Lookup, the next big thing in local commerce

Lookup, the next big thing in local commerce

Lookup, the next big thing in local commerce

Bengaluru-based Lookup, a mobile app that aims to use chat to disrupt local commerce, started its operations in October 2014. Deepak Ravindran, founder and CEO of Lookup says, he came up with this idea when he stumbled upon his mother using WhatsApp to communicate with a store to buy groceries.

“This is when I thought of a solution — what if a message was sent out to a shop without sharing any confidential data like one’s phone number?” Ravindran said, adding initially vendors were intimidated by technology and chat in general.

 It was a big challenge for Lookup to make vendors adapt to the technology. “To overcome this, whenever there was a lead from a user, we approached the vendor with the lead. This helped in making them understand the importance of generating business on chat and thus getting verified and listed on Lookup,” he said.

 “The biggest challenge we presently face is a two-sided problem. While on one hand we need to scale the number of merchants or vendors, on the other hand we also have to increase our customer user-base. We are aiming towards achieving the equilibrium of solving this two-sided problem intelligently,” he added.

 One-stop app

 At present, Lookup has partnered with over 85,000 local businesses and has registered more than 1.2 million (12 lakh) users out of which 3 lakh are active. The future is to become the one-stop app for all our daily needs by having the largest network of local businesses.

 Lookup is presently live in four cities — Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai and Pune. “We are looking forward to creating an overall presence in the four cities before moving on for further expansion.” On categories, Ravindran said, “We are a horizontal player with 24 categories and 178 sub-categories on our platform.”

 Lookup has raised a total of $382,000 in seed funding from Kris Gopalakrishnan (co-founder, Infosys), Teruhito Sato (Founder, Beenos, Japan), DeNA(Japan) and MKS Switzerland. It raised $2.5 million in Series A funding from Vinod Khosla’s personal fund Khosla Impact which also saw participation from Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, Narayana Murthy’s Catamaran Ventures and Global Founders Capital, the European investment fund from Rocket Internet’s Samwer brothers. Other participants included Geneva-based ACE & Company, Singapore-based M&S partners, New Look fashion chain founder Tom Singh and Lookout founder Kevin Mahaffey.

“This funding will be used for adding more merchants to our platform, scaling up the technology and growing our team. As for the future, we are always looking out for great people to join us as strategic investors and partners,” he said.

Ravindran says, today, local retailers have no way to win over huge discount battles offered by major eCommerce ventures without adapting to better technology. “Lookup is the simplest commerce tool, which makes them visible online and gets traffic. So when everything you need is at your doorstep by just a few clicks, we believe that Lookup will be the next big thing disrupting local commerce,” he added.

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