In this age where marketing has slowly started to trump content, having a loyal customer base is a boon companies would kill for. Having spent most of his time in sales and marketing, Ishwar Sundararaman, an MBA from IIM Bangalore, decided to start up Revu. Jubin Mehta from Yourstory.in caught up with Ishwar to know more. Excerpts from the interview:What does Revu offer?
Revu seeks to make loyalty programs accessible to small & medium businesses. In a nutshell, Revu seeks to marry the world of traditional loyalty programs - i.e. exchanging points in return for a purchase, with the new order of loyalty as defined by players like Foursquare who use intangibles, game elements and social media to create loyalty, excitement and social media conversation amongst consumers.
Revu attempts to achieve this end goal by using the mobile number of the end customer to develop a mobile loyalty, consumer engagement, CRM and word of mouth marketing solution for businesses.
Why the name Revu?
It was a fall out of the initial idea that we had in June. The B2C portal then looked very much like a micro review site. While at the backend we were trying to figure ways to monetize this with restaurants. One of the ways to monetize was the use mobile loyalty, which soon eclipsed the initial review engine to become the core offering. The name stuck though.
When did you start Revu?
The original thought of Revu struck is in June 2010, the startup has pivoted several times since then. It has reached its current avatar sometime in Jan 2011
Give us a bit about your background and the team at Revu.
I am an IIM Bangalore graduate who has spent most of his career in Sales & marketing. Starting with ITC Foods, I moved to retail were I worked with the Landmark group. It was then that I heard of a promising mobile payments startup called mChek, and when the opportunity presented itself, I found myself accepting without a second thought.
The team structure currently consists of me – the founder and the technology is handled by a company called Antzcamp who call themselves Techvestors. A very interesting concept in itself wherein they basically scout for young promising startups, handle their technology requirements for them and in return take a stake in the startup.
Tell us something about the technology you use.
The platform is built on Ruby on Rails. We are trying to build a very dynamic interface to allow our partners to leverage the platform, to the maximum.
Loyalty is very subjective on a broad level. How can you ensure this to any client?
We view loyalty not as a function of points alone, but a function of consumer insight. What rewards will make the consumer happy? How can I engage with this consumer? How can I value add? How can I make them feel special?
The platform is built on the assumption that you have to treat different customers differently and allows brands to do this with ease.
We believe that if the platform allows the brands to develop customer insight and make customers feel special, then the end result of loyalty will be achieved
Tell us a bit about your clients.
We have a number of Small & medium Businesses as our clients. Egg Factory, Salon Nayana, Inspirations to name a few. Some of the exciting new brands to partner with us in the near future are Quiznos and the GFA Group with their brand Pizza Corner.
What is your revenue model?
License the model to businesses on a monthly retainer and Software as a Service (SAAS) Model. The per month license fee is dependent on the number of stores or locations of launch.
What are the challenges you have faced at Revu?
Long Sales cycle is the primary challenge. Retention at times is not priority with SME’s. Most SME’s are still worrying about acquisition and leave retention to fate / or something that their product or service should achieve.
We wish Revu all the very best and more about them can be found here.