ShopsUp, An Online-To-Offline (O2O) Shopping App Secures US$1 Million In Seed Funding

Following China’s Meituan-DianPing valuation at US$18 billion and KFit’s double acquisition of Groupon’s Malaysia and Indonesia operations. We now move to the O2O sector in India, as Bengaluru-based HyperKonnect Technologies Pvt Ltd has raised a seed funding of Rs 6.6 lakh crore (about US$1 million) for their O2O shopping app platform – ShopsUp.

Two individual investors have participated in this round of seed funding, which are the former president of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd and present Southeast Asia CEO of Taojinjia, Yang Shu and VR Logistics Ltd’s managing director and promoter, Anand Sankeshwar.

Founded by serial entrepreneur Suhas Gopinath, the app allows shoppers to search online and shop offline from nearby areas. The application also showcases various deals available at neighborhood stores as well as push notifications that are customized according to the users’ search preferences and history.

Despite a boom in e-commerce as seen in Alibaba’s Singles Day Sales or the recent Black Friday sales, India’s retail market which is expected to hit US$1.3 trillion by 2020 has only registered a compound growth rate of 16.7 percent since 2015. Thus, this clearly shows the significance of offline shopping which still retains in the habits of the consumers in the world’s second-biggest smartphone market.

With this, ShopsUp aims to bridge the gap between online and offline shopping by becoming a virtual shopping companion to millennials. With a promise of getting “high on shopping”, ShopsUp targets millennials who still prefer the traditional way of shopping from brick and mortar stores, targeting them with exclusive offers and discounts from their favorite brands and stores.

An additional feature available in the ShopsUp app is that the startup awards loyalty points called ‘shots’ to app users when they shop at partnering stores. This offers instant gratification via rewards that they collect through purchases and even walk-ins in store, collecting loyalty points which can later be redeemed for offers at selected brands outlet.

Some of the rewards that can be redeemed include free movie tickets, cabs rides, spas, or gift vouchers. ShopsUp has also partnered with Uber to provide convenience for buyers with their shopping runs. Besides, other ShopUps’ partnership include Adidas, Pepe Jeans, and Van Heusen, among some.

“Indian millennials want to be rewarded for their window shopping as well as actual shopping behavior, and marketers want to capture these moments as and when they happen,” said Suhas Gopinath, the co-founder and CEO at ShopsUp, “Use of analytics also allows us to partner with top brands and local boutiques and provide them with customized solutions,” he added.

The ShopsUp app is currently available for the Android platform while the iOS version is slated to come soon. Ultimately, the plan for ShopsUp is to use the smartphone to help brand and retail partners with data on a consume’s decision-making habits and choices by telling them where to shop as well as incentivizing the shopper to buy more offline, guiding them to find the right store and desired product while helping shops increase their walk-in rates.

In closing, other startups are also growing in the O2O sector in India. Such as Fashalot, which in April this year, has secured a seed funding round led by YourNest Angel Fund and angel investor Rajul Garg. In the same month, hyperlocal fashion commerce portal Yufta has also raised an undisclosed amount of capital in their pre-Series A. With that, one of the challenges that ShopsUp will face is the competition in this crowded sector, especially India’s largest digital wallet player Paytm, who is also tightening its hold in the O2O commerce space with its acquisition of last December.

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By Vivian Foo, Unicorn Media

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