Tag Archives: shopping

Startup Pitch: India’s first Social Shopping app pivoted around friends network

Zwibe
Location: Bangalore
Stage: Market Validation

Zwibe is an app created by a Bangalore based startup. We are trying to solve the problem of unreliable advertisements and biased endorsements by celebrities to sell pretty much anything to everyone.

We leverage the power of word of mouth marketing amongst friends to solve the aforementioned problem. Everyone gets a chance to be a brand ambassador and get paid for it. If you like a product, you can post a picture of it on Zwibe, and if anyone buys the product on your post or through your suggestion you get paid a cut for it. A friendly advise before making any purchase is being monetized by us. Our Motto is Friends.Conversation.Shopping.

We have a lot more to say, do get in touch with us and we would love to share our idea in detail.

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Walk in to showcase your beautiful family

[alert variation=”alert-info”][icons icon=”icon-attach” color=”#dd3333″ size=”18″]Published as part of Startups in announcements[/alert]

Shopping can make you happy or sad. It can give you pain or pleasure. In all, the benefits of shopping outweigh harm.

A walk to the store is just what you might need to look happy & healthy and a Bengaluru (Bangalore) based startup is on a mission to help you do so. It wants to make people look good, literally. The startup wants to capture and showcase the beauty within families in India through a professional photo-shoot.

Writes AK Verma (@storewalk), founder of LAB Desk Technologies Inc, the company behind StoreWalk.in, “We are organizing a small photo-shoot event here in HSR layout for Indian families to capture some stories and pictures of them. It would be a two day event coming Saturday and Sunday (Jun 27th & Jun 28th)”. Register here.

All registered families will get 4 – 5 portraits done and besides a group family portrait will include a portrait of just the couple, children, parents and in-laws etc.

StoreWalk.in logoAbout StoreWalk.com – “We’re on a mission to make people look good. We have a beautiful mobile app that is curating fashion collections from your neighborhood. Our users love to shop in stores and we help them do just that! Show them the latest and best in the city’s best branded and designer stores.”

[Announcement edited by Publisher]

(Please post your press releases directly to appropriate exchange forum and submit startup events using the form.)
(If you are an amazing startup founder or enabler of startup eco-system in India or elsewhere and would like to be interviewed or featured on Startups.in then please read this and this before you reach out)

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 StyleupIndia.com

[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 @ styleupindia.com

[Edited for clarity]

(Please post your announcements, press releases or other requests directly to appropriate exchange forum forum)
(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 Startups.in then I’d be happy to talk to you. Contact me right away.)

Saurin Shah on Sift Shopping, Startups and Silicon Valley

 

A serial entrepreneur who has been interested in entrepreneurship right from the school, Saurin Shah packs a punch with great startup advice drawn from his own experiences. He is currently the CEO and Co-founder @ Sift Shopping.

I recently had an interesting conversation with him at Plug and Play Tech Center, a startup accelerator in Silicon Valley and here are some bytes from that meeting.

[hero heading=”Saurin Shah, CEO – Sift Shopping”]“Startups have ups and downs. There are often extreme ups and extreme downs. Don’t forget why you started. Learn from the downs. Focus on the ups and just keep going with it.”[/hero] [lists style=”star” color=”#dd3333″]
  • Sift shopping streamlines shopping experience for users and drive return engagement for stores
    • Provides an opportunity to change how stores and business communicates with their users
  • Average user receives 10,000 marketing/shopping related mails per year
  • Most users don’t like to download an app of every interesting brand
  • To make a successful product; design for the platform and environment your users use
  • Shoppers of this generation have varied needs
  • Most shoppers are women between 25 – 45
    • Women look for latest trends at stores and not necessarily deals
  • Idea of Sift Shopping came about by noticing the shopping habits of Saurin’s wife
  • Chief Household Officers (CHOs) buy for themeselves and the family
  • Connecting to existing user base is as important as getting new customers
  • Initial customer validation done at malls by speaking with real shoppers
  • After idea & before prototype is when they embarked on validation
  • Startup is all about taking an idea and executing well to improve the world
  • Silicon Valley provides easy access to capital, talent, mentors, partners and markets
    • All of those reduces risk and increases potential upside of a startup
[/lists]

Watch the full interview with Saurin Shah (embedded above) for more interesting tidbits.

