Gurgaon-based Piquor Technologies, a photo advertising tool has expanded its operations to UAE and Canada through strategic partners. Basically, the startup puts up photo booths in retail outlets, clubs, restaurants, events etc. and allows users to click and share photos on social media or mail it to themselves. In the process, it enables brands to engage with their audiences via a small branding on the side of the pictures.
With a strategic tie-up with Offado, a UAE-based ad agency, the company is eyeing to gain mileage of being the first mover in the $60 billion market. The startup has partnered with Nishan Labs, a Canadian digital agency for sales and distribution of its services.
In the newer geographies, the channel partners pay upfront for the hardware and share revenue of about 30 per cent with the company. The hardware, which is mainly imported from China and Taiwan, is shipped directly to UAE and Canada thereby helping them save several taxes including excise duty.
"We have already installed about 50 devices in UAE and 7 in Canada," said Pranjal Prashar, co-founder of Piquor.
"We want to be present in at least five countries including India, the US, Canada, UAE and New Zealand in next five years," he added, mentioning that the company will expand to the US in the next quarter. The company plans to have in-house operations in the US instead of opting for strategic partnerships.
Launched in mid-2012 with a seed capital of Rs 25 lakh (spent on importing tech and building the software), the company claims that it managed to break even in India about six months ago. With operations in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi, it has already served close to 100 clients including biggies like TCS, ITC, Audi, Hard Rock Cafe, among others.
"We have crossed 10 million social media impressions from over a million images worth Rs 3.5 crore Facebook ads spent," said Prashar.
The company works on direct sale or rental model. They lease the hardware for a year for a fee of about Rs 18,000 per month or sell the hardware at a cost of Rs 1-2 lakh.
Lately, the company has introduced a social referral tool that enables it to go beyond hardware based expansion. "Through the tool, we are able to track and determine how many viewers of those pictures are interested in the brand. The brand can then contact them and arrange for their visit at the outlet." For this feature, the company charges its clients Rs 50-100 per lead/referral.
The company is in advanced talks to raise $500,000 in a pre-series A round from a group of angel investors. Previously, the company had raised $100,000 from the CEO of Inoxapps Mobile Solution Pvt Ltd and a top executive of Unicommerce. While they haven't appointed any financial advisor, recently Pallav Sinha, ex CEO of Fullerton India and Mera Job India, had joined the board of the company and is spearheading their fundraising initiative.