Social commerce app myBataz brings brands and consumers together to appreciate, shop, and keep up with fashion leveraging AI.
At a Glance
Founder: Sormy Curpen
Year it was founded: 2017
Where it is located: Bengaluru
The problem it solves: Connecting brands with consumers
Funding raised: Bootstrapped
Imagine a scenario where your friend posts a picture of herself online, and in love with her top, you want the very same, but don’t have to spend hours looking for it online. One click takes you to the relevant ecommerce marketplace that sells the top, a few clicks to select colour, size and to pay, and the top is on its way home.
Ideal scenario, most would say, easily possible, myBataz says.
The Artificial Intelligence-based social media platform brings together fashion bloggers, brands, and anyone interested in fashion to share photographs, relevant content, and connect with brands and marketplaces to enable easy shopping.
The AI helps to integrate the user data and helps fashion and lifestyle brands to make smarter decisions with performance marketing capabilities enabled with multiple engagement points from consumers.
The Bengaluru-based startup was launched in December 2017 by Sormy Curpen, who hails from Mauritius. It is available on Android at present, and will also be available on iOS in the coming few weeks. Sormy started with an initial investment of $30,000, and received funding from Angel investors of about $250,000.
“Our objective is to maximise brand awareness and product exposure leading to a mutually beneficial relationship between consumers and the brands they love. This creates real engagement around brands, which is highly targeted towards authentic users.”
On why he chose to start up in India, Sormy says, “With 430 million active mobile internet users, 230 million active social media users, and 110 million people invested in fashion and shopping, clubbed with the fastest growth of internet users in the last five years made India my pick.”
His next stop will be South East Asia next year, followed by Europe and the US.
That India, right now, is at a peak when it comes to fashion and lifestyle tech, is easily accessible, and has the best tech resources to figure out a minimum viable product also played a part in Sormy’s decision to start out here. “Diverse demographics help test out various market complexities and make India a good platform to launch. Also, there is a great push from the Indian government for startups.”
Sormy is based out of Luxembourg, and hence, connecting with his team in India given the time difference is a challenge. He overcame this with working odd hours for the first 10 months. Another challenge was managing Indian vendors, but that was ironed out once he had a team in India.
Bataz is a Creole word from Mauritius, which translates to ‘you look good’. “This is a Creole slang for teasing friends and people. Depending on how you say it, you might get a smile or a slap," says Sormy.
The myBataz app is targeted at those in the age group of 18-40 those who are fashion conscious, regularly seek advice from their friends and networks, and are happy to flaunt their brand preferences.
People in this age group are also open to copy or emulate a style seen on a celebrity and while are happy with discounts, are not budget shoppers.
The myBataz app, thus, also offers content on fashion tips, celebrity styles, fashion trends, dressing advice based on weather, and a host of other suggestions about shopping, and some gossip. Daily contests drive engagement, as does people tagging brands in their photographs.
The app has garnered over 3 lakh users in the last five months, of which nearly 2.3 lakh are active users. Based on the user activity on the app, Sormy has interesting insights to share.
myBataz currently has three brands on board, while several others are under a pilot programme. Brands can sign up on myBataz for $300 per month for a brand video, blog posts and some customer-centric engagements.
“We also offer brands a customisable dashboard to help them see things that are important for the brands and to display their ads on myBataz for highly relevant and target audience.”
myBataz allows one to buy items they see on the app, either promoted by brands or by people on their feed. It has tied up with Amazon, and will soon be linking with other brands as well. “The response has been great, and in one week we got almost 100 sales, and we hope to keep the momentum going.”
The company’s team comprises 13 people, eight in tech and five in content, video production, and marketing. All the tech has been developed in-house.
While platforms like Roposo and Wooplr started with a similar model, both could not make money and had to pivot. On this, Sormy says, “We are already making some money with ads by producing 200,000 page views per month, and we hope to be profitable in the last quarter of 2019. With our digital fashion interface, the platform can penetrate any market and build a big pool of consumers in a space of a few weeks at the lowest cost. We eliminate cash burn due to our engagement channels.”
Sormy says myBataz is driven by data and focusses on brands by building an ecosystem around them. “We capture the customer data within the whole ecosystem on one platform and provide brands with a very transparent data-driven platform to interact with the user on a single platform across the ecosystem with the offline channels.”