Startup

Grabstr: India’s first platform to give away free goodies, minus those sneaky *T&C

Binjal Shah
15th Mar 2016
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More than any other symbol, our generation has come to fear the dark powers of the asterisk sign on offers. Nothing ever pans out as it appears – and certainly, nothing comes free. As a kid, I learnt that Kaun Banega Crorepati is in fact, Kaun Banega 70 lakh pati. As an adult, I realised that availing any offer probably requires you to go cowabunga off a cliff yelling the brand’s name loud enough for the entire population of the valley to hear. And once the e-coupon age set in, absurd offers like “spend an obscene amount to buy this deal to maybe win a free meal,” would fill my screen. All this drove us to go sniffing for the dead rat in practically every deal we encountered. It also prompted three 25-year-olds to build a brand to kill this dead rat.

Founders of Grabstr YourStory
L to R: Ankit Moorjani, Adit Dave and Rohit Lala

Millennials helping millennials

Started by three childhood school friends Rohit Lala, Ankit Moorjani and Adit Dave, who have been friends for more than 15 years, Grabstr is India’s first credible giveaway platform where users win free stuff - no strings attached. The trio hadalways wanted to build a brand that today’s youth could relate to and would associate with on a regular basis.

CFA and IT Engineer, Rohit was working with Deloitte, where his electric engineer friend Ankit also worked for a while, in addition to completing a stint at J.P. Morgan. Adit on the other hand, came from a pure finance background with previous experience at PwC and Total Sports Asia. Their childhood chemistry, friendship, and shared ambition not only reassured them while taking the plunge together, but has been the key reason for their successful partnership so far.

As every e-comm portal resorts to deals-and discounts-based marketing activities, brands are always scouting for new and innovative ways to cut through the clutter and stand out. Grabstr engineered the perfect hack. “Distributing free stuff isn't an acquisition strategy for us, it is our business model. Many companies run gimmicks to lure customers but Grabstr is the only app that has derived a business model out of distributing free stuff and, in turn, benefit the user directly. We saw a lot of apps doing cash back andcoupons, but there wasn’t a single app, whose model was to give away free stuff. That’s how the idea struck,” says Rohit, Founder and CEO at Grabstr.

Grabstr app interface yourstory
Grabstr pp interface

It is all aboutGiveaway’ and take

Their business model is running simple lucky draws or “giveaways” on their app every week, for winning free products or services from their partner brands. The way to sign up for each lucky draw is by watching a short 15-second video of the brand in question. These giveaways range from fashion merchandise to restaurant vouchers, from electronics to entertainment passes, from spa and salon sessions to mobile recharges. “Our model allows a brand the flexibility to advertise itself, and its products and services, the way they want,to increase its social footprint, brand awareness and visibility, and ultimately reach out to new potential customers. We believe we have struck the right chord between consumers and brands. It’s a win-win situation,” says Rohit.

Every Monday at 12 am, a new set of giveaways starts. One can apply to one out of three lucky draws at any time in the week, and winners are declared every Sunday evening on the app itself. You can change your mind throughout the week, but the choice that’s registered on Sunday evening determines your final entry.

The platform scales the quantity of the giveaway with the value of the product. Users can select Tier I prizes valued between Rs 10-100 –recharges, 3D printed glasses–that they have 50-80per centchance of winning, by virtue of how many are up for grabs. The second tier includes more attractive prizes valued between Rs 200- 500 –beers, meals, movie tickets, passes to entertainment venues,– and users have a 10-30 per cent chance of winning. Users who feel especially lucky can go for the third tier grand prizes –fashion accessories, headphones, spa vouchers–valued between Rs. 500-5,000, but they only have a 1-10 per cent chance of winning those.

The app also lets them double their chances by sharing the selected giveaway on Facebook. Lightning may never strike the same place twice, but you can win a Grabstr any number of times, as long as you keep applying.

Grabstr winners Yourstory
This bunch snagged free tickets to the Comicon with Grabstr

Who’s feelin’ lucky?

Grabstr's revenue model is to charge brands for running the weekly giveaway campaign.“Our largely millennial audience gladly watches short ads for the chance to claim free gifts.We sell views not impressions. Thus, the primary revenue is through advertisement.Currently present in Mumbai, they have roped in more than 75 brands from verticals like F&B, e-commerce, salons &spas and entertainmentvenues, all of which cater to their millennial audience.

“In the next few months, we will add daily and monthly video campaigns for brands, and increase the giveaways with more products in the form of daily and monthly draws,” says Rohit.

With 21,000 app downloads in five months and a 20 per cent growth rate every week, Grabstr has distributed prizes worth Rs. 6,00,000 to over 6,000 users.

"Since we have built a credible platform for freebies by gaining the trust of users, it has resulted in strong word of mouth, which helps us keep our acquisition costs very low. Users come back and apply for giveaways week after week. Thus, the stickiness remains and cost of user retention is negligible,” explains Rohit.

Reward apps are really picking up in India, but Grabstr is the first of its kind giveaway application here. An app called Claim it is their counterpart in USA.

Currently bootstrapped, the trio is now looking to raise a round of funding. Scaling up entails making the user experience even better by distributing even more free stuff over the week. Grabstr is also looking to share its love beyond Mumbai, soon.

Their website

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