It was on August 2008 that I arrived at Bangalore. With little know how of where I was heading in future, I remained optimistic about my journey to Bangalore. Tall MNC buildings and Shopping Malls kept starring at me everywhere. People hustling and bustling through the streets and at the market showed the booming economy of Bangalore. So much I had heard of Bangalore being the Silicon Valley of India and here I was with all my doubts cleared.Bhupendra was my first contact in Bangalore, with whom I had planned to visit and discuss about the opportunities in Bangalore. My staying place was arranged at one of the empty room in Bhupendra’s flat. This is the room from where the story of InRev Systems begins.
For few weeks I kept focused with my plan of preparing for job interviews and examinations. There were many good friends to help me around. But somehow I found everything falling at the wrong place and something was not right about it. Everyday Bhupendra would return from his office and we would stay for long hours talking about trends and prosperity of Asian Economy. Off course, I was distracted but for a good reasons.
Within fourth week, Rohit and Sweta visited Bhupendra’s house and I was introduced to them. I had no idea then that we would be involved in a journey of our life time. Soon it was clear to me that Bhupendra, Rohit and Sweta were already in their early plan to start their own venture. I found no reason not to join them.
I had my own entrepreneurial urges which I had followed in past and failed. I took this as a second calling and the time was ripe. For next six months, we planned everything from our product details and business plans. We hooked a large chart on the wall to make sure we understood our roadmap.
Meanwhile Arun, Binit and Laxmi joined us, who were staying at Delhi and latter at Nepal. Discarding all the complexity we had with our backgrounds, we cared less for it. Each member had their own perspective which was always valuable in our discussion. We would hold a meeting every alternative day over a Skype and plan our agendas.
Initially we had three major ideas (1) measuring buzz in the market, (2)Economic data portal , and(3)Business Intelligence Portal. Though it sounded as three different product, our longer vision was to incorporate them in one platform.
After six month of working over background research and understanding each other’s strength, we were soon working as a team. We fixed a date for everyone to resign their current job and join the team. After that each member started sharing the news of their resignation letters, which were interesting at that time. We all were half nervous and full excited.
Finally, on January 2010, we officially formed the company. With funds collected from our families and friends, we were soon to set up our own office. We decided to go head on with the product development process.
Meanwhile, Bhupendra and me were already exploring the emerging trends in social media with Facebook and Twitter. We found ourselves heavily promoting our product over the online space and soon saw the opportunity. In context to this, we released a working product based on Twitter. It was the first of its kind and an instant hit. We named the product Buzzom. The name which still is somewhat controversial J.
Buzzom had incorporated the profile analytics and social media connection. It was clear that we had an opportunity in our hand to make a global product which saw no boundaries. We kept innovating with the product and added new and interesting features. The growth recorded in Google Analytics was inspiring. Soon Buzzom became our priority.
Meanwhile, we kept experimenting with our other product ideas. We also kept a close eye over the online space and blogged about it a lot. This gave us more understanding of the shifting paradigm. It was clear that the framework of online marketing and online product development was shifting and we were quick to recognize them.
After successful running of Buzzom, we recognized the need of enterprise system for Pro Social Marketers. The term ‘Social Marketers’ itself was a child which was maturing along with our venture and we understood it better than anyone.
After almost a year of innovating and experimenting with ideas, we dropped all the other project and build an enterprise solution. We launched Buzzom Premium on Jan 5th and was soon getting our first paying customers. Over a year we had gained enough experience with the social media to promote our product and slowly build a better customer relationship. During first few months, we aggressively pushed the free and paid version of Buzzom.
During these time, we were in tough competition with our competitors from US. We were always moving head to head with innovation and invention. Beside our product strength, we had already developed a community of online enthusiasts and had build enough reputation online and offline. We even visited top colleges like IIM Bangalore, IIM Kozhikode and PSIT Bangalore talking about Social Media and gained an attraction among young minds.
When we were comfortable with Buzzom Premium and Buzzom, we took a glanced back at our original plan. More than years of experience had now given such immense power to notice trends and connections. When we looked back at our three goals (1) measuring buzz in the market, (2)Economic data portal , and(3)Business Intelligence Portal we immediately saw the coherence.
The only product which could combine these three ingredients and use the brand of buzzom was the Buzzom Brand Management. We had developed enough skills and framework to do rapid prototyping of the product.
This time we were more accurate with our plans and strategies. Further we had an immense online and offline contacts to communicate with. We are almost at the end of first prototype of the Brand Management that will allow enterprises to manage their social profiles, monitor brands over the Internet and create social media campaigns.
It has been an inspiring and a strange 2 years of entrepreneur journey. On our way, we have been cited by popular media such as PC World, Forbes and SmartCompany.
Best of all we got selected as the Top 17 Product Tech Companies of India in TechSparks 2010. As we look into the future we find two ways to move ahead one is complete innovation over social media application and the next one is the building the large foundation for our Enterprise Buzzom brand management.
There are many different ways in which entrepreneurship can flourish. But the only way I see InRev moving ahead is with continuous innovation.
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