Goodbye irrelevance. Hello Likewyss.

By Guest Author|19th Sep 2013
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Gokul Nath Sridhar, a student of BITS – Pilani, Hyderabad Campus, hailing from the town of Neyveli in Tamil Nadu, is a self-styled autodidact with very little admiration or respect for formal education. An aspiring polymath, who loves engaging with other entrepreneurs and has immense faith in the concept of start-ups, Gokul has sired a company of his own, christened Likewyss (erstwhile known as Inu) which aims to connect people to things that they love.

The first spark for Likewyss was created when Gokul found himself at the receiving end of some malicious cyber bullying via social networks. He began introspecting after this incident and had an epiphany, to comfort him: Everybody I know is not my friend. And people I don’t could be! With the encouragement of his friends, Abhinav and Yogesh, and the constant enduring love and support of his family, he mulled over the idea of creating an online platform where people of the same mental wavelength could meet, interact at a deeper and more meaningful level and possibly, strike up a friendship. He believed that when people said Nice to meet you, after an enjoyable interaction, the most genuine heartfelt answer was Likewise. A little tweak of the spelling and he had a brand, raring to go!

Likewyss, first started out as Inu, needed to be reworked due to some technological shortcomings and was resurrected again in its new avatar. The team is made of four people – Gokul, being in charge of product development, scheduling and UI design; Mrudula, the front-end engineer is responsible for writing crisp JavaScript code that dynamically handles user requests; Prasanna, the back-end engineer writes code on Python using the Django framework and is responsible for reviewing code and releasing it into production; and Nivedita, the data engineer is responsible for handling things like Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning. Mrudula and Gokul have struck together through the tribulations, as a team, since the days when the startup was still Inu, whereas Prasanna and Nivedita joined the team recently.

Here is a video about what Likewyss is:

Unlike Pulse or Flipboard, the site allows one to receive filtered stories on their dashboards, customized according to one’s interests and provide an opportunity to meet like-minded enthusiasts. The company doesn’t believe in limiting itself to a few magazines and RSS feeds. The target audience remains the social media – savvy patrons of the Internet; and while they endeavor to focus on the Indian market first, Likewyss enjoys immense support from people across the world with Singapore coming in at #2 and the US at #3 in terms of site traffic contribution.

But social media is an incredibly competitive field, and they have to fight off competition from various big players like Twitter, Quora, etc. and in the personalized news segment, they face stiff competition from Zite, Vu News etc. Scaling was a problem they had to tackle initially and as far as funding was concerned, a heaven-sent investment set their ship sailing. While they aren’t worried about funds anymore, Likewyss is committed to meeting user needs and making content improvement their foremost priorities. Their mantra is, 'A business focused only on making money is a bad business!'

And customer satisfaction factors in hugely in their roadmap for the future. As Likewyss offers extremely targeted demographics for advertisers to showcase their products, you won’t be seeing any one of those intrusive advertisements anymore, even if their revenue model is going to be advertising, because in Likewyss, you only see things that you want to see. The team hopes to stick to their product scheduling and development strategy in a bid to grow more successful and continue putting in their best, hoping for a good pay-off, as they have experienced up until now.

With a Beta list clientele of 2,500+ members and many more on the wait list, Likewyss is poised to move full steam ahead. Gokul, personally, is very keen to generate awareness about startups and entrepreneurship in general. Anyone can be an armchair intellectual but if you can talk the talk, then it’s time to walk the walk!

Are you on Likewyss yet? Go visit the website.

- Sonia Motwani

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