After launching its Beta in January, Malaysia-based social network cum online marketplace Gaption is now looking for a US$500,000 seed round. It previously secured about US$40,000 in pre-seed grant funding from the Malaysian government.
The idea is that e-commerce and m-commerce will in time evolve to incorporate an underlying social driver, and Gaption wants to be at the forefront of that wave.
“Our idea is to change the way that people shop online, and we believe the best way to do it is through a social environment. We merged a social networking environment and a commerce environment,” Kenneth Ho, a Co-founder at Gaption, told e27.
“We bridge it by a renumeration system where people can get a little bit of rebate from the things that they recommend in the social network that people can buy,” he added.
The startup has secured a payment gateway to accept credit cards, with an iOS app in development and a working web version that remains in Beta — about 500 users are currently testing the platform.
Any sales a user makes will be rewarded with a commission of between three and five per cent. Ho estimates power users could rake in up to a couple thousand dollars per month.
The type of products on Gaption will likely be deals, tickets, and digital downloads.
“If you’re talking about integrating a social environment that compensates users, I don’t know of any [platforms doing it] yet,” Ho said. But Tsu, an ‘invite-only platform that rewards social activity’, is doing something at least slightly similar.
The next market outside Malaysia that Gaption is eyeing is Australia, as well as English-speaking markets like Singapore and the Philippines in Southeast Asia.
Ho was unable to comment on the probable market size in Malaysia, though he was optimistic that the business model could hit US$1 million in revenue within the first year of launch. The three Co-founders, which include Benjamin Tan and Wallace Ho, are not first-time entrepreneurs.
The Beta version will likely close by the end of April, and the goal is to hit 100,000 users within six to nine months once the full version is online. Gaption also wants to partner with at least 500 merchant partners.
“We generally take two per cent on any transaction, so it’s kind of like a service fee for using the platform. They don’t get charged anything to list the product or advertise. Let’s say it’s a referral sale, we will take a variable cut depending on the product,” Ho said.
“A lot of businesses today pay for ads, and that’s the only way they can reach their user base — through Google or Facebook. But we think that a better way to do that is allowing their fans to participate in the marketing of the product and getting rewarded for that,” he concluded.