Rabi Gupta, Sherwan Ahsan and Ashish Kumar, Founders, iDubba.com (I-Nov Technologies)
The promise of revolutionising the way the world watches television is what has drawn three young entrepreneurs from the boardroom to the drawing board and beyond. Rabi Gupta, Sherwan Ahsan and Ashish Kumar envision a world where the process of watching films and serials on television is as simple as selecting music on an iPod.
Forming I-Nov Technologies in September 2008, their first offering is iDubba.com, an online mobile platform that provides instant information on all the happenings on television on the basis of user profiles, geography, tastes and interests.
Unlike other service providers, iDubba acknowledges the differences between individual viewers. Each person seeks to satisfy his or her wants with regard to television viewing, which is what it offers. “The generalisation of programming is what drives audiences away; iDubba suggests shows that are specifically for you and suit your tastes,” Gupta says.
Gupta is currently employed by a software firm, while Ahsan in pursuing an MBA degree from the Mudra Institute of Communication, Ahmedabad. Kumar earlier worked with Pionero Technologies and is now full-time with iDubba, which the three funded with their savings.
All three were aware that regular jobs were not meant for them when the idea of iDubba came to them. “One afternoon, Rabi was sifting through channels in the hope of finding something worthwhile to watch when he realised the need for a service that customises television content according to the audience’s wants,” Ahsan said.
In addition, the desire to create something of true value drew them together. Now, with a team of six working out of two offices, in Delhi and Mumbai, they aspire to build a subscriber base of half a million by the end of 2010.
With 112 million television-viewing homes, more than 60 million internet users and 400 million cellphone users, the scope is limitless. But their path is fraught with challenges in implementing their vision. “We have to make the product look and work the way we want it to, and that is not easy. We need to keep evolving day after day, to better our product,” Kumar says.
But the excitement and meaning they find in their work more than compensates for any degree of insecurity in the implementation of their endeavour; their work offers satisfaction, unmatched by what any job could afford them. “Each member of the team is someone who we can hang out with at the end of the workday, and this enlivens the atmosphere at iDubba,” Gupta says.
Even as they learn from the mistakes of the early days of their venture, Gupta, Kumar and Ahsan remain focused and hungry for more, never ready to settle for the mundane, knowing they can achieve more and better.
“People want to watch television differently and iDubba caters to this need,” Gupta says. Their endeavour into the world of entrepreneurship has already garnered recognition at IEC 2008, a business meet organised by the Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi University, and INTAGLIO 2008, an international business plan competition at the Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata.
In addition to increasing the subscriber base for iDubba, which is being incubated at the Entrepreneur Development Centre at the Mudra Institute of Communication, they have other projects in the pipeline, for which they are in talks with several investors.
The trio now aims to bring together a community of television viewers who chat about shows, voice their opinions and suggest shows for others to watch, thus being actively engaged in iDubba.
Their dedication, perseverance and hard work have resulted in rapid success: more than just having an idea, they implemented it and carried it forward beyond the challenges. And YourStory applauds them for their efforts and readiness to surge ahead with more ideas and innovations.