Ayush Ghai is building a Tech Startup from the Hills of Dharamshala- Mindgrep

Ayush Ghai is not your typical IITian. Yes, he did get an AIR (All India Rank in IIT-JEE) 65 which took him to IIT Kanpur and he did get what many would call a dream job with an MNC. Yes, he also, like many IITians thought of starting up after a few years of corporate experience and that he did but here comes the twist. The guy setup the startup in Dharamshala, a quaint little hill station in the North Indian State, Himachal Pradesh.

While techies clamber to come to metros to get access to resources and connections, this free soul didn’t care about any of this. But why Dharamshala? It is a place he feels he has a connection with. Born in Patna, Bihar, Ayush didn’t stay there for long. Owing to the nature of the job of his father, Ayush spent his life in all the parts of the country- the longest stretch being the 4 years stay in Kanpur for his engineering. He went to Dharamshala with a  bunch of friends on a trip couple of years ago and lost his heart to the place too much to not settle over there. And that’s how Dharamshala happened!

Now, coming to the startup, what is this techie upto? Mindgrep has its flagship product called Metataste. What does it do?

Metataste is a personalised movie discovery engine. “Metataste’s recommendations are scarily accurate as they are derived by identifying your taste, on over 1000 elements. Integrated with multiple content providers (currently from the US), Metataste has the capability to pick free and paid movies available for you, from deep within the trenches of internet. Its global community from across 150 countries is actively participating in its evolution,” explains the seemingly enlightened Ayush.

So, does anyone else work with Ayush who also loves to trek and has ‘scaled’ many mountains in the past?

“Yes!” he exclaims with a grin. Pratyush Singh is a BITS Pilani graduate from the batch of 2006 and since then, he has been actively involved in theater and is a designer by profession. He left theater to join Mindgrep and is doing design and marketing for Metataste. He conducts theater workshops for children at a local NGO and watches a movie every night! The other star of the team is Avneesh Raghav who joined as an intern but now is an integral part of the team. He is the technology lead at Mindgrep and ensures Metataste is up and running. He teaches basic programming and HTML to local mountain folks and loves to exercise. He developed great fondness for movies while developing Metataste.

So, how does Metataste exactly work?

The Problem 

Most movie recommendation engines make suggestions by creating people clusters, which basically is ‘Other people who liked this movie also liked….’. How that works is, If X likes movies 1, 2, 3 and Y likes 3, 4, 5, then recommendations made to X are 4,5. And Y is recommended 1,2.

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This solution has it’s limitations. If  X and Y have some common favorite movies, they may have similar tastes. But, what’s also equally possible is that they liked those movies for different reasons.

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What Metataste offers

Metataste works on identifying and giving due importance  to what you like. On Metataste, movies are tagged with not only Genres, but also sub-genres, emotional feel of the movie and plot highlights. When a user adds a movie to favorites or rates a movie, Metataste makes a note of what the user likes or dislikes, and makes knowledge based predictions. The more a user contributes to the system by use of our innovative rating mechanism, the more evolved is the system’s knowledge of the user’s taste. This makes Metataste’s recommendations preciser.

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Understanding the importance of discovery through people, there’s the option of ‘suggesting a movie’ to another user as well. One can also ‘follow’ a user, and filter through his or her list of favorites to find that perfect movie one is looking for.

The Mindgrep team also has a solid revenue model in mind which has both B2C and B2B streams, details about which shall be revealed soon. This photo shy bunch of people need all the support you can give. Have a bite of Metataste and tell us how you like it.

Jubin Mehta

Jubin Mehta

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