Start-Ups.Co interviewed Mr. ‘Vivek Vyas'; Co founder in India start-up “shradhanjali”.
“shradhanjali” is India’s first memorial portal which helps us relive lives and memories of our departed loved ones and ancestors.
Below is the full interview that we have conducted :
1. What is it exactly that you do and what your start-up is all about?
Shradhanjali.com is India’s first memorial portal which helps us relive lives and memories of our departed loved ones and ancestors. one can publish, post and share biography, photos, videos, condolence messages, family details, set music and death and birth anniversary reminders for relatives and friends.
2. When has your startup been founded? And what stage is your startup currently at?
The startup was founded in year 2011. it is a self funded venture as of now and open to receive funds from VCs and angels it is also in talks with media houses for strategic partnership. It has crossed hundred paying subscribers and will grow mulltifold by the end of this year. We are happy with the way this portal is getting popular by leaps and bounds.
3. What is your startup’s business model and how does it work?
The business model is through tied agencies. We have appointed tied agencies at various places who offer our services to their clients.
There is no agency fees or recruitment fees. Any of the freelance agency or advertising agency can take up our agency and start offering our services to their clients and prospects. There are no targets whatsoever.
4. How did your team meet? And who in your team does what?
We are founding team of two members. Vivek Vyas and Vimal Popat. We were co-workers at our previous professional assignment. As we have not yet completed our team we do everything starting from the development to technical to sales to service. Vimal mostly looks after client servicing, portal updates and other routine office tasks where as Vivek takes care of agency relations, media relationships and other partnerships.
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?
It is first of its kind service for Indian internet consumers. No one has ever seen or experienced such service hence, it is quite unique and noble. people do not get any reference of their internet no matter how hard they try to search on internet , Shradhanjali.com will be like a boom for such people who wish to cherish memories and pass the complete life reference to their next generations.
6. What is your growth like? And what milestones has your startup achieved so far?
Shradhanjali.com is getting popular by leaps and bounds. though we have not started aggressive branding and advertising. We are sure once we start that it will definetely increase awareness and popularity across country. The company is happy to see the readiness of the prospects to avail this service and they also like to refer us to their circle and recommend our services to them.
8. What obstacles did you face and how did you overcome them?
We had many obstacles while starting and preparing on this. First of them is that we did not have technical knowledge and we had to find the right kind of developer for such huge project. We have crashed our portal design twice before implementing the current one which is live. We had many issues in terms of functionalities of the features from admin end as well as user end however with dedication and technical consultation we have managed to resolve everything.
9. What are the key things about your field that outsiders don’t understand?
There is no rocket science our business is so simple to understand. There is a huge market of memorial service in India which exists which needs to be catered. it is as easy as it can get. We have identified the need and have been trying to plug the gap which existed. We also believe in keeping business simple.
10. Why are you going to succeed?
Since the service is attached with the emotions of the people and India is a country which believes in continuing its culture and heritage we have huge scope to cater to the market and we are more than sure that we will succeed. We believe no one can stop you from achieving success if you believe you have that in you. Someone rightly said find something which is useful to people and they will find you even if you are in a jungle or any other remote place.
11. If your startup succeeds, what additional areas might you be able to expand into?
The company is into providing various innovative utility services. once this become a success we will offer other such services which makes people happy and makes their lives easy. There are plans to launch such noble and useful service which can be benefited to a larger group of society and which can make their lives easy and joyful.
12. Why did you choose this idea and concept to build your start-up based on?
The idea came in fluke in 2010 while having snacks as the snacks were served on a piece of newspaper obituary column page . We felt a bit disturbed and we thought “cant these be presented in some more respectable and presentable manner which also stays forever and can be accessed globally and be remembered and shared?” .These questions made us go about this noble portal Shradhanjali.com. It took long to execute and implement idea it went live 15 months later.
13. What have you learned so far from launching your idea?
We have learnt a lot by committing mistakes and still learning lessons.
entrepreneurship is challenging. please dont take plunge only because it looks great. come only if you have sound idea, funds for the backup and execution capabilities.
keep an eye on your finance and expenses. the more you can control the more better.
