In India, there are plenty of apps that can help you find a new place to eat, yet there are new ones coming up every day. Clozerr is one such new entrant.
KR Rahul, Founder and CEO of Clozerr, confesses he was always a foodie who liked checking out new restaurants whenever he could. He also wanted to be rewarded for his loyalty to the restaurants that he frequented. His pocket would bulge from loyalty punch cards.He had subscribed to many Groupon deals in his quest to test new restaurants. He also used apps like Zomato to find nearby restaurants, FoodPanda to order food, Dineout to book a table and yet another app to make a cashless payment. It had reached a point where it was becoming tedious to juggle so many apps. That was when Rahul set out to build a single app that would bundle all the apps he had been using. And that was how Clozerr was born seven months back.
Clozerr is a bootstrapped startup that is being incubated at the newly started IIT-Madras program called ‘Nirmaan’. The college has been supporting Clozerr in terms of mentorship, space, mini seed fund and even helping it to build networks. They will even be looking at raising a seed round soon.
Rahul describes Clozerr as “a single app to store all the loyalty cards of your favorite restaurants.” He explains that it also seamlessly helps you get rewarded every time you visit a restaurant with a single tap. It helps users discover new restaurants and even rewards them on subsequent visits. As of now, Clozerr is focusing only on restaurants but in the near future it aims to add to the platform verticals like spas, salons, boutiques and any other SMBs. Clozerr aims to be the complete customer engagement and retention platform for SMBs where users will be able to book a table, order food and chat with restaurants to make inquiries and make cashless payments.
“We are B2B as well as B2C. The restaurants on our platform are our real customers. Initially we had to approach various restaurants in Chennai and explain how Clozerr could add value to their business in terms of understanding customers better. Now, it has become easier to get new restaurants on board,” Rahul says.
“Our USP is that we capture the transaction details of every user in the most seamless way. This helps us analyse and understand personal details about the user, for instance what is his/her favorite cuisine or dish; what is his/her average spend. This helps us in making intelligent recommendations to the users and also helps restaurants understand their customers better than ever before. We want the SMBs to leverage the Big Data to optimize their businesses,” he explains.
Building the team
Rahul was a third year BTech undergrad from IIT-M. He had previously dabbled with a startup that did paper cut advertising. It didn’t have a good team and the idea couldn’t scale so he had to shut it down. At Clozerr, however, the team has grown. It now has14 members, out of which six are who are core members. These include Rahul, Sai Praveen, Sreyas Mohan, Krishna Kireeti, Darisa Rohith and Guruprasad.
Rahul says his experience taught him that the team was as important, or even more important than the idea itself.“This timeI spent many months meeting students on campus and handpicking the team. As the publicity head of C-TIDES, the E-Cell of IIT-M, I had better access to the right set of students who were interested in working/joining a startup.”
Making SMS work for SME
“We have partnered with 20 restaurants in Chennai; by next month we’ll be touching 50 restaurants on our platform. We haven’t been rejected by a single restaurant, the reason being we spent months researching what actually makes sense for businesses. Hence what we have built is the simplest platform - both at the users’ end as well as the business owners’ end. Also, unlike most of the other loyalty solution providers our platform doesn’t require businesses to have any extra hardware like iPads or QR readers. Clozerr works if businesses have a PC with internet and for the businesses without a PC/internet, there is an SMS based model too, which is also very efficient,” Rahul informs.
Google Playstore shows an app install of 100-500 for Clozerr. The team has started doing campaigns in various colleges and spreading it out to a larger audience in the city. “The restaurants publicize us as their loyalty rewards partner, who in turn make their customers try out the app. We are looking to touch 3000 users in Chennai by the end of this month,” Rahul smiles.
The entire team at Clozerr comprises IIT-Madras students. Not only are they handling the startup, they are also managing their academics along with it. If they successfully clear two round of funding, through Nirmaan incubation the college will potentially convert their participation into a three-credit free elective to ease their academic burden. The college also gives Rs1 lakh to the best two teams is a bid to promote student entrepreneurship.
The space that Clozerr is entering is dominated by heavyweight like Zomato, Foodpanda, JustEat, BookYourTable etc.They have to do a lot of convincing to be treated as a contender in a seemingly saturated market; however they are ready for hard work.
If you are in Chennai and have used the app. We’d like to hear from you.