Start-up eyes $4 bn. gift card pie
As appeared on The Hindu by Peerzada Abrar.
Qwikcilver is the single largest service provider in the prepaid space. Bengaluru-based Qwikcilver aims to manage gift card transactions worth $4 billion in the next two years. The start-up has a 90% market share in the gift card segement, the firm’s co-founder Pratap T. P. said in an interview. “We are looking at $4 billion of throughput (for gift cards) being managed,” said Mr. Pratap, 47-year-old co-founder and director of Qwikcilver. “We are not saying that we have invented gifting. It is the oldest hobby in Indian mythology. But we are packaging gifting fundamentally to the new age Indian consumer.” The gifting industry in India is estimated to be worth about $40 billion and about 2% of it comprises the ‘gift card’ category. This is an opportunity that new-age firms may not have tapped so far.
Prepaid card A ‘gift card’ is a prepaid payment card issued by a retailer or a bank to be used as a substitute for cash for purchases in a specific store or affiliated businesses. Qwikcilver has become the single largest end-to-end service provider in the prepaid gift card space to the retail and services industries in India, South Asia and West Asia The company said that it powers nine out of every 10 gift cards and e-gift cards in India and West Asia.They are being used for occasions such as weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and various festivals.
An alumnus of BITS Pilani, Mr. Pratap founded Qwikcilver in 2008 along with his batch mate Kumar Sudarsan. The firm has built a software-as-a-service platform and in-house technology that manages the entire gift card programme of retailers. This includes design, storage and transactions pertaining to it. Qwikcilver sells this technology to customers such as Amazon, Flipkart and Tata Group. The platform has been deployed in more than 10,000 brand stores across the country. Last year it managed 200 million transactions worth ₹3,000 crore. “Gift card actually drives footfalls for the retailers. Once you enter the store, you will end up spending more than the value of the gift card,” said Mr. Sudarsan, aged 48. Qwikcilver is backed by marquee investors such as Amazon, Accel, Helion and Sistema.