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Two Canadian Brothers Launches Subscription E-Commerce SaaS for Indian Businesses

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Two Canadian brothers – Mathieu and Alex Desmarais moved to Bengaluru to launch RecurRex, a subscription e-commerce Saas-based startup for Indian businesses. Their first interaction with subscription e-commerce happened in early 2014, when NPM Technologies, their parent company, was hired by a group of Miami-based French entrepreneurs to develop a subscription box website. After that, later that very year, following a massive brainstorming session, RecurRex came to life.

THE IDEA

To make the most of the subscription eCommerce, online shops need a dedicated platform. “Most of them work efficiently until their list crosses the 100 subscribers mark and they are no longer able to manage things with simple tools like excel. This is where RecurRex comes in and makes a difference. It allows e-commerce websites with current or prospective subscription potential to automate recurring billing and payments. Looking at the Indian scenario, they thought it was a good market to launch a subscription business management software. One of the major reasons for the same is that India’s e-commerce market is estimated to be worth $119 billion by 2020 and is said to be the fastest growing online retail market globally

Moreover, according to Tracxn Report: Subscription Commerce of January 2016, India has the second largest amount of subscription commerce startups after the US. Though this report was not available when they decided to launch RecurRex, they made a right decision entering the Indian market. Later on, this report further reinforced their beliefs in the Indian subscription commerce potential.

How RecurRex Is Better Than Existing Solutions

Competitors of RecurRex typically focus on the payment processing and recurring billing aspects of subscription commerce only. While RecurRex does cover this very important aspect of subscription commerce, it also caters to the marketing and logistics processes by providing actionable data and tools for the subcom model.

Subscribers in India require the ability to postpone deliveries, update payment methods or delivery addresses. And while there are currently no options to automate recurring debiting on Indian credit cards or Indian bank accounts (thanks to RBI regulations), RecurRex has automated this process as much as it is legally possible with an SMS 2 Pay functionality.

MEET THE MAKERS

This Bengaluru-based startup is a joint venture by Brothers Mathieu and Alex Desmarais.

 Mathieu (back) and Alex Desmarais, Co-Founders of RecurRex

Mathieu (back) and Alex Desmarais, Co-Founders of RecurRex

Mathieu Desmarais : He is a web entrepreneur with a strong interest in the e-commerce world. He has the same kind of passion for new and innovative web and mobile technologies. He started doing international business at the age of 18. He has expertise in international sales, international business development, and digital marketing.

In 2012, he co-founded NPM Technologies, the web and mobile applications development center based in Bangalore, and co-founded RecurRex in 2015.

Alex Desmarais : He completed his bachelor’s degree, with a specialization in Finance from the Sherbrooke University in Canada. He then joined NPM Technologies in Bangalore in 2014 as its Finance Director. Later on, he went to co-found RecurRex with his brother, Mathieu. His passion for learning new skills has led him to undertake his CMA certification.

USPs OF RECURREX

Alex Desmarais, Co-Founder & CFO of Recurrex with Justin Mathews, Director of Sales

Alex Desmarais, Co-Founder & CFO of Recurrex with Justin Mathews, Director of Sales

There are apparently no known players specifically assessing the needs of the Indian businesses in the recurring billing industry. RecurRex is the first cloud-based subscription management platform to have done so. My giftbox can be considered their competitor in terms of subscription marketing.

An average company in this field focuses heavily on the payment processing and recurring billing aspects of subscription commerce only. RecurRex is the only one that goes above and beyond and also caters to the marketing and logistics processes by providing actionable data.

FUNDING

They have received 70,000 USD in October 2015 as seed funding and are currently looking for Angel investment.

ACHIEVEMENTS SO FAR

They currently have 4 clients on board:

Apart from this, they have been able to sign 6 more clients but they are not on the platform yet. They are planning for their SaaS to be fully automated in a week or two and are working on their CMS to complete its beta version by the end of the year. They have also partnered with payment processors and will eventually partner with delivery services as well. In this way, they can take care of the two most important aspect, as we had mentioned earlier.

PLAN OF ACTION

At the moment, their focus is on Bangalore only as it is where they are based and can see the many opportunities that are already available there. Apart from that, they are also in talks with potential clients from other cities such as Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, and Gurgaon. They are currently targeting the following verticals:

  • Commodities
  • Food & Beverages
  • “Discovery boxes” (toys, cosmetic, clothes)
  • Consumer goods
  • Healthcare & Pharmaceutical

Their vision is to automate recurring purchases in India. They believe it will take two years for the market to expand into its full potential in India. For the future, their plans are to eventually expand into southeast Asia. Considering this, they are now planning to:

  • Get at least 200 businesses onboard in the next 24 months (40 in the next 12)
  • Device new ways of deploying a subscription store (plugins for Magento, WooCommerce, Prestashop, etc.)
  • Create marketing tools and analytics for subscription businesses
  • Automate recurring transactions even more with IoT

WORDS OF WISDOM

There is nothing better than advice from people who are in the trenches themselves as they know what it is like out there. Here is some advice from our duo entrepreneurs.

  • Surround yourself with people who are better than you who will help you challenge yourself.
  •  Stay flexible. You are going to learn and evolve, and the environment you are in evolves also, so what may have been a great idea 6 months ago might not be anymore. Keep moving.
  •  Follow your guts, you’ll end up regretting not doing so.

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Arushi Pandey
A fourth year Engineering student from BITS Pilani. I am a huge fan of Harry Potter and F.R.I.E.N.D.S. I am a person full of compassion. I love bringing a smile to people's faces. I am an idealist trying to find my place in the world. I'm always game for an interesting conversation, so feel free to drop me a line.

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