and every customer, notify them within 2 days about their cashback status and also follow up with the merchants in case of any disputes/settlements.

6. Initial Journey

Honestly, I am a professional with a day-time job and run my startup in the evening. I was very nervous before the launch of the website. Yes, I received a lot of backing from friends and family but the anxiety level was very high on whether I could pull it off. When I saw users flowing in, 10 and then 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 and so on, I was very satisfied and within 15-25 days we already had 1600 active users making 10-12 transactions through us on daily basis. The journey is already exciting and now we are already heading in the right direction.

7. Growth & Strategy

StyleupIndia had a very positive response from the start. Of-course there were a few things we corrected along the way. We began focusing on the best offers that people usually shop from. There was a time during the 1st week of October where we just promoted flipkart for its billion day sale and did very well on that day.

We are a small team and our main source of traffic is from facebook, twitter and adwords.

At first we thought of developing a price comparison model based website but we were aware that people in India are fond of higher discounts. As a shopping addict, I know I would definitely go to a cashback website before a price comparison engine.

8. Growth plans

Currently, we are running StyleupIndia along side our corporate jobs and already people are beginning to like us. We want everyone to know that styleupindia isn’t just about a cashback website. It’s also a platform for different people to talk about style, trends that will ultimately inspire fashion in India. Be it clothes, jewellery or even a sling bag.

9. Growth funds

We are self funded.

10. Advice to Entrepreneurs

Always remember your responsibility towards family and society but do not give up on your dreams and passion.

We have one life to live. All I can say is experience everything. Be it your corporate job, your startup, your passion, failures or success – live it all. So, you don’t have to regret later.

More information @

[Edited for clarity]

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(If you are an amazing Indian startup founder or enabler of startup eco-system in India and would like to be interviewed or featured on then I’d be happy to talk to you. Contact me right away.)

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Bootstrapper at Startups
Being away from India for several years, I'm always excited about anything Indian. I'm particularly crazy (read passionate) about start-ups in India and administer the portal for Indian Startups which started off as a platform to write about startups around the world and India in particular. Do startups interest you? Then join startups. Let's build startups in India together. If you need to talk to me in real-time, I'll be available on IRC channel #startuphub. Click to connect.

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