Three friends, Gowtham, Raghavendra Prasad and R Rama Raju got together started GAP Miners in 2009 to offer discount based website, upto75.com. Today, the business has 10,000 visitors every day looking for various discounts. It is creating win-win situation for both its customers and businesses — by offering discounts for the customer and bringing more customers to its clients (businesses).
Talking about the initial idea, Rama Raju, CEO, GAP Miners says, “There were not many sites which were offering discounts online in 2009. The idea is to offer a discounts both online and offline with cupon codes. The industry and ecosystem was not created and the major challenge is to generate traffic to the website and get the users used to transact online. The game has changed with Groupon entering in to this nascent industry with huge marketing. People started using and transacting online for the first time. This helped to create the market and industry for the discounted websites.”
Like any other company upto75.com had initial challenges. The marketing strategy to convince businesses to pay for the services was not successful. “At a point of time, there were around 200 channel partners (marketing people) on the field to sell the model. The concept was almost new and requesting the businesses to pay for it was an issue. We went for direct selling later, closing the services of channel partners. Most of our investments were gone during the start of the company.”
After two years, upto75.com has created its own market in the space. There are almost 11,000 visitors out of which 1500 are downloading cupons and availing offers. There are around 600-700 merchants providing 10-30 per cent offers in various segments like food, travel, hotels, Spas.
Talking about the difference between offline and online business, Raju said, “There is huge choice online. Bringing in customer to a specific site is definitely a challenge, where as offline, the customer mostly doesn’t have choice than to choose one in the few shops in the proximity.”
He adds, “The increase in quality of internet users is what determines the future of the industry. India has 5 million users who are transacting online out of 100 million users. The number has to reach 15-20 million in next three years which will enable the growth of the industry.”
The company has 100 per cent growth year on year. It is expected to breakeven this August. It is targeting to increase it user base by 4000 this year and by 10,000 by the end of 2013.