See Yourself through the Eyes of a Stranger with Zumbl, Winner of the Samsung Innovation Award 2012

Zumbl is a chat platform that matches you with strangers who share common interests with you so that you can have meaningful yet full-of-fun conversations. The startup recently won the Samsung Innovation Award 2012, and has got incubation at Digital Media Zone, Toronto since July 2012.

“One November morning my friend, Abhishek got sick of talking to same old friends on FB. He started Googling for sites where he could chat with strangers. By evening he felt sicker. All these websites required you to talk profanely or switch on your webcam or pretend to be an American girl to strike a conversation. They were not giving enough identity to strangers for them to talk about what they wanted to talk and people want to talk about what they love to do- their interests. So, Zumbl was born with the mission to make stranger chat not only fun-filled but also meaningful,” says co-founder Saurabh. Abhishek (co-founder) and Saurabh have taken a semester off and gone to Digital Media Zone, Toronto which is incubating Zumbl for 4 months. The co-founders and most of the other team members are from IIT-D.

Zumbl matches you to strangers who share common interests with you. During the chat, both of you can tag each other with tags like nerdy, sassy, funny etc. As you chat with more strangers and get more tags, your basic avatar (your anonymous Zumbl identity) evolves into an impressive new avatar that represents all your tags. A strangers’ identity will be shaped by how you and other strangers perceive him. Lesser fake profiles, lesser profanity. Also, if you chat responsibly, Zumbl decorates your avatar with cool badges.

Zumbl also uses ‘sentiment mining’ technology to detect your mood from your chats and reflect the same in form of animation of your avatar. Every once in a while Zumbl has a ‘Happy hour’ iteration with new themes to talk about. People can start talking or share stuff on the set theme as an ice-breaker. It is the ease of sharing along with the fun- that’s unique about Zumbl. One needs to just enclose anything they wish to share in ‘< >’ like <wall climbing> and presto! The phrase is indexed and the relevant media/videos from the web are shared immediately with your chat-mate!

Winning Samsung Innovation Awards gave them the motivation to squeeze even more time out of their assignment-laden schedules & they kept innovating with Web2.0 technologies & Natural Language Processing.

They have launched a private 2-day pilot runs a couple of times recently getting over 1200 Zumblrs engaged in over 4000 chats. This has given them valuable feedback & brilliant feature requests to improve with. The latest run starts on Sept 23, Sunday. Their plan is to use the prize money for better publicity, iterate every 3 weeks on user feedback and add popular feature requests like avatar animation & 2-player games so that when Zumbl goes live full-time in Nov 2012 it is what early Zumblrs made it to be!


Shyamal Dave

Shyamal Dave

A wanderer in the startup space, Shyamal is currently managing a management degree at MICA. In the recent past he extended his interested in social media to game marketing. Talk with him about writing, art, social media, design, startups @duckingfesigner