BuddyGifting, a social gifting platform owned and operated by Ahmedabad-based Trikon Technology Solutions Pvt Ltd, has signed up around 500 users since it started operations in February this year, a top executive told Techcircle.in.
Set up in March 2012 by the siblings Rahul and Rohan Saraf, along with Ronak Agarwal and Pranay Gupta, the platform enables users to offer multiple options to buddies â€“ so that they can choose their favourite gifts. Users can also invite friends and families to contribute for buying the gift.
While Rahul holds an MBA from Cardiff University (UK), Rohan holds a PG diploma in Business Management from Goa Institute of Management. Ronak Agarwal is an IT engineering graduate from SVIT in Gujarat while Pranay Gupta is an IIM-Ahmedabad and IIT-Delhi alumnus.
But what is the idea behind BuddyGifting? "People do face problems with gift selection or budget or pooling money. And those who get the gifts may not want them or they may already have them. BuddyGifting is an answer to all these problems. Now you are able to give provide multiple gift options and your buddies can choose what they want. One can even swap it with something he/she likes at the BuddyGifting shop or can redeem a prepaid Visa Gift Card," explained co-founder Rohan Saraf.
You can create a user ID or log in with your Facebook account. Now choose the recipient from the list of your Facebook friends or e-mail contacts. You can also mention the occasion, gifting date and time. Next, select the gift options; invite friends & family to contribute if you want to (BuddyGifting will notify your invitee/s about the pool and they can contribute from anywhere across the world) and finally, make your payment online. The platform notifies the receiver about the gift on the selected date and time via e-mail and SMS.
The company claims to have around 500 registered users till date and it has partnered with a leading logistics company in India for gift delivery.
As for gift items, BuddyGifting has partnered with several manufacturers, distributors, retailers and e-commerce players for products and vouchers. It currently has 60-plus brands on board including Sony, Canon, Apple, Simba, Bestway, Arden, Fastrack, Titan, Lifestyle, ShopperStop and Flipkart, among others.
The startup is also looking to expand into foreign markets. It is currently in talks for expansion in South American markets, primarily in Brazil and Argentina, according to Rohan Saraf.
A free platform for users, BuddyGifting earns from the products and vouchers sold on the site. "We get margins for the products and vouchers sold here. In addition, we earn from the convenience fee, which a recipient has to pay in case he swaps the gift or redeems a gift card," added Rohan.
The startup is targeting people in the age-group of 18-35, as they are socially active and have easy access to the Internet. "We believe there's scope for huge growth in India. People are gradually adopting e-commerce and online gifting, within the e-commerce space, is a niche area. So the growth will take time," said Rohan.
Bootstrapped by its founders, BuddyGifting is now looking to raise Rs 1-1.5 crore in seed funding to take the platform to the next level. "We have planned a lot of developments and new offerings, which can be done quickly with the help of the funds we raise," noted Rohan. The company is looking to achieve break-even in a couple of years from now.
There are quite a few startups in India, such as Giftbig.com (run by QwikCilver Solutions Pvt Ltd), Badhai.in, Goldboxx.in, Clusiv.in and Wishberry.in, which are operating in the online gifting space. In September last year, social media giant Facebook also launched a gifting service for users who can select friends and buy gifts for them through the social media.
Goldboxx, the erstwhile Flora2000 founded by Indian Angel Network member Rehan Yar Khan, is largely focusing on the NRI audience or Indian customers who are looking to send gift abroad. On the other hand, Clusiv.in enables you to create a gift registry that will have a wish list of all the things you would like to receive as gifts. This registry can be shared with friends/family who can then purchase those products and gift those to you. At Badhai.in, you can create group gift events such as colleague's marriage, and invite friends to chip in. However, Giftbig.com has developed a social gifting app and enables users to send gifts via Facebook.
"As of now, Giftbig and Badhai are our major competitors. There are some others which run on the wish list model, which does not work well in India as people here do not ask for their own gifts. A few other sites are selling gift vouchers. However, there is no site which offers the kind of choices we have," concluded Rohan.
(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)