Priyanka Gill is an experienced lifestyle journalist with a flair for fashion while Namrata Bostrom has a background in management consulting with an inclination towards marketing, branding and fashion. Both were looking out to startup in the digital lifestyle website space for women and it was in late 2012 when they were introduced via a mutual friend and advisor Hussein Kkanji. He is now an investor along with Google India Head Rajan Anandan, CaratLane's Mithun Sancheti (via Chennai Angels) and others in this 7 month old venture POPxo.com. It is a digital lifestlye website focused on women and has just raised INR 3 crores to ramp up operations.
Talking about starting up, Priyanka tells us, "The glossies were focused only on print and there were only a handful of digital-first content websites that explicitly spoke to the young urban indian women. And these women live their lives on social media and on their mobiles. We decided to create content that reached women where were they were, and so we started POPxo." What does the name mean? In their words- It’s about POP culture, it’s POPular, it’s fun, dynamic and energetic - all that the modern Indian woman needs. And it’s brought to them with love - xoxo!
One might cringe when you see articles like "10 Promises all males should make to their partners" or "11 weird facts you didn't know about your hair" but there is a market for it. POPxo has crossed more than a million users in 7 months of its existence and gets more than 4 million pageviews monthly. The market is also promising with 60 million Indian women online growing at more than 50% y-o-y. By 2020, there will be close to 300 million women online.
"We talk about stuff that is real - and what women in India struggle with or are looking for in their daily lives. When we write about fashion and beauty, it’s not just about luxe products and looking good. It’s about things like affordable styling tips for the average hard-working, constantly stretched Indian woman, effective DIY home remedies for slightly embarrassing beauty problems, about feminine hygiene and health," says Priyanka. And they're very particular about tracking numbers- measuring everything from the performance of a Facebook post to the length, topic and style of every article.
POPxo is currently run by a team of 10 women based out of Delhi and Mumbai. This investment will give them more bandwidth to invest in team and technology. Over the next year, POPxo will roll out new formats, with a specific focus on mobile. Recent times have seen a flurry of investments in content driven websites. ScoopWhoop very recently raised an INR 10 crore round from BSB, MissMalini had previously raised from a bunch of angles (including Rajan Anandan), MensXP got acquired by Times Internet and all these companies had come up following the listicle based content model of BuzzFeed. Talking of this trend, Priyanka tells us,
The next battle being fought by e-commerce companies will be for customer loyalty. In our minds, it is going to be won by engaging customers with high-quality content that places products in context of how they could fit into the customers’ lives. Good content is the most effective means of curating products. It is a differentiating factor that encourages stickiness, especially in a price-conscious environment where the customer is after the cheapest bargain.
The space is really heating up and the media world is at a cusp of a shift. Content is being looked at in an entirely new fashion and world of journalism is also changing. Grab on to your seat belts and prepare for this ride!