Mumbai based O2O platform Appie, which helps consumers discover product availability and price from different offline retailers located in their vicinity, has raised $1 Mn in a bridge round of funding from three undisclosed investors, one from Mumbai and two from Europe. The proceeds will be used for the launch of the product, to create adequate traction in terms of business and strategic alliances and to build up a consumer base for seamless implementation of the business model.
Kartik Sanghavi, founder of Appie Mobiquity stated, “We at Appie are building a fairly evolved business model after taking into consideration the collective knowledge of our experienced team members as well as studying and understanding the nuances of consumer behaviour and how they love to shop. The recent capital infusion will enable us to launch and develop our brand and its other multi-dimensional aspects. It will also give us the bandwidth to reach out to our consumers more effectively. We are also actively discussing several strategic tie ups.”
The startup found in September 2014 by Kartik plans to acquire 10,000 retailers across Mumbai, Bangalore, and Delhi in the first year and close to half a million users. As an O2O platform, Appie aims to combine the benefits of online discovery and offline shopping and looks forward to expanding its retailer base to other cities to serve this end. Appie aims to leverage technology to connect almost 15 Mn retailers in India to the growing tribe of smartphone users who discover products online and yet shop offline.
However O2O has its own challenges as is evident by the recent decision of Mumbai based price comparison service Pricebaba which shut down its offline model as it failed to monetise despite creating business for retailers and managing to generate a lot of traction.
Startups who want to succeed in this space need to figure out how to tackle challenges such as local retailers not having requisite bandwidth to convert the consumer leads generated through the platform and problems in tracking conversions of enquiries through the platform.
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