14. Six months from now, what’s going to be your biggest problem?
Problems and challenges are part of entrepreneur’s life you cant be risk free or problem free, here every new day is a challenge as technology keeps changing day by day. you have to face and overcome the problems on a daily basis. As far as regular operations and sales is concerned we do not see any problems within six months. It is doing good and will continue to do good for sure there is a log way to go.
15. What’s the benefit for the customer/user?
They get to cherish the memories and prepare ready archive of their loved ones. people get to upload, store and share biography, photos, videos, personal details, family details, social services and charities done by their loved ones and ancestors and can prepare ready archive for their future generations.
16. How did customers / users find out about you?
They absolutely love the service. people/customers have liked this service a lot and sent us many appreciation letters/ phone calls etc. They have shown their readiness to spread awareness about the service and have always shown enthusiasm in providing us the feedback and inputs whenever asked for it.
17. Who are your current customers / users? Who are your target customers / users?
Everyone who wants to keep alive the memories of their deceased loved ones and ancestors. mostly people are from Gujarat as it is a portal started from Gujarat. People from other parts of India also have used the services with keen interest. There are students, working professionals, retired people, housewives etc in out clientele.
18. Where do new customers / users come from and what makes new customers/users try you?
The emotional appeal it carries encourages clients to go for this memorial service of shradhanjali.com it has been proven that Indians are the most emotional people across the world and this is the service which helps them express their emotions. condolence messages, grief, their stories, thoughts can easily be expressed and published on this portal with ease.
19. What do your customers / users say about your product and/or service?
They are in love with the service you can say. They get to share it via email and through social networks. They can post memories and invite friends and relatives to share their memories and once they read the feeling they get can not be explained or expressed. We think we have been able to deliver what they had been looking for.
20. How are you going to scale?
We have started approaching investors, VCs/angels and started looking for funds to expand and scale up. As soon as we receive first round of funding we will invest most in advertising and awareness campaign to increase revenues, awareness and popularity and thereby increasing subscriptions. We have to believe media whether print/electronic or social also plays a big role in helping us scale up.
21. What’s the biggest missing feature? The one thing customers/users keep asking for?
They wish to upload the profile of the living person. it is the feature some of the clients have started asking to incorporate. However, since the word Shradhanjali (english meaning – tribute) can be used only for deceased people we have still not incorporated the feature.
22. Are you going to internationalize? And if yes how are you planning to expand your start-up’s operations accordingly?
Well, everywhere we find Indians. go in any corner of the world you will find Indians and where there are Indians this service can be offered. We are open to give agencies to foreign partners who can offer this predominantly to Indian consumers. USA, UK, UAE, SA, AUS, NZ are the places where there is a lot of indian population.
23. How big do you think you can get? Why? And how you are planning to achieve your goals?
We believe we can be as big as any other company though we do not compare ourselves with anyone. Looking at the market India has and the utility the service offers there is no doubt that Shradhanjali.com will pick up the rapid pace soon and come up as a big and popular brand across India and globe…
24. 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 are looking to develop agency force across India. The more agencies we will have the more spread of the service will be there and more people will come to know about such noble service hence, business will increase automatically. We are also looking for stake holders in terms of data entry, web/server and backup maintenance
25. 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?
It is self funded as of now, however we are in need of raising funds and open to receive funds/ investments form VC’s and angels. we are also open to tie up with print media houses for strategic partnerships and flexible enough to make tie ups in all possible ways which can take the portal to next level and make it more useful, user friendly and accessible to a larger crowd.
26. What advice do you have for fresh entrepreneurs?
Since we are new to entrepreneurship and can’t advice someone else. What we can share is have passion and patience. “If you are going through hell, keep going. Remember tough times do not survive tough people do.” Dreams come true. In order to succeed never give or take any excuses.
27. Finally, do you have any other comments that you would like to add?
The only thing we wish to share is do all the hard work, live your dream, believe in your dream and start working on that. There will be challenges, problems, hurdles but remember if you have the passion everything can be taken care of and nothing else matters. as they rightly said first they will ignore you then they will laugh at you then they will believe you.