With the smartphone and internet revolution, the whole world is at our fingertips. Guides are no longer required when looking out for famous tourist spots and food joints in a new city. However, it is still quite difficult to get a truly authentic feel of a new place.
In the period between 2010 and 2013, Priyank Jain (28), a Master in Technology Management from Valparaiso University, Indiana, travelled to between 10 and 14 countries as part of his regular annual break. During that stint, he explored a number of blogs, but was troubled by the fact that there was no place where people could freely express their thoughts about their city, find solutions, get feedback, and meet and connect with people.
This unpleasant experience motivated him to partner with his friend Lokesh Jain (28), also an alumnus of ISB and BITS Pilani, to start BlogBeats in 2014. The duo aimed to bring a change in people’s lives by giving them a platform to voice their thoughts and opinions from a geo-tagged location. Geo- and time-tagged blogging platform BlogBeats is owned by Bengaluru-based TechBoulder Technology Solutions.
Recently, BlogBeats raised an undisclosed amount in its pre-Series A funding round from a Michigan-based investor. The process of fundraising usually takes around three to four months, but in the case of BlogBeats, it took around six. This was one of the biggest challenges the bootstrapped company faced in controlling expenditure and maintaining a steady cash flow.
GeoTime-tagged blogging platform
BlogBeats is a GeoTime-tagged blogging platform that allows users to exchange information about places and interests they encounter in their daily lives and travels. The startup aims to be a comprehensive content creation and discovery platform that will encourage the creation of blogs and other forms of content across more than 200 categories, all tagged with a geo-location and time period to enable enhanced search and discovery.
The platform also helps businesses reach the right audience with location targeting. It supports multiple Indian languages to facilitate language-agnostic content.
Users can create beats as per their current location by entering text, comments, and even multimedia content. The information could be about restaurants, travel, beaches, the weather, sports, or just recommendations about a place. Blog entries on BlogBeats appear based on specific geolocations and contextual time periods.
We reimagined blogging as a culture introducing the first ever GeoTime tagged feature that will facilitate writing across generations, time periods, languages, locations, neighbourhoods, and communities. Creating a beat is simple — just login and write a blog or update a picture. It will be tagged as per the geography and the time of creating it. Anyone can go back and see what happened on this time in this year at this location,” says Priyank.
In 2014, the duo met Ravi Gururaj and Mukund Mohan at a Bombay Stock Exchange event where they learnt about the NASSCOM 10k programme. They applied and were selected into the programme.
Blogging — the easiest way to make money
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.
Growth metrics and future plans
BlogBeats’ beta version has recently been launched, and has managed to reach around four lakh visitors and 200 registered users within a month. The startup is in the pre-revenue stage and is likely to generate revenue in the next six months by extending this to brands that have customers everywhere across the world. For instance, If ISB (Indian School of Business) is a brand with students as its ambassadors, ISB can take a paid account on BlogBeats and post blogs about successful alumni from across the world.
Social media marketing helps the startup gain significant traffic on the platform. Now they will focus on creating in-house VFX videos, and off-page, digital, and email marketing for brand building and user acquisition. At present, BlogBeats has a team of 14 members.
BlogBeats plans to expand from being a B2C player to a B2B2C player, which will involve creating solutions for businesses to expand their digital content presence. The company is also focusing on creating a SaaS-based enterprise solution for corporates' internal communication needs within a year. Going forward, they will aim to grow their user base in the US, Europe, and Asia, and the revenue for the next fiscal year is estimated to be between Rs 50 lakh and a crore.