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Aggregators or facilitators have been with us for ages. They are everywhere, in all kinds of shapes and forms, meeting different needs of multiple parties. We experienced them with the newspapers, the markets, the brokers, the exhibitions and what not. The digital media technology and the startup boom has further made this era the ‘Age of Aggregators’. Startup Saturday Bangalore met to hear about it from the experts, as part of 2016’s first edition.

We started the day with a startup demo by Satej Sirur, Founder of Rocketium. Rocketium is a tool and network platform for bite-sized content. It enables us to create, share & embed cards filled with thoughts, messages, notes etc. They can contain images, quiz or info. Satej presented a few examples elaborating the product, the problem they are trying to solve, types of content, features available and the usage. They got good response and feedback from the audience. This was the first pitch of their product and this fact set the stage for the day and made everyone anticipate what’s to come.

SS-Jan 1

The next demo was by Harsha Vardhan, Co-founder of Carista. Carista is a Mobile Garage which provides services by trained professionals, who come to our locations to service cars. Harsha presented the demo by telling the journey of Carista, how they failed and re-defined themselves. They started out as an aggregator of car workshops, which ended up being limited to a lead generator for the workshops. Then they re-defined it to be a mobile garage. He went on to explain how their services differ from their retail counterparts. It was a powerful demo.

SS-Jan 2

The two promising demos were followed by the keynote speech by Gautam Mago, MD – Sequoia Capital. Gautam explained that we have too many choices, and aggregators facilitate better decisions by structuring and aggregating.

Ss-Jan 3

In aggregator business models, there is no one size fits all, he remarked. They is no single model, there are multiple business models. Below are a few significant pointers on aggregators, shared by him:

  • Fragmentation – More fragmentation, more choice. More vendors, more value to the aggregators

  • New experience Vs Status Quo – Better experience, better value

  • Transactions / closing the loop – Better to have transactions as part of the platform, not outside it

  • It’s hard for aggregators to sustain in a monogamous sector. More frequency of consumer usage is important.

  • More opaque, better the value

  • Value addition for all the parties involved – solve problems with technology

  • Feedback loop – More feedback from the customer results in better experience

Gautam ended his engaging talk by suggesting entrepreneurs to – ‘Target markets with more fragmentation of suppliers’.

After a quick networking and  coffee break, we had our third demo of the day by Abhishek Kumar, Co-founder – Frogo. Frogo’s vision is to ‘Enrich lives through activities & experiences’. It is a platform that lists activities in a city that we can book & experience. Abhishek presented the company’s journey from its inception in 2012, the market requirement, their sales & media coverage. The audience responded with interesting questions and gave some valuable feedback.

SS-Jan 4

This was followed by the most awaited section of the day – the Panel Discussion, moderated by Malini Gowrishankar, Founder – F5 Escapes, and featuring panelists Abey Zachariah, CEO – Goodbox, Aditya Rao, Founder – LocalOye and Chandramouli Gopalakrishnan, Director – Products at Goibibo. Below are a few excerpts from the discussion:

  • Goibibo entered late into the market, and yet became one of the market leaders. How?

    • The team focussed on perfecting one thing at a time. Didn’t start out by targeting to be a market lead.

  • How did Goodbox acquire their initial adapters.

    • Loyalty with local vendors helped in convincing the initial adapters. Adapting to a new process takes time initially.

  • LocalOye’s strategy for scaling

    • Be Operational

    • Reduce customer acquisition cost with each city addition

  • Aggregators sustain on data, on being current. How to stay updated and not let the data become stale?

    • Can be solved only with technology

    • Tools and interfaces that are simple and easy enough for a vendor to update the data. Complex and lengthy steps will only discourage them from updating it

    • For aggregators vendors/suppliers need to be the first priority

  • Mobile and Web (OR) Mobile Vs Web (OR) Mobile only

    • It depends on the industry.

    • Research done mostly on web, while repeat rate is more on app

    • Be where the customer is

  • Competing with a market leader in an established industry

    • Focus on doing one thing better than the way it is being done or known to be done, become a master at it and expand from there That alone will bring in customers for everything else.

After the panel discussion, the gathering moved on to network over coffee, while browsing across the interesting collection of startup stalls – Career Confidence, Scoot, Fooroar, Frogo, FlyingBarber, Travel zone, Animaker, Hustle Cowork, Nurturing Green and Bode Animation. The Headstart team also conducted a quick session based on its ‘Co-founder Search’ initiative, for those in search of co-founders for their startups, and those interested to join startups as co-founders.

Despite the last minute logistics emergency, where we had to find a new venue in a day, the event was a successful start for the new year. A big thank you to our volunteers; and our supportive audience and event partners – IKP Eden, Wow Labz,, iSpirt, TLabs, TiE and Yourstory, amongst others. If you missed attending this Startup Saturday, then make sure you check out the Facebook page of Startup Saturday Bangalore, for the latest updates on upcoming events.

Want to volunteer for the Headstart Content team? You can email us with your interest at swati.ramnath[at]headstart.in

Written by Monica Movva; Edited by Swati Ramnath