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!
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