tag8 does not disclose the owner’s identity and takes care of the return logistics. The app allows owners to broadcast the loss of an item to other registered tag8 users.
What if someone were to return a valuable item you had lost, also bringing back the smile to your face?
Sanjay Chakrabarti and Alok Sheth conducted extensive research to understand which valuables are most often lost, the available global solutions at various cost points, and their effectiveness. This led to the birth of tag8, claimed to be India’s first comprehensive lost-and-found service, in January 2015.
The duo that brings a cumulative experience of 35 years in the consulting profession then worked hard on turning tag8 into an economically viable model.
“The problem statement was evident — in today’s fast-paced life, it’s common to lose valuables. The sense of loss is greater if there are memories, emotions, sentiments, and hard work associated with the valuables or the loss leaves you totally stranded, as in the case of losing a passport in a foreign country,” says, Sanjay (48), a chartered accountant who spent 18 years working with EY and Arthur Andersen.
Alok was a career management consultant who started with LEK/Universal Consulting and thereafter moved to EY. He is a BTech and an MBA from the University of Mumbai.
Until now, both of them have been utilising their own money for the venture, which, Sanjay jokes, is a “collateral benefit of starting your venture in your late 30s/early 40s.”
Despite addressing a problem we are all plagued by, it was not easy to make people understand the value proposition and how the solution would work. They didn’t have an existing market available to them.
One needs to buy the tags from the startup and attach them to valuable items, which will then automatically connect to the global lost recovery network. The tag comprises 24 x 7 lost-and-found customer support, multilingual reward message, owner ID, and website address. The finder will be rewarded by tag8 on returning the item. The startup claimed 80 percent return rate in many categories of valuables.
Owners of items can interact with the professional tag8 setup and do not have to deal with finders. The startup does not disclose the owner’s identity and takes care of the return logistics. The tag8 app allows owners to broadcast the loss of an item to other registered tag8 users. The android mobile app enables the owner to mark the location where the valuable is suspected to be lost, which will be immediately communicated to the tag8 network members in that location.
For pickup and drop, tag8 has tied up with FedEx, DHL, and Blue Dart. Users can report the lost-and-found cases 24x7 through the tag8 call centre, which supports multiple languages to communicate with the finder. The returns so far have been received from varied sources like cabs, bus stops, airports, cafes, food stalls, and parking lots.
“tag8 has produced over 0.5 million security tags securing corporate as well as individual valuables including mobile phones, laptops, cameras, passports, luggage, bags, keys, legal documents, and even pets,” says Sanjay.
tag8 ensures the pickup of the found valuable from the finder’s doorstep and has it delivered to the address listed by the owner. In the case of passports, if tag8 is unable to facilitate a return, it reimburses the owner the cost of obtaining a new one.
tag8’s revenue model is based on the sales of tags through various channels — offline (Shoppers Stop, pan-India airport stores), online retail (Amazon, Flipkart), corporate gift stores (EY), insurance (ICICI Lombard), brands (OPIUM Eyewear) and corporate assets (Vodafone, Housing.com, Mahindra Susten, CarDekho, Omniactive, Indofil).
The corporate tie-ups work on two broad models. One is the lost-and-found solution and the other is lost-and-found coupled with fixed asset management.
In the lost-and-found solution, tag8 sells tags to companies, who in turn offer them to their customers. ICICI Lombard offers passport security tags to every customer that purchases their travel policy. OPIUM Eyewear offers the eyewear security tag with every piece of eyewear sold.
In the lost-and-found coupled with fixed asset management segment, in addition to the asset security tags, tag8 provides corporates a mobility solution to manage their fixed assets. In this case, in addition to selling tags, tag8 also receives a monthly fee for the access to its mobility platform.
The retail price of tags ranges from Rs 249–500. They have started their commercial run in November 2016 and since then more than 0.5 million tags have been sold. The mobile app launched two months ago has seen 100 downloads.
Based out of Mumbai, tag8 has a team of six people including the founders. Beyond the core team, they have technology partnerships with IT professionals based out of Kolkata.
“We anticipate closing this year slightly below a $1 million in revenue,” says Sanjay.
In a bid to grow both online and offline, tag8 is planning to partner with several travel-related portals (to secure travellers' valuables) as channel partners and expand to other Shoppers Stop stores across India. By the end of this financial year, their target is to reach one million tags.