While retail chains hog the billboards and screen time with their offers during the festival season, a discount at your neighbourhood mom-and-pop store is likely to go unnoticed. It is the same disappointment that led to a group of engineering graduates creating an app called OfferPanda, where small retail stores can make their offers known.
Startup OfferPanda provides a platform where small retail stores can make their discount deals known to customers
“We used to visit SM Street in Kozhikode often during our college days only to find that many offers put out by shopkeepers went unnoticed by the public,” said Mazin Arbaz, one of the four co-founders of the startup. “Just like other shops they too offer discounts. That is how we planned to make a mobile application which will provide information about every discount and offer available.”
After graduating from MEA Engineering College, Perinthalmanna in Malappuram, Arbaz and his friends started OfferPanda, a one-stop app for all hyperlocal offers. The Group based its operations out of Mobile10X Incubation Centre set up by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) at Cyberpark in Kozhikode. Dubai-based IB Group came forward with a funding of Rs. 15 million, making OfferPanda the first company at Cyberpark to have received such a whopping amount. “Presently, we have launched the merchant app for OfferPanda and are in the process of registering small-scale merchants from all over the State. We also have around 150 employees for collecting the details of these retailers and making them aware of the benefits of this online platform, which they otherwise would not have access to,” said Anees Mohammed, a co-founder.
Anees says building trust did not come easy among the merchants they had approached to register. “We had to convince them about the benefits of the app and the profit they stood to gain by signing up. “Business has not returned to normalcy post the floods. In this context, I believe that OfferPanda will help to steer small-scale businesses the right way,” said Dr. T M Thomas Issac, Finance Minister, Kerala, while promoting the app. “Merchants have been separated into 20 categories. Offers are found mainly in the textiles/fashion, restaurants & hotels and beauty & spa industry. We have been adding around 25 merchants every week to the app,” Anees said.
The other co-founders of the app are Shaz Abdullah and Nafih Razak. The USP of the app is that it is highly customisable. Patrons can access offers available on every nook and corner of the State. The application will also provide the location of the store. The app can be downloaded from Play Store. Users can log in with their mobile number, Gmail or Facebook user credentials. After registering merchants in Kerala, the OfferPanda team looks forward to expanding to the rest of South India.