Hyderabad startup TruePush is looking to win customers and boost engagement with its ‘free-forever’ strategy
It’s well known the world over: push notifications are a fast and efficient way to communicate with target audiences. Done right, they can engage, retain, increase conversions, track actionable metrics, and boost brand consistency. Reason enough for Ravi Vaka and Manoj Surya to launch TruePush, a home-grown easy-to-use push notifications product.
Set up in 2018, the Hyderabad-based startup offers an easy-to-use, freemium push notification product for web and mobile to boost engagement.
TruePush founders Manoj Surya and Ravi Vaka met at the Hyderabad chapter of the Startup Leadership Programme in 2017.
Research conducted by the founding duo prior to starting up revealed that most companies in the market for push notifications worldwide do not offer all their features free forever. This is what led Ravi and Manoj to consider a “forever-free” product.
“There are 654 million websites in the world and five million apps, and everyone can be our customer. Anyone with an online presence, be it a website or an app, is our customer,” says Ravi, who is an IIT-Kanpur alumnus.
Ravi and Manoj, who have worked with startups before, met at the Hyderabad Chapter of Startup Leadership Programme in 2017. Ravi previously worked with companies like Way2Online, StoreONGO, Whacked Out Media, and was associated with the Startup Leadership Programme in Hyderabad.
Prior to joining TruePush, Manoj in 2015 founded Zenty, a platform to connect brands with powerful influencers to execute offline campaigns. He also set up Startup Talks, a meetup platform for early-stage entrepreneurs. Both companies have since closed down.
However, they felt they could make a difference with the startup they had in mind.
TruePush now offers feature-rich, high volume notifications for web and mobile, deep analytics, and an easy-to-use dashboard.
“We realised we can be that company that can help makers of the world with a re-engagement tool for free. We want makers to re-engage their users and generate higher RoI. There are hardly any tools in this space that you can use free of cost without putting in lots of efforts. So we built TruePush,” explains Manoj, who is a BTech graduate.
The startup claims to have over 1,100 signups now “with steady growth”. The founders say that, on an average, their team of nine people can handle two-three billion notifications per day. They claim TruePush has reached over 42 million devices till now, and aims to reach 100 million devices by 2020.
Speaking about how TruePush works, Manoj says it is more like a DIY platform. “We expect our prospects to sign up and use the product by integrating the code on their website or APP (or both). It takes less than five minutes to integrate and they can start sending notifications to users immediately.”
Their client list includes Indiaglitz, raaga.com, Way2news, Yourquote, NASA Space Apps, and Fustany.com. TruePush has also worked with the government of Telangana for the Government Mentor Programme (the government’s startup innovation initiative).
The team at TruePush can handle two-three billion notifications per day.
“We're backed by Way2Online, a tech marketing company founded by Raju Vanapala. They fund us as we need. Till now, we have incurred only the team cost and there is zero spend on marketing,” says Ravi, refusing to divulge investment details.
As TruePush offers free services “forever”, it has no revenue at present. The team, however, plans to monetise through advertisements based on cookies much like Google does.
Challenges and future plans
In a space which is already crowded, the team found late entry to be one of the main challenges. However, the founders are confident about their progress.
Other challenges included managing the product with a small team, the outreach for its free service, and generating leads without any marketing budget.
“We overcame this by building the product with a bunch of passionate interns. We got a lot of good feedback about the ease of use of our product. We have the advantage of being free too. We have decent numbers for our growth from inception till now,” Ravi says.
According to IBEF, India’s digital advertisement market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 33.5 percent to reach $3.8 billion by 2020.
TruePush competes with companies such as Izooto, Pushcrew, PushEngage, Moengage, Urban Airship, and PushWoosh. The founders say their “free” product helps them stand out in the crowded market.
What are their plans for the future? TruePush is planning to add new tools that may or may not be free. It also aims to monetise cookie data through advertisements.
“We are looking to grab a significant chunk in the market in the first 18 months. After that, we will look at adding more re-engagement tools that are easy to use for customers,” Ravi says.