LBS and Behavioural Targeting with Qube
With an apparel retail chain as a client which has about 50 stores signed up and on the verge of closing a large value mall, mobile based startup Quantama is on a roll. Engineering dropout ( a lack of interest in the subject) entrepreneur Preetham VV has had an interesting journey till date and with his venture Quantama, he is putting to use his years of experience and unwavering commitment to a cause. Before we go to his story let us share some other interesting information about the man behind Quantama.
Preetham V V is modest when you speak to him but we have learnt that he is a man of multi talents. He has authored two books namely - Java Web Services Programming and Internet Security and Firewalls. He has successfully donned the CEO and Director’s cap in his previous avatars.
Its but natural for us at YourStory to be curious about what led him to give all to be an entrepreneur and what is the compelling idea behind this move.
Preetham V V in conversation with Shradha Sharma from YourStory.
Tell us about Quantama (Qube) – what is the idea behind this venture?
Preetham:Qube (powered by Quantama) enables consumers to find Points-of-Interests, Events and Promotions that are 'Relevant' and is nearby. Qube enables Location-Based-Engagement and Behavioral-Targeting for Retailers/Service-Providers to connect with their consumers who are in-vicinity of the store.
How is Quantama different?
Preetham: Traditionally, behavioral targeting till date is conducted based on analysis of information collected at the Point-of-Sale which captures the consumer's basket at the SKU level. Such purchase-history based approach limits the scope of analytics to people who purchased something within that single enterprise.
Typically, there is a healthy percentage of consumers who mostly browse the store without purchase, or purchase different products at different stores.
Quantama is interested in herding this knowledge about consumers by capturing information about Location, Store, Promotion, Time and Experience. Quantama captures consumers intentions at any given location through click-stream analysis and enable retailers to understand consumers much better than what their POS systems alone tells them (which are typically post-purchase systems). Quantama empowers Retailers to adjust their offering and relevantly match consumer choices more quickly and dynamically over mobile devices prior-to a purchase is made.
For the consumers, this translates directly into relevant best promotions or provisional values that they maybe looking for nearby. Speedy access to such values made available conveniently over a mobile device saves a large amount of time for the consumers without having to search for them manually in the real-world.
We believe that the approach we have taken is unique and does not require integrations into existing retail systems (unlike others) and is a model that is built on sustainability and scale (similar to google ad-words). We believe pre-purchase lifecycle in offline retail is a vastly untapped space where mobile devices can influence heavily today, enabling brand salience. Our understanding of this space and the IP we are creating around this is what sets us apart.
How did the idea for Quantama come about?
Preetham : The idea is a refinement of many ideas that I had. I think the idea is perpetually in beta state even now. In fact during my college days, I was constantly wondering if there was some magical way to send a friendly message over mobile to the interesting girls you would come across (whose phone number remained a mystery) while you were at the campus, restaurants or pubs. This thought was stuck in my head untill bluetooth became ubiquitous over mobile until recently. When I started to venture with Quantama, I was pondering about a dating engine which gets people in the vicinity together through bluetooth peer-networks. Also, due to my prior experience of building products and services for Retailers, I was exposed enough to understand the retailers problems in the area of tapping the unkown consumer base for Revenue top-ups. While I was pondering on these ideas, I realized that Retailers needed a dating engine to entice their consumers in-vicinity. This is when I realized Quantama shall be a dating-engine for Retailers and Consumers so that relevant match on interests are made. I did bet a good portion of my time building the product around bluetooth (a INR 2.5k phone has bluetooth capability today) but have realized Bluetooth is not scaling fast in our market. Now we have shifted the model quickly and rebuild a non-GPS based LBS offer which can work on a normal non-smart phone. We seem to have hit the right mix as of now, but we are still learning, evolving and innovating all the time. Thanks to all our users, customers and mentors who are challenging us in new ways constantly.
Market Validation of Quantama
Preetham: We are blessed with knowledgeable Mentors who knows the innards (and the bane) of the Retail industry. Few of them hold very large responsibilities with large Retailers in India. So Quantama was vetted over several iterations before it was put into act. Having said that, since the space we are going after is nascent, there is, and shall be a good amount of healthy skepticism which we have/ will have to deal with. I did a mistake betting too much on the proximity story using bluetooth over the first year. I have to quickly reinvent as said earlier. We have launched the LBS model only recently (about 3+ months). We have been able to get a small base of initial adopters who are contributing location specific information, clicks, reviews and also exposing chinks in the armour.
Where do you see Quantama in the near future?
Preetham:Quantama will grab a large market share in location based engagement and behavioral targeting space over the next 3 years. In the next 18 months we are planning to be a dominant player in this space across the top 10 cities which consist of 5+ million population out of which 60% are wired on mobile. We shall go after the FMCG and Banks as verticals once we have scalable distribution network and smart channel partners built-up and have a sizable captive of end-consumers.
What is Quantama`s revenue model?
Preetham:The mobile application that we provide for the consumer is free. We charge the Retailers a subscription fee for now to begin with. We can metamorph into revenue models based on a percentage of top-line that we add later on. We are in the price discovery mode and I am very focused on getting it right as it is core to Quantama's success. I believe we have a problem of excess in the Revenue model and its imperative that we learn and distill the strategy sooner.
As an entrepreneur, what are your joys? What are the challenges?
Preetham: I seem to perform well during adversity and crisis. I started my career with a handicap (no college degree) and had to establish trust and credentials to move up professionally. I have been usually assigned into projects which were relatively tough (green-field or under pressure). Initially it may probably be due to my expendability. Later on, I had established credibility as the goto guy for tough projects. I guess with a healthy amount of luck and competitiveness I have moved up successfully. I have also worked mostly in start-ups which were under tremendous pressure for growth and have survived couple of death marches to date. Overall, it has converted into a habit of taking bigger risks and seeking out bigger challenges. It seems that the rush of adernaline when you win over challenges of adverse nature does not qualify as joy, It probably classifies under 'exhilarting and addictive'. This amount of risk seeking behavior has its effects on domestic life and handling that diligently is a challenge. Stating this, I feel there is still a long way to go before I can find that first epic-win as a good sucess story.
(We at YourStory find such personal insights and drive of an entrepreneur inspiring)
Let us know about your expansion plans for now.
Preetham:Too early to comment on this. Have to execute well across the top 10 cities over next 18 months. We have to focus on getting the consumers on board quickly. We intend to be pan-india nevertheless, soon. If we execute well, we shall hit the emerging nations first probably before venturing into USA and Europe. Who knows how these things span out anyways.
Honest, ambitious and Quick on his feet that’s Preetham V V for you. As an entrepreneur who is so grounded and focused we at YourStory believe he will find one way or the other to pull his venture ahead.
Keep watching this space for more updates from Quantama and the man at the hot seat.