As appeared in Economic Times on 12 Nov 2012, By Rashi Varshney
Come festive season and it is time to exchange gifts. Kumar Sudarsan and T P Pratap — who were collegemates in BITS-Pilani — capitalised on this demand and launched Woohoo.in, an integrated online portal for gift cards. In an interview with ET, both of them talk about Diwali season being the best time for business, and Koramangala’s role in their success. Edited excerpts:
What is Woohoo?
Woohoo.in is an e-commerce portal. It is an integrated online mega mall for gift cards. We started it on Diwali last year under our company called QwikCilver Solutions. Our founding team has experience in technology development, retail, marketing and research. Investments subsequently have been raised from Helion and Accel, two leading VC funds. The concept was born in the office of QwikCilver Solutions, Koramangala, adjacent to Jyoti Nivas College. This area has a vibrant presence and stimulates individuals looking to make a difference in some small way to some aspect of our living.
What was the rationale behind the idea?
A combination of inherent consumer research, gaps in the market for such consumer needs; and feedback from brand partners to launch such a portal gave the venture impetus. Our research studies showed that consumers have increasingly started to prefer to give gift cards to their near and dear ones. There was a need in the market for a player to offer a consolidated platform of consumers, corporate and retail brands for the prepaid and gift card category in India.
What is the scope and prospects?
The category for gift cards is growing significantly in India. This phenomenon has scaled up from across Bangalore initially — to now support consumers across more than 250 towns and cities of India. Consumer studies and data reflect that this category growth is more than 200 percent year on year. The prepaid category has the potential to grow to 10 percent of a large retailer’s topline. From another perspective, this category is estimated at Rs 1,800 crore annually.
What is Woohoo’s business model?
By leveraging our QwikCilver technology platform, we have integrated directly to the Billing POS of our partner brands at their brand stores. This enables consumers to get the same gifting experience for gift cards on Woohoo.in as they would get at the brand stores. The model works on a combination of transaction fees for providing the technology for gift cards, promotional cards, social media program management; distribution margins on sales delivered for brands gift cards and vouchers; retainer fees for managing gift card programs for brands at their exclusive stores and portals; fees for card design and card procurement.
How important is Koramangala?
The advantage of Koramangala as a launch pad is that residents here have been exposed to the concept of Gift Cards globally. Being based in Koramangala, we have focused on the Bangalore consumers and the corporate sector in the first phase. Koramangala, Indiranagar and HSR Layout has this diverse, eclectic consumer base of well-travelled individuals. Woohoo focused on the clients in Bangalore market since its inception. As the founding team has lived and was based in Koramangala and Indiranagar, we focused on this market.
Our efforts have helped in our business getting signed and deployed by most of the leading stores in Koramangala such as, PVR-Forum Mall, Landmark Stores-Forum Mall, Shoppers Stop in Koramangala, World of Titan stores, Flipkart, Fastrack Outlets, Helios Outlet, Peter England, Van Heusen, Cafe Coffee Day, Titan Eye Plus Outlets, Louise Philippe, Arrow, Raymond, Puma, Nike, Printo, YLG Salons etc.