Two young guys, Amrutash Misra and Sahil Gore, decided to leave their jobs to start an online library, ilovereadin’ two years ago. Once you pay a subscription to become a member, this library service lets you choose books you want to read through their website and books you selected are delivered at your doorstep and picked back after you have completed reading them. In addition, they organize storytelling sessions in schools, a couple of them now, to kindle interest in reading in young students. They are planning to enlist more schools for this initiative.In addition to their library, Life Online helps businesses go online. Riding on the success of the online library, inventory and delivery systems, they decided to tie up with Tic Tac, a movie rental business to take its services online. Tic Tac on its own has completed 27 years as a movie rental store. Life Online now helps you choose movies from Tic Tac online and the DVDs will be delivered at your doorstep. Sahil Gore, commenting on the Tic Tac deal, says: “Tic Tac Movie Rentals computerized their store in 1991. They've used 3-4 different software over 20 years and have collected data of thousands of customers and almost 2,00,000 movie borrowals. The data was spread over different databases and spreadsheets (some of them now outdated). So, building their website was the easy part. The challenge was in collecting and consolidating legacy data from different sources, and then porting it to the new application.”
Life Online has also signed up with Fruit Shop on Greams Road, a famous juice outlet in Chennai with 13 branches. Juices ordered by phone will be delivered at your homes if you happen to stay at Besant Nagar, Adyar, and Thiruvanmiyar in the pilot. It will later be extended to internet ordering and to other locales in Chennai.The company is keen to lend a local flavor to a particular area by enlisting local businesses such as a bakery or a grocery shop online so that home deliveries are possible through orders on the website. A grocery shop has already signed up for a pilot in Adyar. “The number of vehicles on roads will triple in the next ten years,” said Amrutash in The Mad Librarian’s Tea Party, the annual bash of Life Online, the corporate identity of ilovereadin’. That’s why it makes sense to get businesses online and add a door delivery to it. “Virtual mall is what Life Online is aiming at next,” says Amrutash.
The library business is profitable and has 2500 books on its list. Amrutash was surprised to find his childhood librarian Fanny closing down her own library in 2008. He decided to tie up with her to list her collection of 5000 books also on to ilovereadin’.
Amrutash and Sahil started the business with a passion to inculcate reading habit in students and to help readers get books at their doorstep, by putting in all their savings. After successfully bootstrapping for a couple of years, they have just raised their first round of funding. They are likely to go in for a second round soon.
Amrutash, who was with Hindustan Lever for one-and-half years, before he started says: “Both Sahil and me had very satisfying and challenging jobs which we really didn’t want to quit. But I guess the charm of doing something on our own was also very lucrative.” Sahil was in the software industry for three-and-half years before he jumped in. Sahil wanted to “just to try something new.”Life Online -- making of a business:
January 2009: Preliminary investigations
March 2009: Market research
May 2009: Team building and website coding starts
Nov 2009: Firm registered
Dec 2009: iloveread.in launch
Feb 2010: Book Lover’s Program for Schools launch
March 2010: First Mad Librarian’s Tea Party
July 2010: iloveread.in starts in Hyderabad
October 2010: First round (private) funding
January 2011: iloveread.in Hyderabad shut down
February 2011: Tictacmovierentals.com launched
March 2011: FruitShop on Greams Road home delivery starts
April 2011: Second Mad Librarian’s Tea Party
YourStory wishes Life Online a grand success online.
–Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy, chief evangelist, YourStory