While daily deals biz has been in news for all wrong reasons, reported to be 'dying' by some and 'dead' by others, three players seem to be fighting it out on turf. We earlier wrote about Groupon India (earlier known as Crazeal) and MyDala, both of whom are eyeing profitability soon. The third serious player (as they like to call themselves), which hasn't pivoted entirely from the original plan is Smile Group's deal site Dealsandyou.
Dealsandyou was formed in June 2010, when Germany-based Group Buying Global AG and Smile Interactive Group acquired Mumbai-based Wanamo Marketing Pvt Ltd that ran Wanamo.com. The site was then re-branded and launched in August 2010 as Dealsandyou.com. It raised a round of funding worth $17 million (Rs 84.11 crore) in its second round in November 2011. The investment was led by Mayfield Fund and Norwest Venture Partners, with Nokia Growth Partners and Intel Capital participating as well.
Since then it has not been in news much apart from the time when co-founder and CEO Gaurav Kachru resigned. Ryan Valles, who was a part of the Smile Group as an EIR (entrepreneur in residence), was then promoted as CEO of Deals and You in June 2012.
Valles told Techcircle that he believes that the deals business is evolving and in a couple of years to come the picture will change completely. Currently, Dealsandyou sells about 4,000 deals on an average daily, Valles claimed. On being asked about the whole pivoting trend in the deal sites he stated, "Evolving is necessary in this business since it's a very young sector. We have also made some changes. However, deals will always be our core."
Valles said deals site has moved on from doing product deals to sticking to just coupons for online retailers. "We were doing a lot of gadget deals at one point of time, but we have taken a conscious decision to not do that for now. We will focus on only coupons on products of online retailers and deals on experiences, restaurants etc.," he stated.
Dealsandyou defines its business models as two-pronged. "We offer deals for offline merchants, which are mainly experience deals be it for food and beverage, spa and wellness or travel. For online merchants, we offer coupons which are redeemable on that portal. It's more like a promotion," Valles said.
So, essentially Deals and You has moved on to become a promotions partner for the merchants both online and offline. This is in line with the change in business model of MyDala, which transitioned to a merchant marketing platform.
Valles claims to have a user base of about 4.5-5 million for Deals and You. This has not risen significantly from 4 million, which was reported by Techcircle in November, 2011. Dealsandyou has a team size of 100 spanning eight offices pan India, though the deals are offered in over 40 cities in the country.
"Right now we want to focus on promotions. In terms of growth, we see deals and you breaking even in a year and profitable in 2 years, but we might choose to invest more and defer the same," Valles said.
In the deal space, where smaller players like Dealivore, Masthideals or Koovs had to either shut shop or move to greener pastures, the only players that seem to be afloat are the ones with deep pockets. Dealsandyou also has survived the market with the help of the huge round of funding it managed to raise from the high profile investors. How long it will manage to run the show, remains to be seen.
(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)