The three Cs of Content, Commerce and Community, when combined effectively, has seen many businesses thrive. Saurabh Saxena, Founder of Uablean app dedicated to teens, has also turned to the three Cs model to drive its Bengaluru-based startup forwardwhich started as an edtech platform focused on life skills for teens.
“I wanted kids to be able to develop skills that aren’t taught in the classroom or in books. But like most edtech startups, after a while things get back to the same level. You have to spend more to get people to pay for your course. This is because taking an online course is not a habit. You have to convince people of that. This was also happening with Uable,” says Saurabh, in an interaction with YourStory.
Uable has a team of 70 members
Today’s teenagers are a different lot. With affordable smartphones, cheap internet access and a pandemic-induced lockdown pushing them to be online more than ever before, friendships and communities are forming within the confines of the virtual world.
“In today’s world, children can be anything. They don’t have to be just doctors and engineers. Gaming, fashion, fine art, among others, are all in their approach. And the kids know that,” Saurabh says.
Creation of the new Uable
Keeping this in mind, Uable started by creating several clubs including Fashion, Games, Food, Drawing, Marketing, Motivation, and Money. These groups only have children and no parents or people from higher age groups. That intimacy and camaraderie is what makes kids want to stay at clubs, according to Saurabh, who previously co-founded Vendatu and launched Uable for kids ages 6 to 16.
Currently, Uable’s user base includes teenagers between the ages of 13 and 19. However, people between the ages of 20 and 21 are also allowed on the platform, but only to create content, according to the founder.
Going forward, the company relies on users’ Google and Facebook login credentials to verify their correct age, in addition to trusting users to enter their correct age.
Uable has also set up a 15-member moderation team, which monitors flagged content. “We have a strong user and content reporting mechanism. Any user sharing content irrelevant to teens or anything inappropriate is reported and suspended from the app. This power (to report inappropriate content) is also given to our teenage users,” says Surabh. The startup has a team of 70 members.
Credit: YourStory Design
In March 2021, when Saurabh and his team started transforming into “teen clubs and community” as a purely gaming edtech platform, it took the team about three to four months to build the new ecosystem. The team began testing their new community model, available to everyone, in August-September of the same year.
Currently, the free platform hosts around 22 clubs on the app, with over 200,000 monthly active users (MAUs). The goal is to increase this figure to at least one million users over the next four to six months. “If we can achieve that kind of growth, then we would know we’re on the right track,” Saurabh says.
To increase engagement, the company has also “gamified the experience”, where users can earn U-Money and use it to make purchases in their store. Uable’s e-commerce platform features merchandise like books, teen-specific items like headphones, wallets, and more, and is home to new-age brands like The Souled Store and Quicksilver. Launched earlier this year, Uable hopes brand tie-ups will open up more monetization streams.
Teenagers and Community Trade
In recent years, many startups have considered teens a cohort across all industries, including social media, e-commerce and, interestingly, even fintech. While recent unicorn Slice, backed by US investment firm Tiger Global, is offering credit cards to teenagers, many others are offering Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) schemes, a preferred payment method for the younger generation. .
Since the surge in online shopping due to pandemic-induced lockdowns, many new-era brands have focused on building community and then enticing consumers to buy from them.
Take for example the three-year-old Bliss Club, a Bengaluru-based athleisure brand that started as a women’s fitness community. There’s also Elevation Capital-backed Sugar Cosmetics, which boasts of having over a million users on its app.
Having a community has become hugely important for new era brands as the cost of acquiring a customer online has skyrocketed. “The cost of buying shampoo as a keyword is as expensive as buying an actual shampoo,” Boat Lifestyle co-founder Aman Gupta said at the Brands of India Summit held recently. by YourStory.
Clearly, Uable has been geared towards building a teenage community because it’s an untapped market and lowers the startup’s customer acquisition cost (CAC).
The app currently has over 200,000 monthly active users and aims to add 10 million users by the end of 2023.
So far, Uable has raised $4.5m from Bengaluru-based 3one4 Capital, Jafco Asia and Chiratae Ventures, which previously backed CureFit, Delhivery, CureFoods and Agrostar. Saurabh says he has been frugal with his expenses, keeping his customer acquisition costs in double digits.
“Going forward, we will be extremely focused on growing our market and brand partnerships,” Saurabh says.
Uable indirectly competes with Trell, a creator-based social commerce platform, and Meta-led social media platform Instagram, among others.