Apurv Bansal, an IIT-Delhi graduate (civil engineering) went through the same torture when he got told off by his girlfriend for not being able to find her a nice gift. He, along with his friend Prateek Rathore, also an IIT-Delhi graduate (computer science) decided to fix the persistent problem faced by many people, especially youngsters, due to haphazard gift markets by using their technological skills.
With a seed fund of Rs15 lakh, they came up with a website Wishpicker, which helps figure out the best available gift option on the web to suit the taste of your loved ones. The site offers gifts ranging from watches to crystals, buying a piece of land on the moon or naming a star, wines to a trip to Antarctica, and personalised items to weird and funky stuff.
The cost of the gifts ranges from Rs 75 to Rs 3 lakh. Naturally, the initiative struck a chord among tech-savvy Indians within a year. They have now launched a mobile app to increase their customer base to tier-2 cities as well.
"With Wishpicker, one can choose a gift based on the relationship with the recipient, their personality, budget, and various other factors. Gifts are curated from the best online stores — Flipkart, Myntra, Ferns n Petals, and 25 others. This helps the user get access to the best that is available across the web all in one place," says Bansal, explaining the reasons for Wishpicker's popularity.
However, it was Rathore who convinced Bansal to quit his high-paying corporate job at Bain & Company in Mumbai and return to Delhi. Rathore himself completed his course in Spain and flew back home. In early 2013, they began working on their venture, Wishpicker.com, from the terrace of Rathore's parents' flat in Delhi. Soon after, they roped in Tejendra Singh, an engineer from IIT-Patna, as a core technology member.
Explaining the algorithms for gift selection, Bansal says, "Our gift recommendations are powered by mathematical algorithms, developed by a team of engineers from IITs. Trends are drawn from user behaviour and tons of data is processed on a real time basis... a 'human touch' is added by a team of curators to ensure that our gift recommendation engine gets better every day."
So what is their revenue model? The guys, who now plan to plan to expand internationally, say, "Customers are redirected to our partner websites when they select a particular gift. The partner portal pays us a commission for every transaction that is processed on their website via Wishpicker. The consumers do not have to pay an extra penny."