WeddingWishlist, a Chennai-based wedding gift registry portal, has raised $297K (INR 2 crore) in a seed round of funding. The investment was led by Facebook India MD Kirthiga Reddy, Multiples Equity founder Renuka Ramanath and CherryTin among others.
With the raised funds, the company targets to reach a milestone of 500 wishlists in a year. It further plans to scale its operations pan-India and to launch its mobile app in the next few months. The company has also placed on its radar the next round of funding later this year.
WeddingWishlist was founded four months ago by Kanika Subbiah. Her husband, Vellayan Subbiah is a member of the Murugappa family, which doesn’t have too many women members in the INR 30,000 crore business group. Vellayan Subbiah is the MD of Cholamandalam Investment and Finance Company Ltd, the group’s NBFC arm.
The startup has been launched following the footsteps of the online wedding gift registry system in the West. The idea was born when a friend shared her experience of receiving irrelevant and duplicate gifts at her wedding, an experience most newlyweds in India will relate to. It is currently working with a team of 20.
With Wedding Wishlist, the prospective couples can make a Wishlist and share the gift preferences with their near and dear ones or anyone whom they are comfortable with including friends, family and colleagues. Gifts chosen by the couple typically range in prices, so that guests can buy any gift from the couple’s wish list that fits into their budget. Guests can even give a gift as a group.
“This way, the couple receives gifts that are relevant to their married life. And guests can be certain that their gift is meaningful and cherished by the couple. Overall, it reduces waste, discourages recycling of gifts, and ensures that the considerable money spent on gifts is spent well,” said Kanika.
The startup follows the marketplace model and works on commissions with each one of its partners. It offers services across cities like Pune, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Ludhiana, and Amritsar.
It is also working towards collaborating with charitable institutions where, couples who do not wish to accept gifts have an opportunity to encourage their guests to donate towards a charitable cause close to their heart.
The company also plans to rope in new partners across categories including ‘Products’ & Experiences’ which includes travel getaways and honeymoons tailormade for the couple by travel experts.
India celebrates as many as 10 Mn weddings per year, and spends a conservative INR 2 lakh on an average on gifts for the couple. That’s an annual spend of INR 2 lakh crore. Surveys conducted with couples and their families indicate that 90 per cent of non-cash gifts given at weddings are useless and therefore wasted – an estimated INR 90,000 crore.
“The concept in itself is the biggest USP and driving force, considering there has been no attempt in the wedding gifting space in India so far,” says Subbiah.
Another similar portal is ‘ForMyShaadi.com‘, which is not just a gift store, but also an e-registry website. It lets user browse through a range of gifts for couples and has signed on over 60 brands, and claims to gain about 3,000 unique hits each month on its website.