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Cashback & couponing venture Cashkaro eyes global expansion, looking to break even by 2015 end

Cashback and coupon site Cashkaro.com, owned and operated by UK- and India-based Pouring Pounds Pvt Ltd, is looking to expand operations to Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia this year, according to a top executive of the company. Cashkaro.com, which claims to be doing 1,000 transactions per day, is also looking to achieve breakeven by 2015 end.

"We have done Rs 1.5 crore of cashback till date," said Swati Bhargava, co-founder and CEO of Cashkaro. "We are driving 1,000 transactions per day for our partner retailers and have already given over Rs 25 crore of sales to 500-odd retailers. The business is seeing almost 20-25 per cent growth month on month."

The startup was founded in February 2011 by the husband-wife duo of Rohan and Swati Bhargava (both London School of Economics graduates). Rohan had previously worked at Aladdin Capital, managing a $1 billion portfolio of structured credit assets, while Swati was an employee of Goldman Sachs in London. Initially, the couple had launched a cash back and coupon site in the UK under the brand name Pouringpounds.com. In November 2012, they launched the India-focused site Cashkaro.com. The current team size is 32.

Cashkaro has a two-pronged business model wherein it offers coupons of various e-commerce companies as well as cashback on purchases made via Cashkaro. The company earns commission on a per sale basis and brands pay the firm a percentage on every sale done via the portal. Cashkaro keeps a certain margin and passes on the rest to the end consumer.

The cashback is stored in the user's account on the portal from where he/she can redeem it. Cashkaro recently signed a deal with e-commerce giant Amazon in the UK and India for cashback and coupon deals. According to Swati, the UK business, Pouringpounds.com, is already profitable. Cashkaro is now looking to add new revenue streams.

"We are working on an ad-based revenue model, where we will run ads for various businesses on our platform. Additionally, we are looking at white labelling our cashback technology. What this means is that we will run cashback and coupon deals for various organisations. In the UK, we are already running cashback sites for leading newspapers, which pay a monthly fee for the service," she explained.

Swati said that in addition to Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, Cashkaro is also looking to enter other markets including the Middle East and Thailand. "All these markets are mature when it comes to coupons and deals service. We will either open separate entities in these markets similar to India, or will look at partnerships."

Last July, the Indian entity had raised $750,000 from a group of 10-12 independent UK-based angel investors. The company is now looking to raise institutional funding later this year, which will be used for its international expansion.

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