The e-commerce boom in India has played a major role in bringing many sellers online. However, a major chunk is still dominated by the offline, with neighbourhood consumers mostly ordering on phone. In order to tap this unorganized lot, Bangalore based founder of Inooz Technologies, Deepak Ravindran came up with LookUp – A WhatsApp like chat messaging platform connecting users and the seller to help with their everyday needs.
And Deepak pretty much sums up the app’s primary motive in these words,
At Lookup, our goal is to kill the ring ring and bring the chit chat experience with your nearby shops.
Lookup is a free app for both consumers and businesses. It is basically a way to find availability of a product or the requisite information, instantly and without moving around. “We plan to integrate all the offline businesses into the online world and connect them to their customers. We aim to be the one stop app that satiates all the needs of our customers. The final goal is to make Lookup a global phenomenon and hope to ease the busy lives of the people,” added Deepak.
Once logged in, a user can see the list of shops or service providers in their vicinity, within a decent enough radius. From Laundry to Groceries, restaurant table reservations, beauty salons, or even gadget repair-everything can be done with just a simple message. Also, the app is linked to Google maps thereby providing exact location and directions to the place.
After selecting the required service, the user can place his order/enquiry and chat with the seller in real time. This allows them to clarify their doubts about the product well in advance and mention some specific requirement if there’s any. Since the connection is routed via the apps customer care, there are no threats to the user’s privacy. For some vendors, where COD is not available, a link is provided, using which one can easily do their payments.
Recently, the team has also launched the lighter version of the app, where one can connect via SMS or WhatsApp, using the number-9773997739. For example,, if one is looking to get a new iPhone 6, he can send a message and the LookUp team will search for it in all those electronics stores and see where it’s in stock nearby at the cheapest price.
Not only this, one can even send a pictures of desired shoes or jeans or jewellery or any other product, to get searched in all the nearby stores. With this, the team aims at being the first point of contact to help searching for a product, or comparing prices, or having information in last moment panic situations, whether buying offline or online.
While the app is obviously useful for that offline-online connect, Lookup found some really noteworthy and impressive usage in the Nepal earthquake tragedy. It integrated the Google Person Finder in the search feed where one can chat with the LookUp team for any information about the earthquake or about the missing people. They also tried connecting police stations to the app, so that in case of emergency, one can easily send instant photographs or ask for help, especially women.
Lookup has also introduced a new, highly relevant feature in the form of a Blood Emergencies Finder. As the name suggests, Lookup has tied up with blood banks across Bengaluru to enable faster blood donations in times of emergency. Deepak’s vision behind the initiative is to facilitate friends and family of patients to find blood for their loved ones easily. It eliminates the need to check for donor availability through WhatsApp or Facebook. Users can also donate blood via Lookup simply by connecting with a conveniently located blood bank in their vicinity.
Since the app launch in November last year, founders have raised a total of $382K in their seed round. The investors include Infosys’ Kris Gopalakrishnan, Teru Sato, DeNA and MKS Group (Switzerland). Also, Twitter founder Biz Stone was recently the part of company’s Series A funding and has joined in the advisory board, bringing in plethora of expertise along with him.
The current downloads stand at more than 2 lakh, with 1000+ verified merchants on board. As claimed by the team, over 3 million messages are exchanged per month, which generate around 100, 000+ leads to the local businesses. At present, the service is available in Bangalore and Mumbai and the app can be downloaded from Google Play Store and Apple App store.
While the concept behind lookup is impressive, luring people to make it a necessity of their busy life will take time. Because online shopping and ordering for services has already became a part of many people’s daily life. However, in a country like India, where over 2/3rd of the total population still hasn’t had even the slightest glimpse of internet, concepts like LookUp have sure chances to break through, and bring in much needed ease to consumer lifestyle.[huge_it_gallery id=”18″]