Own stuff together with WeOwn.in
Some ideas spark because of a long chain of actions while some just strike you. For Niranjan Rao, co-founder of WeOwn.in and an ex-employee of IBM, the idea of selling things that can be owned jointly dawned upon him when he was having a casual chat with his friends. He explains the inception of the idea in his own words, “One of my friends wanted to own a Harley Davidson Bike. He could not afford it. So I laughed away saying that we friends can own it with everybody chipping in some money and will use them according to our investment. At that time, I had no idea that this could be my potential business in future.”
Holding an engineering degree in metallurgy and PGDM in Marketing, Niranjan co-founded Weown.in in January 2012 with Prasad G M, previously at GE and Raju K, an experienced technocrat. Niranjan explains his business idea in his own words, “Weown.in encourages people to buy in groups, thereby better leveraging their purchasing power. Unlike a deal site or any other group buying site, users are not forced to buy what 'we sell', but choose their own product/ service and their preferred ‘vendor’." Weown.in.in then negotiates with the seller on the user’s behalf.
WeOwn also helps the users with complex legal formalities. Presently they offer services for Farm House, group apartment and resort booking or any kind of gadget that comes with a huge price and limited usage e.g. gaming consoles or cricket bowling machines. The services of the firm, as of now are limited to buy in Kochi and Bangalore. Any user interested in buying a home or farmhouse can post his ad on the site.
Speaking about the USP of Weown.in, Niranjan says, “We have tied up with very upscale builders and resorts. On group booking in apartments we offer discounts upto almost 10%. Ramada resort, Cochin gives 50 % discounts when the bookings are through us. We have affiliated with Y3 and vineyard resorts, the finest in its category.”
The marketing strategy of the start up lies in targeting the segment of 25 - 45 year working professionals as Bangalore boasts of it in high numbers. Niranjan explains the revenue model, “We have talked terms for almost 16 transactions and our revenue by March will touch almost 2 Lakhs. Cash comes through the commission paid by the builders i.e. sellers. Targeted Ads is also a potential source of revenue. We do not charge the buyer." Currently a 7 member team, WeOwn sees themselves providing services in 10 Indian cities in the next 3 years and drop anchor at district headquarters in 5 years time with a ‘click and mortar’ model.