CashKaro is India’s Largest Cashback & Coupons Site that Works on the Performance Marketing Model: Swati Bhargava, Co-Founder, CashKaro

In an Interview with BW Businessworld, Swati Bhargava, Co-Founder at CashKaro talks about CashKaro’s journey and more...

• Tell us about CashKaro’s journey and how did it start?
The seed of this disruptive idea can be traced back to the days when my husband and Co-Founder, Rohan and I used to live in the UK. We came across a UK-based Cashback site while we were booking flight tickets to Maldives for our honeymoon and thus, ended up saving a good amount of money on our bookings, thanks to the cashback site. That is how the idea of starting our own Cashback business first struck us.
At this point, both Rohan and I were working in the UK. While I was working at Goldman Sachs London in the Investment Banking division, Rohan was working with Aladdin Capital. Despite our successful careers, both of us were very keen on starting a business of our own. We found the concept of Cashback very fresh & interesting and wanted to create something even better along similar lines. This is how we co-founded our first venture, a cashback site called Pouring Pounds, that was launched in the UK.
The instant success of Pouring Pounds encouraged us to bring our Cashback business to India, leading to the launch of CashKaro. The idea behind bringing the business here was that Indians love to save money at every opportunity given. We were confident that a shopping platform like CashKaro will give users Cashback on every purchase, will be a hit in India. It had just been 4 months into launching CashKaro in India and our site began witnessing massive organic growth very quickly.
Back then we were still operating from London. But this sudden growth reaffirmed our belief that CashKaro was a brilliant product for the Indian market. Encouraged by CashKaro’s swift growth in such a short period of time, we wanted to push further. Once we set sail, within a period of just 48 hours, we had raised $750,000 from a few London-based investors. This was followed by funding from Kalaari Capital and Mr. Ratan Tata, as well. CashKaro till date is the only Cashback site to have been funded by a VC. Today, CashKaro is India's Largest Cashback & Coupons Site and continues to grow rapidly.
On CashKaro, users get paid to shop across 1,500+ of India’s most popular eCommerce giants including Flipkart, Amazon, Swiggy & more. Every time you buy something from one of these brands using CashKaro, you earn Cashback. This Cashback is on top of all other deals & coupons and is thus offered to users in addition to the existing retailer discounts. Once you’ve got Rs.250 in your CashKaro account, you can transfer it straight to your bank account because this Cashback is equal to real cash. CashKaro users can earn anything between Rs.20,000-25,000 a year by shopping via the site for their day to day needs. This Cashback can be transferred to their bank account or even be redeemed as Amazon or Flipkart Gift vouchers. In a period of just 6 years, CashKaro has paid over Rs.100Cr as Cashback to its users.

• Tell us about yourself and your background?
I grew up in the city of Ambala, Haryana where I studied till my 10th grade. Owing to my academic excellence, I was chosen among top 35 students from all over India for a scholarship funded by the Government of Singapore, to study in Singapore for the 11th and 12th grades. After this, I won yet another scholarship to the London School of Economics (LSE), where I pursued B.Sc. in Mathematics and Economics. After graduating from LSE, I worked in Goldman Sachs, London in the Investment Banking division for about 5 years. Rohan was also in London during this period working in the financial sector. Back then, Rohan and I often talked about wanting to start our own business and when we chanced upon Cashback sites in the UK, we were really keen to create something even more interesting and lucrative for shoppers. This led us to start Pouring Pounds which became an instant hit with the users. The immediate success of Pouring Pounds was our cue to bring our Cashback business to India, as we were confident that a product like this will be an even bigger success here, given how saving is an inherent part of our culture. Cashback has the perfect product-market fit in India and we were also excited to participate in the growth of eCommerce in the country.