Are you a #Startup based in #Hyderabad – Would you like to be interviewed? Check out Startups in Hyderabad for details. Please use the contact form to reach me. Thank you.

(If you are an amazing Indian startup and would like to be interviewed or featured on Startups.in then we’d be happy to talk to you. Contact us right away.)
(Please post your announcements and press releases directly to Announcements & PR forum)

PricePaaji – Compares prices between your local stores and online shops

As my profile says, I’m passionate about startups. There were times (dating back to 2004-2005) when I spent every spare moment following and profiling them, especially startups from India. I used to religiously dedicate time to profile every single startup that came to my attention.

While I’m still very much into startups, owing to my other engagements, I’m unable to write about every single startup that comes to my attention these days. But every now and then I still do and it is either because I just can’t resist the startup itch or because I believe the startup is doing something absolutely amazing that the world needs to know about and very much deserves to be on Startups ASAP.

Pricepaaji is one such and what amazes me about this young Indian startup is their unique “local” approach to a global problem. Based on what Jyotika from Pricepaaji described, the startup lets you compare prices of a given product not only between various online storefronts but also let’s you compare against the price you could get it from you local brick and mortar shop. In other words, it lets you compare the prices from your next door shop against the online only shops.

That to me is amazing for at-least two reasons. For one, it saves me time and effort by not having to visit all the local stores to see if they are offering a better deal and secondly, they are solving a genuine problem far more relevant in the local Indian context. India or US (or for that matter any other country where I haven’t lived), I personally feel it is an absolute waste of time having to drive around (or call) “n” number of stores to find the best deal when it could be done much more efficiently using the power of Internet.

Learn more about this startup in a conversation with Jyotika of Pricepaaji.

pricepaaji

1. The Idea –

We plan to compare between local shop prices and online prices, everything aggregated at one location. Some price comparison website give online prices, other give local shops, but we give a comparison between both of them.

2. The starting point –

When Pratik came back from US, he was looking to buy a good Television and a music system. During his research he surfed a lot of websites to get details about product, prices and reviews. Not only this he went to 10 different local stores in the area but was annoyed by the lack of price parity for the same product. This was indeed a painstaking process and lost a good 3 weekends of his life, and this is what got PricePaaji started with an intention to help user in 5 ways: Product Discovery, Buying Tips, Price, Review and Compare.

3. Idea execution –

PricePaaji’s launch involved a series of individual Interviews of our target group. This is followed up with group discussions in order to understand buying behavior and patterns. Once we got a know-how in this area, we had an alpha launch, where a different set of individuals were called in to assess our business idea plus website. All the feedback was well documented and then implemented in an orderly fashion.

4. I noticed that the service was currently Mumbai centric with limited product categories. When asked about the plans on expanding to other cities and categories –

Right now our focus is to get better and better at the current thing. At present we have 6 categories up and running and we want to ensure our users complete and useful information about those categories. Obviously, we are looking to expand to many more categories, but only if we have all the necessary information that the user is looking for. We do not want to just keep adding new products and categories if we cannot help the users make the right decision. We are also looking at expanding in to other cities depending on user response and feedback.

5. Is India ready for “online” comparison shopping?

Oh yes ! The ecommerce market is growing in India per second. According to the newspapers there has been an increase of 16% as compared to last year. Thus advent of e-commerce has led to an increase in the competition and need for a price comparison website.

6. Effect of Google and social media –

Google is the God of internet and people find us through Google Facebook is also doing well for us.

7. Response so far –

We have received an overwhelming response. We have over 450 local stores associated with us in India and the number is growing every month. We have queries about our prices and products coming from all over the world. Last week, received a mail from Zimbawawe asking if we had an outlet there. 🙂

8. The visionary –

pratik-adani

Pratik Adani went to the University of Southern California for a Masters Degree in Computer Science and was working in a Digital Advertising company in US before he decided to leave the American dream and come back to Bharat. Based out of Mumbai, Pratik has launched PricePaaji to connect customers to stores, both local and online.

