As appeared in techinasia.com on 29 August 2015, by Nikita Peer.
Last diwali Ritwik Sharma’s employer gifted him a dinner set. Expensive cutlery. A nice gesture, but it’s the seventh dinner set he owns, so it’s destined to wind up in his storeroom. Shreya Momaya dreads weddings- not because she can’t decide what to wear, but because she suffers from “can’t decide what to gift” syndrome.
Bangalore-based Qwikcilver launched Woohoo, a gift card store aimed at solving this problem. Woohoo has partnered with brands from 400 cities to give the gift receiver a choice of buying from categories like kitchenware, apparel, and jewellery. The cards can also be redeemed for experiences like a trip to the movies, dining out, visiting a spa, or travel.
“Gift cards have emerged as the preferred gifting option for trendy and tech-savvy early adopters seeking novelty. Woohoo embodies all the joy, fresh vibrancy, and positive imagery needed for any gifting occasion,” says Qwikcilver co-founder Pratap TP.
Woohoo’s gift cards can be delivered to loved ones via SMS, email, or Whatsapp as well as physically.
The startup has partnered with 150 online and offline brands including Shoppers Stop, Lifestyle, Titan, Madura garments, Croma, Pizza Hut, Makemytrip, Flipkart, and Amazon. Woohoo says it will add 1,000 new brands in the next year. The goal is to offer enough variety that anyone can find something they want.
The gift cards can also be decorated using a variety of colourful templates and personalization options of photos, stickers, or messages to add a special tinge. There are occasions-based themes like birthdays and anniversaries or festival occasions like Diwali and Christmas.
The startup recently acquired Sourcen, a mobile technology developer. The deal was actually an acqui-hire of sorts that added a team of dozen mobile app developers who were instrumental in launching Woohoo.
Qwikcilver, a six-year-old startup, was founded by Pratap TP and Kumar Sudarshan, engineers from India’s premier institutes BITS-Pilani. Back then, gift cards as a consumer-driven business was non-existent in India. Qwikcilver initially focused on developing tech tools for providing stored-value-card solutions and gift cards to retail brands. With a flexible SaaS platform, the startup manages the entire gift card program for retailers including design, storage, and transactions pertaining to it.
“The biggest challenge was driving adoption at multiple levels – enterprise level, business unit level, cross functional level, and ultimately by the consumer,” says Pratap. “The excitement for a startup is only triggered by the complexity of the game on hand. The pavement pounding over the years and the confidence reposed in our platform and by our customers through the years has driven our mission,” he adds.
Qwikcilver is the first startup in India that’s backed by Amazon. Last year, the startup secured US$10 million in a funding round from Amazon and existing investors Helion Venture Partners and Accel Partners.
Qwikcilver claims it is the only player in the global arena that operates in an integrated manner – across offline and online brands, retailers, and corporates. The startup addresses a market that is handled by multiple players internationally – Ceridian SVS for physical card processing, Cashstar for digital card processing, Blackhawk and Incomm for distribution are some of the players in the international segments.
“We are doing what VISA and MasterCard have done for the credit card industry,” says Pratap.
Qwikcilver processes 50 million transactions across physical cards, digital cards, and mobile based engagements annually in India. It claims the annual gross value of these cards is INR10 billion (US$151 million).
Some of its clients include Arvind retail, Madura Garments, Flipkart, Cleartrip, and Amazon. The startup plans to add 100 international brands mainly from Middle East and Asia Pacific.
“Woohoo would be an anchor to drive additional sales and footfalls for our strategic partner stores with an app based shopping experience,” says Pratap.
The market size of the gifting industry is US$30 billion in India. “Digital gift cards are the fastest growing mode of gifting,” says Pratap who claims to have captured a 90 percent market share.
In India, gifting has been given a center-stage during festivals and marriages. Since gift purchases take place within two days of the event, instant gifting options are poised to grow.