Gurgaon-based Shopholix Marketing Services Pvt Ltd, which operates an online retail coupon platform for brick and mortar stores, has raised Rs 1.5 crore ($233,000) in a pre-Series A round of funding led by Munesh Khanna, the former head of corporate finance and business restructuring at PricewaterhouseCoopers Pvt. Ltd.
The company will use the funds for geographical expansion, product development and to strengthen its partner network, it said in a media statement on Tuesday.
“Shopholix has grown by leveraging digital tools and technologies for offline retailers. Moreover, by tapping into a largely unexplored segment like offline retail with its focused digital marketing solutions, the startup is well on its way to becoming a market leader in the segment,” Khanna said in the press note.
A chartered accountant by qualification, Khanna started his career with Arthur Andersen before moving to NM Rothschild & Sons Ltd as head of its investment banking vertical. He also served as managing director and head of India investment banking at DSP Merrill Lynch Ltd and was general partner at Halcyon, a structured debt funded by Seth Klarman’s Fund Baupost. In 2008, he started his own investment banking outfit, Resonus Advisors Pvt Ltd. He also held stints in Centrum Capital Ltd’s investment banking arm and consulting firm Grant Thornton India LLP.
Shopholix was founded in 2015 by Hemant Upadhyay, Abhinav Midha, and Chinmay Bhatt. The company connects users with brick-and-mortar fashion and lifestyle retail stores through its app. It also offers customers coupons which they can redeem for discounts at over 2,000 retail outlets listed on Shopholix’s platform.
Besides pricing, the platform provides information about the outlets such as store description, pictures, reviews, ratings, parking info, exchange policy and running offers to help shoppers plan better. Shopholix is currently operational only in Mumbai.
Besides targeting a partner network of 40,000 over the next three years, Shopholix plans to expand its presence across the major Indian metros and also plans to enter overseas markets such as Dubai, Bangkok, Abu Dhabi, Singapore and Hong Kong. The company plans to target a user base of more than 10 lakh users and hopes to turn profitable over a five year horizon by 2022, the press note said.
An MBA from IIM Bangalore, Upadhyay was formerly a managing consultant at the Indian arm of the global management consulting firm Hay Group. In his earlier stints, he had worked at Aon Hewitt and ONGC. An MBA in marketing, co-founder Midha had earlier worked at food and beverages firm Food Intellectual India Pvt Ltd and Cafe Coffee Day. Bhatt, the third co-founder is also an MBA graduate and had earlier founded health and wellness startup Indiyra. In his earlier stints, he had worked GFB Great Foods Pvt Ltd, Walmart, Spencer’s and Cafe Coffee Day.