“I think people can make money and do good as well. I really want to bring more people online. The internet has democratized information and made it available for everyone and with what I'm trying to do is to get this information to people who really need it. Its an empowering thing!”
And he wasn't kidding about the make money part. Imagine what marketers would pay for something that makes people watch an advertisement? Well,
Vivek Kumar has actually found a solution that would actually make you watch an advertisement, for a little something in return; WiFi.Yes, you read it right. Qlicket aims to provide free Internet sessions in high traffic establishments by leveraging an ad focused technology. They're currently in over 200 fixed locations across 40 different cities, and are running campaigns for some of India's well-recognized brands.
Vivek Kumar, having worked on a similar service in the US, decided to bring the technology to India. “I think such a technology ensures guaranteed engagement for advertisers with their desired target audience. Furthermore, our patent pending technology will ensure a fully customized experience for users and the best bit is that watching the video is in return for something that they really want.”
Providing the users with WiFi in return for watching an ad is a very popular model in the US and Vivek believes that it will have the most impact here, in India. “Almost 85% of the US is online, but that number in India is only a fraction of the population. By making high speed internet available for free or at really affordable prices, it will really bring about real change to India,” shared Vivek.
“The way we're going to do it is threefold – firstly, we will monetize existing WiFi hotspots with the ad model. A lot of these guys giving WiFi out for free; our solution can provide them ROI for it. We've got this model running in some Airports, Hotels, Coffee Shops; a small portion in IIM Bangalore as well!”
“Now with that out of the way, the second step is to encourage people to make paid WiFi services free with our model. This will involve a lot of education from our side on how this model works. And thirdly, we will look to make our own infrastructure in house. This is a space that has a lot of scope in India. In
the US or the UK, there are over 100,000 hotspots, but in India, there are like 5000 hotspots totally. But this is infrastructure and capital heavy, which is why we've kept this phase for later, but this is definitely something that we want to do.”To me, the plan sounded great, but then again, I don't understand the inner workings of the business. Over the next phase of our conversation, he shared some challenges that he faced; a percentage.
The 5% Barrier
There is no such thing as free WiFi. It has to be subsidized by another revenue generating activity and Qlicket has got this part sorted through the ads. Only someone has to pay Qlicket for the ads and it is in here that it faces a big challenge.
“While working with a lot of larger companies on this idea, we have come to learn that a company allocated 5% of its marketing budget for digital advertisements. While our model really works well and ensures good ROI and engagement, it also costs a significant chunk of that 5% which companies allot for all their digital advertisements!”
“So we're also working on some other offerings such as app promotions at international airports; basically targeted promotion based on location and other awesome stuff! But I think it is going to take a lot of education to break that 5% barrier.”
Towards the end of the conversation, Vivek got a little candid and said “I'm pretty crazy. I had a really good job and a comfortable life back in the US but I still chose to do what I'm doing today. But there's this fire inside me to do something and I've put a lot of my own money into this.”
Talk about putting the money where your mouth is! We have great respect for Vivek's entrepreneurial spirit and coupled with a innovative idea which has the potential to become the next big thing. Watch this space for more news about Qlicket.
Click here to know more about Qlicket.