After MeriCAR.com and MKay, seed fund provider MyFirstCheque has invested an undisclosed sum in Bangalore-based OfferGrid Networks Pvt Ltd whose flagship is a deal aggregation platform called OfferGrid Exchange.
MyFirstCheque typically invests between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 25 lakh in early stage start-ups and it is sector-agnostic. While MeriCAR.com offers car servicing solutions, MKay targets the education sector and runs Applytomany.com, an application form management service.
OfferGrid Networks was founded by Deepankar Biswas, TN Raja and Laxmi Prasad earlier this year. Incidentally, this is their second start-up. In January 2009, they had set up Astuon Networks to launch a B2C travel planning website called Yoplr.com. The site continues to run and generate leads for travel agents but has no revenue model. So the founders decided to change tack and begin a deal aggregation exchange, following similar models being launched globally. The result was OfferGrid Exchange, which was launched in beta in July 2011 and commercially launched in September.
Gautam Sinha, Partner at MyFirstCheque, said, "Deepankar Biswas and his team have stayed on the road of entrepreneurship for almost three years now and have not given up despite earlier disappointments. We feel that this attitude and their globally applicable value proposition make OfferGrid an exciting company to look out for in the future."
OfferGrid Exchange aggregates deals from eight suppliers such as MyDala.com, Buytheprice.com, Taggle.com, Healthkart.com, Coupon2Buy.com and Offersforshoppers.com. Using the exchange, publishers (websites, bloggers and mobile app developers) can pick deals and showcase those on their properties to monetise their traffic. The exchange currently has 6,000 daily deals and it is being used by 10 publishers such as MapMyIndia, Applytomany.com (by MKay) and Allevents.in.
"We want to empower discounted shopping on different devices â€“ be it mobile or laptop or Tablet. It's about making shopping more contextual and location-aware. Using our APIs, publishers will be able to choose the deals they want and add context and location awareness to those before showing them to their users," said Deepankar Biswas, co-founder and CEO of OfferGrid.
The investment in OfferGrid will be used to grow the number of alliances with deal providers on one hand and clientele (website owners, bloggers and mobile application providers) on the other.
OfferGrid Exchange is oriented towards publishers and has three subscription-based rental plans. The freedom plan for developers has no rental and offers 20 per cent revenue share to publishers while the premium plan costs Rs 1,499 and offers 40 per cent revenue share, with full API access, as well as basic reports. The turbo plan costs Rs 2,499 and allows publishers to earn 50 per cent revenue share. It offers customised reports, APIs and a Facebook page.
By March 2012, Biswas expects to have 10,000 deals in the OfferGrid Exchange. Now the focus for OfferGrid is to cover as many categories of deals as possible. But this may be tough with a flurry of new categories and niche sites coming up in the country â€“ be it baby products or stationery items.
OfferGrid initially explored the US market and now targets both India and US publishers with its deals. Around 3,000 deals per day are US-based and come from suppliers such as Dealster.com and Cloudsavings.com. "Deals are easier to get and integrate in the US market" said Biswas. A client, Allevents.in, serves these deals to its US and India users.
Other key deal aggregators include Buzzr.in, MyDealStreet.com, Discountpandit.com, Dealites.com, Dealmandi.com and Dailydeal.in.