Posted: Wed 6th Jul 2022
Gokul Gurijala is co-founder and CEO of Green Till, a digital receipts company established in May 2020. Up until now the company had been bootstrapped and is now about to receive its first funding.
Green Till launched at Web Summit in November 2021 and has users in the Irish market and Eastern Europe.
As part of Enterprise Nation's Access to Finance programme, we asked business founders to tell us about their experiences of getting funding. Here, Gokul shares Green Till's story, in conversation with Fiona Alston.
We're a plug-and-play digital receipts service provider for retailers. We simply go to them and plug in our tablet device and allow them to offer digital receipts from day one.
For bigger retailers, we offer this as a white-label solution where they can integrate our functionality with their existing app or point of sale.
From first-hand experience. I bought a dress for my wife and lost the receipt. I never returned it because the shop wouldn't accept it without the receipt. It's still hanging in my closet.
That was the original problem we wanted to solve. So, when we looked at the existing solutions in the market, a lot of the retailers were offering an email receipt, which does solve the problem of losing a receipt. The problem is, not all point-of-sale systems have that facility.
The other problem is once they give an email receipt, they have a hook on the customer to start sending them marketing emails. I got 463 emails from a large retailer just because I gave them my email once.
They scan the QR code at the till and it will take them to a URL where their receipt is. They have an option to download the receipt, which will save the file to their phone.
The second option is that if they've downloaded the Green Till app, the receipt can be stored there.
We provide retailers with the data. They can then either use it to make a marketing campaign or a promotional decision, or send coupons or discounts to individual customers in their own way, via the app.
If customers want to hear back from the retailer they normally shop with, they install the app, and the app will have all the promotions those retailers are pushing.
All the co-founders are full-time employees with different companies so we couldn't put a big chunk of money upfront. We broke down the project into smaller chunks, and each month we paid the developers for whatever they delivered to us.
So far, we've spent, from our own pockets, between €7,000 and €8,000. And that came piecemeal every month. We're still doing that.
In any software development, if you know the right areas in which to break it down, and the incremental approach, and how to break this down into smaller increments, you can always work it out with smaller budgets.
The other side of this is that we've a lot of developer community contracts from India, and hiring people from India is a lot cheaper. That's why the costs are lower.
We're getting a little funding from Enterprise Ireland next month, and we'll start to use that.
We're getting a Competitive Start Fund. We applied to Enterprise Ireland in March and got picked, so we did a demo and pitched them.
They ask for a 10% stake for a €50,000 investment. The plan is to use that €50,000 to make the product fit the market a little better, and also to hire a person locally to expand on sales. That money is only going to help us for around six months.
We're looking to come onboard full-time with Green Till, which means that we'll have to be paid a salary. We'll also have to pay other developers who we want to hire full-time – there is the potential for three or four developers to come onboard.
We're seeking to raise about €850,000 in our seed round at the beginning of December.
For us to bring this to any table, we'll have to show traction and any revenue coming in.
We have people already using Green Till in Ireland, in India and new installations we've been doing in Eastern Europe. We're talking about 15 to 20 new installations coming in the next two or three months. Hopefully that number will have risen by the November/December timeframe.
We should see monthly revenue coming in by then and show that this has potential growth opportunities in that respect. Our plan is to show that revenue as proof of concept for this product.
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