Gurpreet Singh Rai (also known as Gurps Rai and Gurps Singh Rai) is an entrepreneur that is known for his involvement in several high-profile companies, his philanthropic efforts and, most recently, his startup dropp.tv.
Gurps Singh Rai began his career at First Rate FX in London where he handled foreign exchange transactions for companies involved in the commodities markets. Subsequently he became involved in carbon offsets trading and was the instigator of a carbon offset deal involving Li-Ning and Winrock’s non-profit enterprise the American Carbon Registry. He continued his work in the carbon abatement movement, hosting an event associated with the United Nations COP17 environmental summit in Durban, South Africa that also included Sir Richard Branson’s Carbon War Room company.
While Gurps Singh Rai net worth is likely to be significant he is also a champion of good causes and philanthropic efforts including his 2014 effort, with help from a UN Non-Government Association, to finance a drug rehabilitation clinic in the Punjab. He also created what have been called the world’s most expensive ($4 million) sneakers with Li-Ning, the ‘Fire Monkeys’, with all money earned going to buying footwear for children in Africa that could not afford shoes.
Today Gurps Rai is most well known as the CEO of Dropp.tv, a startup that aims to enhance the impact of video using AI, machine learning, augmented reality and computer vision to allow users to seamlessly buy products they see in music videos. The company patented the ‘See It, Want It, Get It’ technology which enables users to click on products in a video and purchase it.
The interactive videos powered by dropp.tv are only in their infancy but the startup has already gathered a group of artists and influencers including A$AP TyY, Ashanti and professional basketballer Iman Schumpert to create content for the site. The business model is simple: they partner with artists that are looking to sell merchandise and place their videos on the dropp.tv platform. The artists include the merchandise they are selling in the video and viewers are able to click on saleable items and buy them without having to leave the dropp.tv ecosystem. Artists receive all of the money from the sale, while the company adds 8% on top of the price for the service they offer.
Gurps Rai says he has been a sneakerhead all his life and saw that consumers would line up for hours to by that product, particularly when endorsed by music stars. He realized that for lesser artists to develop a name and grow, music videos were the easiest route. Putting the two ideas together means that artists can grow their reputation while also being able to make some money through product placement in their videos which can often be expensive to make. He says that one young artist spent a modest $500 on his video but managed to make almost five times that amount ($2,400) from product sales using dropp.tv.
The concept of ‘shoppable video’, as it is sometimes called, is not a new one and has become a growing trend in marketing in recent years as the consumption of video on sites like YouTube has exploded. In 2012 Diplo, Iggy Azalea and FKi made a shoppable video partnering with retailer SSENSE and made over $100,000 from the effort.
The biggest challenge is the enabling technology. YouTube, the most popular online video platform, does not support interactive video. Perhaps the time is right for someone to create a shoppable video channel and given Gurps’ previous successes, dropp.tv might be it.