Startup Brief : We have developed a mobile app for college students, called Contree. Contree is an intuitive, small in size mobile app to make group payments seamless. It helps users in 3 different ways: get paid back from a group of friends for an expense they incurred in past; manage present group expenses (e.g. during trips); and plan & collect money from friends for a future event with free bank transfer.
With group expense management and settlements as our core offering, we plan to bring merchants to our platform in future to provide a new and complete group expenditure experience from money collection, settlement to making payments In later stages, we also look to build our platform for organizations who need to regularly collect money from a large number of people.
Deepanshu (Founder) faced a problem himself when he had to collect 770 rupees each from 9 people after a party. It was a pain chasing people, and when people met, they just didn’t have the required change. 7 out of 9 people paid 750 Indian rupees only.The problem is faced almost by everyone who hangs out their friends circle.
We carried an online market research drive called “#1MinuteAway” We did good amount of research to make this survey short yet complete, interactive and appealing to collect honest responses. It gathered close to 470 responses. 91% people said they end up paying more than their share in bill amount, 58% face problem in getting paid back extra money, and 94% are interested in a solution for simplifying group payments which gave us the validation that the problem is genuine.
Four of the founders are from IIT Roorkee and have known each other since past couple of years. As in every college student life they used to hangout as a group and were involved in different co curricular activities which broaden their interests to look for a real world problem and build solution around it. Deepanshu (23) is the common link among all cofounders. Atul and Deepanshu know each other since 4.5 years when both of them enrolled for mechanical engineering at IIT Roorkee. Apart from Deepanshu, everyone knows one another since 5 months when they formed a team for Contree.
Revenue, Traction & Growth :
We have launched our beta version on Google play store and have seen revenues of about Rs 80,0000 without any sort of marketing expense. We currently have 330 users who have tested and reviewed the product based on which we have done improvements and are about to go for public launch.
Following are our estimates:
2016: Users = 18464, Revenue = 0.003 USD Mn
2017: Users = 148484, Revenue = 0.134 USD Mn
2018: Users = 899355, Revenue = 1.430 USD Mn
Differentiating Factor from Competitors :
Our direct competitors include startups in similar space such MyPoolin (Indian startup in group payments, Splitwise (US startup in group expense management, no payment facilities in India), Letspool (Indian startup in group payments). Wallet companies which are currently focussed on individual payments may become our future competitors if they introduce group payment functionalities in their existing products, though it will require them to compromise with their core offering and has the danger of breaking the niche.To tackle competition, we will rely on continuous innovation by having a structured innovation team.
Our revenue model comprises of charging a flat fee of 2.5% from merchants on our platform and by providing enterprise solutions as B2B model.
Funding Scenario :
We were bootstrapped till last month. We are currently backed by IIT Roorkee incubator which has provided us seed amount to develop and scale our idea.
Product Details :
Contree is a unique way to split and settle expenses among roommates, college students, colleagues.What makes Contree different: Free bank transfer and single tap to add expense Contree offers a new and more efficient way to settle expenses within groups. See your settlements either ‘Group’ wise or ‘Friend’ wise. It eliminates the need to handle money give and take issue among friends. So, whether you are on a trip, partying, watching a movie or simply chilling out in hot summer with your buddies, your expenses are seamlessly handled and settled by Contree.
Where Contree is most helpful: Wherever expenses are involved within a group and multiple people pay for different things such as during a trip, going for a movie, arranging a party, canteen expenses among college friends to name a few cases.
Security: Contree Money, app’s wallet feature, runs in accordance with international PCI-DSS compliance. Payments are secure and fast with Contree. The app lets you transfer the collected money to your bank account quickly, with IMPS/NEFT technology in the backend.
Future plans :
Feedback and suggestions are the core mechanism which are the prime requirements for the product improvement . We have tried to incorporate feedback within the app and it is present in the navigation bar. Users are presented with brief questionnaire on basis of which the developer team analyse the pros and cons of getting that feedback/suggestion into our app.
We have identified our niche segment (College Students and Flatmates) for marketing the app which will set the base for targeted marketing approach right from the start and thereby will help us in efficient future strategic planning. We have made live the final product (25th June) based on the feedback which we have received from our Beta testers.
About Author- Mohit is the cofounder of Contree. Prior to starting Contree, he has worked as a team lead in JP Morgan for 3 years.His interests ranges from mobile payments to machine learning and even collecting historic articles ! You can reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org