Zovi founders foray into on-demand hyperlocal space; aim to tap burgeoning online-to-offline market
After bagging $50 million from India’s largest mobile commerce platform Paytm, and backing from marquee investment firms like SAIF Partners and Tiger Global, Zovi founders Manish Chopra and Satish Mani launched on-demand hyperlocal deals marketplace ‘Little’, with an aim to tap the growing Online-to-Offline (O2O) industry in India, which is expected to be worth $64 billion by 2016.
The ‘app only’ marketplace is targeting to be India’s largest consumer lifestyle deals platform. The funding raised will be used to build the largest merchant ecosystem in the country, hire senior level talent and build new technology to focus on the Indian O2O market.
Commenting on the new launch, Manish Chopra, CEO and Co-founder, Little, said, “We believe that the deals space is broken in India with little focus on personalization, timeliness and ease of redemption. With Little, we aim to change this by offering a real time, personalized and location-based marketplace which can offer contextual and purposeful deals as it learns one’s usage habits.”
In close partnership with Paytm, Little will power the deals platform on Paytm and enable seamless payments when a customer bags a deal. Speaking on the new partnership, Vijay Shekhar Sharma, CEO & Founder, Paytm, said, “We are committed to build and partner every platform that will bring mobile commerce to masses in India. Little is one the key investments in that direction and will bring millions of hyper local deals to Paytm consumer’s right from their neighbourhood.”
Little is building the largest O2O supply side infrastructure and aims to offer over 50,000 live deals across 11 cities by March 2016. The company is already 400 people strong with strengths in technology, product and operations and expects to build a 1,000 people team by March 2016.
With over 5,000 merchants already on-board in 11 cities across India, the app aims to be both – a discovery platform for lifestyle consumers and a significant sales channel for merchants. Little expects to hit a GMV run rate of $170 million by March 2016.
Sharing his thoughts on how the app would benefit merchants, Chopra shared, “Little’s differentiating strength and power will come from having the largest and deepest merchant base, which perceives it as a ‘sales partner’ for enabling them to get profits from selling their services. For merchants, Little will act as a personalised sales platform that they can use to gain intelligence about customers in the vicinity, ability to send timely notifications and offer relevant deals in a matter of seconds with just a few clicks.”
The team expects Little to become the de-facto ‘go-to’ mobile app for services hungry smartphone users in urban India. The app is on track to provide the largest supply of real-time hyper-local deals to customers across services like, restaurants, movies, hotels, salons, gyms, spas and other services, while creating a hassle free, just in time platform for merchants to market their services.
Commenting on the investment, Ravi Adusumalli, Managing Partner, SAIF Partners, said, “SAIF is excited to partner with Little team as they create a game changing mobile marketplace for consumer deals. It’s been more than 4 years since we first incubated the team believing in technology and business acumen. We see enormous potential for O2O in India with the explosive smartphone growth and we believe that Little is uniquely positioned to become the clear leader in this space.” SAIF Partners primarily focuses its efforts on China and Indian market. In India, SAIF has invested in companies like Paytm, Makemytrip, Justdial, BookMyShow, Firstcry.com and Urban Ladder.
Both Chopra and Mani will continue to build Zovi as a fashion brand with focus on men’s fashion. Prior to launching Zovi, Chopra was with Microsoft as Chief Operating and Marketing Officer for Indonesia and CMO, APAC for ERP/CRM. Whereas, Mani helped build one of India’s most admired travel portals Cleartrip.com as SVP – Technology.