Read the interview with Annkur P Agarwal, Pricebaba
Please explain your venture to us in brief.
PriceBaba.com is a product research platform that helps consumers in India choose what mobile phone to buy, at what price to buy and where to buy it. We bring over 1000 local mobile phone retailers from India to the web and help them connect with consumers online.
When did you join the business? What have you brought to the table?
I started PriceBaba in 2012. I bring 10 years of retail and Internet media experience to the table. Having sold mobile phones myself and running a publication helped me with the necessary insights to start Price Baba.
What makes this particular concept different? Are there competitors? If yes, how do you stand out?
What Makes PriceBaba Different? I think we took a unique and difficult approach to bring local retailers to the web. This brings pricing and inventory data that was never before online. The only competitors and the next best option for consumers is to rely on phone directory services and call / visit retailers to ask for price.
What is the revenue model?
We make money by charging a fee to retailers. We also make money from advertising.
Who are the consumers that you are targeting with the innovation? How is this going to affect them?
There are over 200 million Internet users in India. It is no secret that roughly only 10% of them transact online (buy goods online). We target the rest 190 million who use the internet to research but shop offline in the real world. Real world shopping has never before had such a strong source to lookup data.
What is the potential of growth?
PriceBaba currently serves 4 million users a month. So going 10x from here is possible and a great challenge for us. At the same time more product categories will help consumers even further.
What is the strength of the organization and the scale of operations?
We have our service live in 7 cities with 4 more cities going live by end of 2014. We have our teams in Mumbai and Bangalore. We are a total of 21 amazing women and men at work!
Give us a brief background of what you were doing before starting the venture.
I used to run a retail venture selling consumer electronics online and offline from 2002 to 2009. I then moved to a media business with OnlyGizmos.com. I also lead Startup Saturdays for HeadStart Network Foundation in a voluntary role and organized Barcamps and Blogcamps in Mumbai / Ahmedabad.
We plan to improve PriceBaba’s mobile presence and expand to new cities. Our focus it to get the best possible pricing and inventory data for our users.
Have you received any funding so far? Are you looking for funds? If yes how do you look to allocate the funds?
Yes, we are funded by 500 Startups, a California based VC firm. We are also backed by a terrific group of local angel investors.
What challenges did you face when you were starting out?
Oh plenty. To begin with investors didn’t believe in our concept and we had to educate retailers on the importance of online presence. It has taken 2.5 years to reach a stable ground.
If you see the extent of our local coverage (http://pricebaba.com/stores/delhi/mobile / http://pricebaba.com/stores/bangalore/mobile) you would realize how difficult it is to collect this data.
Assembling a good team is one of the toughest challenges too. I am very proud of the work our team is doing and the kind of innovation we will rollout in coming months.