Tech Talk: An online saviour for your money

Published November 4, 2018
CEO Saad Gadit wants to make SavYour the ultimate portal for all your consumption decisions.
CEO Saad Gadit wants to make SavYour the ultimate portal for all your consumption decisions.

Which one of us doesn’t like discounts? Who would say no to a juicy beef burger for half its price? Not me, at least. This is what SavYour is offering: all the possible exclusive discounts in one place.

It’s a discount-publishing app — based out of Karachi — that displays a bunch of exclusive deals for users. All you have to do is sign up, find yourself a deal, go to the vendor and show them your phone who will then enter a four-digit pin and just like that, you have availed the discount.

Currently the app is offering discounts in nine different categories, ranging from spas and salons to even clinics and hospitals. But food is their prime focus, as evident by regular notifications and offers. “Once we have enough data there, we will aggressively pursue other areas well,” the company’s CEO Saad Gadit says.

SavYour was the brainchild of two Iqra University students, who started it as a simple yearly discount card, with a number of vouchers. But back in February last year, Disrupt Ventures — a Pakistani venture capital — acquired it. And since then, the entire business has been completely overhauled: card was phased out and replaced by an app, while the yearly subscription model has been abandoned altogether.

The app is free for consumers so the money is made through vendors. To start with, there are quarterly charges for them in order to be listed. Then there are a couple of packages which include add-on services (marketing, etc.) the vendors can choose from. Is it to remain free for users though? “In our discount-publishing form, it will continue to be this way. But if or when we move towards other services, we could possibly look into monetising that,” Gadit says.

Given the company is in the growth phase, cash flows are still in the red and money is being burned. How long can they sustain that though? “It will take a good long time to break even, since we’re trying to make a behavioural change, which requires patience,” the CEO says. And that is why Gadit isn’t too much against the idea of external funding either, if need be.

So far, the startup hasn’t gone for aggressive marketing campaigns from its own pocket though. “We are more in favour of organic growth so there hasn’t been an aggressive campaign to get users download our app. The demand has to be sustained and the customer should be recurring,” he says.

To woo more customers, they have a different strategy: a premium account, with far better deals, which can be unlocked only if someone joins the app through your referral. Valid for a month, once it expires, the same process has to be repeated to reactive premium.

But the discount scene is not free from competition, with players like Vouch365 or Bogo Pakistan trying to mark their turf as well. Then there are a few aggregators who basically compile discounts offered through multiple sources and show them on a single platform. So how does SavYour differ from the rest? Well, the entire business model actually.

“Bogo or Vouch work on annual contracts where you pay a one-time sum to avail pre-determined ‘buy-one get-one free’ deals for that period. That’s not our offering. With us, there are no charges from consumers and the entire thing is far more flexible so the deals are constantly evolving,” Gadit says. No strings attached, basically.

As for the difference with aggregators, SavYour offers exclusive discounts to its users. They aren’t available if you try to bypass their app, and directly approach the vendor. And that’s a prerequisite for any supplier to get on board: they have to put up an exclusive deal for SavYour customers.

Discounts and stuff all sound great but why would the suppliers want to offer these deals in the first place? What exactly is there for them? “Most restaurants can’t make their own app and afford in-house app-based marketing. We are offering them that,” Gadit says. But not only that, SavYour is very particular about how many customers it’s generating for its brands. And that’s why it is so keen on exclusive deals: it lets the company measure the leads generated through their app.

For now, the app is available only in Karachi and Lahore but there are plans to penetrate much deeper into the country. “We want to see if this model works here and once we are confident, we will scale it much further,” Gadit shares. But a discount-publishing startup can only be too scalable. After all, if everyone has access to ‘exclusive’ deals then it’s not really exclusive. So what’s the plan then? Does SavYour hope to stick to a niche? The exact opposite, actually. “We eventually want to become a lifestyle app: a one-stop shop for all your consumption decisions,” says Gadit.

The writer is member of staff:

m.mutaherkhan@gmail.com

Twitter: @MutaherKhan

Published in Dawn, November 4th, 2018

Follow Dawn Business on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook for insights on business, finance and tech from Pakistan and across the world.

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