After his first startup closed in 3 months, this entrepreneur used the lessons learnt to start up again
Last year, when Sourav Karmakar’s hyper-local delivery startup Happy2Deliver got shut down within three months of operation, he took a close look at consumer behaviour in the market. One of the key traits that came to his notice was that, be it good or bad, consumers share experiences of the product via photos on social media and any problems get addressed by the company in return.
By sharing millions of photos everyday for every checkin at a cafe/restaurants/hotel, customers unknowingly drive huge amounts of marketing activity for a brand. The cost of customer acquisition usually consumes a large percentage of a brand’s overall budget.
Sourav thought of converting these daily activities of the consumer into a rewarding experience by creating a platform where users can promote a brand and get rewarded in the form of free products and discounts. And that’s how the idea of TrendieApp came about, resulting in a launch in June this year.
In an era of technology and social media, where everyday, 300 million photos are being shared, TrendieApp has the right value proposition for brands and users to engage, share and benefit each other by creating and sharing branded content in the form of photos and selfies,” says Sourav (25).
Sourav completed his B.Tech in Computer Science from BPPIMT, Kolkata. In 2012, he started SASLAB Technologies, a venture in the cyber security space, from which he quit due to a skirmish with his co-founders. In 2015, Sourav started up again with Happy2Deliver..
Idea to execution
Sourav, in January this year, pitched the idea of TrendieApp to Harsh Vardhan Hada of Indian Angel Network and raised a $50,000 seed fund. Apart from infusing funds, Harsh also guided the venture with various inputs on creating an MVP (minimum viable product) to launch the alpha product. Sourav claimed that TrendieApp witnessed more than 1,000 sign ups on the first day of its launch.
Initially, brands and merchants misinterpreted TrendieApp as another deal platform and were very reluctant to deploy the technology. Therefore, we started giving out a one month free trial, bearing all costs for setup and marketing, just to prove the model, which in return gave us more than 20 brands and 90 outlets within two months of starting operations,” says Sourav.
Functionality of the app
TrendieApp facilitates users with a dashboard that enables them to view reward details according to location, trending and popular choices. Users can also view the Trendfeed, which contains all the photos being shared by other users, including features such as the ‘like’ facility and the ‘try this campaign’ feature. There is also a rewards tab, which lists the history of a user’s participation in various campaigns and the rewards earned.
Traction and Revenues
Since the launch of the app, TrendieApp has onboarded 20 brands, including Zoom Car, WoW MoMo, OYO Rooms and BookmyShow. Currently, the startup is seeing around 1,500-2,000 redemptions on reward points earned, with a 70 percent rate of repeat customers.
TrendieApp has 5,000 users and 1,700 monthly active users across Android and iOS, with 10,000 pictures uploaded so far.
Currently at a pre-revenue stage, TrendieApp is looking to generate revenue through a monthly subscription fee from brands, advertisements, sponsored filters and analytics-based campaigns for big brands. The startup is also working on 'dynamics filters', and is planning to launch a video feature within the next six to eight months.
Registered in Singapore and present in Kolkata, TrendieApp has a team of eight members, and is planning to expand to Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Delhi within eight to ten months.
Working on a model similar to that of TrendieApp, Chandigarh-based Buck Apps enables users to win rewards by uploading the bills of restaurants. The app discovers nearby stores and incentivises the customers’ activities.
Gurgaon-based Crown-it lets customers collect crowns from local businesses in the form of cashbacks, allowing them to redeem goodies like goods to be purchased online, movie tickets and phone talk time. With Gurgaon-based Magicpin, students can post selfies taken in a local shop and submit a photo of the bill on the app, after which, reward points reflect on the app, which later can be redeemed in small retail businesses.