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Updated: Group Buying Site MyDala Raises $2M From Info Edge; Launching Version 2

Group Buying site MyDala.com has raised Rs. 9 crore ($2 million) from Info Edge. Speaking with MediaNama, MyDala CEO Anisha Singh said that the company will use the funds towards expanding its user base. This is a Series A round for the company, following a previous investment of $250,000 from Ajay Relan and Jayanta Basu of CX Partners, in their individual capacity. MyDala is claiming almost a million users – which is a sharp rise from the 200,000 reported in November 2010.

Update: According to Singh, MyDala has sold over 300,000 vouchers and offered customers savings totalling to over Rs.3.5 crore. In terms of marketing costs, their cost per acquired user is Rs. 45.

While MyDala (rather, Kinobeo Software Private Limited) is four years old, it began operations only by September 2009. According to its directors report for the year ended March 31st 2010, it reported total income of Rs. 1.81 lakh, expenditure of Rs. 70.47 lakh, and a loss of Rs. 68.66 lakh; remember that this is only for around seven months of operations, so it isn’t really indicative of how the company has performed since.

Unlike a discount coupons site, MyDala is a group buying site more on the lines of GroupOn. For group buying sites, deals get activated only after deals reach a number of buy-in’s from users. All in all, there has been a flurry of activity in funding the e-commerce space in India.

New Site Planned

Group Buying and Daily Deals sites are known to spam users via both email and SMS, and much of this is unsolicited – yesterday, I received an unsolicited deals email from a new site in this space – Fetise.com.

Singh believes that there has to be more evolution in group buying than what is currently out there, and they’re planning to launch a new version of their site, which is, according to her, going to ensure that the user doesn’t get spammed: “If you’re not interested in salon deals, then you wont get salon deals.” Sharing deals related only to specific chosen categories with users would be a welcome change; she declined to share any more details about the new site. However, when it comes to spam, MyDala isn’t spotless either – see this tweet.

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Differentiation in the deals space is hard to spot – SnapDeal claims to lead the market, and had raised $12M in funding earlier this year. India Today and Axel Springer have also backed BagItToday, Accel Partners and Helion Venture Partners have funded Exclusively.in, Sequoia Capital has funded FashionAndYou.com, Battery Ventures backed Taggle, Ebay India’s has launched Social Shopping, and GroupOn acquired SoSasta, and Rediff had also mentioned plans of entering the group buying space.

How Do Group Buying Sites Ensure User Delivery From Merchants?

We’ve also heard about users at daily deals sites getting terrible service from merchants, and thus blaming the deal site, even though it’s the merchants who are responsible. On the trend, Singh says that it should be responsibility of the site as well. MyDala, she says, by virtue of being a group buying site, and not a deals site, takes the entire payment up front, which she believes gets a little more commitment from the merchant.

“Payment is made in two different parts, and we want to ensure that the users need is resolved. Unlike a daily deals site, where they take a fee from the user, this gets a buy-in fro the merchant as well. It is a little tougher in terms of a model, because a user would lean more towards a Rs. 49 rupee payment online, instead of Rs. 799 payment. We have a blacklist of merchants, and we will not do a deal again with a merchant that is already listed. It takes a long time to build credibility, and we’ve built a consistent user base.”

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Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.

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