Entrepreneurs Who Capture You Smiling: Photopreneurs Pranav and Rakesh of Lifeblob, a Digital Photo ServiceTeam YS
NASSCOM EMERGE 50 showcase 4
Lifeblob was a winner in the EMERGE Startup category in 2010.Lifeblob is an online service where you can share, personalize and print your digital photos – easily and affordably. In addition to standard photo prints, you also have the choice of creating personalized photo gifts like photo books, photo mugs, designer photo frames, t-shirts and photo calendars. Shipping is free and products are delivered anywhere in India.
One of the unique aspects of Lifeblob is its recommendation engine that goes through the repository of photos in the background and builds relations between them through people, places and interests. Every time a user uploads a photo, the recommendation engine instantly shows other photos that are related to it, thereby opening up a whole new way of navigating between photos, through relations.
Lifeblob also helps amateur and hobbyist photographers get better at photography through articles and expert tips at http://photography-tips.lifeblob.com.
Pranav Bhasin, B.E (CS) from DIT, Delhi has 7+ years of leadership experience. Pranav had his first tryst with a startup while still in college and thereafter was among the initial few that started Trilogy India operations. He has worked in various leadership roles leading high-performance teams spread across India, US and China. As a "Section Lead" in Trilogy University 2004, Pranav kickstarted four new businesses for Trilogy in a span of three months and thereafter went on to lead the R&D for Trilogy's first interactive marketing solution in the automotive vertical. Thereafter, Pranav left Trilogy to start Lifeblob and was recently named in Business Week's list of Asia's Top 25 Entrepreneurs for the year 2009.Rakesh Rajan
Rakesh Rajan, B.E (CS) from PESIT, Bangalore joined Trilogy after finishing college. Rakesh is a technology freak and during Trilogy University, Rakesh envisioned the opportunity in building a collaborative search engine, developed a prototype in 3 months and convinced the CEO to fund the idea beyond TU. Thereafter, Rakesh moved on to the automotive vertical as a Technical Fellow and was instrumental in architecting Trilogy's first analytical engine to identify and target automotive shoppers. Thereafter, Rakesh left Trilogy to start Lifeblob.
The founder duo share their perspectives with YourStory.
1. Why did you take to entrepreneurship? Is your company founded by an individual or a team?
Lifeblob was founded by Rakesh Rajan and Pranav Bhasin in 2007. We always had a lot of ideas that would excite us, but because of our job commitments, we were never able to pursue them and turn them into reality. One fine evening, while we were sipping a cup of coffee, the idea of connecting people through the events they had participated in came through and we couldn't resist quitting our jobs and taking the leap. This idea is what later formed the basis of lifeblob.com.
As I look back, I feel that we took to entrepreneurship because we had strong belief in our ideas and their ability to bring about a change. While becoming an entrepreneur required us to leave our comfy high-paying jobs, it was the only way we could the freedom we needed to execute on our idea and take it to the market and I am glad we made this decision.
2. What is your objective through entrepreneurship (e.g. wealth creation, value creation, creating something new, etc.)?
We became entrepreneurs primarily to create something new that would add value to the lives of people. Being our own bosses and wealth creation were also the other motivations for being an entrepreneur but they were secondary to the thought of bringing something innovative and valuable to the market.
3. How do you view NASSCOM’s recognition in their EMERGE 50 list?
NASSCOM has been a very valuable forum in providing global exposure to the IT industry and the EMERGE 50 platform is a great initiative to provide startups the recognition they deserve. We feel really privileged and honored to be a part of the EMERGE 50 list of 2010 and wholeheartedly thank the jury and the NASSCOM team for taking the time to review our business.
4. What aspects differentiate you from your competition or industry in general?
Lifeblob.com is an online service where you can share, personalize and print your digital photos – easily and affordably. We are the first integrated photo sharing cum printing service in the market and with over 4 million photos hosted at the moment, we are one of the fastest growing photo sharing services in India. We have devised a unique 1-click personalization engine using which our users can design personalized products with a single click and we take care of the rest.
Another innovation that differentiates us from other photo sharing services is our concept of "navigation through relations". Everytime you upload a photo, our recommendation engine understands the context around it and shows other photos that are related to it through people, places and interests. This opens up a whole new way of navigating between photos through relations and discovering photos through serendipity.5. How do you view the entrepreneurial ecosystem at present and what can be done to make it better?
When we started in 2007, there were hardly any entrepreneurial forums in existence and we have come a long way since then. With non-profit organizations like OCC and Headstart, events like Proto, organizations like NEN and TiE and forums like NASSCOM Emerge there are now several places for entrepreneurs to network and meet with fellow entrepreneurs and potential customers.
Despite all these efforts, one of the things that I see sorely missing in the ecosystem is avenues of mentorship and advice for young entrepreneurs. With some advice from people who have been-there-done-that, a first-time entrepreneur can learn the ropes faster and that would increase the chances of success of his/her venture manifold.