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Exclusive: Simsim forays into content with Rubaru; rules out chances of pivot


Covid-19 pandemic has thrown businesses into serious trouble but they can’t do much more than trying out new experiments to cope with the crisis. Many companies including Zomato, Meesho, BharatPe and Box8 got into grocery and essentials whereas Swiggy started DIY meal kits to gain traction from the non-core verticals.

Social commerce startup Simsim also adapted to the prevailing situation by launching content-centric play — Rubaru. The new product allows users to send personalised video messages and tips recorded by celebrities and influencers for their near and dear ones.

So far, it has on-boarded celebrities including Rohit Roy, Bhaichung Bhutia, Ashwin Mushran, Aakash Chopra, Rahul Roy, Suhail Chandhok among many others. Users require to pay up to Rs 1,000 for such requests. The experiment seems to be a strategy to build influencer-based video content offering.

According to two Entrackr sources, Simsim has been brainstorming to gradually pivot to a content-centred model from commerce. However, Simsim co-founder Amit Bagaria has denied such a plan. “We believe pandemic has offered a bigger opportunity to build e-commerce business in India. Simsim will continue to focus on commerce,” he said.

While Bagaria has declined to comment anything about Rubaru, he revealed that the company has pulled off the development of the new product within three weeks of lockdown. The concept of offering customised video messages on occasions like birthday, anniversary et al has just started in India. Currently, there are more than a dozen startups operating in the space including Unlu, Wysh and Tring.

Wysh had also raised a $2 million round led by Kalaari Capital in January.

Simsim is one of the well funded companies in the video and influencer commerce space along with BulBul and EkAnek. It raised $16 million across three rounds. Accel and Shunwei are the anchor investors for the Delhi-based firm. Entrackr had exclusively reported about Simsim’s launch and seed round.

Since Covid-19 has impacted every kind of business and experts anticipate consolidations across sectors, the social commerce space will likely see merger and acquisition activities. “We have around 10 startups in the social commerce space and I see them consolidating in two or maximum three fronts,” said a venture capital who has invested in one of the social commerce startups on condition of anonymity.

According to him, joining forces will ensure a longer runway for these companies. For bigger companies in social commerce and overall e-commerce sectors, acquisitions would help in expansion of their tech stack, product teams or entering adjacent revenue segments.

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