Deependra Singh Bundela is a former IT professional who wants to make life of IT professionals simpler with his portal ITChintu which he co-founded in June 2013 with Rini Kothari. ITChintu is a recreational and utility portal for IT professionals and the team is based in Pune. There are approximately 2.75 million IT professionals in India. ITChintu is developed to serve as a one-stop solution for all their needs - whether it is finding a new accommodation, renting a house, buying a bike, selling an old phone, making weekend plans or even finding a soul mate.
YourStory spoke to Deependra to know more about ITChintu and why he thinks this social platform and online marketplace can work?
YS: Tell us about yourself.
DSB: I am a regular guy who pursued engineering and it was followed by a few years of work with some MNCs. I soon realized that I didn’t want to do this work for the rest of my life. I’m really enjoying my journey with ITChintu. It’s exciting to see ideas being put into practice and then watching the impact it will have on customers, employees and many more people.
YS: What was your thought process behind ITChintu?
DSB: In the past decade the rapid growth of the IT industry has pretty much taken the country by storm. With this growth emerged a new set of consumers - young professionals located at IT hubs such as Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, Gurgaon etc. Their needs and challenges such as finding apartments, buying and selling home appliances or vehicles, switching jobs, finding life partners etc, combined with a hectic lifestyle has given rise to a new segment in the market.
According to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of basic human needs, most of the Indian working professionals who spend majority of their active time in offices, will fall under level three of needs pyramid - that is the need for friendship, communication and intimacy. After a long day at work, people want to relax. People need something that can add value to their after work-life and make their life interesting and happening again. This is how the concept of ITChintu was born and we decided to create something that not only provides basic utilities needed by IT professionals but also serves as a medium to connect with like-minded people using humour as a tool.
I have been reading philosophers like Oscar Wilde, Mark Twain and George Orwell and was amazed how they changed the societal ideology through their spoofs and satire. Be it George Orwell's ‘Animal Farm’ on the Russian Revolution or any other picture spoof, they are a great medium for mass communication and a very powerful tool of expression. If these tools are used in a proper way, they can serve the purpose of both entertaining people and bringing about societal changes. If a picture is worth thousand words, then a spoof is worth thousand speeches.
YS: Where did the name ITChintu come from?
DSB: The name itself is a spoof on the lives of IT professionals. We have chosen this name because it closely depicts the IT lifestyle. People can easily connect with the brand ITChintu. The name came from the frequent jokes that go around in the office. ‘Chintu’ is the ‘Aam Aadmi’ of IT. He is an innocent, hard-working guy, new to the industry, who wants to be successful but doesn't know how. He is an all-work-no-play guy who gets tired of working 11-12 hours a day and who comes to office even on weekends. After all the hard work he gets only a few words of appreciation like ‘Keep up the good job’ or ‘Good job Chintu’.
YS: You are building a mix of online marketplace and social networking site. What makes you think you can succeed in this space?
DSB: On a typical work day, an IT professional works for nine to 12 hours which leaves very little time for their hobbies or interests. To add to their woes, most young IT professionals are often required to move to new locations as a part of their job, which can be a tiresome experience if you do not have friends living in the same city.
ITChintu Weekender is our social networking platform which is trying to make this situation a little simpler by providing such IT professionals a place to meet people with similar backgrounds and interests. Weekends are sacred to any IT professional and IT Weekender is a great way to plan your weekends with people who share similar interests. Apart from the social networking aspect, we like to think that it is a one-stop-shop for all needs of working professionals.
The idea is still new and we already have a wide range of portals offering different services, right from accommodation to carpooling. We intend to keep expanding our scope on a continuous basis. Our strategy of focusing on specific groups in the industry will keep us in the market in the long run.
YS: What kind of traction have you seen till now?
DSB: We started in June 2013, and the response and feedback we have received has been quite motivating. Our website is accessed by thousands of IT professionals and within a few months of existence we’ve got more than 13,000 registered users, 9000 posted ads and around 600 online transactions and few thousands highly engaged Facebook fans.
YS: How are you funded at present and how do you plan to monetize ITChintu?
DSB: IT Chintu is self funded till now but seeing the great response, we have started looking out for investors to expand our business.
Advertisement will be a major revenue source and we are also into e-commerce, running a fashion store for young professionals. Right now we are only focusing on growth and providing quality service to our customers.