How college dropouts Ajay Thakur and Bhupinder Nayyar built a blogging website and reached 76,000 monthly active usersAparajita Choudhury
As they say, “Failure is the key to success.” Failure did not stop these backbenchers of Brahmrishi Mission School, Kullu (Himachal Pradesh) from creating a blogging website in the urge to make money and try something new. 21-year-olds Ajay Thakur and Bhupinder Nayyar started Bameslog in 2013 at the age of 18, which they claim to have more than 76,000 monthly active users now, and everything with zero marketing spend. Bameslog allows users to watch videos, read content, create pictures and share stories, one-liners, thoughts and information with followers.
Back in 2013, the duo was distressed about their books and board exams. Neither did they understand those long formulae and accounting entries, nor did they have any interest in what they were studying. They started losing hope and were termed ‘dumb’, ‘insane’ and ‘good for nothing’ by the school teachers.
Owing to lack of experience, knowledge and vision, they failed to build the website on the first attempt. Initially they have created a website called Apie.in and gained huge traction as well. But they were unaware of the fact that one organization already exists by the name of Apie, so they had to shut it down.
Having studied until the 12th standard, both of them landed in the HCL learning center in Chandigarh to learn advanced programming in April 2013. In the span of four months, a proper plan was created and Bameslog came into being in August 2013.
For about six months, they kept experimenting, connecting with new people, and finally, expanded the team in December. In April 2014, Ajay went to Bengaluru, where they had planned to set up their headquarters, and Bhupinder joined university and started working remotely.
The whole year of 2014, we kept working hard in expanding our team, coding, creating prototypes and taking Bameslog to the global level. We managed to convince 15 individuals to write for us for free, which is next to impossible in today’s competitive era,” says Ajay.
Launch of Public Beta Version
The public beta version of Bameslog was launched in August 2015, and within a few months, it started serving more than four lakh readers every month, spread across 12 countries. The initial set of readers came from tier II and III cities, mostly young students who wanted to share their experiences and connect with different people on ideas and thoughts. They managed to get the readers by reaching out to colleges and universities, persuading people to write and join the community.
Eventually, they introduced Bameslog Thoughts and Bameslog Knowledge Graph. Bameslog Thoughts is a whole new way to share short stories, one-liners, photo memories, thoughts and information with followers and Bameslog Knowledge Graph is an intelligent learning system which learns about the content consumption and interests of the user, and improves itself every day to keep the readers engaged on the platform. Bameslog has 90 percent return users.
“We came up with the idea of Bameslog to solve the problem that people across the world were facing when they had to switch to different websites to serve their interests,” says Bhupinder, who in 2016 left graduation half way and went to Bengaluru to start working full time and to strengthen the power of their product. They have used the co-working space at BHIVE.
They claimed that the content platform of Bameslog is powered by Artificial Intelligence and therefore every reader gets a unique feed based upon a knowledge graph (Machine Learning Engine) and interests.
Reaching a million users
Currently, Bameslog has a team of eight members. Bhupinder states that for Bameslog, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is now able to generate knowledge and learn more about every user based upon user activity, but in upcoming months, AI will start suggesting content. This will help users save time as AI will be able to suggest predictable content to users and increase user engagement.
Our core focus will be on building great technology and a product that will help our users in so many different ways. Our philosophy is simple- build a great product and let your users bring more users,” says Ajay.
Bameslog aims to reach 50 to 100 million monthly impressions in the next two to three years. Currently, they are not generating revenues and their burn rate is Rs 30,000 per month, including the co-working space and their accommodations. Bootstrapped so far, Bameslog has been awarded with the Amazon Web Services’ cloud credits, which will be running the servers and technology for the next six to seven months for free.
The company will have tools for promoted content and other native promotion tools that are likely to generate revenue in the future for them. Ajay states that the tools will be similar to facebook adverts, where small business and brands could target audiences with sponsored content or a native ad based on user interest, the only difference being that Bameslog will be sharing revenue with people creating content on their platform.
Although few in India consider blogging a viable career option, it is an easy way to earn money. In the past few years, many have penetrated the blogging space, thereby inspiring others to experience it too. Blogging full-time is not the only way to make money — many are earning well just by blogging part-time. Amit Agarwal of labnol.org, ShoutMeLoud’s Harsh Agrawal, and Clinton Jeff of UnleashThePhone are a few of the country’s well known professional bloggers.