Online price comparison service, MySmartPrice has raised around Rs 2 Crore from Helion Venture Partners and Accel Partners. The funding was first reported by VC Circle. Confirming the funding to MediaNama, Sulakshan Kumar, co-Founder of the company, informed that Helion had invested late last year, while Accel came on board in May, this year. The company intends to utilise the funding to expand its engineering team which, at the moment, stands at eight.
Kumar added that the site would continue to expand its product offering, improve discovery and user accessibility. It plans to add Fashion Products (Clothes / Shoes) and Baby Products in medium term future (read 6 months), and according to him, product discovery will be a focus area, beyond price comparison, since a lot of segments (other than mobile) see users looking to explore new products and they don’t know which particular product to buy.
Users: The site claims to attract more than 2.5 million users, recording a 100% growth in the last 4 months. Kumar informs that users come trough social media, and word of mouth, and the company is not investing much interms of trade marketing, though it does use SEO for outreach.
How does it work: Technology wise, MySmartPrice crawls some online stores, whereas others offer XML feeds of products and prices. Products and prices are updated every 24 hours, according to Kumar. Commercially, 50-60% online stores featured on the site offer an affiliate commission on each sale, whereas one particular store also offers a CPC (cost per click) commission on a monthly basis. However, it does not offer premium listings and priority listings in its search results are determined by the site’s algorithm that tracks lower prices and higher credibility on the basis of user clicks. However, users can filter results strictly on the basis of price. Kumar says that the market is still premature to get into premium listings.
Monetization & Income vs Expenditure: The site monetizes via affiliate commissions on per sale basis, cost per click commission and google ads. It does plan to approach individual advertisers, in the near future. According to Kumar, the company has almost broken even and around 80-85% of the company’s expenditure is funded by its income.
Plans to track offline stores?: The company does not plan to go offline, at least in the near term. However, it plans to integrate online stores of offline players (eg Croma) on the site. It also has no plans to get into ecommerce at the moment. But it does intend to increase its focus on getting more user reviews for products and online stores, in the coming few months.
Flipkart bars price comparison engines & affiliates: Kumar told us that Flipkart is out of MySmartPrice as they changed their terms and conditions, last month. As an affiliate, the site cannot feature Flipkart on price comparison, however, it can feature it in an individual deal or as a separate listing, where other players are not listed.
What if others also bar affiliates: Kumar feels that it would definitely translate into loss of users but it has a significant number of B-players that it can focus on, incase more A-listers decide to block comparison engines. He gave the example of Amazon’s Junglee which, he felt, was doing pretty well, even without the big players.