Jul 23, 2013

Interview with Startup Founders of Shradhanjali.com

Interview with Vivek & Vimal Founders of Shradhanjali.com

Date of Interview: July 24, 2013

Is there a divine way to keep alive the memories of our family members, friends, teachers and other respected people and pay the real homage online? Yes Says the founders of Shradhanjali.com, a platform where you get to celebrate the life that your dear ones lived. There is so much history that gets lost with every generation. With Shradhanjali.com your children will know their fore-fathers, their achievements and roots of the family that they belong to. Startuptimes caught up with the Cofounders Vivek & Vimal to share their story.

How did the idea for your business come about?
The idea came in fluke while having snacks as the snacks were served on piece of newspaper obituary column page we felt bit disturbed and these 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 cause.

How is the response for Shradhanjali.com?
The response is absolutely stunning so far, the service has been liked by one and all we have met so far. Our agencies tell that conversion ratio is more than 70%. Popularity will build with more advertising, branding and media presence.

Shradhanjali.com is a digital way of expressing condolences, In the facebook book era do you think this business model will work out?
Surely it will. Facebook is a great medium to be in touch with the world. However, we do not believe facebook.com has any role  to play as far as tribute. There is another market of newspaper obituary which is very big market itself. We should understand both mediums have different flavor, reach and audiences.
In addition to that we do not accept any advertisements whatsoever on our profile pages. Nobody will like to see any advertisement running on the pages of their ancestors or departed loved ones. Their decorum should be maintained in utmost good spirit. 

We have Geni.com , ancestry.com to provide references  of our ancestors to our descendants . What different are you trying to do ?
There are many more actually. Most of them originate from foreign countries. The sites you have referred provide only family tree services and not full memorial. What stands us apart from these are options of Indian regional languages one can post biography in gujarati, Marathi, hindi, telugu, tamil, kannad etc. also in condolence message anyone across globe will be able to post  in Indian regional language. The other thing is background music here at Shradhanjali.com people get to select from various chants, bhajan, dhoon, sholka etc. which you do not get anywhere else.

Where did your organizations funding/capital come from and how did you go about getting it? 
As of now it is a self funded venture, with increasing popularity now we are open to angels/ VCs and will start talking to them in time to come to raise the funds and showcase this noble service on a national scale.

How did you find your Co-Founder? How do you distribute work?
We were collogues, and this idea struck us while having snacks as we mentioned earlier. Vimal looks after routine office operations from admin to entries, site updates whereas I look after agencies, sales and other alliances. 

Explain Shradhanjali business and revenue model?
We have kept it very simple; this service is marketed and sold through tied agencies which are freelance in nature. Subscription price is INR 2700 on selling these service agencies get their payouts. There are no targets and no fee to get agencies what we need is good background and contacts. Most of the agencies are retired people, sales professionals and advertising agencies.

Do you provide any app for people to express condolences via mobile?
No there is no app, however site can be seen through mobile and one can post condolence while visiting site on mobile. Going forward we are going to make special mobile app.

I have read that you got appreciation from Narendra Modi, Can you please share that experience with our readers?
When Sir came to know about the idea, we got a call from IT cell we still feel thrilled to talk about this incident. We took them through entire site visit over the call itself. In the very next day we got this appreciation letter from the CMO.

You promised that detailed biography of loved ones will be kept forever on internet, What is your technology roadmap?
Here, forever means for 30 years. We charge INR 2700 per profile  one portion of that we use to renew our server cost year on year. As the traffic increase we will move to dedicated servers and will come up with more subscription plans like 1 year, 5 years and 10 years too. 

I like the concept of Email reminders sent on birth and death anniversaries to all relatives of your customer. Please explain how that works?
That is one of the most interesting features of the service, customers will give us form while they subscribe for the service in the form itself there is column to add emails of relatives whom they want to send reminders. Later, if they want to add more relatives they can do on their own by signing into the system and add any number of relatives they wish to. Reminders will be sent 4 times in a year - One day prior to birth anniversary, on the day of birth anniversary and similarly twice in the case of death anniversary. When first time user adds any of the relative they will get welcome message as well. Reminder emails will shoot automatically by system on the specified time.

What is your recipe for Startup?
Lot of passion and patience too, sheer dedication. There is a couplet in yogasutra
स तु दीर्घकालनैरन्तर्यसत्कारासेवितो दृढभूमिः
Which means:
Practice becomes well-grounded when continued with reverent devotion and without interruption over a long period of time.

If you were conducting this interview, what question would you ask?
We would have asked being first generation entrepreneurs and coming from reputed jobs what do you feel is a better choice working with corporate of taking entrepreneurship?

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Tags: obituary online ads India, shradhanjali.com interview with founders, Vimal Poapt, Vivek Vyas, india recipe for startup, Interview with Startup Founders of Shradhanjali.com,  India first generation entrepreneurs , 


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