Tuesday , 19 September 2017

This Mangalore Based Startup Helps Content Discovery in Vernacular Language for Local People Through Their Mobile App

We are publishing an interview of Mr. Mohammed Azzan, CTO and Co-Founder, Karavali Media Pvt. Ltd.

Mohammed Azzan, CTO and Co-Founder, Karavali Media Pvt. Ltd.

Mohammed Azzan, CTO and Co-Founder, Karavali Media Pvt. Ltd.

Please tell us about the founders
We are 6 co-founders. CEO is Mr. Srihari Bhat and CTO, Myself Mohammed Azzan. Rest are Directors, Mohan T, Bharath J, Shashank P, and Madhukara H. All the co-founders have been running a company called Pace Wisdom Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

What is the problem you are trying to solve? Can you share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem? 
Bridging the gap between technology and language is important. As an information Science engineer I feel Information is key for people to take wise decisions, and with lack of information people can be easily misled. Today most of the content served is in english, and when we talk about bringing about the next billion people online, It is important to serve them in their language than English alone.

The Idea of Namma Karavali came to me around 1-1.5 year back when I had gifted my mom a Smartphone on her B’day. I could see she was hardly using any app other than whatsapp or candy crush. Because all the other apps are filled with content which is in English. Though she can read English, understanding and consuming content in English was always a difficult for her.

And that is when it struck to me that, why not we make a content discovery platform that can help users get local instant and relevant content and that too in their own language. I took this Idea to my board at Pace Wisdom and the board liked the idea. So we started off on this with a weekend project including me and 2 other developers.

We started working out on the idea and initiated the work in POC under Pace wisdom office. But after getting some good response the board recently decided to make this idea a different entity and registered it as Karavali Media Pvt. Ltd. We have also bagged an incubation space at our college Mangalore Institute of technology and Engineering, Moodbidri.

What is the uniqueness about your Startup? 
3 important things that we want to solve is:

  • Information overload, there is lot of information on internet, but what is relevant to me?
  • Fake and hoax news, people are getting misled, how can one get a verified news source.
  • And all the content is in english – helping people explore content in their language.

What is the revenue model? 
Monetizing via Ads is something that we are looking at.

Who are the consumers that you are targeting? How is this going to affect them? 
Usually, People here if they read a newspaper from one media house, they don’t read the other. And since Media has become an industry today biased Media is the harsh inside truth. Like I mentioned, information is key to make wise decisions, and with biased information people’s mentality also gets biased.

Our effort is to bring people from all community and readers of all kinds into one platform. We have users who are:

Young college going students, who hardly have time to read newspaper, and spend most of their time on mobile and internet.
Housewives: We have weekend special recipes and those are the highest viewed and shared news items all the time during weekends.
The next very important crowd is the office going class. Usually people who travel in public transport and have nothing to do during the 15 min to 1 hour travel to work.
NRIs working in abroad wanting to know about their town back here in india.
People working in Mumbai, Bangalore etc. who want to stay updated about news and current happenings in their hometown or region.

What is the big picture of your startup? Will it lead to something bigger? If so, how? 
Namma Karavali is a small effort to bridge the gap between technology and language. Our vision is to build this as a platform prove this case study here in our native and take this model to other dialects of Kannada, next being Kodagu and Malenadu.

This Mangalore Based Startup Helps Content Discovery in Vernacular Language for Local People Through Their Mobile App

We are planning to add location specific classified ads and information about agri product prices for e.g. Market price of Arecanut , Coconut, coco, rubber vanilla etc. which is locally grown here, so that farmers can gain the right information under their finger tips.

We are also planning to build an AI based Chat bot, in Kanglish (Kannada language spelled in English words) for business listing and services.

For e.g. “Nanage ondu plumber bekagittu?” (i.e. “I am need of a plumber?”)
And the bot replies, here are the 5 plumber phone numbers that you can reach out for:

The idea is to make this as a voice based search query engine. Where the voice commands are understood by the AI and give location specific answers. We are already working on a POC with a facebook chat bot.

When chinese can have baidu, russians can have yandex, why not we Indians have hyper local search engines in our own Vernacular languages?

What is the success story of your startup in your own words? 
Once we had a POC, we started with aggregating news and summarizing them in less than 60 words, We had 2 intern writers who used to source content from 60+ local, regional, national and international news portals and Summarizing the news. The idea was to give only facts and not opinions. We also translate some interesting articles to Kannada, that people would otherwise not get to read.

Early success was number of downloads and support shown by the local crowd. Most number of downloads where via word of mouth. We have regular downloads with hardly any marketing, and we are one of the highest rated app in the coastal Karnataka belt with rating of 4.8/5.

Understanding what people like what they don’t like was challenging. But thanks to the Analytics that we have integrated with our App, we were able to gauge the taste of users and that has helped our content team to keep the content engaged. In addition we have whatsapp numbers where people send regular feedbacks or news that happens in their locality to post in the app. We also run some contests for feedback in regular intervals to tap user behaviour and interests.

Personal level, Not being from Content/Media industry was a big challenge to gauge the market. We are tech guys new in the field of Media and content. But I always believed great content is the key for user retention and that is currently helping us out.

Any other information about your startup that you would like to share with us.
Yes, we are working on this technology to explore local content. We see that the experiment we started has given out good results with very little marketing that we have done. We are looking for partners who would be interested to take this to different kannada dialects and vernacular languages. Volunteers looking to contribute for the Namma Karavali project on content/news can contact us on info@nammakaravali.in.

Namma Karavali has been a self funded project all this while, and now we are looking for investors and mentors from Media field to help us build this platform and make it a much larger success by becoming a the most loved and largest platform for hyper local content discovery in local language


Thanks. Best of luck!

 

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