Founded by Mumbai-based Annkur Agarwal, PriceBaba.com is a shopping intelligence engine for buying mobile phones. The company has been funded by 500 startups along with other investors, and was also recently in news for the Android Ladoo campaign. Recently, PriceBaba announced availability of Local prices and availability from stores in Mumbai. This means that a person can figure out what the ongoing prices are at the stores around him on the internet itself. Along with this extended service in Mumbai, PriceBaba also opened up for Bangalore.
PriceBaba lists over 1,000 mobile phone models from over 20 manufacturers and gives consumers an option to find local shops to buy them across 6 cities. Here, we get in touch with the founder to learn more about how it was made possible.
YS: Getting local prices must have been an intensive task. How does the process work?
AA: We have been working on PriceBaba Local since over a year and are happy to roll out its availability for consumers in Mumbai. Consumers can now get accurate pricing and availability information from mobile phone shops in Mumbai.
We have developed a system that works with minimum human intervention. However, as everything in India, there is always a good amount of manual work too. I think, over time, we will get more automated. But, for now, we are focused on using technology to solve problems.
YS: Getting a bit finicky over here but isn't it possible that the retailer showing the highest price right now might eventually be the lowest after one goes and bargains?
AA: We always maintained that the element of bargaining would remain in the system. PriceBaba can provide a good bargain estimate to consumers. As retailers see more and more business flowing through PriceBaba, we are confident that they will give their best price upfront.
YS: You told me earlier how it is a long-term game, and how investors and others doubt the revenue-generating capacity. What gives you the confidence to keep going?
AA: There are two sets of investors, one who want us to play for 10 years and make big bucks, others who want to see transactions. We will leave that debate aside for today. The reason we keep going is feedback from our users. There is no other reason to continue.
YS:What is the difference in offering currently in Mumbai and the other cities?AA: In Mumbai, we are able to give live prices from local stores, whereas in other cities we are reliably able to point you to good stores and give an estimated bargaining price. As we pilot and develop a better PriceBaba in Mumbai, we will take those features to other cities too.
YS: Speaking optimistically, when do you expect to break even?
AA: If we were to go the affiliate and ads route, like other players in this industry, at current pace, by Jan 2014. I would hate it if we have to do that. We would ideally love to realise the full potential of PriceBaba as a product research engine. There is enough excitement in me for things we have conceptualised for the future. Just as kicked about it as we were on day 1 of PriceBaba!