Founded in 2016, MyGate is the largest community app in the country, simplifying urban living of over 3.5 million homes in 25,000+ housing societies. It was ranked #4 on YourStory’s list of India’s Most Disruptive Start-ups in December 2019 and one of India’s coolest start-ups by Business Today in 2019. MyGate was founded by Vijay Arisetty, an ex- IAF pilot (Shaurya Chakra awardee), Abhishek K, former VP at Goldman Sachs, and ShreyansDaga, former project head at Oracle and Digit.
Anish Anthony, Business Head, CEP, MyGate in an exclusive chat with MediaNews4U talks about the launch of the platform and its USP.
CEP what is the USP of this platform and who does it cater to?
Brands have always been aware of the power of in-society engagement, but it posed too many logistical challenges. The USP of MyGate’s Community Engagement Programme (CEP) is the scale and depth it brings to this format. Brands can reach up to 25,000 housing societies in 27 cities or select from these by pincode and a few other parameters. They can tap into MyGate’s expertise to create immersive experiences, be it a community contest, stall, special offer or activity; finally, they can leverage the MyGate app to create awareness about the event, leading to high engagement.
For our users, it means preferential treatment from some of the biggest brands in the country and an improved community experience.
CEP, therefore, allows brands to reach consumers directly by enabling them to create unique experiences in their community. For a quick-service restaurant, for example, this means the opportunity to create an experience like ‘no cooking Friday’ that invites residents via the MyGate app to a food truck right in the community. To an auto major, this could mean the opportunity to host in-society test drives of a new launch for all the communities in vicinity where they have no dealership.
What made you want to launch such a platform now?
For over a decade now, there has been a reversal in shopping trends. Rather than heading out to shop, everything is now delivered to the doorstep. This process was further accelerated (and exponentially) by the pandemic. This left a lot of residents craving the experience of shopping in the real world, and we decided to bring it to them within the safety of their homes and communities. Connecting these communities to the right products and services was the easier part, as brands have long expressed a willingness to partner with us. So we ran a few experiments starting early January by bringing brands into communities and received excellent feedback. Communities were very receptive to the idea.
The ‘brand to home’ or B2H model has thus been firmly established and we strongly believe that such kind of disintermediation has numerous possibilities for brands. Think group buying, product launches, sampling, etc. CEP also fits seamlessly into our vision of enriching the community experience.
You talk about brand engagement. How different would CEP be as so many others are talking about the same thing?
CEP is unique in that it enables brands to present themselves directly to consumers in their own community. It’s a more natural and certainly a more direct engagement than usual. Furthermore, it allows for the brand to curate an experience rather than behave in solely a transactional manner. We’ve seen a lot of brands enjoy immense success with an out-of-the-box idea, such as a little community event, which builds excitement among residents and ultimately leads to strong results. To date, we’ve worked with over 270 brands and crafted experiences for thousands of communities. And it’s only been 6 months into this experiment.
Due to the pandemic have brands become more empathetic and want targeted communication?
As the pandemic has been a difficult situation for everyone, brands have quite naturally adjusted their communication style to be more empathetic. But they aren’t necessarily restricted to this. For the most part, they are looking for meaningful engagements with the right audience, both of which the CEP can deliver in spades.
How are you marketing CEP any out-of-the-box innovative ideas?
Brands have always shown interest in reaching out to our user base, so there was sufficient interest when we started out despite zero marketing. And even today there’s little need to market the platform. Considering a lot of decision makers for brands stay in MyGate communities, each campaign inevitably leads to requests from them to explore this medium.
Way forward and where do you see yourself in the next 3 years?
Our first milestone is to ensure that all of our 3.5 million homes get exciting and unique brand experiences on a constant basis via CEP. We are already getting enquiries from communities eagerly looking forward to the next brand experience. Three years from now, we expect CEP to cement its status in the minds of consumers as the most interesting way to discover products/services and the best direct-to-customer option for brands.