SocialCops, a data and analytics startup, has secured a seed funding of USD 320K from 500 Startups, Rajan Anandan, Manoj Menon and others. It leverages the power of technology, mobile and social community to enable better decision making, backed by high quality data sourced from the grassroots.
With the advent of Internet technology and the rise in usage of phones and smart devices, decision making has now become much easier. Google Maps can show you the shortest route between two points, or the quickest one considering traffic.
But imagine if we bring in the social and safety aspect to it – can we enable Google to suggest the safest route to reach home for a girl or woman? That’s what SocialCops is trying to do using mobile phones – ranging from simple feature phones to high-end smartphones. It sources ground level data from citizens and non-profits and builds analytics and insights on top to create the community social graph.
Founded in 2012 by Varun Banka, Prukalpa Sankar and Harjoben Singh when they were final year students in Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, SocialCops has successfully completed a pilot with Municipal Corporation of Delhi and is now in talks with the Government of Karnataka and other bodies. It already has Unilever and Michelin as their clients.
“Even today, important national level decisions about issues like vaccinations and medication affecting millions of people are made based on sample surveys of 100 people,” says Prukalpa.
“The census in many developing countries occurs only once in 10 years and often the data is outdated before it can be used. We want to power even the census on a real-time basis by leveraging our nonprofit partners who reach the remotest parts of the world,” adds Varun.
SocialCops directly crowdsources data regarding public infrastructure and access to services via mobiles from citizens. Tracking parameters such as teacher attendance in public schools, quality of public infrastructure, adherence and access to medical care on a continuous basis can now be done easily by collaborating with partner non-profit organizations.
Their field workers can be empowered to collect data via low-cost Internet-enabled smartphones, removing the reliance on traditional paper data collection and middlemen. SocialCops aims to track data that provides insight and helps to solve problems faced in society.
On backing the team and funding SocialCops, Pankaj Jain, Venture Partner at 500 Startups says: "SocialCops is taking Big Data in a direction that very few companies have been able to do: providing data and insights that can help solve real problems for most of the planet. Be it data-driven insightful reports or raw data for consumption based on need, SocialCops is leveraging technology and community engagement to create positive impact to the society, while building a business around it."
"We are thrilled with the pioneering work that SocialCops is doing. We are limited only by our imagination in terms of how technology can address the challenges facing humanity. Social Cops is well poised to play an important role in helping shape a better future and we are humbled to be part of it,” adds Manoj Menon, Managing Director, Frost & Sullivan APAC and also an investor in SocialCops.
The current round of funding will help SocialCops to focus and scale quickly. In the past eight months, they have already put mobiles to work on various intractable issues in India such as getting citizens to rate cleanliness on streets as well as creating public worker reward systems. They have even tracked patient misconceptions regarding cervical cancer and adherence to medication in pregnant women to aid resource allocation in healthcare.
To know more, visit their website - http://www.socialcops.org/