ShopsUp, An Online-To-Offline (O2O) Shopping App Secures US$1 Million In Seed Funding

ShopsUp, An Online-To-Offline Shopping App Secures US$1 Million In Seed Funding

Following China’s Meituan-DianPing valuation at US$18 billion and KFit’s double acquisition of Groupon’s Malaysia and Indonesia operations. We now move to the O2O sector in India, as Bengaluru-based HyperKonnect Technologies Pvt Ltd has raised a seed funding of Rs 6.6 lakh crore (about US$1 million) for their O2O shopping app platform – ShopsUp.

Two individual investors have participated in this round of seed funding, which are the former president of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd and present Southeast Asia CEO of Taojinjia, Yang Shu and VR Logistics Ltd’s managing director and promoter, Anand Sankeshwar.

Founded by serial entrepreneur Suhas Gopinath, the app allows shoppers to search online and shop offline from nearby areas. The application also showcases various deals available at neighborhood stores as well as push notifications that are customized according to the users’ search preferences and history.

Despite a boom in e-commerce as seen in Alibaba’s Singles Day Sales or the recent Black Friday sales, India’s retail market which is expected to hit US$1.3 trillion by 2020 has only registered a compound growth rate of 16.7 percent since 2015. Thus, this clearly shows the significance of offline shopping which still partakes the life of the consumers in the world’s second-biggest smartphone market.

With this, ShopsUp aims to bridge the gap between online and offline shopping by becoming a virtual shopping companion to millennials. With a promise of getting “high on shopping”, ShopsUp targets millennials who still prefer the traditional way of shopping from brick and mortar stores, targeting them with exclusive offers and discounts from their favorite brands and stores.

An additional feature available in the ShopsUp app is that the startup awards loyalty points called ‘shots’ to app users when they shop at partnering stores. This offers instant gratification via rewards that they collect through purchases and even walk-ins in store, collecting loyalty points can later be redeemed for offers at selected brands outlet.

Some of the rewards that can be redeemed include free movie tickets, cabs rides, spas, or gift vouchers. In this scenario, ShopsUp has partnered with Uber to provide convenience for buyers with their shopping runs. Besides, ShopsUps has also partnered up with Adidas, Pepe Jeans, and Van Heusen, among some.

“Indian millennials want to be rewarded for their window shopping as well as actual shopping behavior, and marketers want to capture these moments as and when they happen,” said Suhas Gopinath, the co-founder and CEO at ShopsUp, “Use of analytics also allows us to partner with top brands and local boutiques and provide them with customized solutions,” he added.

The ShopsUp app is currently available for the Android platform while the iOS version is slated to come soon. Ultimately, the plan for ShopsUp is to use the smartphone to help brand and retail partners with data on a consume’s decision-making habits and choices by telling them where to shop as well as incentivizing the shopper to buy more offline, helping them to find the right store and desired product while helping shops increase their product engagement, unit sales as well as return on investment.

In closing, other startups are also growing in the O2O sector in India. As in April this year, online to offline app Fashalot secured a seed funding round led by YourNest Angel Fund and angel investor Rajul Garg. In the same month, hyperlocal fashion commerce portal Yufta has raised an undisclosed amount of capital in pre-Series A round of funding. With that, one of the challenges that ShopsUp will have to meet is the competition of these startups, especially India’s largest digital wallet player Paytm, who is also tightening its hold in the O2O commerce space with its acquisition of last December.

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By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

KFit Acquires Groupon Malaysia To Expand Beyond Fitness Into Local Services

KFit acquires Groupon Malaysia

KFit, a year-old service offering gym and healthcare services, has raised more than US$12 million from investors in its Series A funding round has announced today that it has acquired the Groupon Malaysia in an undisclosed deal. The startup is backed by Sequoia Capital India, 500 Startups, Southeast Asia Venturra Capital, SIG and Axiata Digital Innovation Fund.

The news was among expectations as three months earlier the company has acquired the e-commerce group’s Indonesia operations. whereby KFit says the deal is in line with its plan to become a leader in Southeast Asia’s online-to-offline space, short for O2O. Similarly, the company has also launched a deals app called Fave a few months ago. The functions of Fave are similar to Groupon.

The reason behind this series of acquisition and the pursuit of the offline-to-online model has been influenced by the signs of potential in China with China’s largest O2O player, Meituan-Dianping, raising US$3.3 billion earlier this year at a valuation of US$18 billion.

“Millions of local businesses are booming in China thanks to the adoption of O2O services, with hundreds of millions of consumers embracing these platforms as part of their day to day lives. The convenience and value benefits of these platforms are key drivers of this new norm. This future is inevitable for Southeast Asia and we hope to be at the forefront of this exciting shift,” KFit CEO and co-founder Joel Neoh said in a statement.

Neoh, the founder of Groupon Malaysia has previously helmed Groupon in Asia Pacific.
KFit said Groupon Malaysia will transition to Fave, as Groupon Indonesia already did, in early 2017. That will essentially see it add new categories for fitness, wellness and other gym-related sectors to its current commerce business. KFit said it will retain around 90 percent of staff, with senior Groupon Malaysia executives likely to move on to new roles inside the company.

The workings of Fave is similar to Groupon as it offers people vouchers for food and activities, with discounts ranging from 10 to 70 percent. The businesses listed are available across Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, and Singapore.

“This acquisition will see Groupon Malaysia transition to Fave in early 2017 and expand Fave’s offerings to cover restaurants, beauty, wellness, gyms, studios, hotels, holidays, leisure, entertainment, and professional services,” KFit explains.

Founded in April 2015, KFit started out by offering unlimited gym and fitness classes – akin to US-based US$400 million ClassPass – for a fixed monthly fee. It tweaked its model this year, limiting its membership to 10 classes per month, and then branched out into deals for services like massage, spa, beauty and salons as well.

However, KFit is diverging and setting itself apart from its US predecessor. Instead of becoming a fitness sharing platform in Asia, the company now walks the path of becoming an O2O company and expanded to various other verticals such as food and restaurants, beauty and wellness, and lifestyle and activities. The platforms under the KFit Group – Fave, Groupon Indonesia and KFit- have connected millions of customers to thousands of offline businesses in key Southeast Asian market centers.

“With Groupon Indonesia achieving nearly 2 times growth since our acquisition, we are confident that the same growth principles will bring an exciting new local commerce offering to Malaysia,” said KFit co-founder and CEO Joel Neoh.

Post-acquisition, Groupon Malaysia, an e-commerce marketplace connecting millions of subscribers whereby local merchants will transition into Fave and cover restaurants, beauty, wellness, gyms, studios, hotels, holidays, leisure and entertainment.

KFit is a startup to note as the Malaysia-based startup within this less than one-year period has raised over US$15 million and is backed by high-profile investors such as Sequoia Capital and 500 Startups, among others.

For more information, please visit KFit at Crunchbase for the company’s timeline activity.

By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media