Bangalore based, Online to Offline (O2O) marketing platform, The BlueBook has raised a $500,000 seed round lead by India’s first and World’s largest angel investor network; Indian Angel Network with investors from around the world. Other participants included Let’s Venture, a fund raising platform and angel investors from Singapore and United States. Srinubabu Gedela ( CEO, OMICS International), Avinash Vashistha (IAN member, Founder, Tholons Capital, Ex- Chairman & Country Managing Director, Accenture), Rajiv Mehta (IAN member, CEO, Arvind Lifestyle) led the round for the angel investor group. Avinash Vashishta and Srinubabu Gedela will join the board of the company.
Total food services & wellness market in India today stands at $60B and has grown at 7.7 per cent since 2013. The share of organized market is currently 30% and is expected to grow to 35% by 2021. This translates to $18B as of 2016 and is estimated to reach $32B by 2021. Bluebook is addressing a serviceable obtainable market of $300 Million.
When you think of discounts and coupons, chances are few that you find a genuine discount with no terms and conditions at places you love. After all the research, the customers settle for a relatively lesser known outlet on a weekday which needs to be pre-booked or prepaid for without an assurance of a great experience. Founded in the year 2013, The Bluebook is solving the exact problem in the offline deals & discounts space. It provides discounts from city’s popular outlets with validity throughout the week and does not require a prior booking to avail the service at the selected outlet. Launched as a discount voucher book in 2013, The BlueBook transitioned into a mobile app in Nov, 2015 and is now growing about 40 percent month-over-month.
Speaking on the announcement, Varun Kumar Akula – Co-founder & CEO, The BlueBook said, “Our biggest achievement so far has been capturing market share with no marketing spend and on boarding the top merchants in cities we are present in. The capital raised will be deployed in consolidating the merchant and user base in Hyderabad, Bangalore and Gurgaon, apart from investing on the product & technology to offer deep customer analytics, loyalty solution for merchants and unique payment solution. We aim to be present in all major metros in the next few quarters with our full stack solution.”
“I have known Bluebook founders since their journey started with a physical coupon book. I have witnessed their transition into mobile application and have been really impressed with the traction and the product which was built by core team of 8 passionate individuals with meagre funding. With solid roadmap in place i see something truly amazing happening with BlueBook in this space,” said lead investor Srinubabu Gedela.
“We at IAN believe that BlueBook has global & compelling product with a potential to cater to a high growth market. We are confident that with the right mentorship and market access that IAN provides them, they will scale to become one of the largest brands in the O2O space,” said Padmaja Ruparel, President, Indian Angel Network.
Solutions in the market today require steep discounting or group booking to drive footfalls to the stores. Some websites and apps use table booking to incentivize customers, while others reward you with points which can only be redeemed at select stores, but the bottom line is, these solutions have failed to create a win-win for the merchants and consumers. Bluebook, has been successful in being an advocate to both the customer and the merchant. Bluebook enters into yearlong exclusive contracts with merchants and curates offers to drive new customers and incentivize them on multiple visits.
Bluebook works with the leading brands such as Biereclub, Brewsky, Naturals, Bodycraft, O2 Spa and with a foothold in Hyderabad, Bangalore & Gurgaon. For consumers, the BlueBook operates a subscription model where users can pay a monthly fee of Rs.99 to avail all the discounts at the city’s popular restaurants, bars, cafes, spa, wellness and entertainment outlets. The redemption at the outlet is hassle free and happens with a 4 digit pin authentication.
“BlueBook is a refreshingly smart venture in the O2O space – a space flooded by companies with high burn rates and questionable business models. BlueBook, in contrast, has been successful in creating both positive unit economics & scalability, making it a lucrative proposition for investors on the LetsVenture platform” said Shanti Mohan, Founder of LetsVenture.
Bluebook has seen that customers can recoup the subscription amount in as low as one redemption, letting them enjoy the discounts they wouldn’t normally be able to receive owing to the popularity of the hang out. While the merchants witnessed a well-balanced foot fall garnering attention from new first time customers and the inbuilt visit based incentives have induced loyalty amongst the customers. The startup’s unique business model and lean approach has helped it keep the customer acquisition cost low, while maintaining the merchant retention rate at a high 95%. 100% of the user base has been acquired organically through word of mouth and referrals and has helped 1,00,000+ users save at their 1200+ merchants.
Rajiv Mehta – CEO, Arvind Fashion Brands Limited lead investor, said, “Biere Club, Puma Social, Smokehouse Deli, these are prestigious brands not known to offer deals & discounts. With my personal experience in retail & hospitality, I was intrigued when I got to know that consumers were benefiting from offers & upgrades to these outfits, but blown away when I was made aware that BlueBook had exclusivity for these deals. Business model is scalable across cities and their unique customer acquisition strategies are a huge differentiator.
“BlueBook’s current business model, traction and non-linear scaling by itself is highly differentiated. Their focus on analytics and personalised offering of Deals makes it a win win for both the customer and the merchant. I look forward to working with this passionate team as they work towards transforming the way the Online to Offline (O2O) space works in our country.” Commented, Avinash Vashista lead investor.