On the lines of Secret, NIT & DCE alumni launch Bakfy for student community
The Secret app, which lets you speak freely and post anything about anyone anonymously, has inspired many entrepreneurs to evangelize the anonymous space. While Secret is treading a horizontal path (anyone can post anything), some take a vertical approach (targeting a particular community).
Here comes Bakfy. It’s an app for college campuses which acts as a college broadcaster where you can share juicy gossip, news, secrets, campus events, funny experiences, jokes and have interesting conversations with others, without having to know them.
How the idea came about?
“We initially started with building a platform to connect students with their alumni since alumni-networking in India is still in a very nascent stage. Over due course of discussions and after talking to students, we realized that they don't really care about serious stuff that much. All they want to do is have fun while they are in college (at least for the first few years). So we thought we'd build something which would make college life more fun and also connect the entire campus like never before,” says Ashutosh Garg, Co-founder, Bakfy.
Founded by Ashutosh and Niranjan Bala, Bakfy connects the campuses of different colleges, which are currently operating in silos, and brings it under a single roof. It essentially enables students to express themselves without any social constraint and have discussions which are otherwise not possible.
Ashutosh is alumnus of Delhi College of Engineering (DCE) and has worked with early stage startups, while Niranjan graduated from NIT, Tiruchirappalli, and had stints at a few technology focused startups.
Is Bakfy inspired by Secret?
“We actually started discussions before Secret was launched. The onset of anonymous apps in the US certainly gave us the confidence that there is a market out there for such products. We want to be secretly for colleges,” points out Niranjan.
When asked if Bakfy will ever move away from being an anonymous platform, Ashutosh answered, “I don't think so. The entire purpose of developing something like this was to give people a platform to express freely. Not having anonymity will take away all the fun and uniqueness of Bakfy.”
Importantly, it’s not a pure play anonymous app anyways. Users are given an option to post non-anonymously as well. “We believe that every person has two faces -- the one he shows to the society and the other one which is hidden. Bakfy provides users to live both,” adds Ashutosh.
Dealing with traditional mindset is a big hurdle
Teachers have warned students against using Bakfy in some colleges as students were posting stuff with their names. The platform was also asked by a Vice Chancellor of a university based in Vellore to share names of people who have posted some stuff about the university. “We did not share any details and we were banned from that university. All these are the initial hiccups because we are doing something fundamentally unconventional and a bit controversial,” adds Niranjan.
Traction and future plans
At present, it’s live in about 25 colleges across India, including NIT Srinagar (J&K), VIT Vellore (Tamil Nadu), DAIICT (Gujarat) and IIT Guwahati (Assam). “We are expanding to two-three colleges every week,” says Niranjan.
The duo intends to make Bakfy the de facto platform for people to express themselves freely and have interesting conversations with like-minded folks. “We have got requests from many young professionals for the same. We started with students as it is a niche market and students have a lot of free time and are always looking to explore new platforms. We will be launching in schools and non-engineering colleges soon. We are exploring corporates as well,” says Ashutosh.