In this series of startup stories all of whom have received a push from iAccelerator, a program from IIM-A’s CIIE (Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship), we bring to you MangoSense. A company that drives towards making products that make sense. The initial idea was to ‘gamify’ books and the book reading experience which gave birth to MangoReader. But one product catapulted the thought which flowered into MangoSense, the umbrella under which other products would be developed. MangoReader is the product that is under the spotlight currently and has been nurtured for about three months at the Boot Camp.
The obsession with Mango
The story behind the name is an interesting one. The product was initially called gamebook but an influence of a ‘company branding and naming talk’ led the founders to introspect and come out with a different name. “Living in New York, Mangoes are very expensive and hard to find and being the tastiest fruit, it reminded of growing up in India. Also, as the saying goes – Mango = Aam = Common. We are just common people having dreams of building a great company, and that greatness starts with the name itself”, says founder Jagdish.
MangoBooks: An authoring tool to create interactive and engaging books. One can add videos, images, quizzes, maps, graphs and other interactive elements to generate epub3 and HTML5 books that work on iPad, Android tablets, on browsers and PC/Macs
MangoStore: Therecently built MangoStore is a place where people can preview, buy and read these books, and can also buy individual chapters in a book.
MangoReader: Here, students and readers can read, comment, take notes, answer quizzes, search, look up dictionary and share with friends. There many more additions in the pipeline here.
About the founders
Founder Jagdish Repaswal did his B.E. computer science from Army Institute of Technology Pune and worked in L&T Infotech and Oracle India before joining a New York based startup in biometrics. He went on to work in a couple of other startups for social media, casual web games and educational video games. That is when the idea of MangoReader was born. Subhash, a close friend was immediately excited when Jagdish shared the idea and he joined as a cofounder and CTO. Jaya and Pavan lead the product and design, UI/UX and are an integral part of the 6 member team.
Jagdish is also a cofounder at Bridg.Me which was born out of sheer frustration and annoyance of conference call solutions, people not joining on time, missed conferences and forgotten dial in numbers, pins. Along with Jusin, they deployed and launched Bridg.Me at a startup weekend (48 hrs) in New York and won the prize for the startup weekend.
The Mango Money
“Initially, we planned to launch mangoReader for iPad and worked with a company to help us build the app. I decided to put in my own 100K USD to bootstrap the company and develop the product and to get good traction and pilot customers before raising funds. We are now looking to raise capital and have shortlisted few angels and VCs for our seed round”, informs Jagdish.
“We work on a revenue sharing model on book purchases and content sold through our website with publishers. We also charge publishers for making the content interactive and engaging by adding relevant videos, quizzes, images, graphs etc. Our books are available as individual books, bundles of books for a course, Individual chapters (Pay per chapter) and we are also planning to launch subscription based models for books, like Pay as you Read and Print on Demand”, says Jagdish about the revenue model.
The technology powering MangoSense
HTML5 and Ruby on Rails is used to develop the website and reader. Use of HTML5 helps in writing the Reader for practically all platforms including browser, desktop, ipad/iphone and android without making a lot of changes. Cloud computing from Amazon EC2 is being used to scale up.
The Mango people are currently working in private beta with over 10 publishers with 5 of them being amongst the top educational publishers in India. The names haven’t been revealed yet but they’re also working with a few UK and USA based publishers and have partnered with a content creation company to meet content development goals.
Obstacles on the road
“Lack of understanding of technology among publishers and the slow rise of ebook adoption is causing publishers to stand still” says Jagdish. Also, high price of tablet devices and a lack of good quality content are driving consumers to wait for something better. For solving these problems, Jagdish elaborates, “We solve these hurdles by educating publishers about technology and helping them understand various business models they can adopt to lead innovation and change in their organization. To the consumers, we offer choice, flexibility and high quality content which they can use at their own pace.”
The iAccelerator push
“It has been a wonderful experience at iAccelerator. The teams, mentors, advisers and everyone is very helpful and provide feedback and connections. It has been great working with other like-minded, passionate entrepreneurs who believe in building great products as well. The industry experts, CEOs who visit and investor connections help set the right tone and direction for a startup. Overall, it really helps the startup accelerate their progress”, Jagdish tells us with an air of optimism.
Make more sense about MangoReader here.
– Jubin Mehta