Koovs' co-founder returns to deals aggregation with Perksmap
Koovs.com co-founder Rajesh Kamra has ventured into the loyalty rewards space by co-founding a new app that discovers deals from shopping and dining outlets.
Christened Perksmap, the newly launched app functions as a mobile marketplace, connecting offline lifestyle e-tailers with customers for last minute offers.
"Since launching the app three months ago, we have been targeting hyperlocal stores which do not have technology capabilities to attract the mobile savvy customer," Perksmap co-founder Kamra told Techcircle.in.
Perksmap, which is run by Bangalore-based WEIV Technologies Pvt Ltd, currently caters to about 5,000 hyperlocal stores in Bangalore. It currently showcases offers from retail chains such as Zara, Forever21, Shoppers Stop, Hard Rock CafÃ©, TGIF and others.
"There is increasing demand for digital loyalty rewards programmes that work with ubiquitous mobile devices. Customers are no longer interested in cluttering their wallets with paper punch cards or carrying dozens of cards on key chains," said Kamra, adding that the app already caters to 30,000 users. Perksmap will also reward customers who share their brand related experiences on social media.
The company, which is currently bootstrapped, vies for more partnerships with eateries, pubs & restaurants, shopping stores and others to expand its user base. Perksmap is looking to raise angel funding to expand operations into other Indian cities within the next 12 months. It may be recalled that WEIV was started by IIT Kanpur alumni Kamra and Itiranjan Mishra as a video messaging platform last year.
Thus, the Perksmap app marks a shift in WEIV's gameplan.
WEIV was supposed to offer a cross-platform, cross device video communication application that allows users to send video messages to their offline counterparts, anytime and anywhere.
"Perksmap is an extension of the video messaging technology that we built in-house last year. We are leveraging the P2P multimedia messaging platform and deploying it for Perksmap. The company's focus will be on Perksmap going forward," added Kamra. It does not intend to deploy its video messaging capabilities for third party clients.
Interestingly, Kamra's previous venture Koovs.com (which he co-founded in 2009 with Manish Tewari, Kanishk Shukla and Amit Shukla) began life as a deals aggregator. In August 2011, Infotel E-Commerce Private Limited, a company controlled by the Nahata family in India, acquired a controlling interest in Koovs India, initially focusing on the sale of mobile phones and other electronic goods. It later pivoted to become e-tailer of fashion apparel and accessories. Koovs plc picked majority stake in Koovs India after it went public in London Stock Exchange's junior market AIM two years ago.
Perksmap is currently focusing on building scale; monetisation will follow once it builds a sizable user base, added Kamra. The Indian market for online vouchers and discount coupons is a heavily fragmented one.
Once a hot space, it had fallen of investors' radar, barring an odd deal here and there.
However, there seems to be renewed interest as indicated by a recent management buy-out styled transaction, in which NASDAQ-listed deals aggregator Groupon Inc ceded majority stake in its India unit (renamed as Nearbuy post the deal) to venture capital firm Sequoia Capital and the top management of Groupon India.
Nearbuy is one of the key players in India's deals and rewards space. Other firms in this domain are MyDala, Rocket Internet's CupoNation, CouponDunia, Times Internet owned CouponDunia and Smile Group's DealsandYou.