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Exclusive: Content platform Trell explores e-commerce with Bharat Dukaan

After the ban of TikTok and other China-linked apps, Sequoia Capital India’s Surge-backed Trell had found a new track: short video entertainment space. However, the company seems to have lost momentum as its downloads numbers haven’t been growing. According to Sensor Tower data, it has recorded less than 8 lakh downloads in the past three months.

With stagnating numbers for its short video offering, Trell is now finding newer avenues to make money. The company recently launched a new commerce platform called Bharat Dukaan for beauty products. 

At present, Bharat Dukaan offers beauty products and toiletries such as lipstick, oil, deodorants, toothpaste among others across two dozen brands. According to Entrackr sources, the company is also pushing listed products to small merchants in select parts of North India. The platform currently serves as both a B2B and a B2C platform, added sources.

“The idea behind Bharat Dukaan is to test waters in the B2B space and leverage influencers on Trell to drive transactions in the B2C segment,” said one of the sources on condition of anonymity. “The new business is being headed by Trell’s co-founder Bimal Karthik Rebba.”

Entrackr’s queries sent to Trell didn’t elicit any immediate response. 

Sources point out that Trell is essentially exploring monetisation by mingling content and commerce. It’s worth noting that Trell, which had started as a short video content discovery platform for travellers, joined the frenzy of becoming the next TikTok in June 2019. However, it has been finding it tough to compete against deep-pocketed rivals in the short video space.

Trell barely has 268,000 downloads in the past 30 days, Sensor Tower data shows. Apart from Trell, Mitron and Chingari are also struggling with 70,000 and 300,000 downloads in the past month, respectively. The top three players MX TakaTak, ShareChat’s Moj and Dailyhunt’s Josh have outnumbered the smaller players in terms of acquiring new users with a huge margin.

MX Player’s short video app MX TakaTak was the most downloaded app in India in February with 36.5 million installs followed by Moj which recorded 23.5 million downloads. Josh was the third most downloaded short video app during the period with 17.5 million installs. 

Founded by Pulkit Agarwal, Prashant Sachan, Arun Lodhi, and Rebba in 2016, Trell allows users to create 3-5 minute original content videos in their native languages in categories including beauty, health, fitness and travel.

So far, the company has raised over $15 million from Surge, KTBN Ventures and Samsung Venture among a few others. The launch of Bharat Dukaan appears to be a well-thought decision as Trell has clearly been struggling in acquiring new users and there is nothing wrong in exploring new avenues.

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