[Tech50] This startup aims to meet the lifestyle needs of working professionals on a single platform

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YourStory's Tech50 2021 startup Blingg has launched a subscription-based privileges and commerce app, exclusively for working professionals. It has curated over 60 D2C brands, including Dunzo, Faasos, Lenskart, Ixigo, Box8, Pharmeasy, and has around 10,000 users, to date.
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For a long period of time, ‘subscription’ as a concept remained associated with newspapers, magazines and everyday dairy needs. However, companies today are leaving no stone unturned to lock customers, create brand loyalty and generate long-term revenues. Whether it’s Netflix, Spotify or Amazon, the subscription business model has become the norm. 

 

Tapping into this growing concept in India, Mumbai-based platform Blingg, which is among YourStory’s Tech50 2021 list of most promising startups, has launched a subscription-based privileges and commerce platform exclusively for working professionals in India. Founded by seasoned entrepreneur Sanil Jain, Blingg is catering to a niche market and offers curated products with an element of surprise attached. 

 Over the last six months, the startup has curated over 60 D2C or direct-to-consumer brands such as Dunzo, Faasos, Lenskart, Ixigo, Box8, Pharmeasy, 1MG, Cure.fit and managed to acquire 10,000-odd users. It has added subscribers from corporates such as Accenture, Wipro, Infosys, Deloitte and Amazon. 

 

The genesis

The seeds of Blingg were planted in Sanil’s head in 2019, while scaling his first startup CupShup. The seven-year-old startup operates in the offline advertising space and helps brands reach out to audiences by advertising on paper cups besides offering corporate branding, creative services and digital marketing services.

Having executed campaigns for over 150 brands including Upgrad, Dunzo, Wrogn, Grofers, Swiggy, Ola, OYO Rooms, Unilever, Amazon, Coke, Hotstar, and ZEE, Sanil decided it was time to start another venture with Blingg.

“As CupShup set off to become a popular corporate offline activation company, I was hit with the idea of my next venture. We wanted to create a digital community of working professionals and give them exciting rewards, offers, vouchers and freebies via D2C partner brands,” says Sanil.

The idea is a ‘win-win’ for both parties, he adds. While brands can acquire a high quality user base through trials and offers, users get access to new and exciting lifestyle products, Sanil explains.

Following a Beta version in 2020, the startup officially launched Blingg as a subscription-based app in April 2021.

Unlocking the ‘Blingg Box’ 

The app operates on a freemium and a premium model, where it offers a ‘Blingg box’ or a goodie box at a monthly subscription of Rs 99.

The users get to build their own goodie box by selecting upto five products worth Rs 300-450 (at no extra cost), delivered for free. The average value of a product ranges between Rs 80 and Rs 100. These are either samples or full size products given to the startup by its D2C brand partners. Users can get early access to services and beta access to upcoming products besides unlocking exclusive offers, vouchers, free trials and rewards.

From its partnership with over 60 brands, it has 40-odd products on offer, across categories such as food and beverages, beauty care, snacks, healthcare and wellness, and nutrition, among others. Blingg charges commission on transaction, ecommerce service, and subscription.

“In a way, we are introducing and launching new brands through our platform. We are at a very early stage and have a quality share of established and not so popular new brands. We have activated 10,000 users to date across different blue chip companies like Accenture, Wipro, Infosys, Deloitte, Amazon and Tech Mahindra and several startups.”

Targeting working professionals 

Launched as a subscription based privileges and commerce platform, Blingg is also a community in the making. Finding its niche in a subscription-based ecommerce space, the platform is exclusively targeting working professionals, as of now, to build a community and monetise on the same before it expands further.

“Though there are 20 crore online shoppers in India, about 4 crore of them are frequent buyers and we have filtered 2.5 crore (working professional) out of that because this audience has the disposable income. They spend recurrently on lifestyle and want to try out new exciting products. We couldn't figure out a single app that could solve their lifestyle needs.”

Growing traction of trial-based commerce 

Discovery and trial-based ecommerce platforms have been around for the past few years but are yet to take off in India. As of now, Smytten is the only established player in the market that targets premium and luxury brands to provide them with a targeted sampling strategy.

“There are dozens of unheard D2C brands launching every day. With so many options, consumers would like to try and then make a buy. This would increase the demand for trial-based ecommerce which is likely to reach $1 billion in next four years,” says Sanil. Overall, subscriptions are a booming trend and they’re not likely to slow down anytime soon.

Ecommerce integration 

The startup will soon be launching new subscription boxes such as Blingg Select and Blingg Premium. It is also looking to close a seed round soon and hit the target of acquiring 1,00,000 paid subscribers in the next 12-15 months.

Sanil stresses that the current focus remains on building a strong community and subsequently monetising.

“The aim is to become the one-stop destination for both new-age consumers and brands and connect both of them. We are building a community of users which every brand wants to target and engage with. Once the community is built, we will be in a much better position to provide feedback services, user insights, brand interaction and other.”

Bling’s secondary aim is to integrate ecommerce once the startup manages to acquire 1,00,000 subscribers.

“Consumer would be able to buy a product they have tried within the Blingg app itself. Ecommerce integration will become our largest revenue generator in the future. [sic]”

Edited by Ramarko Sengupta