So what’s Redeem? Simply put it’s Sri Lanka’s premier deals and discounts platform catering to verticals such as restaurants, hotels, salons, spas, events, travel etc. Basically, “if there’s anything that you want to do, and you want to do it at a discount, just use Redeem,” says Vidusha De Silva, Co-Founder and Co-CEO at Redeem. After all, who would want to pay more, when you can pay less? This is true for almost any product or service. The opportunity to buy something at a better price appeals to anyone. Redeem seems to be a platform that enables this idea.
From a software development company to a deals and discounts platform
Currently, the company has 300+ merchants onboard the platform and growing rapidly every day. But things didn’t start out that way for Redeem. The duo behind the platform, Vidusha Silva and Asmath Thaha started off as a software company called Interack Technologies Lanka in 2013. As a software company, Interack Technologies Lanka’s listed a high-level clientele that included the likes of Consumer Affairs Authority, Lanka Tiles, the Foundation of Goodness, and several other organizations
Redeem started as a project that was eventually going to be built to a software company. Vidusha notes that the process took them 2 years to craft into what Redeem is today. During the 2 years, the startup underwent a few changes, including several rebranding efforts and figuring out the exact business model that works best on the platform.
The company finally settled on Redeem and the current business model, which has brought it huge success. Later, the company went through its initial seed round – closing it at a valuation of around LKR 87 million. Recently, Redeem raised its second round of funding.
Elaborating on this, Vidusha said, “We secured our second round of funding from a private group of local investors primarily active in the apparel industry. With this funding, Redeem is now a company that is valued at LKR 300 million.”
But what benefits does Redeem bring for the merchants?
One of the selling points for Redeem is the lack of a common platform for merchants to put up promotional deals. Often, they’re limited to their own social media channels or credit card deals. With Redeem, it’s as simple as putting up an offer or a deal in 3 steps. Once done, it’s a matter of pressing the submit button and uploading a picture. At the time of writing, Vidusha notes that a deal will go through to 60,000+ customers immediately.
Taking these points into account, a platform like Redeem seems like an obvious choice. But that’s not to say the startup didn’t have its fair share of challenges. For instance, getting merchants onboard from the salon and spa sector involved a lot of convincing and effort. This is because it was a vertical left untouched by the eCommerce market in Sri Lanka. Fast forward to 2020, Redeem has about 110+ salons onboard.
Furthermore, Asmath points out a side benefit for salons where a customer that comes to a salon because of a promotional discount is likely to come back to the same salon for a different service. As Asmath puts it, Redeem brings the customers to the salons and the salons in return can upsell their offerings.
The culture and the growth trajectory
To understand the scale of the business, Vidusha shared that Redeem now does 600+ purchases per day. One of the top restaurant merchants on the app is the famous Acropol Restaurant. With Redeem, the restaurant has been able to sell over 10,000 dishes in a very short span of time. Similarly, one of the top salon merchants on the app is Mosh, which has sold over 1,000 hair cuts and other services with Redeem. Also adding to that growth, in the travel sector, the company had been able to send 120 travellers to Bali in January 2020 alone.
“Of course, your company is only as good as your team,” states Vidusha. Both he and Asmath made it a point to note the team’s efforts and the general work culture surrounding Redeem. Vidusha went on to state the importance of creating a homely work environment for Redeem staff.
“Homely environments don’t come with bean bags, ping pong tables and pool tables”, adds Vidusha. For Redeem it’s about creating that comfortable environment for people that enables better communication and overall work ethic. While Redeem is nearing 2 years of operations, the company notes that employee turnover has remained zero to this day.
With determination, Vidusha goes onto say, “We’re driving and bulldozing forward and we will stop at nothing.” But what does the future hold for the deals and discounts platform? According to Asmath, the company is looking at hitting 600,000 downloads within the next 6 months. Currently, its at 60,000 with a 4.4 rating on Google Play Store.
Asmath goes on to share that they want everyone to check out Redeem whenever they opt to dine at a restaurant or visit a salon. In other words, they want the idea of “I might find it cheaper on Redeem” to be as normal as taking a phone call. But the end goal for Vidusha and Asmath is to continue being Sri Lanka’s No1 Deals and Discounts Platform. Will their ambitions pay off? Redeem remains optimistic.