[App Fridays] IIMC alumni provide an alternative to Yammer with their hyperlocal Glassdoor meets Quora initiativeHarshith Mallya
We learn the most about our surroundings from our peers. While teachers and bosses are there to guide us during school and professional phases respectively, we rely more on our friends and colleagues to be our support systems. CamBuzz, by three IIM-C alumni, Kapil Jaiswal, Kunwar Vivek Singh and Ashish Rajput helps corporate employees learn more about happenings on the campus, and answers to work related questions, through their peers. They do this through an open platform, devoid of hierarchy.
What is it?
CamBuzz is selling itself as an unofficial, private social network for communities. From their personal experience in working at different corporate offices, the three co-founders realized that many new joinees have doubts about the work culture, salary structure, promotions and transfer policies. Or they may have doubts about the right place to rent an apartment near the office, or schools for kids. Ashish added, “We decided to solve these pain points through an unofficial community that helps new joinees and also older employees interact with each other. We noticed that though most companies have Yammer, employees don’t use the platform because of the hierarchy and other issues.”
The app is currently live in TCS, Cognizant, Infosys and Wipro campuses across India and has achieved 7000+ installs in 2 months with about 1000+ daily active users all over India.
They found that people across companies are using the app to get answers about salaries, visa, projects, promotion, company policies and transfers etc. People can also created different private groups regarding starting up, through which hiring people with specific skills, career advice etc can take place.
Kapil, Kunwar, and Ashish were batchmates at IIM-Calcutta,but went on to work at different companies.With a BTech from NIT Calicut, Kapil comes from a product development and management background, having worked with companies like Huawei and Ketera. At CamBuzz he looks after overall product development and future direction.With a BTech from IIT BHU, Kunwar has 15 subsequent years’ experience in product development and management. He looks after technology, and is currently working on developing CamBuzz’s Windows app and web platforms.
With an MTech from IIT Kharagpur, Ashish has a decade of experience in service delivery, relationship management and business development with large enterprises. At CamBuzz he looks after all the marketing efforts and brings users to the app. He also contributes in UX and UI improvements for the app. During their early days, to market at grassroots level, he would interact with Infosys and Wipro employees outside their offices, getting feedback from them, and distributing fliers or bookmarks in promotion of the app.
The startup is currently bootstrapped, but they are actively looking for investors and incubation at this stage.The app is free, and Ashish confirmed that currently they are seeding the product, but in the future will monetize through hyperlocal marketing, job ads and other relevant content. He added: “We will have educated, young, impulsive buyers with disposable incomes on our platform, so monetizing through relevant e-commerce tie-ups is also a good option. While our platform is unofficial and open, once we have enough traction, we wouldn’t mind sharing reports or giving the company concerned a channel on our platform to reach out to their employees, if they are interested.”
Users need to sign up with their company email IDs, and then sign in while on their office campuses, verifying their location to prove their authenticity. Only verified profiles can engage actively. They also allow outsiders to login with their personal email IDs to check out the buzz in different corporate campuses, but they have limited access and can post only upto 3 queries now.
Users can ‘heart’ or comment on a post, like or dislike comments. The portal is moderated by the community; a comment is removed after five dislikes and posts after 3 dislikes. Users can create polls and vote on other polls to get an idea of opinions on different policies, and create groups to interact with people with similar interests. Users can also post a requirement in the public domain, and then interact one-on-one privately with colleagues who respond to that request in the public forum. CamBuzz hasn’t enabled private messaging for all, in order to avoid spam and for security reasons. Users can also modify their user names as needed and email ids are not shared anywhere, but needed for authenticity.
What we liked?
The app is well designed, easy to navigate and use. I was able to login through my personal email ID and check out the ‘buzz’ in campuses of different companies. While each campus has its own buzz, polls, groups, and some other featuresare common for different campuses under the same company. I was able to find and join a wide variety of groups such as ‘Interview Prep’, ‘Startup Ideas’, and ‘Visa Queries’ etc.
The volume of content is also good considering that the platform is only a few months old. Community-moderation seems to work, and I came across no nasty posts or controversies, with most of the ‘buzz’ being general requests for advice on different corporate scenarios.
What could be improved?
Currently users can share only text, so adding the ability to share photographs of posters, and banners of events in the offices, would enhance the appeal. Ashish confirmed that they are working on this and would soon be rolling it out. As the volume of content increases, a search bar would also be useful to avoid duplicated posts.
CamBuzz has seen good traction so far merely through word of mouth and grass root level marketing. They are currently opening their app to campuses only on request and aim to improve and add more, based on the feedback they get from their users.While their focus is currently on corporate offices, they are also considering providing the same service for schools and colleges.
Featured image credit: Shutterstock
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