“Ekayan” facilitates you to anonymously admire your friends, and know what your friends think about you.
Below, is the full interview that we have conducted with Mr. ‘Gupta’ regarding his start-up “Ekayan”;
1. What is it exactly that you do and what “Ekayan” is all about?
Ekayan is a catalogue of people’s qualities. We believe:
1. People need to get recognized for being the person they are rather than their academic/ professional achievements. The current reward systems of societies around the world have led to a mad rat-race where people feel forced to do things they don’t really like in order to have an impressive portfolio to show to others. However, if people were rewarded for the kind of person they are, they would feel much more confident doing things they really want to do and will feel much happier.
2. Nobody should have to work hard in order to get to know somebody. With the internet technologies available today, we can easily crowd source information about any person through his friends (afterall they are the only ones who know him enough to tell anything of value about him), and show it to the whole world so that anybody can see whats good about him.
2. When has “Ekayan” been founded? And what stage is “Ekayan” currently at?
Ekayan was founed in May 2012 and it launched on 15th May 2012. It has been only 2 months still launch so we are basically in growth stage.
3. What is “Ekayan”’s business model and how does it work?
We are currently not focusing on revenue model. Anybody can sign up for free and see what other people have to say about him. In the process, he also gets recognition for the kind of person he is.
Once we have a descent no. of users, we think the data available with us will be valuable in several ways.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
We were friends at school. I approached Sushant in Oct’11 to work on Ekayan.
He takes care of the backend (Pythin and GAE) while I take care of the front-end and design (Photoshop, HTML, CSS, jQuery).
5. What, exactly, makes you different from existing options, what will make your product and/or service stand out in the marketplace? In other words what’s unique about you and what’s new about what you make? Who are your competitors? And what is your start-up’s competitive advantage over them?
Currently there is no web portal which can tell about the personality of a person. People try to do guesswork by checking other people’s Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, their testimonials and recommendations which are spread across the internet. But Ekayan tells whats most profound about a person in 5 crisp words.
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has “Ekayan” achieved so far?
I think it is too early to be talking of growth no., but I’d be happy to tell that our users increased by about 225% over the past month.
7. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
The main challenge that we have faced till now is to increase the visibility of Ekayan and we are constantly working on that aspect so that more and more people can benefit from it.
8. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
Much of it is not understood by most people on the planet because it is largely a blue ocean. I don’t know if anyone has tried to build such a portal before. Infact, I can’t say I understand everything about it either, but I have all the intentions of keeping an eye on the finer points and making it a successful venture.
9. Why are you going to succeed?
The main reason for our success is going to be the team that we are. We work hard to introduce new features as fast as we can and see what is working and what is not. Both of us are able to look at things objectively and come to a consensus on the decisions we need to take.
10. If “Ekayan” succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
We will be able to do some very interesting analytics with the data that will be uniquely available with us only. Ex. we could tell what kind of people like to travel to what kind of places. What kind of people like what kinds of jobs. What kind of people are best fit to be life-partners etc.
11. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build “Ekayan” based on?
I chose this idea because I found this problem to be extremely interesting and largely unsolved. I believe that people have been getting recognition for the wrong reasons (academic and professional achievements) which has been causing them much trouble in life without them realizing it. I believe that with the right recognition, people will feel much safer, confident and happy.
12. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
Our most profound learning has been that even a revolutionary product can die without proper marketing. If people do not come to know about a product, then for all practical purposes the product does not exist.
13. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
I think the main challenge for us 6 months down the line will be to find an investor who understands the depth of change and value Ekayan can bring. Indian angel investors and VCs are typically hesitant to invest in out-of-the-box ventures and generally go for proven models.
This is the prime reason we do not see any Indian start-up breaking grounds worldwide.
14. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
The user gets a unique profile which he can show to other people (strangers) to help them know about him and what to expect of him (personality wise).
Ex. a user can make his ekayan profile a part of his/her
1. Linkedin profile, so that any visitor to his profile will be able to see his personality traits and get more interested.
2. Profile on a dating or matrimonial site, so that visitors to his profile would be able to know whats good about him and decide if they would like to interact with or meet the person.
3. Profile on inter-personal e-commerce websites like AirBNB, GetAround, Etsy etc. so that their guests will know what kind of person they are going to meet and set their expectations accordingly.
15. How did customers/users find out about you? Where do new customers / users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?
Mostly through Facebook and Word of Mouth.
16. Who are your current customers/users? Who are your target customers/users?
Our target users are anybody and everybody on this planet who has an internet connection.
17. What do your customers/users say about your product and/or service?
Most of them love the concept and the execution. We have made it pretty simple for people to tell what they like about their friends.
18. How are you going to scale?
We had kept scaling in our minds right from the start itself and chose the technology stack accordingly. Google App Engine takes away much of our worries regarding technical challenges of scaling. As far as user growth goes, we are constantly trying to make Ekayan more visible and interesting.
19. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?
Our users miss their friends who are not on Ekayan. And very soon we are going to give them the ability to write about those friends also (which are not on Ekayan).
20. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
We are already open for signups. You only need to have an internet connection and a Facebook Account to signup.
21. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
We’d like to get every internet user as our user. Its a long journey and we will need a killer team to make it happen. So hiring the right guys is going to be our prime focus.
22. Are you looking to hire a new workforce? And if yes, what job vacancies do you currently offer and where can potential applicants contact you at?
We can currently accept interns for 2-6 months. Candidates having past experience of building things with python will be considered.
23. Are you looking for partnership opportunities or funding from Venture Capitals (VC) or other funding sources? Or your business is self-sustainable? And if the first option applies where can potential partners / investors contact you at?
We will be happy to talk to an Investor who can also guide us and help us along. Reach me at anudeepDOTguptaATekayanDOTcom
24. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
Do try to build something you want to build. Its great fun and too much satisfaction to be ignored for money and other comforts. Just do it for the fun of it.