Former Oyo, Uber executive's startup raises $3.5 million from Elevation Capital
Pingaggregates all the local commerce message groups on the app and allows customers to discover new stores.
- The company will use the latest fundraise for strategic hiring and expansion across all metropolitan cities in India.
- It is currently operating in four metro cities such as Bengaluru, Mumbai, Gurugram and Hyderabad.
AdvertisementConversational commerce startup Ping, launched by former Uber Eats and Oyo executive
The company enables agricultural producers, local manufacturers and home-based business owners to set up their e-commerce stores. The platform also enables the customers to have a conversation with the seller before placing the order.
Ping, which was founded in 2020, has been inspired by many WhatsApp groups used by farmers, makers and other sellers to sell directly to residents of housing societies. It aggregates all the local commerce message groups on the app and allows customers to discover new stores.
The founder of Ping, Vartika Bansal, came up with this idea while she was travelling across the country in 2019. She saw several makers — farmers or small sellers — interacting with people living in residential complexes to sell their products over WhatsApp groups. Instead of the usual one-way online shopping experience, it was a two-way communication where customers were asking all sorts of questions to these farmers or makers.
“I thought it was a really unique way to make consumerism more educational, fun and efficient.”
The company also helps the farmers and makers manage payments on the platform and make the process more digitised. It charges a commission from the makers on all these transactions.
Ping plans to enter more metro cities
The company is currently operating in four metro cities such as Bengaluru, Mumbai, Gurugram and Hyderabad. It has more than 400 active residential communities on its platform and plans to add over 3,000 more. It also lists more than 500 businesses and individuals across segments, including baked goods, agricultural produce, pet supplies, home decor and more.
Ping will use the latest fundraise for innovation and development, strategic hiring and expansion across all metropolitan cities in India. The company currently has a team size of 40 employees and plans to hire on the software and product development front to further develop their product.
Though it currently focuses on metropolitan cities, it will be looking to expand to other territories a couple of years down the line.
Bansal said in a press note, “The maker economy in India is booming and with the rising e-commerce penetration, a strong movement to provide, preserve and celebrate makers and their identities is emerging. At Ping, our vision is to augment this movement through an effective, conversational community platform that directly connects farmers, makers and producers with local residential communities.”
Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Bombay and Stanford Graduate School of Business alumna, Bansal, has a vast experience in launching and leading business verticals from her stints at Uber Eats and Oyo. She has also worked with Procter & Gamble (P&G), Opera Solutions and more.
Bansal believes that a platform like Ping can enable sellers and markers to have their own identity, which is usually lost in first generation e-commerce.
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