Group-buying B2C social commerce platform , which launched its operations in 2021, is the entrepreneurial brainchild of two close friends of 15 years and IIM-NIT alumni, Roshan Farhan and Kulapradip Bharali. Gobillion enables large consumer groups beyond Tier 1 cities in India to buy together socially and unlock massive savings on everyday requirements such as groceries, daily staples, and fruits and vegetables. With its global headquarters in San Francisco, USA and its India head office at New Delhi, Gobillion is currently operational in Guwahati and Kolkata. Scaling up its operations to the next level, the company is set to launch its group buying model across 10 states over the next 18 to 24 months.
Backed by YCombinator and top tier global VC funds, Gobillion has witnessed outlier growth in its operating markets with 10.4x growth in GMV in the last 8 months. In the last 15 months since its launch, the company has grown 1200 times, and currently at a $12 million annualized GMV run rate, and has seen industry leading retention and repurchase rates.
Augmenting real-life shopping behaviour of customers
The current e-commerce market is excluding the needs of the 90 percent of India’s population, mostly from small towns in India. Legacy e-commerce companies are built to serve the convenience and premium basket sizes of India’s top 5-10 percent customers from large cities.
Gobillion focused on bringing e-commerce to the next 500 million customers from small towns – focusing on their core needs of best price/value, social community-based experience and building trust in the e-commerce process.
They are playing a major role in providing a platform for the lower to middle income customer segments by introducing the concept of group buying. The company singularly focuses on extending an unmatched social shopping experience to its customers, many of whom are making the transition from brick and mortar outlets to e-commerce for the first time. The goal is to augment the real-life shopping behaviour of customers – as shopping in real life is a social experience and customers love to bargain for the best deals on categories like grocery which forms the bulk of their monthly expenses.
Building the global-first group buying product and bringing the Gobillion Shopping Rooms concept on the platform, the company aims to reach its target customers in cities across Tier 2 and beyond, who are underserved in e-commerce penetration. The company wants to enable large customer pools to buy together in a group and avail up to 95 percent off on groceries.
Through Gobillion Shopping Rooms, friends, family or a large group of people can collaborate and share to buy products and enjoy the benefit of bulk discounts. It is the new emerging trend in the e-commerce industry that holds a gigantic potential to ignite online retail business in the unexplored sections of Indian households.
Such group-buying platforms have seen tremendous success in emerging economies like China, Brazil and Indonesia where customers transitioned from offline retail to online formats through social buying. From a global outlook, the future of e-commerce lies in building community in e-commerce, wherein customers get a better price, enjoy local deals and get a superior customer experience.
Meet the founding team
During the pandemic, the founding team who belong to small towns in Assam realized a big gap in the market when it comes to e-commerce in small towns. They saw that most of their friends and family struggled with traditional e-commerce because the product just wasn’t built for them, and they missed the “social aspect in shopping”.
Roshan Farhan is an IIM-NIT graduate with deep expertise in e-commerce and retail through his stint in Management Consulting at Deloitte US, EY and Accenture. The co-founder, Kulapradip Bharali, is an NIT graduate and has strong experience in tech development and building products for scale through his stints at SAP Labs and high growth tech startups.
Growth and expansion plans
Owing to its deep understanding of customers and product-first approach, the social e-commerce brand has charted significant growth and expansion since its emergence. The company also closed its initial $2.9 million seed funding round in October 2021 and is presently backed by a team of top global investors such as YCombinator, JAM Fund (Justin Mateen, Founder –), Pioneer Fund, Soma Capital, Goodwater Capital, Venture Souq, Acacia Venture Capital Partners, Chris Golda Investments, Oliver Jung, Shanti Mohan (Founder LetsVenture), Vikalp Sahni (Co-Founder – Goibibo), Vikas Choudhury (President, Reliance Jio), Luciano Freitas (Co-Founder – Facily) and others.
Gobillion has built a mission driven founding team of experienced professionals from leading e-commerce and retail companies in India and SE Asia. As a first mover in this space, it plans to aggressively expand across multiple markets to offer superior and customized social shopping experiences. Given the company’s strong growth, it is poised to be the market leader in the social commerce and group buying space in India.