Editor’s note: (Updated #8 based on new details from Pricepaaji.)

9. The mercenaries –

Apart from them, we have a technical team with a combined experience of 25+ years in Java, PHP and database systems & structures.

A highly competent sales team or foot soldiers as we call them who are experts in concept selling sales.

A data team whose experience in various firms helps us to define robust processes and best practices to ensure validated, cross-checked data reaches our end user.

Lastly, we have a small unit whom we call the flying falcons, whose job is to ensure that the innovation engine keeps rolling to add user friendly features to our system

10. Experiences starting up –

Inertia in Indian markets has been high for any change. People still prefer outdated techniques to work, even if they have a better and far advanced solution with help of technology, they have no intentions to change . With this mentality it has been very tough to convince people.

11. Future plans –

Everyone wants to grow and reach the pinnacles of success and we plan to do the same.
However, for now we are concentrating on adding more products on our site and improving it. After that we will go national.

12. Startup gyaan –

Being Entrepreneur is tough and trying to do everything yourself is not possible. Try learning everything but find the right people to do things . If you try to do everything chances are you will end up not finishing things on time . Build a good team and trust them.

Help them make India a better place (to shop). Check out Pricepaaji.

(If you are an amazing Indian startup and would like to be interviewed or featured on Startups.in then we’d be happy to talk to you. Contact us right away.)
(Please post your announcements and press releases directly to Announcements & PR forum)

Follow your dream. Go places.

Want to know how to build a startup? Here is a tip.

Stop ideating and start building. Don’t just build an idea, build solutions for a problem.
Don’t invent problems. Instead, focus on real-world problems. Solve problems you see in every-day life and there is no reason why your startup can’t succeed.

Here is an interview with the founder of one such startup. The founders saw an unfilled need which formed the basis of their idea and did what true entrepreneurs do – got into action and executed on it.

Want to know about the startup and how they did it?

The startup is ShopAtPlaces.com which lets you shop in your favorite city (from the comfort of your browser). Learn about the journey in this interview with its founder, Zuhaib Khan.

1. What is your startup about? An elevator pitch, please.

Shopatplaces delivers Authentic Products from Places Famous for them to the customer’s doorstep. Thus, our tagline – ‘Famous Products. Best Buys‘. Currently, our active categories include Accessories, Apparel, Bags and Fragrances. By the time we turn one (1 year from the date of our launch), we will have products from all states of India on our portal.

2. What is its value proposition and how is it different from competitors?

We have been true to our motto of ‘Shop At Places’. We have on our site those and only those products which are famous from a particular place. Be it Filigree jewelry from Orissa, Brass jewelry from Uttar Pradesh, Tussar silk stoles from Jharkhand, Chikankari apparel from Lucknow and so on and so forth. We make these difficult to find products available to our customers and provide assurance of quality with a promise of best buy. Our idea of best buy is pretty simple, say, we have Chikankari apparel from Lucknow, we will sell them at a price which is lower than the retail price in Lucknow itself. If we beat those markets where these products are manufactured, we automatically beat retail markets in all other cities.

This idea has never been executed in India ever. The closest peer that we have is FabIndia. However, we do not limit ourselves to handcrafted products only.

3. What got you started? How did you get the idea?

It was in September 2011 that we got the idea for Shopatplaces. I was working in JP Morgan’s London IB office while Sherfur (the other founder) was working in the Procurement department of Cadbury. Traveling was a part and parcel of our jobs and every time we visited a new place, there were regular requests from our loved ones to ‘get something unique from that place’.

And then, we got the idea for Shopatplaces!

We knew that exquisite hand-embroidered Chikankari apparel came from Lucknow or that Pearl jewelry from Hyderabad was very famous. And such authentic products are always in demand. The problem is of availability, quality assurance and authenticity verification, coupled with the fact that when these products were made available in other parts of the country, the good quality ones are exorbitantly priced. Too much leakage in the supply chain is the culprit.

