SkoolShop.com, a niche e-commerce site for school and education-related products, has raised its seed round from two technology leaders in the country â€“ Jaspreet Bindra, Microsoft India's regional director of retail, entertainment and devices division, and Rajan Anandan, an active angel investor and currently the managing director of Google India. The funding has been closed in October this year but the founders are not keen to divulge the details of the quantum of money raised.
Earlier, Bindra and Anandan have together invested in eTechies.com, a Gurgaon-based managed services start-up.
SkoolShop.com is run by Mumbai-based Occasion Kommerce Pvt Ltd, founded by Satya Raghavan, Sumant Kasliwal and Anthony Thottungal. The site went live in October-end and only catered to Mumbai residents before going pan-India last week.
"Education is a large and evergreen market. Consumer behaviour is changing fast and people are now buying products across more categories than they ever did. Previously, they only looked at 4-5 categories; but currently, around 15-16 categories are gaining traction. We are very consumer-focused and we are aggressively trying to get what they want and deliver it. Parents now have a single destination for conveniently purchasing all the items that their children need," explained Raghavan, CEO of Occasion Kommerce, while speaking to Techcircle.in.
Raghavan was a vice-president at Helion Advisors but left the company last year to set up SkoolShop.com. Earlier, he was the vice-president (marketing) at Star TV and then took a break to study at Harvard. He had also worked in senior marketing roles at Coca-Cola and Microsoft India. Raghavan was the head of marketing for online brands at Microsoft India.
Kasliwal, finance head of the firm, is a chartered accountant who has led strategy and investments in companies like Star TV, Microsoft and ICICI Ventures. Thottungal was in product, content and marketing roles at Star TV and Yahoo!
The site has tied up with 40 vendors so far and currently features 12 categories. The firm has also identified 3-4 new categories and plans to add those soon. It currently offers products under categories like books, school bags, stationery, education CD-ROMs, educational aids, crafts, gifts, learning electronics and even furniture. It has already signed on brands like Cambridge University Press, Cartoon Network, Disney, Edurite, Faber-Castell, Funskool India, Macmillan Publishers India, McGraw Hill, Oxford University Press, Penguin Books India, SAP Publishing, Tom & Jerry, Barbie and Wildcraft.
SkoolShop.com hopes to bring in greater choice of products, especially those not available in some towns and cities. It also allows children to inform their parents about interesting products through buttons called Tell Mom and Tell Dad. The company has tied up with two courier partners to deliver to 5000-plus pin codes in India. Occasion Kommerce now has more than 10 people on board.
Recently, another e-commerce start-up, co-founded by former Bata vice-president (marketing and customer services) Manoj Chandra, launched a similar site called AllSchoolStuff.com. Incidentally, sites like AllSchoolStuff.com and SkoolShop.com target the large market of 450 million school-going children in the country.