I was merrily roaming around around the trenches of Twitter when Amit Bhor (tip-off credit) pointed out a rather strange thing.
“Global social network from India eyeing 10 million users, valued at $300 million”
This makes me sit up. The company is WorldFloat and it claims to have 6 million users. TOI has written about it, so had the Hindu Business line. Not that this means a lot but this is surely curiosity provoking.
So, what does the company exactly do?
“On Worldfloat you can do everything you do on Facebook. But we have added several unique features. The most important is virtual games,” is what the founder told newspapers (apparently).
The company was started in June 2012 and the founder is Mr. Pushkar Mahatta. It is reported that the company has 6 million users. Wow, let’s try this. I logon to WorldFloats.com. Decently impressive homepage but a site competing page with Facebook has a login via Facebook button. Okay, let’s give a benefit of the doubt.
Inside, it’s just a static page!
I decided to shift browsers and then it worked but the process is just scary, 4 more background steps (hope I haven’t been compromised) before I’m taken to this page:
The page is a bit shady for the normal person and I’m really shocked if 6 million people are using this. Try it out. There are profiles swimming around too.
We decided to do a bit of a background check. A founder of a social network has to have some social presence.
LinkedIn reveals some things: Director at Mahatta Towers Pvt. Ltd.
Real Estate. There we are. The dark dungeons.
We also checked Alexa (yes, not completely reliable but a decent indicator)
6 million users deserves a better ranking. And the stranger thing is that the claim is to be a global company with users from across the world but a majority of users (whatever they are) come from India and Saudi Arabia.
These kind of reports are not something new but the situation is just appalling. This means a real estate person (or anyone else with money) can ‘disrupt’ the startup ecosystem in a normal person’s eye anytime?
Just think of the delusion this puts a newspaper reader into.
I’m living in an illusion if there are 6 million users actually for this site and if VC’s have valued this at $300 million already.
Mainstream media and Mr. Pushkar Mahatta. Answers please, if any.
The article created quite a buzz as soon as it hit the web and within a couple of hours, we got an answer. We're publishing a part of the email that was sent by someone (the person wants to remain anonymous) who was approached to do PR for WorldFloat:
"It's a sad story, the PR power he has is immense (maybe because he can spend a lot). Mr. Mahatta is a real-estate tycoon in Delhi and owns 400+ Crores of property.
What I feel is that he was fooled by some developers into building the next big thing. He's still spending a hell lot on Facebook Ads and AdWords.
It’s sad that such a powerful and rich man was fooled into this."