Zoomdeck: For consuming images as elements that are interactive – Amarnath Vannarath, Co-founder
Launching on September 3, as an iOS app and a web product open to the public, is Zoomdeck. A few days ahead of the launch, YourStory caught up with Amarnath Vannarath, Co-founder, Zoomdeck, over the phone and email. Excerpts.
Journey as a startup, thus far
Zoomdeck was started in 2012 by my co-founder Deepak Prakash. Deepak has a passion for photography, and Zoomdeck was born out of his need have a better experience to talk about the details in photos that he was posting on his blog. I joined him after a few months.
It’s been an exciting journey all this while. We built our first prototype and did an alpha; got in and graduated from the first batch of the GSF Accelerator Program; interacted with hundreds of users, publishers and a bunch of awesome mentors; got great feedback, re-imagined the whole user experience on the site; built a small, awesome team; developed our iOS app and are really excited about the launch happening on the 3rd of September.(Our team is as follows: Amarnath Vannarath, Co-founder, Growth Hacker; Deepak E. Prakash, Co-founder, Hacker; and Sumit Kumar Gupta, Mobile Lead.)
Being a platform with both consumers and publishers having a major say, we have been fanatical in our focus on building an awesome user experience. We worked with some of the best designers around, to dig deep and build a product that we think users really want and enjoy. Saneef Ansari, who worked with us for designing our experience, is from NID, and has worked with some of the best design firms in the world. We wouldn’t claim it’s perfect yet, but it’s something we are very proud of.
Also, we don’t have a lot of major global consumer products from India, and that’s what we are trying to build. A brand, a product, that is used by millions of users from around the world.
Overview of the domain
Photos form a major chunk of what we consume online, and every photo has different interesting stories and elements in them. Yet, how many of them are you able to discover? Haven’t you always had questions when you came across a photo – What furniture is this? Who is that person? What top is she wearing? How much does it cost, where can I buy one?
This is what we want to overhaul. We are trying to create a world where every photo is annotated, searchable and discoverable at an elementary level. We think this is how, in the future, we would be consuming images, not as static 2-d objects, but as elements that are highly interactive. Can you imagine a web without any hyperlinks!? No, because the web wouldn’t be what it is, and yet there used to be such a time. Photos are currently close to that – they are beautiful, colourful and yet a huge black box since we cannot interact with anything inside it. Zoomdeck fundamentally changes this.
It’s still an area vastly unexplored. There are a few companies that are trying to crack this, but we don’t think anyone has got it right yet.
Takeaways for wannabe entrepreneurs
There are a lot of really talented, bright young minds in India. What we at times lack is the attitude and the initial fillip to take that bold decision of letting go of a high-paying job and trying to create something valuable, something that you will cherish. And, at times, one has to be bold enough to take that decision. Do it; it’s a journey, a challenge which will always make you a better person than how you started. Even if you fail, it’s all right; you tried. You would have a steep learning curve, and remember there is no dearth of opportunities for a bright, smart mind!
Design is a major component of any consumer product. Always hire a quality UX resource. If possible, bring him in as a co-founder. Tech, Growth and Design should combine for you to have a quality product.
Indian startup ecosystem is improving, and this is a good time for you to take the leap of faith.
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