•Any challenges you faced?
Definitely, but, they always gave us the right push to overcome hurdles and get to the next level. One of our greatest challenges arose from the fact that we were category leaders in the Performance Marketing industry and had to build up every process from scratch. For instance, to pass on the Cashback to users we needed reporting from retailer partners in a certain format along with a robust tracking technique, in order to efficiently track the sales made via mobile apps, as well.
In addition to this, we also had to ensure there was a smooth payment processing system in place. Apart from the processes, it was also a challenge to explain the concept of Cashback to people and to get them to trust us, since we were vertical leaders. The onus of setting precedence at every step, both at the end of retailer partners as well as users meant that there were going to be a few teething challenges. But we enjoyed the process because the experience was also extremely rewarding. There were also a few other areas that were not easy to master; for instance, building top notch product, acquiring the right talent and getting investors to see value in what we were building. However, our absolute commitment to giving CashKaro users a world-class Cashback experience helped us stay focused and achieve the goals we had set for ourselves.

• Explain how CashKaro works? What is the business model of CashKaro?
CashKaro is India’s Largest Cashback & Coupons Site that works on the performance marketing model. When a user shops via CashKaro on a partner retailer’s site such as Amazon, Flipkart, Swiggy or 1500+ others, they get extra Cashback on top of all existing retailer discounts. CashKaro users can also earn Cashback on online payment of utility bills, travel bookings, grocery shopping, food orders, clothing, mobiles, large appliances and more. All they need to do is, visit the retailer’s site via CashKaro and shop.
CashKaro works on a simple principle of driving sales to partner retailers like Amazon and Flipkart as a marketing channel. For every sale driven, we get commission from the retailer, most of which is then passed on to our users as Cashback. This Cashback is equivalent to real cash and can be transferred to user’s bank account or redeemed as Amazon/Flipkart Gift Vouchers, once it reaches a minimum amount of Rs.250. So far CashKaro has paid over Rs.100Cr as Cashback to its users.

•Is CashKaro available for big products as well?
Absolutely, it is available for everything across categories including large appliances, fashion, food, flight tickets & hotel bookings, groceries, medicines and much more. The Cashback we offer to our users varies from retailer to retailer. Users can avail this Cashback on some of the most popular and premium brands listed with the website including Forest Essential, NNNOW, Ajio, and more via CashKaro. So, whether you’re buying a brand-new TV or a new perfume, you can get Cashback on everything.

• Way forward for CashKaro?
If we look at what performance-marketing businesses abroad have achieved, we can see that there is a massive scope for growth of Cashback business in India and it can be easily converted into a billion-dollar business here as well. Our business model fits right into our culture of saving and trying to find the best price for everything. CashKaro is already a leader in India’s performance marketing industry and we plan to further expand our user base & retailer partner network in the coming years. CashKaro’s goal is to continue being India's largest Cashback site and the best online savings' destination for shoppers by bringing in more and more saving options for our users.
This year we have been more invested in marketing and brand building than the previous years. We also launched a new product called EarnKaro, which is a big focus for us and for many reasons will be a game changer in the online shopping space in 2020 and the years to follow. EarnKaro is India’s first Social Commerce App and works on the concept of Social Cashback.
This means that I can share deals which are running right now on Amazon or any other retailer using WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram group, etc. on my phone. If anyone buys the product using the link shared by me, I'll earn profit on it. One can share the link of already existing offers or can make their own EarnKaro link for products listed on any eCommerce website. Every month we are doubling the numbers on EarnKaro, as it is gaining immense popularity among users, especially home-makers, students and those who are looking for an enjoyable work-from-home opportunity. It is also an additional mode of income for social media influencers who are constantly sharing shopping recommendations with their followers.

What is EarnKaro and how does it work?
EarnKaro is India’s first Social Commerce App. It enables online shoppers to find and share the best deals across categories like fashion, health, food, recharge, travel, etc. with their social network using WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, Instagram DM, etc. This allows them to earn profit from the sales made through the EarnKaro platform. This is in line with our vision and goal of becoming the largest savings destination in India, by constantly creating more opportunities for people to save and earn money online. EarnKaro also has immense potential of becoming a key empowerment product for women. It provides an easy work-from-home opportunity which allows flexibility and does not require any capital investment. We are already seeing thousands of women use EarnKaro to earn Rs.10,000 - 15,000 monthly. Over time, we feel we can easily reach over 1 million women and give them a reliable and accessible source of income. Apart from women looking to earn income from home, we have also seen a huge base of students using EarnKaro to earn extra pocket money. Other than these segments, EarnKaro also serves as an additional mode of income for social media influencers who are constantly sharing shopping recommendations with their followers.

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