Interview : MySmartPrice team on funding and the road ahead

Launched in 2010, MySmartPrice started as a book comparison engine and later evolved into a full-fledged price comparison service. The Hyderabad based startup raised INR 2 Crores from Helion Venture partners around 6 months back* and boasts of over 2.5 million visitors per month.

Here is an interview with MySmartPrice founding team

Pi: MSP is foraying into domains beyond price comparison (deals/coupons). What’s the model here?

Sitakanta Ray:  We continue to be focused on Price comparison only. When a person comes to a price comparison site, he expects to find the best price for that item. Fortunately or unfortunately right now in India, most of the best price seems to be available after applying a coupon. That is why we are trying to access the complexity of maintaining data about discount coupons. Once we are more confident, we will try to integrate it into the main product page.  msp_logo_index

Once our product matures and we have enough intelligence built in, the popular products page will contain most of the deals. We are posting deals manually to understand what is it that clicks with the consumers. Once we get the understanding, we will build the intelligence into the product itself.

Pi: Affiliate model – does this scale? What’s the next big thing for MSP (I am sure that’s beyond affiliate model)?

Sitakanta Ray: Atleast in near future, it has to be the affiliate model. It has scaled up to an extent in other geographies, and we see no reason why it won’t scale in India. Right now we are focused on maturing the product so that it can provide enough value to users while making enough money to pay our bills. We will look at optimizing the revenue base after that only.

Pi: What has been the traffic growth in the recent times (esp post Junglee launch)?

Sitakanta Ray: Right now we get a little over 2.5 M users a month. Fortunately Junglee has not impacted our growth much and we have grown by almost 100% since February, when Junglee entered India.

Junglee’s main focus is product discovery spread over a huge inventory/ product categories, while our focus has mainly been price discovery for a selected high demand product categories, though over long term we also need to enable product discovery

Pi: Future plans? Any online-offline model in making?

Sitakanta ray:

  • Immediate future: Adding more stores and products. Improving product discovery.
  • Medium Term future: Adding more product categories like baby products and fashion
  • Long term (beyond December 2012): Online – Offline model sounds sexy, but we really want to focus in getting the Online model correct. we believe that online retail will see phenomenal growth in years to come and we should be ready for it.
  • Offline has its own operational challenges and we being a technology company would like to focus on our core competency and get it correct.
  • Beyond couple of years if we believe that we can solve the online-offline model via technology, then why not.

As ecommerce grows in India, there is a big opportunity in aggregation/comparison model and while we have seen a lot of price comparison service, very few of such ventures are patient enough to build a long-term business.

What’s your experience with price comparison services? Do you visit them directly or use Google as your starting point?

Recommended Read: Guest article by MySmartPrice founders : Learnings From 4 Months After Starting Up [You Will Be Amazed By What You Can Do]

Recommended Analysis by MySmartPrice: The Great Indian e-Commerce Bazaar [Total Recap]

*: The funding news was first published here, though important to know that the funding was raised 6 months back.