How the paths of two curious minds coincided to start up Wallet Circle

3rd Sep 2013
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Neetesh Gupta and Manas Abhichandani
Neetesh Gupta and Manas Abhichandani

Neetesh Gupta and Manas Abichandani were on two different journeys which wouldn’t have coincided had it not been for another one of those quirky little tricks of the universe.

Neetesh, an alumnus of IIT Kharagpur was always an inspired student. His involvement as the founding member of Space Tech and Astronomy Club at college were early signs of the entrepreneurial bent. He also developed a Facebook application for final years to sell their second-hand stuff within the college campus community, which got more than 1000+ registered users within just 1 month, testimony to the fact that the entrepreneurial inclination was rooted in practicality. He had joined Cisco but the entrepreneurial bug turned out to be a persistent one.

On a different road, Manas Abichandani was the typical Indian boy with a lucrative job in USA. Manas did his MS in Computer Science from NCSU and worked with Qualcomm, San Diego office for 3 years. While working in San Diego, he witnessed the wave of startup culture and met people who were latched on to fascinating challenges. He worked on an idea at the in-house incubator at Qualcomm but harboured this desire to come back to India because of the opportunities it held. And that he did.

Both of them were playing in the startup field now. Participating in various hackathons and other startup events, they were both trying out their hand with a couple of ideas until they met each other via a common friend. They both shared their ideas and visions aligned. And thus was born Wallet Circle. Manas brought with him hustling skills of a marketer and Neetesh is the technical firepower.

On the face of it, Wallet Circle is a mobile-based loyalty product which helps restaurants and cafes to increase customer retention. There are other players in the space who’re trying to do this (Againn, MintM, Pointshelf, Forysta, etc.), but Wallet Circle is trying to differentiate on two counts:

- Phone number based loyalty program: There is a huge dependency on restaurant staff to market the loyalty program, which requires staff training and becomes cumbersome.

- Check-in based apps: There is no trigger for users to check in to a place to get rewards.

With Wallet Circle, there is no staff training required as they give full control to customer. The QR code on receipt acts as a marketing tool to get customer eyeballs and reminds them to scan the code.

“We did our digging by talking to many restaurant owners about their problems and we realised that for the restaurants, retaining and growing their customers is a very big challenge. This is what we’ll be solving,” says Manas. Wallet Circle launched with a pilot phase in June this year and have crossed 1,000 transactions. Wallet Circle is a plug-n-play software which starts printing a unique QR and SMS code at the bottom of the receipt, customers just need to scan or SMS this code to earn rewards which they can redeem on their next visit.

“Our partner restaurants have seen great customer retention and increase in sales of about 5-7%. Also our users have saved Rs 20,000 till date by using our product. We just crossed 1,000 transactions with more than 400 virtual loyalty cards generated and around 350 reward redemption,” informs Manas.

Based out of Delhi, the duo is bootstrapping as of now and is talking with investors to raise a seed round. The ambition is to expand across Asia and the roadmap is being set with that in mind. On the immediate road ahead, one key feature which is under development is integration with iPhone Passbook app, which we will be launching in coming weeks.

Check out Wallet Circle

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