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We Aim To Become Global Leaders In Hyperlocal Digital Marketing SaaS Solutions: Anchal Dhawan, CEO, LocationsZ

In an interview with BW Businessworld, Anchal Dhawan, CEO, LocationsZ, talks about the company’s future plan and more

What made you start LocationsZ?
Driven by the mission of ‘Go Local, Grow Local’, LocationsZ is a hyperlocal digital marketing SaaS platform built for enterprises, SMEs and single-store owners to connect with customers via local search.

‘Locations’ denotes our expertise in building hyperlocal digital strategy through automation for 1 to 1,00,000 locations in no time which is manually impossible and ‘Z’ denotes our 4 products – Zipqode (Local SEO), ZipAds (Location-Based Ads), ZipSocial(Local Social) and ZipStarz(Reputation Management) and 2 more products in the pipeline.

The idea was to build a world-class product and create thousands of job opportunities in the process. We started with the vision to create a Unicorn from India while keeping the market share of the opportunity within the country. Besides, India has more than 40 million businesses as against 2 billion businesses globally, with $230 trillion spends. Hence, there was an imperative need of an automated platform that could deliver a memorable ‘Near Me’ brand experience. Google’s Consumer Insights has reported a 900%+ increase in “Near me” so the buzz word In Online to Offline space is “Near me”.

How different or difficult is it to run your own company when you have already worked with top-notch brands?
My experience, spread over decades with top companies across varied sectors, has aided my efforts towards building my own enterprise. During my association with the companies, I worked at expanding teams as well as turnovers. For instance, my last stint was of expanding an 8-member strong team to a team comprising 100 professionals. Similarly, I have helped companies with Rs 10 crore turnover to cross Rs 200-crore mark. All these have helped me grow as an individual as well as a professional. Running your own company certainly comes with new sets of challenges, for you are directly responsible for all aspects of the business and day-to-day operations. So, it's certainly different as well as difficult, but I would say that my learning and experience has only helped me in reaching this milestone.

What challenges and hurdles did you face during the initial days?
The major challenge was to find the right team for building a world-class technology platform, starting from scratch to build a SaaS tool on latest languages - Laravel, Phython and Reactjs. There were several roadblocks but I am proud of my team of 15 engineers, my passionate CTO and Founding team members, who helped me overcome them within a short span and managed to establish our product effectively.

With my last 17-year experience, one thing that I am proud of is the trust I have built with 100s of Enterprise clients, who helped me get several marquee clients on board in the very first few months. With 110 clients in the pipeline who have shown keen interest in associating with us, we are targeting 200% Month-on-Month growth.

What makes you apart from the existing players?
While 1000 other agencies focus on the SEO, SEM, SMO and CRM of a given brand at the corporate level, we provide the same services for their 100’s n 1000’s of physical locations via automated platform since its manually impossible. For instance, while other agencies would provide digital services to a car manufacturer at a brand level, LocationsZ would provide the same digital services to 100’s of dealers for the brand.

The tool is fully automated, easy-to-use and functionally integrated SaaS platform to list, manage and enrich the location data across SEO-optimized store pages and publishers. The same includes search engines, local web directories, maps and social media platforms to engage potential customers. LocationsZ empowers businesses to perform Search Engine Marketing through an automated tool to advertise, managing Social on Facebook and Reputation management at location level “Hyperlocal”.

Have you raised funds from the investors?
We are a bootstrapped startup. However, we have been reached out by several investors for not just funds but a strategic alliance. At this time and stage, choosing the right partner is extremely crucial for us to be able to strategically scale the business in India and abroad.

What are the future plans?
LocationsZ aims to become global leaders in Hyperlocal Digital Marketing SaaS Solutions with the motto of “GO LOCAL, GROW LOCAL”.

Our vision is to enable every business owner on earth realise the full potential of their physical business location and become the most cost-effective customer acquisition Martech Saas Solution, which is fully automated, AI-driven and equipped with Machine Learning to grow your business exponentially.

Since millions of these locations remain unmanaged and are left unaccounted for, an automated platform like LocationsZ can help in their streamlining and publication via APIs on different search platforms. The tool is fully automated, easy-to-use, functionally integrated SaaS platform to list, manage and enrich the location data across SEO optimized store pages and publishers which include search engines, local web directories, maps and social media platforms to engage potential customers.

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