Every Friday, when Maria Fernandez wants to go out, she starts by sending her choice of area to a certain five-digit number. Within minutes she receives an SMS with four deals. When she goes to the restaurant, she flashes a code on her phone to avail of the deal. She’s happy and so is Anirudh Suri, founder of Eksms, a targeted deals and discounts services provider. “We make life easy for people who like to eat, drink and be merry,” he says. “With our service, you will not need to scroll through loads of irrelevant listings.” Eksms already has 4,000 users, who access the service via web, SMS and concierge and over 75 partner restaurants such as Indigo, The Leela and Hard Rock Café. Most users have come on board via online platforms such as Facebook, Google and Twitter.
In fact, the idea came to Suri when interviewing for a job with Facebook. The interviewer liked the idea and encouraged him to try it out. Suri did, with co-founder Gaargi Ramakrishnan, in November 2011. Now he plans to extend Eksms beyond Mumbai to other metros. Currently, the model uses a mix of free services to the user and chargeable services to the merchants to earn revenues and Suri is confident of breaking even in 12 to 16 months. That sounds like a good deal.