FirstHandle, a hyper-local mobile marketing startup offering offline deals, is looking to establish its presence in top eight cities and targets not only market but also local merchants helping them connect with their customers in real time. Talking to Estrade, Mr. Gaurav Sinha, CEO FirstHandle also hint at the opportunities e-commerce market possesses.
- Team Estrade: Tell us a little about your professional journey till date?
Gaurav Sinha: I have over 15 years experience, primarily in digital space. My core competence revolves around Digital media strategy, online classifieds and e-commerce. Before taking up current challenge, I have held leadership roles at organizations like Info Edge, Times Business Solutions and India Today Group.
- Team Estrade: Can you brief us about FirstHandle? And how does it work?
Gaurav Sinha: FirstHandle is an end to end hyper-local marketing platform, it allows consumer to talk and engage with businesses in real time while walking through the location. It is DIY platform, designed for merchants and brands to connect, engage and promote themselves to smart shoppers around them. It is a platform which allows retailers to real time target, people who are physically around them basis predefined radius. Not only that, it allows intelligent targeting basis gender, age and preferences.
- Team Estrade: Is FirstHandle only for brands, or can a local retailer also register?
Gaurav Sinha: FirstHandle works for brands and local retailers both. However, we have a different functionality for both. FirstHandle empowers brands to create multiple stores and consumer insights. Soon, we are launching beacon capability which can enable brands to track and monetise consumer walk-ins into the store.
“Majority of people are still shopping offline and this offline space is largely fragmented leaving a massive room for online discovery platforms to kick in and facilitate offline transactions with physical stores”
- Team Estrade: What potential does a non e-commerce platform have, and should we expect that FirstHandle will not look forward to becoming an e-commerce platform?
Gaurav Sinha: Online discovery segment in India is in broken space right now especially when it relates to small and medium sized merchants, FirstHandle aims to address this opportunity. India has a 300 million population in middle class segment and their propensity to spend is growing upwards YoY and retail market is currently pegged at $620bn out of which e-commerce market is about $17bn. So majority of people are still shopping offline and this offline space is largely fragmented. This leaves a massive room for online discovery platforms to kick in and facilitate offline transactions with physical stores. However, educating consumers about such platforms could be expensive and time consuming exercise. With large investments happening in the offline space, we expect this cycle to be shorter and smoother.
- Team Estrade: What strategy you have for user acquisition?
Gaurav Sinha: We have multi fold strategy to drive user acquisitions ranging from offline BTL, tactical, digital, Mobile and social.
- Team Estrade: Who are your target audience and what is the market size of your TG?
Gaurav Sinha: India is largely a young country and most of the shoppers happen to be women. We look at our TG as the intersection of the two.
- Team Estrade: Geographically speaking which key cities are you targeting?
Gaurav Sinha: Currently we are operating in Delhi and Mumbai and looking to expand to top 8 towns soon.
- Team Estrade: What do you aim for next?
Gaurav Sinha: We aim to facilitate over $1bn transactions in next couple of years and have our footprints across the country.
Online segment in India is in broken space right now: Gaurav Sinha