An online market for the bright and curious: Hudooku.com pays students for sharing their knowledge
The question that gave rise to Hudooku.com was: “Is there a better way to break down the silos of knowledge that exist on the internet?” Hudooku means quest or search in Kannada and is a platform to connect people anywhere in the world so that they can exchange insights and experiences quickly and efficiently on any topic. It gives users access to forums from any website on the subject that he or she is looking for and is also available as a mobile app for android and iOS.
The startup, which is still at an early stage, started thanks to a problem that one of the co-founders had to face. When one of his relatives was diagnosed with cancer; he tried to search the net about the topic but the search was quite frustrating. “The reason was that knowledge from individuals is fragmented on thousands of forums and websites,” explains Ajay V, who is a co-founder.
The team, that consists of Ravi Kumar, Narayan Mani, and Ajay Venkatesan, is mainly targeting the healthcare and education sector. “Millions of students possess a great deal of untapped knowledge that can be unlocked if you provide them with a connection and communication platform. Students get paid to answer questions and Hudooku plans to keep a percentage of the total revenue,” says Ajay.
Hudooku has partnered with institutes like IIIT-Bangalore, Health Care Global, Indian Red Cross and KEONICS. Moreover, they plan to expand to the US through a collaboration with the Californian company Course Hero which enables students to create communities, as well as content like flashcards and notes related to the subject they are searching for.
Unlike widgets like Disqus or the Facebook social-plug in, which allow creating forums on individual websites, Hudooku.com helps users interact and collaborate with other websites too. Ajay says that so far they are the only ones providing this service.
Ajay adds that they have two core differentiators:
Hudooku.com is the world’s first floating platform which allows opening a forum on any website in the world by simply clicking a widget in the bookmarks bar. “The widget automatically reads the tags and metadata on the webpage and matches it with conversations about the subject(s) from other websites,” he explains. Through their algorithm ExpertRank, Hudook determines the level of expertise of a user. “We use a proprietary multiple variable analysis to ‘bubble up’ the most qualified users in our community to answer your questions,” he says.
Ajay further explains, “We had 150 registered users when we launched this product and since then the number of registered users has gone up to around 15,500 with no extraordinary marketing effort. We now want to reach 100,000 users through key partnerships and brand building.”
The team explains that Hudooku.com is an interesting advertising platform for companies wanting to target specific groups of people interested in a particular topic. However, they want to expand their revenue generation potential and are planning to create a marketplace for tutors powered by their Expert Rank algorithm.
So far, the team has raised two rounds of seed capital and signed over 30 partnerships after incorporating the company in India and the US. However, they say that the most gratifying achievement is that they have helped people who may have never found each other connect with one another.”
Though confessing that the biggest risk they have take so far has been borrowing money from family and friends and their biggest challenge has been to maintain their families without a regular income, the Hudooku team is gung ho about the future. The question is no longer about the most hazardous things done so far, but about the bravest move to make next. They have the confidence that they will succeed.