Planning what to do this weekend ? Or looking for a romantic restaurant for a date in Delhi ? Or wondering to get into a live event nearby in Bangalore ? Just click on Little Black Book, a Start-Up and an amazing one-stop destination for everything from food and travel to shopping and events. The Delhi based Start-Up was founded by Suchita Salwan in 2012, is currently working in the Delhi, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad and Goa.
What is the Little Black Book ?
Little Black Book is an all-inclusive shop for every delightful thing in the town, discovering almost everything from events, stores, spas, cafes, bars, restaurants, food, shopping, travel, adventure and lifestyle. The Start-Up facilitates the unique exploring and sharing of local businesses through its mobile and web-based platform.
Dhruv Mathur, also the co-founder of LBB joined Suchita when she was in search of a tech-savvy partner to take care of technical issues. Dhruv is a graduate from Carnegie Mellon worked in Deloitte before coming to India and he is also an entrepreneur who started getFbPay.in
Little Black Book (LBB) formation
The Little Black Book came into existence when Suchita Salwan wanted to explore the city of Delhi where she was living. Being an fun lover and traveller, Suchita on her weekends, craved to explore the culture, entertainment and dining of the city. But she found to have only three options:
JustDial : notifying only about the go-to-places and local businesses
BookMyShow : informing latest movies, plays, events going to take place in the cities
Zomato : informing about the food and restaurants
This information was very limited when she had to plan for her weekends and night-out plans. In short, looking for undiscovered places of the urban city, which was still out of the reach from exploring, some specific interesting and exciting events. This proved to be the Eureka moment for the origin of the LBB to explore each and everything and reach the undiscovered places, cultures and things.
Delhite Suchita says “For me, LBB was a way to document all that I loved discovering in Delhi, and hoping that through all the amazing things I found, I could influence people to go out and discover Delhi using my recommendations.”
Business and Revenue Model
Little Black Book works on directions and reviews across miscellaneous things encouraging unique local discoveries in a new ways. The evolution raised from existing listing-based models and uses content as a centric point drive audiences to local places, enterprises, and experiences.
Advertising has been LBB’s primary revenue generator. Delhi-Start-Up partners with small to medium brands locally and as well global brands looking to join with a local audience including Airbnb, Nestle, Coca-Cola, HTC and Samsung. Not only big brands but local food cafes and fashion brands that have been eager to reach out to local audiences are also enlisted with LBB.
Lately content platforms have also started venturing into marketplaces as generating revenue is challenging only on the back of online advertisements. Online shopping along with engaging content has become a new way of monetization.
LBB has recently launched a online shopping section, where users can buy products from local businesses. Wherein More than 60,000 businesses have been recommended. And more than 1,000 businesses are using the platform to grow their businesses from large companies like Fabindia, ABInBev, Pepperfry, to upcoming SMBs across shopping, food & events.
Funding of LBB
The initial journey of Little Black Book was not so easy, the first 2 years (2013 and 2014) were bootstrapping period, and taking minimal revenue and investing in our product, says Suchita Salwan.
As of now, LBB has then raised a total of $ 8.3 Million in 5 funding rounds. Their latest funding of ` 7 Core was raised on August 2019 from a Debt Financing round via issuing Series-A Debentures to Alteria Capital after raising $ 5 Million in its Series-A funding round in the same year in the month of April. Other investors include Inventus India, Indian Angel Network, Blume Ventures and Chiratae Ventures, Japanese firm – Dream Incubators and Akatsuki Entertainment Technology Fund.
Nearify, Holidify, nearfox, allevents.in, Thrillophilia, Timeout and eatable are the leading competitors to the LBB.
Unlike other platforms LBB has a broad expansion of events, food, travel, adventure, lifestyle, shopping, etc. so much more to explore. This variety and ability to engage the search of customers of unknown places, highly recommended places, local experiences and much more made the platform to be the most used base for many users. Currently, there are more than 3 million monthly active users for LBB across its web and app.
The Road Ahead for LBB
Suchita co-founder said, "Our aim is always to deliver a product that continuously adds value to our users and their choices. So, first we will do lots of changes on our app. We’ve further got a very interesting ‘Make Plans’ feature coming up, which will allow users to chat with friends."
In near future, Little Black Book is aiming to expand its venture overseas including Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Dubai, gunning a similar demographic as it does in India.