How to Scale a Content Tech Startup? If Content is king, then it must probably easy to scale a content tech startup by pumping in more content. But therein lies the irony. Content may be king but content is expensive to create. No wonder, lots of tech companies try to overcome this by focusing on User Generated Content or UGC as it is commonly called.
Scaling thru User Expression
However, seeding UGC is as tough or even more tougher than content creation. This involves both time and money. So, how to scale a content tech start-up then if Content creation is Expensive or UGC is a tough nut to crack? The answer perhaps lies in looking into how users express themselves.
India may be the second most populous nation in the World but it ranks number one in terms of variety of languages. Unofficial numbers put number of languages in excess of 2800+ but the Indian Constitution officially recognizes 15 Indian Languages. An Indian Currency Note has 17 languages after including Hindi and English.
Rahul Prasad joined Brother Ankit and built Bobble, a keyboard company that helps Indian users express themselves in Indic languages using their key board. Bobble today has millions of users and thru their recent partnership with Xiaomi, will be loaded onto 30 Million Xiaomi devices but that is not how it all began. Rahul and Ankit want to make it The No.1 Keyboard in the World
How it all Began
The concept of working with large MNCs fascinated Rahul Prasad. He worked with MNCs and built tech projects for other companies. Seeing his younger brother Ankit raise money to build a company at concept stage, blew him away. He stopped working and moved in with his brother. Together, they launched Touch Talent – A Social Network for the Creative and Artisanal types.
Cracking the Scale Equation
Touch Talent was ahead of its time. While Facebook had launched in India and had gained a big usership, internet penetration was too low. The fact that this network was niche network meant that it was going to be tough to scale. Rahul and Ankit wrestled with the question of usage and scale. Since they had created a network for the creative types, they hit upon the idea of avatar creation. Users could create a graphic avatar of themselves after uploading a picture. This turned out to be a big hit and went viral.
While this might not sound trivial, Avatars are a big deal. Before Myspace and eventually Facebook took over our lives, Avatars were a big thing on platforms such as Second Life. Avatars are mainstream today and integrated into marketing methods. As this 2006 article from Harvard Business Review suggests, Avatar Marketing is a thing.
Once Avatars took off, Bobble went thru a series of ups and downs. Today, Rahul and Ankit have set their sights on making Bobble The Number 1 Keyboard in the World. This is Rahul’s side of the story
Excerpts from the Episode
At the same time Ankit, my younger brother was in IIT Delhi. He was working on the concept of getting funding to build the company. This was totally new to me.05:03 Rahul Prasad
I wondered – What is this thing? How can someone with just a proof of concept can get such a great amount of funding and create a large company?05:18 Rahul Prasad
So what we did was, we thought why not make 98% of them creative. So we came up with this concept of avatar making. It’s a simple concept where you take your photograph, and it’s converted into an avatar that we want to we wanted to make everyone creative. And the concept that we created, it became viral. And this is how Bobble was formed. So that’s the journey till Bobble.07:01 Rahul Prasad
So you were the King of the command line interface so to speak.09:23 Krishna Jonnakadla
I was always looking for something. When you are a hero, you have to wait, you have to be ahead of the curve, because you have to know more than what others know. That way, you can be in that position forever.11:28 Rahul Prasad
Word Cloud for this episode
Download Bobble KeyBoard here: Bobble.Ai
Follow Maharajas of Scale on Twitter here
Krishna Jonnakadla on Twitter @kjonnakadla
Follow Rahul Prasad on Twitter @therahulprasad