Founded by Annkur Agarwal and Tirthesh Ganatra, PriceBaba is a price comparison service that enables users to locate stores in their vicinity offering the best bargain price. It currently operates in Mumbai, Delhi, Gurgaon, Pune and Noida and tries to connect the users to the mobile retailers directly. They are also about to launch PriceBaba in a major city next week and wish to target 1 million users every month by the end of this year. It is a location based search engine, helping shoppers to search prices in nearby shops and then buy offline.
Startoholics caught up with Annkur and here is the comprehensive information of PriceBaba that he shared with us:
Life before PriceBaba
Before PriceBaba, Annkur used to run a media company and operated several properties on the internet for about 5 years. The most well known out of that is onlygizmos.com which was their technology blog. In the media company they used to run, they reached overall 25 million audiences. Annkur was also a mobile phone and technology products retailer from 2002-2009.
The other co-founder Tirthesh Ganatra is a graduate from Kalol Institute of Technology & Research Center, Ahmedabad. During his college days he used to sell computers in his neighbourhood. Now that he is settled in Mumbai, he helps startups with their technology by acting as a consultant or a CTO for them.
Idea behind the Startup
PriceBaba was actually an outcome of the innumerable requests and questions that Annkur was pestered with. He had given up retail but still received a lot of calls to help people buy mobiles and friends kept asking him to find the best price for the things they wanted to buy. It then struck him that all people wanted was a friendly authority to guide them and tell them what needs to be done. And that’s where Babagiri started in his entrepreneurial mind.
The First step towards PriceBaba
Initially a lot of money was invested by Annkur for the first 6 months with the help of cash flows from his previous business. After the first prototype was out and they got a few thousand users, PriceBaba raised an angel round with a group of 5 angel investors. This round was led by Karamveer Singh, who is an entrepreneur and an angel investor based in Pune. PriceBaba has been funded by 5 amazing entrepreneurs namely Karamveer Singh, Dinesh Tejwani of Fast Fact Computer Systems, Aditya Mishra (Founder & CEO, SwitchMe. in), Ashutosh Rathi (Basil Partners) and Ranjeet Walunj of The Service Solution. In the month of April, they raised investment from 500 Startups.
How Things work at PriceBaba
Annkur said that every retailer has to go through a verification process to ensure that they are genuine and are not supplying substandard products. “We have a ground team that goes and visits the retailers. They are verified on different parameters and we also have a proprietary secondary verification system. Any retailer before going live on the website goes through 2-3 levels of the verification process. We also photograph and Geotag these stores and so know their co-ordinates and how they look.”
PriceBaba is launching in one city at a time. They keep making changes in the layout, product changes and usability and each change has resulted in an increase in the user engagement. One of the latest features they have added is the option of Compare which helps to compare mobile phones after users requested that they wanted to compare phones.
On The Differentiating Factor
Annkur believes that most of the comparison sites in India are doing an online price comparison and PriceBaba does an offline price comparison- it’s an online site for those who buy offline. People are researching online, reading blogs and want to purchase locally. According to Annkur, Pricebaba also differentiates in terms of products and believes that the kind of products that they have in the market, the UI, usability of the site is better than their competitors.
They have a special team that takes photographs as they don’t show stock photographs. Annkur said copying ideas and happenings in the US and replicating them in India would be worthless. “We want to see what an Indian consumer goes through and build solutions for them. From the very first day, Pricebaba is mobile friendly and it adapts to the screen size as about 40% of the traffic on Pricebaba is from mobile phones.”
On the Marketing Model
PriceBaba collects a lot of information and does reports which are featured on the Pricebaba blog. They have recently done an India android report and India Browser report. They have also done tie-ups with companies like Cleartrip, Times Group, Paytm.
Annkur reckons that the best way to promote PriceBaba is by creating quality content and focussing on word-of-mouth publicity. He keeps talking about what he does on his Facebook, Twitter and even blogs about it. To an extent, funding from 500 Startups has also helped them gain exposure as Pricebaba was covered by a lot of western media and that in turn helped them to get more users.
According to Annkur, sustaining a web based startup in India is tough and if it’s not transaction based, you won’t make revenues immediately. He points out that it’s also hard to find investment for such products. Every entrepreneur should make sure that their website is mobile friendly as soon mobile phones will overtake Computers and Laptops. If you spend considerable time on your product, it will grow faster as everyone including Google respects good products.
Do visit their visit! PriceBaba