K.Kaviraj thinks differently about this, he believes that your new pals are but a click away. He established “Areapal.com” to fill the gap in our lives where our friends ought to be. He explains how it all began “It was some months before on a Friday evening I had this thought. I am a regular user of facebook, orkut etc. I have countless friends in these networks (Yes countless friends 1000's of KMS away, maybe Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi). At that moment I was very alone and needed a group to hang around with and saw that all these networks (Orkut, Facebook etc. stumbled in this requirement). So I envisioned a service that would strongly address this issue and came up with this idea.” As Kaviraj sums its up…”Areapal is Hyper Local in its offering.”
“Since then I bought in many college students and shared my vision and we started building the service in open source. Even now our complete vision is not developed its still in progress.”
Areapal is unlike most social networking sites that keep relationships online. Its main aim is to make people meet. Kaviraj deciphers the concept behind Areapal saying “The most interesting pal you've been searching for all over the WEB (world) ... maybe just a street away! Areapal helps you find that pal. Also when we make people of certain location meet up, we give them the platform to share bits of news, events, and marketplace etc. that they have come across in their locality in day to day life.”
“Areapal strongly focuses on connecting 3 elements (People, interests, and locality).Areapal can be leveraged to find / maintain friends in their drilled down locality. Keep informing and get informed of news / events in locality. It also acts as a virtual bridge between different cities/areas for people to find friends and help them in getting to know people of a particular area even before shifting there.”
His need for freedom dictated his decisions; he says “I really wanted independence from working for others. I wanted to be self dependent. Afer finishing my M.E I got placed in IBM, but could work only for a couple of months as the feeling of being independent started eating me day by day. So finally quit the job and decided to go on dedicatedly with the idea I had in mind for long.”
It was not an effortless shift for him. Building his own business meant he had to create it. He had a few problems in this department; he says “Basically a financial struggle. Our initial problem was lack of funds! We somehow made small small loans etc. to pay for the servers and hardware etc. Apart from that we also needed to take the concept to the people.”
“When a couple of talented students teamed up enthusiastically and helped us run the service and when we started getting covered in newspapers. Soon we started getting more calls from other cities to open up for them also.”
Areapal has come a long way in a short span of time and is now planning to expand its presence to other countries like Singapore , Europe US etc. To fund its aggressive growth plans, Areapal is actively speaking with strategis players and VC's to help achieve their vision.
There is no quit in Kaviraj, his goal is already etched in every fiber of his being. He answered our question about going back to a normal job saying “No, never… Failure is not at all an option.” However, there have been a few stumbling blocks in this young entrepreneur’s unrelenting journey, “We didn't initially concentrate on nailing down the target audience and also didn't have good plans on marketing”, reflects Kaviraj.
He has his reasons for being unrelenting, he says “The belief I have in myself, the belief the developers have in me, the belief the students helping me have in me and the belief my parents have in me. I must surely live up all these people’s dreams. Apart from that I also want to really do something big to the society, so all these together drive me.”
He has also been bolstered by the support of his users who really appreciate his work. He says “People seem to like the concept and use it regularly, which is an excellent growth driver for us. We envision covering the whole world drilled down area by area wise.”
YourSory wishes Kaviraj all the best and hopes that he helps lonely people find pals for a long time to come.