PlayCez launches Android App; local search with social integration


PlayCez places itself as a 'visual recommendation engine' which informs the user about the places around him to eat, shop or well, just hang out. The 'been there, done that' look crops up after reading this line and that is the same question we asked Ashwani Gaur, the founder of PlayCez. Ashwani, who graduated from IIT Kanpur has had an experience of working with big names like Deloitte before starting up PlayCez.

What makes PlayCez different?

To the question, Aswani replies, "True. There are tons apps which are showing local information on mobile, which is basically local search on mobile. Local search is all about size and accuracy of the database and therefore players like JustDial will have an edge over others when it comes to local search. And this where, PlayCez also would hold an edge as we have a database of 20,000 locations across 14 cities. And the problem with local search is that the platforms where people search for local information (all local search engines) and the platforms where they talk about them (Facebook/Foursquare/Twitter) are totally disconnected."

The Recommendation algo

PlayCez claims to fill this gap with its recommendations algorithm. The recommendation algorithm ranks all the places in a locality based on their online reputation (likes, checkins etc) and shows ranked places to the users. Apart from this, PlayCez pulls out meaningful information (tips,reviews,status update) from these platforms and show it to the users.

"As people are talking more about places on theses social networking site, we will have more information and we willl be able to provide much better recommendations" adds Ashwani.

One always wonders as to how does something like PlayCez make money?

For this Ashwani tell us about the revenue model, "First, we are integrating with various deal aggregation platforms to improve the reach of their deals to customers. We are channelizing these deals using our recommendation engine. We get our cut on every successful deal conversion. We are also working on push based notification engine to channelize these deals ‘On demand’. And second, we are working on a cloud based Social Media Management platform for businesses. Social Media is getting increasingly important for businesses to attract new customers and engage them. However it’s a time consuming process and most of businesses don’t have time and resources to do it. Our platform makes it a single click process."

The Android app has been in testing mode for a month before its launch today. So where does PlayCez go from here on in?

"We will keep integrating meaningful and relevant information to as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare open their location API's further. We are working on a different analytic model, based on tags and keywords to provide much better and relevant information. As our expertise is more on social media front, we are piloting some out of the box social media solutions for businesses which will drive our monetization", replies Ashwani.

The Journey that led to PlayCez

PlayCez has been a story of trying, failing, hanging on and surviving. It started out from an idea to develop a location based social game and the idea was validated by a couple of B-plan competitions (IIT-B's Eureka and IIM-B's The Next Big Idea). They got some VC investment and after quitting their day jobs, the founders developed the product which received good response mainly from the college crowd but it soon ran into a wall when questions started to arise. The idea underwent a few modifications and ways were made to monetize the offering. After a lot of research, learning lessons, unlearning some and a constant struggle with time, PlayCez was launched as it appears now. Startup stories are tough but exhilarating. PlayCez is yet another example whose fate still remains in a balance.

We wish PlayCez all the very best and the android app can be downloaded here.

- Jubin Mehta