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m.Paani looks at loyalty for lower middle class, poor consumers

Says the segment is untapped and has potential to bring more brands to them

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m.Paani, a Mumbai startup is building a loyalty programme for lower middle class and economically poor consumers, who spend on buying goods at local kirana  store, a segment that consumer firms have little access to data on their consumption behaviour 

Akanksha Hazari, its founder, says that brands struggle to get data on this set of consumers, while the loyalty programme gathered over phones helps consumers to buy aspirational products which otherwise they can not afford to buy. The firm has tied up with Vodafone and two other firms to reach out to their audience.

“This means that historically the company has struggled to source data intelligently and built customised relationship based on data and have very efficient marketing and efficient loyalty and efficient sales. These are companies that are serving the mass market audience and are struggling to have a modernised in a much more scale and intelligent approach, not only we solve the data problem for them, we also enable you to use it for market research,” says Hazari.   

On Wednesday, m.Paani raised $1.35 million (around Rs 10 crore)in venture capital from invetors such as IDG Ventures, Blume Ventures and Saha Fund. 

m.Paani works with companies who are trying to target the offline or mass market consumer market. The particular is data sparse as the consumers mostly shop in unorganised retail and use cash to shop. 

The company achieves this through its mobile-based Consumer Loyalty Program which rewards consumers for spend with retail and brand partners, and its Retailer Loyalty SaaS Solution that modernises small retailers who are a core channel to reaching mass-market Indian consumers. 

When a customer gets a SMS every time they make a transaction. Each transaction allows them to collect points and over a period of time the customer can redeem these points. The company says that 40 per cent of the redemption takes place on discounts and recharges and 60 per cent of physical goods like dinner setc, solar lamps etc.  

“It’s just like payback, except that this is for mass market. So you earn points at  Kirana shops or in brand partners. So whenever uses the loyalty program through engagement in the process of earning points, we digitise the cash transaction and generate data,“ Hazari added. 

In the program, the retailer and the brand contact the customer after a purchase and get the details. The company's currently has three major partners a telecom partner Vodafone, a large FMCG partner and a large payment player. Currently, in Mumbai the company reaches out to more than one lakh consumers. 

The company says along with the advantage to the companies the loyalty points also gives a chance to consumers to buy goods that are aspire for. 

With the last round of funding m.Paani plans to invest in product development and scaling its tech and data science to serve its quickly growing brand clientele. The capital will also be used to expand m.Paani’s footprint pan-India through investments in sales and marketing. 

“m.Paani’s platform brings these consumers into the digital world, and allows brands to understand and engage these customers via data science insights. We are very excited to partner with m.Paani to build India’s first mass-market consumer data platform,” said Sanat Rao, venture partner, IDG Ventures. 

"This new funding round affirms our belief in the value m.Paani’s offering brings to consumers, retailers and brands. The fund raise will catapult m.Paani’s already impressive growth metrics to help the company become a household name to the value conscious Indian consumer and be at the forefront of India’s retail tech story, ” said Sajid Fazalbhoy, Principal, Blume Ventures.