How would you like to be handed freebies for eating out? The eating is just a bonus; you can get those freebies just by walking into restaurants and cafes. What you have to do is install ‘MeDine’ on your smartphones.

Every time you walk into dining places that have partnered with this startup, the ‘intelligent assist’ feature of the app automatically recognizes your location and alerts you to collect reward points. You accumulate reward points with check-ins, and redeem said points, with over 35 brands to choose from.

Rewards are basically e-gift cards/vouchers of various brands online, offline stores, mobile recharges, shopping vouchers (unconditional ones). Feel like shopping online? Redeem your points at Flipkart, Amazon, Lifestyle, Coffee day, Jabong, Shoppers Stop, Myntra, Snapdeal or more that are listed. Up for getting pampered? You’ve got select spa treatments waiting. So instead of the usual shying away from the unbelievable hassle of redemption and all the convoluted conditions to get to the prize, all you need to do is have the app on your phone.

The Intelligent Assist feature of the app has various factors and parameters working; and is context-aware, hyper location-aware. Whenever you are in a partner restaurant/cafe, the app automatically recognizes that and alerts you about the fact. All you need to do is tap once and open the app. What sets MeDine apart, is the fact that it will work without an internet connection. Almost, that is.

medine-quoteYou don’t need expensive data plans (or GPS) for getting reward points when you walk in, it’ll use the internet to accumulate and the points will get added when you next connect to the internet. You get 50 points to refer the app to your friends; and 50 minimum points to actually be eligible for redemption. These guys have got an invite to the Startup Turkey- one of the premier Startup events in Eurasia, which is a neat feat.

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Data sciences- knowledge extraction from continuously changing data using math, statistics, pattern recognition and a host of other fields is the basis of this app. What stores really need are crowds. The MeDine crredo is : ‘most important aspect for any business that has an offline presence, then why not reward people to just walk into the stores?’ Essentially converting digital traffic to foot traffic. The alpha product saw daylight on 5th Feb, this year.

As far as markets are concerned, the stats are pretty staggering to say the least. India’s restaurant industry is about $55billion (24 times bigger than the film industry, as well as ahead of the telecom industry) and organized retail which accounts for less than 10% in India is another US $20 billion in size. medinequote2Peripheral, third party players and contributors have fingers in these lucrative pies, and MeDine wants in. The differentiator is the sheer simplicity for the end user. Don’t need to remember if the place you’ve stepped in is a partner to the startup or not, the app reminds you.

The MeDine team is currently composed of 6 full time employees, 3 part-time employees and 3 interns, including freelancers that continue to be a huge help on an ongoing basis. The real deal is the focus on technology and growth, not the revenue flow. Product market fit is the most important challenge that the team faces, keeping track of numbers that shift. When dealing with big numbers, this is definitely an issue.

Oh, before you get all excited, there is a slight damper. Right now, the app only works across 3400+ restaurants/cafes in three cities- Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad (and Startup Turkey Venue, for now). The venture looks promising, and it is early days yet. It is certain to have a presence in your city before long.


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