We had our task well defined: Deliver Authentic Products from Places Famous for them to our customer’s doorstep, and thereby, add value as a retailer.

4. How did you go about pursuing your idea?

Once we had debated the idea amongst ourselves extensively, we started testing it amongst our friends, peers and family. We got an amazing response. Still, the sample set was too skewed. To validate it further, we did an exhaustive market research and the idea still came out tops. Our gut feeling was now being supported by analysis.

Both of us are crazy about financial models and hence we created one, as detailed as possible. It wasn’t easy and we had to do a lot of research so that the numbers we ran were as close to reality as humanly possible. Running all sensitivities supported the wave. We registered the company and completed all legal and operational tasks.

Finally, we left our jobs and travelled the length and breadth of the country to setup our vendor base and supply chain network. Those 5 months of travel where we actually met the artisans and workers in SMEs who create all this amazing stuff taught us a LOT! The site was being developed in parallel and we are in Beta phase already.

5. What were your experiences starting up? Problems encountered etc. What worked well and what didn’t?

We had already created a detailed activity map before we left our jobs and we progressed according to it. Still, there were delays in getting legal and regulatory approvals. The main challenges that we faced related to Supply Chain. The challenges that our vendors face, for instance, of the less availability of organic dyes used in painting of Tussar silk stoles from Jharkhand during monsoons, are very unique and we work with our vendors to overcome these challenges.

6. How has your startup been received so far?

To say that the response has been excellent would be an understatement. We had not expected that we would be delivering across the country in our Beta stage. Particularly, we had not expected huge traction down south, which we are witnessing right now and this is without any marketing expenditure at all. Just proves that there is a huge demand for authentic products from places famous for those products – Hope we are able to satiate this need. We are getting rave reviews from our customers and you will see them on our site soon.

We plan to reach 100 sales a day within 6 months with an average ticket size of Rs.1,000-1,200 and we are on track to achieve it. After that we should enter a phase of exponential growth.

We are not running after revenue, but after ‘satisfied customers’. If we have a specific number of ‘satisfied customers’ in the first 6 months of our operation, they will automatically be our brand ambassadors on the ground and you can imagine the impact.

7. What are the future plans for your startup?

Our short term plan is to have authentic products from all states of India within the first 12 months of our launch. We also want to increase the number of categories we offer to our customers.

Our long term plan will be to provide internationally known products like Italian leather jackets or Indonesian batik print apparel to our users. In 5 years, we hope to be the most trusted retailer in the minds of our customers.

8. Who are the people behind this startup and what were their previous stints?

The core founding team is comprised of two, Sherfur and myself, Zuhaib. Sherfur has worked in the Procurement and Supply Chain division of erstwhile Cadburys after getting his MBA from NITIE, Mumbai. I worked in various firms like JP Morgan, Mape Advisory and Casa Capital during my career in finance after finishing my MBA from FMS, Delhi. Both of us were classmates during our engineering days in Jamia, Delhi.

9. Are you looking for help in any areas?

We are looking for honest feedback on our startup first of all.

Secondly, we are open to being contacted by individuals for working with Shopatplaces on the marketing front.

As for funding, we are bootstrapping this business from our own funds and will not go out in the market for fund raising till the time we need a significant infusion.

Last but the most important, we are actively scouting for mentors as we believe that advice of experienced mentors is worth much more than funds at disposal. Mentors’ guidance can save us from committing many mistakes while making sure that we do not lose focus of the goal we want to achieve.

10. What advice you have for entrepreneurs?

We are too young to give advice to other startups. All we can say is that we followed our heart. So, if you believe in your concept, keep working on it and always seek advice of experienced mentors.

11. Anything else you want to share.

We are the first ones in India to execute the idea of ‘Shop At Places’ and to offer many other services like Free Customization for all our apparel. We are an enthusiastic team and we want the members of Startups.in to help us by their good words in their friend circles.

Will ShopAtPlaces go places? We think so.

(If you are an Indian startup and would like to be interviewed or featured on Startups.in then we’d be happy to talk to you. Contact us right away.)
(Please post your announcements and press releases directly to Announcements & PR forum)