Entrepreneur

Find the best mobile plan via 3GSimplified - Entrepreneur Ankit Chhajer

Team YS
18th Apr 2011
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Tell us about 3GSimplified

3gsimplified.com helps you find the best mobile plan and top up combination that saves you the most money. It is as simple as following three simple steps: Enter your usage habits, Compare plan plus top up combinations and save money.

How is 3GSimplified different from other price comparison portals/usage meters?

3gsimplified.com is unique because it picks the best top ups, for each base-plan, based on your usage habits and helps you save maximum amount of money. It further simplifies the process, by accurately measuring your usage and suggesting the best plan with a simple app on your phone.

How did the idea for 3GSimplified come about? How much capital was required to implement the idea?

images/stories/Entrepreneurs/tech1/cheenilabs-team.gif

There are four basic necessities of life, Roti, Kapada, Makaan and Mobile. So, when I moved back to India from US, the first thing I got out to get was a Mobile plan. While it was easy to get a mobile plan, it was very difficult to get the right one. With multiple operators, prepaid/postpaid plan options, pay-per-sec/pay-per-min plans and numerous top ups to add on, the options seemed way too many to pick the right one. I had seen ads that said calls at 1p/sec, ½ p/sec and so on. It seemed so much cheaper than calls charged in the US, so I randomly picked the one that seemed best on a quick glance. It came to me as a shock when my bill turned out to be higher than my bill in the US. Same thing had happened earlier to my partner Jigar. We saw a similar trend with our friends who struggled to get it right each time they changed. This led us to design an engine that would cut through plans and top ups across all operators to find the best one for you. The engine works with 2G Mobile plans and services as well but we wanted to piggyback on the 3G buzz in town. We are a lean startup with just two of us, hence our costs to build was primarily our own effort and time.Tell us about your background.

I got my Masters in Computer Science from The State University of New York, Buffalo. I worked with UBS Investment Bank in the Finance IT team for four years. I moved back to India to pursue my entrepreneurial journey and start Cheeni Labs with my friend Jigar Doshi.

My partner Jigar has worked with Amazon both in the US and India. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Urbana – Champaign. He moved back and quit Amazon to start Cheeni Labs to make “sweet things” – products we would be proud of.

Let us know about the tie-ups that you have (if any). Is there acceptance for your concept? Can you give us some incidents to illustrate the same?

Currently, we don’t have any tie-ups. Though we are open to tie-ups that can help us source data automatically from the operators. So far, our idea has been well received by people in general. This is based on the comments they have left us on facebook, twitter, emails and the feedback section of the site. We have seen a direct impact of this in our own lives where our mobile bill has gone down 40-55%.

Here are a few of instances:

1. My dad who had activated his plans back in the days of RPG, which is now Aircel, was still paying Re 1 for Local and Rs 1.5 for National calls until recently. Our service helped him save upto 65% on his monthly bills.

2. A friend of mine finds our service useful to find the right top up for his varying monthly usage. For instance, he adds a roaming top up if he knows he will be on travel the following month or adds a relevant STD top up if his usage is going to be higher compared to previous month and so on.

3. When we showcased our mobile app prototype – to accurately measure your mobile usage - at a startup event in Chennai, most of the crowd already wanted that app on their phones.

Where do you see 3G telephony, the online price comparison resource space, and 3GSimplified five years from now?

3G telephony will gain prominence because of its higher capacity, and low unit cost. When you combine 3G networks with low cost, high functionality pocket computers like smartphones, 3G may finally enable the Indian masses to get online. Unlike western markets where 3G is just one more Internet connection, 3G in one form or the other may be the primary internet connection for Indians.

With the explosion of choices an Indian consumer has, consumers need a helping hand which guides them through the buying process. The online price comparison space will gain momentum as comparators allow the right decision to be made quickly. 3GSimplified would love to take the headache away from consumers in related fields such as datacard plans, 2G Mobile Plans, DTH and so on.

What is 3GSimplified’s revenue model? Have you been funded? If yes, can you throw some light on how the funding came about and from whom?

We are iterating on our revenue model and developing our revenue model. The plan is to sell the services that we compare in one form or another. We are completely bootstrapped.

As an entrepreneur, what are your joys? What are the challenges?

My greatest joy, as an entrepreneur, is the ability to create products/solutions that can simplify people’s day-to-day problems. The challenges are of course to see a faster adoption of these products and turn this vision into actual reality.

How big is the 3GSimplified team? Give us some info on team composition. Are you looking at hiring?

Currently, 3gsimplified is just a team of two:

Ankit Chhajer, Co-founder of Cheeni Labs, has a Masters in Computer Science from State University of New York, at Buffalo. He has worked with UBS Investment Bank in the Finance IT team for four years.

Jigar Doshi, Co-founder of Cheeni Labs, has a Masters in Computer Science from University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. He has worked with Apple in the iPod team and with Amazon in the Selling on Amazon team.

We are definitely looking to hire people this summer with our tool gaining traction and demand around other verticals requiring our focus.

Let us know about your expansion plans.

We plan to expand our service to 2G Mobile Plans and Datacard Plans. In the future, we will look to expand this to other verticals. We are still in beta and are mostly relying on viral growth through word of mouth. The results are encouraging. We plan to capture more data on how much real impact it has on people’s bill after we launch a few features. Since less than 2 months of launch and no money spent on marketing, we already have hits from more than 74 cities in India. Majority of them are coming from high density regions like Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata etc.

We at YourStory wish the team of 3GSimplified much success in all their future endeavors. Do check out http://www.3gsimplified.com/ for the mobile plan that best suits you!

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