IIM-A's iAccelerator bootcamp has its money on Votodo, an action network
A pidgin play on the words, "What to do", Votodo is an action network that helps people share, discover and do what they want to do. Vacations or weekends many a time induce loathing wails proclaiming that there's nothing interesting to do or sometimes in cases, there's an urge to do what one loves to but it remains at that; things one would want to do.Filling this very void, Votodo tries to include a new dimension to social networking, the "todo's". People can discover things to do and connect with like-minded people based on their location and interests. Votodo is deeply integrated with Facebook and Twitter to make it easy for Votodo users to share their todos and connect with people they already know.
All this seems pretty hunky dory but what does one do with these todos? "Well, todos help people keep track of the things they’d want to do" replies co-founder, Nirav, with a chuckle. He further adds, "If status updates, check-ins or tweets tell you what’s happening, todos on Votodo give a fair idea of what’s going to happen. Votodo community also inspires, help and join each other to do interesting things and make stuff actually happen" and this is what Votodo is at heart.
Nirav Shah and the entire team (5+1 members) at Votodo have a luminous academic record. Nirav pursued his masters in Computer Science at Columbia University before working at Wall Street for a brief period. He quit his high paying job to do what he liked to do. During our discussion, Nirav introduced their secret weapon, the 6th member of this close-knit team, the ant, "Enna", but you should call it AntEnna, for addressing someone without a salutation is a cardinal sin in the ant world.
Votodo is currently in beta, invitation only mode but the iAccelerator finalist tag has put a lot of weight on the whole concept. Existing Votodo community can send invites to prospective users and this gestation period would the feedback would ensure the service to be fool-proof. Votodo web platform is built on Ruby on Rails and Nirav informs us that work is also being done on the iOS and Android platforms to launch the mobile apps.
Votodo took about 6 months to build up to the current version and is in what the Japanese would call the Kai-Zen phase (continual improvement). And as the philosophy goes, every process is about continual improvement. So, how would Votodo make money during this process? “Currently, our focus is to build a great experience for our users. We are planning to offer personalized deals and rewards to our users relevant to what they want to do (think Groupon in reverse). We believe that it will help people to do what they want to do”, reveals Nirav rather reluctantly.
Votodo has gained immensely from the IIM-A’s iAccelerator push and Nirav has some very encouraging words rearding this program, "iAccelerator at IIM-A has been a great experience for our team. We believe that they have built a great platform to advise, encourage and support startups. Best of all, they have helped us to connect us with like-minded teams with great ideas and a humble willingness to help each other.”
- Jubin Mehta