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Vantage Circle secures Rs 1.2 Cr funding; on monetization & shift from deals

vantage-circleOnline privilege platform Vantage Circle, that is targeted at corporate employees, has raised 1.2 crore from several angel investors. The company will use the funds raised to reach out to more corporates and brands, apart from developing a mobile app for its service. The company claims to have three lakh users and about 35-40% of them are active users.

The company, that was formerly known as TheDealsPoint, ties-up with HR departments of corporates and brands to acts as an intermediary between the two. These brands then offer their products to corporate employees at rates lower than available online, according to the Vantage Circle CEO Partha Neog.

What they do: “Brands can use the platform to select the audience they want to offer the discounts or vouchers. They can either offer to all the companies on the platform or to specific companies. They can offer different discounts to different companies, or even vary the discount depending on the number of employees they have. This works for brands as they are able to reach the right audience without affecting the pricing they have negotiated with their distributors,” Neog says.

“Electronics is the most major segment on the platform. Apple for example had used our platform and was offering 10% on top of the discounts available for various credit cards,” he adds. Neog also adds that companies are asked to offer at least 5% discount on the platform, as the deals need to be exclusive to the site.

Monetization: There are no minimum guarantees, but they do come up during negotiation. The company charges fees from brands depending on the reach. Vantage Circle charges a flat fee, if companies want specific positioning especially in the weekly email newsletter that is sent to official email ids of all employees.”These emails will have five brands and are white-listed; so they won’t go to spam. Also, we don’t send more than one email a week, which means the chances of them being viewed by corporate employees are higher,” Neog says.

There is also a performance based option which works as a mix of click-based and transaction-based tracking.

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Thirdly, the company launched an engagement platform recently through which brands can conduct surveys and contests for specific companies. “This is where we could make more ARPU. An Air France for example could run a contest for employees for Wipro and say one person from the company will get free tickets to France. That would get more people to participate than a general contest online as the chances of you winning are higher,” he says.

Though APRUs might be higher with the engagement model, it is still new and most of the brands on the platform still use performance based method.

Shifting away from deals

In its previous avatar as TheDealsPoint, a player a deals sector. But it moved away from that terminology as bigger brands were not interested in offering deals. “When we approached brands they used to shut us off without even listening to us as they were not interested in offering deals. The companies that did listened to us, liked the idea, but the problem was that most companies never got to that stage,” Neog says.

That said, the company’s latest offering is similar to most of the deals sites, apart from the fact that brands get to pick whom to give these discounts to.

There were a few companies who were offering similar services, but most of them have shifted to rewards programs from privilege programs. “Most of these companies had started selling their own products, which we don’t do. It’s tough to match a Flipkart or Snapdeal in terms of customer satisfaction, logistics or user experience. So we focus on letting the brands reach the right audience. The employees are taken to the company’s official site or a partner site where the discount coupon is added,” Neog says.

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