Smytten is enhancing the way affluent Indian consumers discover, interact with, and purchase premium products and services. It was launched in October 2015 by ex-Unilever and Google executives, Siddharth Nangia and Swagata Sarangi. Siddharth and Swagata were studying at ISB Hyderabad when they first met.
Post-graduation, Swagata was heading business marketing at Google where he was deeply embedded into the Indian internet and digital ecosystem. “During my interaction with multiple high-end brands across sectors, I saw a clear need of a dedicated platform to reach and engage the premium audience in a crowded and cluttered digital space,” he says. Siddhartha on the other hand, was a director at Unilever UK before taking the entrepreneurial plunge.
“Given our background in consumer products and digital space we felt there was a massive opportunity for niche and premium brands to be discovered and experienced by customers in the digital age in a whole new way,” says the FMCG veteran. The duo realized the potential in the market space and started to structurally solve the problem. Smytten is helping the consumers in the premium lifestyle space helping them through the whole funnel of discovery to intent.
The premium and super premium market has grown exponentially in the last three years in India. Currently, the categories Smytten has a presence in is pegged at $6 Billion. This market is estimated to touch $20 Billion by 2020. Smytten aims to be the top of mind choice for India’s high spending consumers, a rapidly growing market, estimated by some reports to currently be in the range of 20-25 Million. This audience, partly referred to as HENRY (High Earning, but Not Rich Yet) by analysts, are characterized by youth, affluence, good education, possessing an expensive and aspirational lifestyle.
With its strong focus on curation, Smytten addresses individual needs of consumers and also help brands reach the right consumer. “It’s also a way for premium brands to allow customers to try out their products in a cost effective and elegant manner,” says Swagata, who has also worked with Unilever India and McKinsey & Company.
Being an entrepreneur is like being on a F1 track. You are on driving seat and driving at a crazy pace. The only difference being that the track isn’t that smooth.
The name Smytten is a play on the word Smitten. The founders wanted to cut the clutter for consumers who are flooded with a lot of information, and bring them fewer but relevant things for their lifestyle needs that they will truly fall in love with. “Also, we are the two-way channel of communication for consumers where they can directly interact with brands and experts for any sort of query or advice,” he adds. The platform is currently an invitation only mobile app.
Currently, if one has to experience a premium brand then the only possible way to do so is actually purchasing the product/service or visiting a store. This creates inhibitions in many consumers as they may not be aware about a product and want to try it out before using it given that such products fall under a higher price bracket. Trials of the product or having a strong recommendation from a trusted source are the two biggest purchase decision influencers for a consumer in the premium space and Smytten solves for both.
The company is partnering not only with the premium brands from around the world but also boutique brands that exist in India. “We already have close to 50 brand partnerships across sectors like beauty & grooming, wellness services, consumer electronics, high-end concierge and car rental services. We are adding new categories and new brands every single day,” they add enthusiastically. The first 3 months of their journey were spent in getting the basics right. Starting from the right brands to the right partners, to implementing the right technologies, hiring the right people and gradually building the product inside out. The team believes in thinking big and building fast!
Smytten’s enthusiastic team of 6 people is based out of Gurgaon with an operations (warehousing, logistics) arm at Ahmedabad. The team members come from premier institutes like ISB, IIM, MICA, SP Jain. They have raised $200K USD seed funding, led by Rimpal Chawla, ex-MD of Credit Suisse Asset Management India and Anuj Srivastava, CEO of Livspace and a prolific angel investor. The group of investors include industry veterans from internet technology and FMCG space.
Going forward, Smytten would be adding new categories to their platform and also focusing heavily on making the app even more, user-friendly and intuitive. While for branded products they have a pan India coverage, and for premium services they are present in NCR and Mumbai for now. “We plan to expand to top 8 metros in next few months bringing in all premium services in those cities into our fold,” adds Sarangi.
As a message for future entrepreneurs, Nangia says, “Customer loyalty is something that needs to be thought through even before you acquire your first consumer. Whatever consumer problem your platform is solving for, you need to delight him every time while solving that core problem for him. Rest everything is ancillary. Discount is just one way of buying some short-term loyalty where you think that by the time you pull back the discounts you would have figured out a way to delight him otherwise. More often or not that philosophy doesn’t work. Think user first, bring magic every time the user interacts with you.”
What are you waiting for? Try them out at http://smytten.com/ to request an invite for app launch.