How Mumbai startup BizzO is helping travel and hospitality SMEs digitize their operations and bookings
What is the minimum requirement for businesses to go digital in this era? A smartphone, low-cost data and a low-cost payment solution.
Yet, it wasn’t until the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that several micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) went digital to keep their businesses alive.
India has in total 63 million MSMEs registered – of which a third or 20 million – are service providers, while the rest are merchants.
While these businesses struggled to attract customers, aggregation platforms helped them attract customers. However, they couldn’t stand the steep discounts, loss of price control, customer data, and brand recognition.
This is where based in Mumbaistepped in to fill the void.
Starts with Viineit Toshniiwal and backed by ICICI Bank and Fino Payments Bank, BizzO is a B2B company that helps SME travel, tourism and hospitality service providers build a business application and manage their bookings on its platform.
“BizzO is a single app no-code solution for small micro-services business apps, where we bring everything together in one platform, including social media requests, booking from various platforms and payments. Everything will land on one platform and BizzO will become your only go-to app,” says Viineit. Your story.
From CityCash to BizzO
Viineit’s previous company – fintech startup— focused on Tap to Pay in public transport. However, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he faced a tough time.
Founded in 2017, CityCash had succeeded in reaching new milestones, raising $4.73 million now until 2020.
“Due to the multiple waves of COVID-19, I have informed my investors and board of directors of this company’s macro [CityCash] seems very uncertain. And due to this uncertainty, we would like to pivot, and so in April 2021, we started thinking about BizzO,” Viineit said.
Launched in February this year, BizzO has already integrated 20,000 SMEs on its platform – most of which are launching their entire business operations digitally for the first time.
BizzO offers business management solutions, integrating channels such as payments, communication, reservations, social media, etc., bringing them together under a single application.
“We want to target the service sector. Essentially, we want to be a Shopify for services. This is how I would condense my entire service offering,” explains Viineit.
In fact, says Viineit, BizzO and its offerings have a much bigger opportunity as small business owners face similar issues in countries like Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
“They want a reliable and affordable solution that can handle their entire business. The prospect of this activity is therefore visible,” he adds.
In India, BizzO provides hospitality, transportation, accommodation and tourism services in major tourist hubs including Mahabaleshwar, Alibaug, Lonavala, Pune, Mumbai, Goa, Udaipur, Dehradun, Hrishikesh, Haridwar, Varanasi, Delhi -NCR and Bengaluru.
The startup is also working on key partnerships that will be launched in the coming months. For its proof-of-concept ecosystem in Mahabaleshwar, BizzO partnered with the local taxi union, operating nearly 500 taxis in the region.
In fact, BizzO has enabled the digital booking process, previously done manually, and has partnered with the association of hotels and restaurants and the local tourism authority.
“We are launching the hyperlocal campaign to all merchants in Mahabaleshwar on one page so customers can just scan a QR code and get access to all activities services on one page,” says Viineit.
He explains, “We also partner with industry bodies whose sole purpose is to promote digitization and where the ecosystem can benefit.
Viineit’s two businesses – CityCash and BizzO – operate under parent company Tap Smart Data Information Services, which was founded in 2017.
The company has 45 members in its team, of which 20 are part of the BizzO technical team and two focus on the operation of CityCash.
Prior to founding the two startups, Viineit was Managing Director of Equirus Capital, where he actively led buyout deals across all sectors including payments, technology and aerospace.
BizzO raised $2 million in a funding round led by ICICI bank. “ICICI Bank is strategically aligned with what Bizzo is doing in terms of digitizing all these transactions,” Viineit explains.
As for the CityCash activity, “the activity will be closed at the appropriate time”, adds Viineit.
On the competition front, BizzO competes with companies likeand who work on the goods trading side of the market, while BizzO works on the service side.
“Looking at the competition in our spaces, we noticed that they have siled offerings,” Viineit said.
He further adds that some of these services are for mature businesses as they are subscription-based and have longer onboarding and training sessions.
With a Total Available Market (TAM) of Rs 10 crore and Usable Available Market (SAM) of around Rs 3-4 crore, the company aims to target more SMBs in the travel and hospitality industry over the next year, all through digital distribution. He plans to go pan-India with this month’s digital campaign.
Revenue-wise, the company offers a free basic plan and a premium plan at Rs 299 per month.
For its free basic plan, BizzO offers free transactions up to Rs 5 lakh and beyond per month, where it charges a 0.25% transaction fee. At present, he has made no revenue and has onboarded customers on his basic plan.