The idea was to provide a support system to all the crusaders fighting to save the environment, with a bundle of features and equipping them enough to not let lack of resources and communication dampen their spirits. Battigul.org allows people to collaborate, share and explore opportunities; blogs, photos, videos, events and a lot more.
In conversation with Abhilasha Dafria for YourStory.in, Saumya Mehrotra tells us how her website Battigul.org aims to not only solve a greater problem of engaging people and having a mass sourcing of solutions to the problems, but also bringing awareness of problems less known.
Read further how the team wishes to create an impact by being a one stop platform and make it a green Facebook+Wikipedia!
Please introduce yourself and Battigul to our readers.
We are a couple of greenhorns teamed up together to bring something innovative and more collaborative to the table for the good of the environment.
Battigul is essentially an exclusive social network built to connect people working for the environment and users seeking information in this field.
We provide you people and opportunities. Share your requirements, or search for one. We have a pool of information for fellowships, internships, organizations, team requirements and much more. And the pool comes from you- your sharing the opportunities you come across.
We provide you with tools or sharing. Sharing your experiences, ideas, thoughts, or just random ramblings. Post in your blog, upload an image, share a video and reach out to many like minded people with just one click.
We provide you with promotion. Create a group for your cause or project. Invite people to join. Or create an event and spread it all over the world wide web by sharing the link. And by people here, we mean the right, like minded target audience.
battigul.org was born out of a personal experience.
It was initially started out as a blog (battigul.in)- one with very interesting and stimulating means of visual communication to present information and facts about environment and climate change.
The means here would be interesting infographics, fun videos, presentations, and so on.
Now this theme had a niche, and had to involve creative people from a graphic design background who were concerned about the cause as well. And this, proved to be a really tough job, and we really could not find the right people and resources to take it forward.
So we thought, why not create something that shall enable people to do what we were not able to for a long time- Find the right people and resources.
Social Networking excites people, and rightly so! And hence, battigul.
Content will be a key element in your business. How do you plan to create/source content?
Since battigul is a social network- a people’s community, most of the content shall be generated and shared by the members themselves. We plan to make battigul a self-sustained community for content and information sharing.
For the initial momentum to the community, we with a few interns would be contributing majorly with interesting content, designs, events. Also we’re launching our Battigul Bulletin to engage people off the site too. The content for the news letter would be a compilation of the best content and resource shared by the users coupled with the indigenously written articles.
Do you monetize? Could you tell us a little about your tie-ups?
battigul is born out of pure passion, and hence no monetizing to happen immediately. We aim to create a real value to the community. In the long term, we plan to raise admin money, through sponsored events, workshops and merchandise selling.
We have initiated tie-ups with a few organizations and projects like youthkiawaaz.com, thegreenmantra.com and minusoneproject.comand we look forward to working and connecting with many more initiatives and organisations working in the same domain.
What has the response been so far?
battigul saw a traffic of 10,000+ visitors from 28 countries across the world within just 2 weeks of its launch. battigul.org is receiving motivating feedback from organizations and popular blogs and media over the internet. battigul is growing at a rate faster than we imagined and this gives us that satisfaction which an achievement is meant to push into you. With our offline initiatives now gearing up, we hope to make it an engaging and most importantly, an active community working towards the environment.
We also have had a lot of responses for collaboration from various initiatives and we look forward to working with them. This includes working closely with some major NGOs in their offline campaigns.
Where and how do you plan to scale?
With word of mouth and online marketing, we ultimately plan to take battigul to a global platform, where activist from different parts of the world can contribute their works and can fire discussion on important and alarming topics related to environmental sustainability.
Second concern for scaling is to make the website self-sustainable, which would initially require a lot of off-site traction too, through events and on-site presentations and workshops.
Lastly, a planned campaign for battigul has been designed to take it in to the schools, through interesting posters, and seminars for school students and then post that capturing them to the site, so that they are engaged even after on-school events.
What were the challenges you faced while starting up? Tell me about your initial hurdles.
We’re a pretty new platform, and still have to take up a stable phase. With the team itself consisting of a strong tech-guy, setting up battigul faced less challenges.
One of the main challenges that we see coming next, is to create a quality engaging environment for the users to motivate (or may be in some cases incentivize) them to explore the site and add their valuable contribution. We have strategized to face it by adding articles and interesting content ourselves, which would be source for information to the passing by users. We really want to give the users things which they desire or are interested in. Hence, we’re even planning to hold online competitions with exciting rewards to gather activity for the site.
Since when are you operational? How big is your team? Are you looking at hiring?
battigul has been operational for a month and a half now. We launched it on 1st December 2011. We are small 2 people team looking after it right now. The response from a few organisations and the potential of battigul to be a one stop platform has motivated me enough to quit my job and take this up full time.
We are surely looking at hiring. Or rather volunteers initially. We are launching our campus ambassador program from next month and are also creating a buzz in the blogger community to blog for battigul.
Did you fund-raise to start up? If not, are you looking at getting funded now?
battigul.org as of now is a bootstrapped initiative. The best thing with internet based initiatives is that they need little funding. However, now in order to expand our team and move into offline operations, we shall be requiring monetary in-kind funding.
We plan to allocate the funding majorly in the expansion of the website, which would include hiring team-members and interns. As battigul plans for a detailed campaign to move into schools and get school going students on board; we would be conducting events both online and on-site to attract their attention. Some fraction of the funds would be a great help in fuelling these events in terms of publicity marketing and other logistics including prizes for the same.
We are lucky to be in a time where youth initiatives are given much praise and attention. So we are hopeful of getting funded soon.
Are there other players in the market doing similar things? What is your USP?
As we see it, when your aim is social good. You don’t have competitors, you just have people doing things with a similar motive and they don’t pose a competition rather they’re fellow collaboraters or potential partner. TreeHugger, good.is, earthtangle are a few websites aiming to engage and create an online community like battigul. None of these are people centric. You don’t come to know about people’s profiles, work, projects etc.
battigul comes as a platform with great engaging potential, and its exclusivity is what makes it different. With a handsome number of active members on the site, we want it to be a self-driven community of people, where users learn effective habits and experiences from their peers. Share content which would help impact a larger part of the society and focus their attentions to the grave issue of environment and climate change.
Let your thoughts go green at Battigul and do share them with us by dropping a comment here!
– Abhilasha Dafria