Wishpicker Joins the Gift-Giving Market with Machine Learning

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How often do you stress out looking for the perfect gift for someone? It’s the thought that counts, but sometimes we don’t know what to think.

Indian startup Wishpicker is using machine learning to change that. Partnered with several online retailers, the service allows users to get online and search within very specific parameters to find just the right gift.

Check out our Q&A with Wishpicker below:

1) What’s your startup called?

 
Our startup is called wishpicker.com. The concept behind the name was fairly simple. We wanted the name to directly reflect what we are doing, which is helping people ‘pick’ the right gifts for their loved ones. Hence the name ‘wishpicker’.
 
2) What’s your big idea?
 
Wishpicker is an exciting new start-up that helps you figure out WHAT to gift! This is an extremely useful product, that provides great gift ideas to anyone unable to figure out what to gift when a wedding or anniversary is around the corner. You can search for a ‘Personalized-Birthday-gift-for-Girlfriend‘, or ‘Anniversary-gift-for-Husband
 
Gifts are curated from the best online stores, and this helps the user get access to the best that is available across the web – all at one place. Essentially, a one stop shop for the best gift ideas! They can choose from a wide range of gift products, gift vouchers, experiential gifts etc. Users can also filter results based on personality, budget, type of gift, and various other parameters.
 
We have 20 e-commerce partners as of now, including Flipkart, HappilyUnmarried, Ferns and Petals, etc. We plan increase the number of tie-ups soon.
 
To ensure that if someone comes to Wishpicker looking for a gift, he/she does not go away disappointed, we incorporated machine learning in our gift recommendation algorithm. Wishpicker’s algorithm reads user insights, and becomes more and more intelligent as the number of people using it increases. As a result, we are able to maintain a conversion rate much higher than that of vanilla e-commerce stores.
 
3) What’s the story behind your idea?
 
Wishpicker.com was launched in Jun 2013 by Prateek Rathore, and Apurv Bansal to fix the broken gifting market.
 
Apurv Bansal, an IIT graudate, was looking to gift his girlfriend on her Birthday. He searched online for ideas, but was overwhelmed with the large number of options that came up. With every website claiming to sell the ‘best gift’ he got mighty confused. Around the same time, Prateek Rathore, Apurv’s batchmate from IIT was pursuing his management studies at IE Business School in Spain. He was looking to send a nice anniversary gift back home to his parents. He turned to the internet, but returned disappointed. He had to call up his sister, and asked her to buy a gift from the mall.
 
Apurv and Prateek, who always wanted to start a venture of their own, spoke about this. They realized that this was a problem faced by a large number of people on a regular basis. Prateek, a Computer Engineer, knew that he could use technology to help people figure out what to gift. He convinced Apurv to quit his high paying corporate job at Bain & Company in Mumbai, and return to Delhi. Prateek completed his course in Spain and flew back home. In early 2013, they began working on their venture, wishpicker.com, from the terrace of Prateek’s parents’ flat in Delhi. Soon after, they roped in Tejendra Singh, B.Tech in Computer Science from IIT Patna, as a core technology member, and there has been no looking back ever since.
 
4) Who are the founders?
 
Wishpicker.com was founded in Jan 2013 by Prateek Rathore and Apurv Bansal to fix the broken gifting market. Prateek is a B.Tech in Computer Science from IIT Delhi. He then worked with Royal Bank of Scotland before he went on to pursue management studies from IE Business School (Madrid, Spain). Apurv is a B.Tech in Civil Engineering from IIT Delhi. Post graduation, he worked with Bain & Company as a management consultant – primarily working in their strategy and operations divisions for leading IT, and Healthcare multinationals. Apurv and Prateek were batch-mates at IIT Delhi, and have now been friends for 7 years. Prateek’s excellence in technology, and Apurv’s experience in strategy and operations were the perfect set of complementary skills. The passion to create an impact using technology is what brought them together to start Wishpicker.com Linkedin profiles:http://in.linkedin.com/in/bansalapurvhttp://www.linkedin.com/in/prateekrathore
 
5) Where are you located?
 
We are based out of New Delhi, India. 
 
6) What’s the startup scene like there?
 
The startup scene in India is currently booming, with the e-commerce space poised for tremendous growth. The current size of the e-tailing market in India is USD 1.6B. This is expected to grow 60X in the next 10 years. Given the tremendous growth potential, a host of new and innovative startups have come up, which are also catching the fancy of investors in the area.
 
7) What milestones have you reached?
 
We have been experiencing 100% month on month growth for the last 3 months, and very recently crossed annual GMV run rate of INR 1 crore (USD 180,000). We have tie-ups with 22 e-commerce websites as of now, including Flipkart, HappilyUnmarried, Ferns and Petals, etc.
 
Started with a seed capital of INR 15 lacs (USD 25,000), which we put in from our personal savings, funding is also on the cards for the us. We are in advanced stage of talks with a few investors. We are waiting for the right time, but it will happen soon.
8) What are your next milestones?
 
A host of new features shall be rolled out over the next 6 months – we are launching a dedicated mobile site very soon. We are building a social layer on top of our current recommendation algorithm – this will enable us to crowdsource gift recommendations. Apart from these, we shall introduce email gifting and gift registries. 
 
The problem that we are trying to solve – deciding what to gift – is intrinsically global in nature. We have an extremely scalable model, given that we are completely cloud-based. As a result, we plan to expand internationally soon after cracking the Indian market (around Q3)
 
9) Where can people find out more?
We are always available to answer any queries at hello@wishpicker.com.
 
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