Future Stars

Aditya Sharma | Interview

Times of Youth: In brief, could you enlighten our readers about yourself for those who may be unaware?
Aditya is an Engineer from DJ Sanghvi College of Engineering (Bombay) He left his job as an Analyst (at an Investment Banking firm) to start The Souled Store. He eventually felt the need to launch a platform for startups to market/reach out to their target audience in an interactive manner. That’s when Frapee was born. Aditya is usually found drumming in his free time.
Times of Youth: What is the name of the startup?
We go by the name ‘Frapee’.
Times of Youth: What is your startup, what does it do?
Frapee is a first of its kind mobile gaming aggregator in the Indian market, that enables users to earn discounts/cashbacks while playing games. We provide points or ‘Frapees’ to users for winning on these games (at no costs whatsoever to the user), which can be redeemed against free coupons or exciting discounts of 100+ e-commerce and retail brands we have collaborated with. To simply put it – More Gaming, More Earning, and more shopping. By doing this we are helping the supply side (game developers) monetize their products and the demand side (users) to achieve tangible benefits in their leisure time.

Times of Youth: Who are the founders and key team members?
Our team comprises the following members :
  • Aditya Sharma, Vedang Patel, Rohin Samtaney (The Souled Store) – Co-founder of The Souled Store, Bachelors of Engineering (Mumbai University)
  • Siddharth Shah  – Founder, SP Shah Consultants (UAE), MBA (Wharton), Bachelors of Technology (IIT-Bombay)
  • Gautam Udani  – Founder, Infini Systems Pvt. Ltd.,Master in Information Systems (N.J.I.T.)
  • Yuvek Mehta  – Analyst, Microsoft technologies (Redmond), Bachelors of Engineering (Mumbai University)
Times of Youth: How does your startup stand out against it’s competitors, what makes you different?
We are the only mobile gaming aggregator in India, which is integrating niche, existing games in the market onto one platform. Our concept offers a strategic advantage to game developers of monetizing their games due to reduced marketing costs through economies of scale, direct access to the right demographic market segment (age : 17 – 30 years), and social media sharing of these games through our platform.
For the users, we provide tangible incentives of brands (at no cost) in return for playing games, an activity which they enjoy. In comparison, competitors that offer brand incentives (eg. Niffler, Zomato) require users to engage in brand promotional activities in some form (eg. surveys, posting product images etc.). Thus, as a platform, we are far more engaging to the users than our competitors.
The marketing efforts are primarily done by Frapee for all our games and brands, and as such, there is no cost to the brands, games or the users in this shared aggregator model.
Times of Youth: Where did the idea for the startup come from?
The idea originated from two needs we brainstormed about. Firstly, we are passionate ecommerce enthusiasts, always looking for pain points in the market. We identified an existing requirement of hundreds of the smaller, funky ecommerce startups to project themselves to the youth to create product awareness and to enable purchase. Even if they spend on digital promotions, the ads don’t always reach the intended users or are not enough to differentiate from other competitors. Secondly, being game lovers, we came across quite a few games through accident, which we loved playing but realized that they are not popular enough or big enough to spend on marketing to acquire users.
Combining these two needs, after a few model-iterating sessions, we came up with the concept to combine both the e-commerce and gaming industries and bringing them to the intended target users.
Times of Youth: What is your vision for the company?
Our aim is to achieve 100 games, 50,000 active users and 300 brands by the end of 2016. Conceptually, we want to create this culture, where everytime someone thinks about shopping online or playing games, they first think of using Frapee to meet their needs. In the long-term, our ambition is to become a global gaming aggregator to capture other markets which we have identified, such as UAE, Russia and USA.
Times of Youth: What is the actual addressable market?
The total addressable market comprises people, primarily in the 17-30 age group, who have smart phones. There will be 400 Mn smart phone users in India by 2016, out of which nearly 65% are estimated in the age group 18-34. Furthermore, 40 Mn people will be shopping online by 2016. The rate of growth of downloads of shopping apps and gaming apps is 77% and 66%* respectively, giving us a huge opportunity to tap into this combined e-commerce and gaming market.
Times of Youth: Can you state, in clear language, the key features of your product or service?
Key features of Frapee are listed below:
  • Access to user-friendly, niche games on one single platform
  • Ability to invite friends and follow their activities on the platform
  • Sharing brand discounts and games to earn even more Frapees (free promotion for brands and games)
  • Leader boards with features to track your friends’ position on the board
  • Lottery that provides free Frapees to one user per day
  • Redemption of Frapees earned to receive discounts or free coupons against the brand(s) of choice
Times of Youth: What is your business background, and what got you interested in startups?
Three of the four co-founders are serial entrepreneurs with successful, VC-funded and established startups in their respective industries (financial services, e-commerce and software services). We also bring a wealth of experience in terms of establishing systems and managing teams, having worked in PE research, MNC banks and MNC technology firms prior to founding companies. The passion to work on our own, satisfy a consumer pain point and directly impact the consumers with our own, creative solutions were the primary factors enabling us to leave our jobs and starting up.
Times of Youth: What are the major product milestones/achievements?
Major milestones since our launch 4 weeks ago are –
  • 900+ downloads, without any marketing efforts being initiated yet
  • 80 brands with 400+ discounts or free coupons
  • Increase in #games from 2 to 9 within one month
Times of Youth: How did you initially raise funding for your company?
While we have an in-principle approval from an angel investor with funds waiting to be used, we are still bootstrapped and self-sustaining with the founders’ initial capital.
Times of Youth: What has been your biggest challenge so far as a startup owner?
The most daunting challenge so far has been on the supply side, to convince identified game developers to share their games onto our platform on account of initial absence of a relationship and concerns about a possible hit to their branding if user experience on our platform is negative. However, after our launch, we have more than tripled our games portfolio, convincing some of these developers through our successful launch, increase in their games’ downloads/ usage and the user experience of Frapee’s interface.
Times of Youth: What will the company look like in a year? From any and all perspectives — product, people, team, revenue?
Team size :- We envisage our team to grow from its current strength of 12 to 30 by 2016 end, with growth in specialised functions for customer support, brand collaboration and business operations.
Product :- As mentioned above, we are looking to onboard ~100 games and 300 brands by next year. We are also looking to launch an iOS version of the phone given the requests we have received from a lot of our Indian friends and networks aborad, and continuously improve our existing UI with cool, additional features such as multi-player functionalities.
Users :- By using digital, print media and word of mouth promotional campaigns, we are looking at achieving a user base of 50,000 realistically within a year.
Times of Youth: How can investors in your idea make a profit?
Since our concept is a first-in-market, Frapee’s brand value is a unique asset to us, and will be to the investors. Also, cash flows and profits are continuous – through revenue sharing from brands and page-space on the home page of Frapee to brands to reach out to users more widely. We do not have any inventory risk or variable costs, except platform maintenance and a one time marketing push, associated with these cash flows, making us a high return – low risk proposition for investors.
Times of Youth: Finally, If you could give one piece of advice to someone thinking about starting a business, what would it be?
‘Make what you can sell, don’t sell what you can make’
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Questionnaire was filled by CEO of Frapee – Mr. Aditya Sharma
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