Pickcel: Empowering Hyperlocal Startups Through its Cloud-based Signage System

As an advertiser or even as a client, the wider the purview, human contact, the wider the effect of advertising. Internet is connecting even the remotest of areas with people. With this wide array of network connecting people, the advertising market has completely flipped its model from traditional media to digital mediums and OOH services. The problem arises when the scene reaches a hyperlocal startup, let’s say a small food joint in a locality or a saloon in a tier 2 city. Their audience is local, they plan to acquire specific (geographically bound) users but their aim is same as a multinational corporation i.e  extensive coverage, strong interaction, real time & long lasting impact, accurate delivery goals etc. They have a comparatively lesser budget and hardly any experience. So how do a hyperlocal startup scale/acquire specific users and then judge if the campaign is working (Analytics)? To empower hyperlocal startups Pickcel came into being.

About & Services

Founded by Abhijit Chaudhary, Rajesh Bhattacharjee, Subrata Debnath and Basudev Saha in 2014, Pickcel aims to become a cloud based digital signage system for communication and marketing. In a conversation with Abhijit, he stated that the idea behind the inception of the company came one night when his friends and him were having dinner at a local restaurant in Bangalore. He further added, “I had a talk with the restaurant manager, the food was good but there was hardly anyone inside the place, I asked him why is no one here? The food is good, the place is good. He said sir we’re new and people in this locality don’t know about our place. That’s when I decided to tap this market need as it’s huge and can help hyperlocal startups grow and create an awareness about their brand.”


From L-R: Basudev Saha, Rajesh Bhattacharjee, Abhijit Chaudhary, & Subrata Debnath

The company sets up television sets in apartments, saloons, local hotels and places that have already established a name and has running customers. This does not only helps to disseminate knowledge about a local service or a product place but also gives owners of these places a commission for advertising. Waiting at a doctor’s clinic can get a little boring, people tend to deviate their minds by using their phones or reading something. Instead of that, what if they had an option to interact with a local service through these televisions. Let’s say a cab service, it can prove useful in public places, a saloon can be advertised inside apartments and so on.

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The company also provides internal communication solutions using the same technology for enterprises, retail outlets, hospitals, banks. Pickcel can be used to centrally manage geographically distributed digital screens and able to publish HR communication, Internal branding content on specific screens. Corporates can use it to engage their employees, while retail outlets can use it for branding communication to their in-store customers. The company claims to have clients like Unilever, Watanmal, Teamlease across India, South Africa and Netherlands.

Monetisation & Traction

The company is currently monetising through ad revenue shares, where it splits the earned amount with the place owners. Also, it is using SaaS based model where it charges for placing ads on number of screens on monthly basis. Abhijit stated that they’re also planning to provide analytics as a service.

“We have 150+ advertisers in Bangalore, 95% of the 150 customers are small businesses like Pre-Schools, Movers and Packers, Saree Boutique, Salons etc; and 5% are big brands like BigBazaar, Lakme, Uber. We are launching soon in Mumbai, Pune, Delhi and Jakarta,” Abhijit added.

Funding & Market

The company is currently bootstrapped but is looking to raise something around $1 million. The funds will further be deployed for business development, geographical expansion and product development, Abhijit added.

In a report published by IBEF, “With increasing brand awareness and rising purchasing power amongst the youth, especially in tier II and tier III cities, spending by Indian consumers is expected to grow four times to US$ 4.2 trillion by 2017.”  With the luxury market expected to grow at over 20 per cent year on year, private equity (PE) investments in the luxury segment are expected to increase and support the enhanced size of the Indian luxury market. Moreover, high internet penetration across tier-II and tier-III cities along with rising disposable income shall lead to approximately 80 million transactions on the internet by 2020.