Excl: Former Reliance Retail exec to launch social commerce platform

18 Jul, 2012

Manoj Shinde, a former executive of Reliance Brand (a subsidiary of Reliance Retail and part of Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries) will launch a social commerce platform, which will mainly focus on luxury retail and fashion segments. An investment banker (name is not disclosed as he is still working with another company) will also join duo in this new venture.

The technology will be provided by Ambab Infotech, founded by Bhavik Jhaveri, who was previously the CTO of Dealsandyou and co-founder and CTO of Craftsvilla.

Confirming the news to, Shinde said, "Customer acquisition is a major hurdle in e-commerce. However, we are trying to come up with solutions which will help e-commerce players reduce customer acquisition cost and increase the lifetime value (LTV) of customers."

The Mumbai-based startup is yet to choose a name and the final product is still taking shape. "We are finalising the company name from 2-3 options and also asking people which name sounds the best," said Shinde. The platform will be launched in alpha mode within 2-3 weeks; will be in beta by early November and the official launch will happen in December this year. The new venture, which is cost-measured and contracted, is looking to hire 7-8 designers and developers as well. An otherwise bootstrapped company, the startup is also looking for investments.

Asked about the scope of such a platform, Shinde said, "E-commerce startups are popping up in every category and service blend. So we do see a great opportunity in enabling and enhancing their customer experience.

"We are trying to harness the power of social commerce to help e-commerce firms build a sustainable experience for customers, which I believe, is the first step in winning the trust of customers. The rest will follow," he added.

As the CEO of the new initiative, Shinde will look after business development, marketing and strategic alliances. Jhaveri will be the CTO and take care of the technical and security aspects while their partner will be responsible for operations and finance.

Shindhe had previously worked with Adidas, Quiksilver and Software International (the company designs, produces and distributes branded apparel, footwear, accessories and related products) in the US and also founded eValidus Inc, an e-learning and e-publishing products and services firm.

A BE from the University of Mumbai, Jhaveri had previously worked with E-Billing Solutions and He had also launched a company called Ambab Infotech which specialises in digital commerce, Web 2.0/3.0, social, mobile and local solutions, as well as enterprise and infrastructure solutions.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)