Jaipur: The spectacular entry of Reliance Jio and the subsequent disruption in Internet data usage led to the creation of unimaginable possibilities. Millions of people were going to be able to access the Internet for the first time, and most of them were going to be mobile-first as well. About 4 years later, the expected disruption has happened, and while content platforms such as TikTok have probably been the biggest gainers so far, online commerce is not too far behind. There’s the likes of Facebook-backed Meesho and Mumbai-based Shop101, which are helping businesses sell online, and then there are business-to-consumer companies such as DealShare. Founded in 2018, Jaipur-headquartered DealShare is a social commerce platform that runs on an idea similar to China’s Pinduoduo—bringing together the best deals on several products to those in the middle- and low-income segment. “Around 80 per cent of our consumers are first to e-commerce because of us,” says co-founder Sourjyendu Medda. In September last year, DealShare—which is currently present in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra—raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Matrix Partners India and Falcon Edge Capital.
Beginnings: The company was started by Medda, Vineet Rao and Sankar Bora. While Medda and Rao were friends in school, they met Bora through a common friend. Between them, the trio have years of experience doing very different things. Rao was with Microsoft in the US for over a decade before DealShare happened, while Medda has worked in sales functions, heading teams at both Metro Cash and Carry as well as Raymonds. Bora was one of the early co-founders of online fashion store Myntra which was later acquired by Flipkart. Also part of the founding team is Rajat Shikhar, who joined a while later, who was the chief operating officer at Ola-owned Foodpanda. “You need multiple experiences to make a business work,” Medda explains, adding how he had always had an itch to do something of his own. With DealShare, everything somehow came together perfectly. But it took time to arrive at the product that they now have out there. In the early days, the company didn’t even have its own application. For the first couple of months, all the commerce that the company managed was through multiple WhatsApp groups. Starting with their employees, friends and acquaintances in Jaipur, they started with an initial base of 100-150 people, a number that has gone on to cross 20,000 since. In that period, the company would aggregate all orders in a week and deliver everything on the weekend.
Future Plans: Going forward, Medda says the plan is to densify their network in each of the states that they are already present in. Typically, they take a straight route, which makes the front end management easier, Post the densification, the company plans to enter Karnataka, the National Capital Region and Punjab. By the end of this year, DealShare expects to be present in at least 100 cities. Medda says the company had seen a 25 per cent month-on-month growth in gross merchandise volume over the last few months. Given their plans of scaling, he says they are in talks to raise new funds, which will help them grow at a faster rate. “While we run very frugally and focus a lot on unit economics, we need a lot of investment because I think it is important for us to make it very, very sizable before we see any of the big players entering.” Is there a path to profitability? Medda says Jaipur will be profitable on an earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization basis this year. Eventually, the idea is about to create a platform and not remain on an inventory-based model, he says.