Banking on the “Where is Cheapest?” Question
With prices escalating all around us, when faced with multiple choices, we end up asking the same question- where is it cheapest? WiC, or Where is Cheapest, started for the very purpose of answering that question, is a unique web-based price comparison and discussion platform for users to share interesting prices, products, and sellers. The website can be used to search, ask for a product or share prices one has discovered or bought at.
WiC was co-founded by Arun Purohit, a Post Graduate in CS from BITS Pilani and Rajeshwari, a software systems specialist. While working on social product valuation software, they suddenly came up with an idea that leveraging people’s knowledge about prices would be an interesting problem to solve. Alakesh Chetia,who has been innovating and creating hi tech businesses for 25 years, then joined as the Executive Director. The team overall has a rich mix of high quality programmers, graphic artists, visualizers and marketing professionals.
WiC is also one of the rare Indian startups which have a published Patent in USA. “The way the company has been funded is also unique. Probably it’s among very few companies which raised fund under convertible debt scheme. Also, it’s interesting to note that the company has raised Angel investments as FDI from US citizens,” says Ankul Bagati of WiC.
How it works
The website has reached a user-base of above 18000 of which the registered ones are 1700+ and growing. Currently, the focus is solving price optimization problem of people in Pune. “The initial demography we are targeting is travellers, immigrants, students and IT professionals. The site is seeing steady growth amongst early adopters in recent months,” informs Ankul.
The company has also introduced an interesting feature called ‘iWant’, which is the equivalent of the facebook like button. It’s a means to express your desire to buy a particular product within a certain price range and timeframe. Ankul gives an example, saying, “Let’s say, you are looking to buy an Apple Iphone 4S in a month’s time. Its MRP is Rs 42K and you want it at Rs 38K. You can submit this request on WiC. Your request is shown to all WiC users. Whoever knows a place where you can buy it at 38K may respond back with the details of that seller. Sellers can also see this iWant and if possible offer it to you at 38K or a little more. In short iWant allows users to quote their desired price for a product and let the universe of WiC users work towards getting it to you.”
Revenue Model and Marketing Strategy
The company first is looking to acquire a very large user base for its product. “Once that is achieved we will start monetizing the application directly and indirectly. The key revenue streams may be iWantAnalytics, affiliated sellers, paid price surveys etc,” Ankul adds.
The idea is that each significant action of a registered user reaches multiple non users itself facilitates word of mouth, Social media marketing and builds virality into the app.
“We may do Digital advertising at later stage. Our vision is to see every urban Indian using WiC before making any significant purchase. We are starting initial test trials of our Android application at INSEAD campus, Singapore later this year and will take it to US thereafter. The product has global applicability and we see our presence in all major cities across the globe 2 years down the line,” says Ankul signing off.
If you have the price comparison bug, ask WIC.