Interview with Soumen Sarkar: CTO & Co-Founder of Wooplr

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Going for a change of wardrobe but confused about which store to shop from? Then, we might just have the solution for you. We spoke to Soumen Sarkar, the Chief Technology Office (CTO) and Co-founder of Wooplr, the fashion discovery and shopping app.

Read on to know more about Wooplr and how it might help you in your shopping.

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Wooplr Founders: (Left-to-Right) Sitting- Arjun Zacharia, Soumen Sarkar; Standing- Praveen Rajaretnam, Ankit Sabharwal

Describe Wooplr in one sentence.

Wooplr is the India’s first mobile fashion discovery and shopping app.

How did the idea of starting Wooplr come about?

We wanted to give people a new way to discover products.

The idea came from the pain-points shoppers experience every day. They have always wanted answers to:

  • Where are best shops (online or offline) to buy things they like and want?
  • The latest fashion trends and styles the community and tastemakers are buying/wearing?

We wanted to solve this problem and make fashion shopping more relevant, useful and engaging.

Who are the founders? How many people make up the Wooplr team?

Wooplr was launched in March 2013. Wooplr has been Co-founded by four Ex-McAfee employees with diverse backgrounds. The team consist of Praveen Rajaretnam – Chief Marketing Officer, Arjun Zacharia – CEO, Ankit Sabharwal – Chief Product Officer and Soumen Sarkar – Chief Technology Officer.

Wooplr at present is on an expansion drive and is looking to hire talents at a national level.

Who is your target audience and how do you reach out to them?

Wooplr caters to 18-25 year old women living in Tier-I cities. We have over a 100,000 active users currently.

What are the features accessible by the Wooplr user?

Users can discover products recommended (upload) under categories like clothing, shoes, accessories, handbags and more. It also has an option of viewing every category in the timeline along with products trending currently on the platform.

The salient features of Wooplr are:

  •  Discover new products to buy and check out the latest trends
  • “Love” products to add to the wishlist
  • “Follow” people and stores to discover new products
  • A vibrant community of users providing fashion inspirations and the latest trends on the go – 80% of them being women.
  • Wooplr’s own team of tastemakers scour online and offline stores each day for great fashion finds

How can people access Wooplr?

Wooplr is available for free download on the Play Store (Android devices), App Store (iOS devices) and on the mobile web.

How are you funded?

Leading angels investors like Rahul Khanna, Vivek Pandit, Jaspreet Bindra, and Sunil Kalra invested $150k in September 2014. Furthermore, Rajul Mittal and Deb Dutt along with other seed investors have invested $100k.

$5m led by Helion Ventures. This is the first round of institutional fund raising by Wooplr. Rahul Chandra of Helion Ventures will be joining the board of Wooplr.

What do you think are the current trends of the shopping industry?

M-Commerce is going to be the next big game changer in the industry and will throw up new use cases and market leaders. The mobile platform is still nascent and has a lot of potential for innovation and growth. We see both online and local commerce unifying into the mobile platform and becoming the single point of engagement for users.

Today’s omni-channel shopper is not shy of trying new platforms to get what they want and discover new things. And she is looking for convenience more than anything else.

Customers do not have online access to products available at majority of brands/stores. 55% of conversions triggered by mobile searches happen within an hour. 89% of consumers will purchase if product availability information is provided

The Evolving Shopper is on the Mobile and spends over 90% of their time & money on the go. And Businesses need a mobile solution to engage with the customer – pre, during & post the purchase.

What are your future plans for Wooplr?

Wooplr aims to have 5 Million shoppers on the platform in the next 1 year and become the #1 Fashion and Lifestyle mobile shopping platform they use.

With the increasing need for personalization and expression among users, Wooplr will become the new way people shop and discover fashion products.

What would you advice aspiring entrepreneurs?

Get your hands dirty. Never stop learning. Be more humble. Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destination– C.S. Lewis

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