Fundraising platform Let’s Venture, Srinubabu Gedela, CEO, OMICS International, Avinash Vashistha, founder, Tholons Capital, and Rajiv Mehta, CEO, Arvind Lifestyle also participated in the funding round. Post the investment, Avinash Vashishta and Srinubabu Gedela will join The BlueBook’s board of the Directors.
Founded in the year 2013 by Stanford alumni Varun Kumar Akula, Alok Medikepura Anil, and Reetika Reddy, The Bluebook provides discounts from city’s popular outlets with validity throughout the week. It does not require a prior booking to avail the service at the selected outlet. Launched as a discount voucher book in 2013, The BlueBook transitioned into a mobile app in Nov, 2015 and as per an official statement, is now growing at a rate of 40% M-o-M growth.
“The capital raised will be deployed in consolidating the merchant and user base in Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Gurugram, apart from investing on the product and technology to offer deep customer analytics, loyalty solution for merchants and unique payment solution. We aim to be present in all major metros in the next few quarters with our full stack solution,” said The BlueBook co-founder and CEO Varun Kumar Akula.
The Bluebook works with brands such as Biereclub, Brewsky, Naturals, Bodycraft, O2 Spa, with a foothold in Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Gurugram. For consumers, The BlueBook operates a subscription model where users can pay a monthly fee of INR 99 (under $1.5) to avail all the discounts at the city’s popular restaurants, bars, cafes, spa, wellness and entertainment outlets. The redemption at the outlet happens with a 4-digit pin authentication.
Talking about the funding, Varun added, “Our biggest achievement so far has been capturing market share with no marketing spend and on boarding the top merchants in cities we are present in.” The company claims to have been successful in being an advocate to both the customer and the merchant. Bluebook enters into year-long exclusive contracts with merchants and curates offers to drive new customers and incentivise them on multiple visits.
Commenting on the investment, Padmaja Ruparel, President, Indian Angel Network said, “We at IAN believe that BlueBook has global & compelling product with a potential to cater to a high growth market. We are confident that with the right mentorship and market access that IAN provides them, they will scale to become one of the largest brands in the O2O space.”
The startup’s business model and lean approach has helped it keep the customer acquisition cost low, while maintaining the merchant retention rate at a high 95%. The company also claims that 100% of the user base has been acquired organically through word-of-mouth and referrals and has helped more than 1,00,000 users save money while using services of more than 1200 merchants.
Talking about the company’s model, Shanti Mohan, founder, LetsVenture said, “BlueBook is a refreshingly smart venture in the O2O space – a space flooded by companies with high burn rates and questionable business models. BlueBook, in contrast, has been successful in creating both positive unit economics & scalability, making it a lucrative proposition for investors on the LetsVenture platform.”
Total food services & wellness market in India today stands at $60 Bn and has grown at 7.7 % since 2013. The share of organised market is currently 30% and is expected to grow to 35% by 2021. This translates to $18 Bn as of 2016 and is estimated to reach $32 Bn by 2021. As pet an official statement, The Bluebook is addressing a serviceable obtainable market of $300 Mn.
In April 2016, Gurugram-based mobile marketing & rewards platform, Skrilo raised $1.5 Mn (about INR 10 Cr) Seed funding from angel investors. In June 2016, Mumbai-based video advertising and app monetisation platform POKKT’s incentivised Android app, Pocket Money, was acquired by Adways Inc, Japan and Southeast Asia’s mobile marketing company for an undisclosed amount. In September 2016, customer engagement platform Codemojo raised an undisclosed investment from CIO Angel Network.