Tech startup Y2CF gets backed by Bharti-Softbank venture BSB

Gurgaon-based mobile startup (Y2CF) which was rumoured to be the maiden venture of Bharti SoftBank (BSB), a mobile Internet joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and Japan’s SoftBank Corp, has now confirmed its links with BSB. The firm said it has partnered with BSB to launch Hoppr - a location based check-in service that works across all mobile devices. The service basically allows users to explore rewards and offers available with brands and merchants in their vicinity.

Although, it did not give details of the partnership earlier in the day Economic Times reported BSB has picked 49 per cent stake in Y2CF for an estimated deal size of around Rs 40 crore, which would value the startup just a shade above Rs 80 crore. The report added, BSB has the option of acquiring majority stake in the company. One of the twin sons of Bharti Group chief Sunil Mittal, Kavin is personally involved in BSB.

Y2CF has tied up with six mobile service providers including Airtel, Aircel, Idea, Reliance, Tata Docomo and Vodafone for Hoppr and will initially cover 3,000 retail outlets/locations in four cities– Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore. Users have the option of either signing-up to the service via their mobile or alternatively Android users can opt for an e-mail invite.

The brands showcased on the site as of now include Dominos, Café Coffee Day, Costa Coffee, Gloria Jean’s Coffee and Ferns n petals, among others.

Mohammad Imthiaz, founder and CEO, Y2CF said in a press statement, “We have seen mobile growing from a pre-dominant voice usage device to being used for accessing information on a real-time basis. The location specific communication of rewards and coupons will bring alive a hyper local commerce platform.”

Y2CF was founded in 2010 by Imthiaz, former value-added services head of Bharti Airtel. The company claims to have a team size of over 90 people and it had earlier made some top management hires including Rohit Awasthi as head of online and communities (from Snapdeal), Gaurav Sharma as head for analytics and operational excellence (from Mu Sigma) and Sanat Thite as head of Web strategy (from Puretech Internet).

“India has over 900 million subscribers that are always connected to a network but there still doesn't exist a quick and simple way to find what they’re looking for offline in the world around them. We believe such a platform could also help organize the vastly unorganized merchant base by connecting them with consumers who have such devices near them,” said Kavin Bharti Mittal, BSB’s head of strategy and new product development.

Y2CF had previously launched Musstbuy.com, a group buying platform offering location based deals in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Pune. Last we checked, all of them (irrespective of the city) were sold out. So basically there were no new deals on offer which means the online project is not being pursued too seriously. With BSB in the saddle, we would expect Y2CF to focus more on mobile Internet space from here-on.

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