Trell’s Pulkit Agarwal sheds light on why he decided to focus on the $3.4T social commerce opportunity
The advent of Jio, which made internet available at low prices, gave social commerce a fillip in India. Thousands of users from Tier II and Tier III towns went online and gave Meesho, now a unicorn, GlowRoad, and Shop 101 (acquired by adtech platform Glance) their customer base.
The pandemic accelerated internet usage even further, bringing more users online and driving legacy and new-age brands to advertise themselves. Trell, a content-based social commerce platform that was founded in 2017, was in the right place, at the right time to tap the $3.4 trillion social commerce opportunity.
“When we started back in the day, the thought was not to create a social commerce app. Around that time, the content on the internet was not very relatable for local consumers,” said Pulkit Agrawal, Co-founder and CEO, Trell, at TechSparks 2021, YourStory’s flagship startup-tech conference.
In those days if someone would look for products to buy and wear, most influencers giving suggestions would not be local, which means their recommendations would also not be relevant in the local context, he added.
Pulkit Agrawal at Techsparks 2021
Creating a community
"We noticed content creators coming up from various regions, speaking local languages, and becoming storytellers. We also saw a lot of consumers commenting on posts, asking where they could buy a particular kurti from or where they could buy hiking gear from in India?” he said.
“That’s where the idea for Trell came into the picture. We wanted to create a community where people could come and interact about their passion and interests, and inspire someone like you and me to dress up, choose our food, or cook,” he adds.
Founded by Pulkit, Arun Lodhi, Prashant Sachan, and Bimal Rebba, the app, which belongs to the first cohort of regional language social media apps, focuses on four key aspects — discover, create, share, and shop.
The firm recently raised funds from fast-fashion brand H&M and Mirae Asset Ventures, among others, and is partnering with many legacy as well as new-age brands. Trell also launched ecommerce in the beauty and personal care, and fashion and apparel categories.
“At Trell, you would see both legacy and D2C brands come together as consumers have come online,” Pulkit said.
The firm has also launched a brand accelerator programme, supporting D2C brands and scaling them up. This helps them integrate brands in their app very early on.
The soonicorn – likely to be valued at $800 million after a reported $100 million funding round goes through – is eyeing a bigger slice of the social commerce pie.
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