This Delhi social media startup is changing the business of emotions
In a world ruled by social media, posting a wrong status update has sometimes even turned out to be fatal. There have been reports where a post on something as simple as a relationship status change has resulted in suicide, especially among teenagers.
People have also faced arrest for posting offensive content on popular social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook in recent years.
A 2018 survey by Cigna TTK Health Insurance has found that 89 percent of Indians have prolonged stress. In comparison, the global average is 86 percent. The survey also found the data to be intriguing in case of millennials than the older generation.
Enter VentAllOut, a social media platform that lets you share your thoughts and feelings without indulging your friends and folks into it.
Launched in 2019 by Sumit Mittal (45), the Delhi-based startup gives people the freedom to express their feelings anonymously - be it by way of commenting or by way of posting pictures or by sharing opinion through polls. However, the platform claims it maintains ‘quality’ content.
The platform allows users to share their views on various categories such as politics, current affairs, confession, entertainment, daily drag, relationship, and grievance.
“Be it your pent-up emotion against your boss, your family member, or having a confession for your secret love or sharing your political views, we cover it all and people can share on this platform without any fear of being identified. The identity is not known to other users unless you chose to do so,” explains Sumit. Today, the platform claims to have over 10,000 registered users, including the web and the mobile app.
How it started
The genesis of VentAllOut happened from Sumit’s personal experience, where he felt most people on popular social media sites are trying to portray a fake image.
“Facebook has become a bragging network where people flaunt their expensive gifts or lavish vacations. WhatsApp groups are biased and the members troll people for having a view. Whereas there is no platform where people can share their feelings, frustrations, and emotions without the fear of being judged, without the fear of having bias or being branded,” he says.
Before starting up, Sumit worked for about 19 years in the payments industry with companies like MasterCard Worldwide and GE Capital across countries with assignment within GCC countries. Despite doing well in his career, Sumit started feeling there is too much negativity around, and people do not have a place to share their frustrations, and they fear being judged if they do so.
This feeling blended with Sumit’s long-time itch to become an entrepreneur. Hence, he finally quit his payments career in late 2017 to start the company named CrestlineBiz Solutions, which owns and runs VentAllOut.
After running VentAllOut in beta for a year in 2018, the platform was officially launched in February this year. The company currently has a team size of 15 people. “We are registered with DIPP and have a branch office in Dubai along with my base in Delhi,” tells Sumit.
Currently bootstrapped, Sumit has invested about Rs 50 lakh into the venture out of his savings, and hopes to make it a profitable business soon. Sumit says the company is still in a pre-revenue stage, and he sees the platform generating revenue by the end of this year.
Charting out VentAllOut ’s business model, Sumit says their business model is very simple yet robust.
“Since we will generate an interesting user data, we will use it for emotion-related ads, and marketing campaigns on the platform,” he says.
Apart from Indian users, VentAllOut has users from the US, the UK, Switzerland, Belgium, Kenya, and closer to home from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, and it is only growing.
Besides this, the startup is also seeing a lot of interest from psychologists and counsellors who want to partner with VentAllOut, which may add a business stream in the future.
Sumit tells that a large part of the investment goes on the ‘quality’ part of the platform to keep trolls and abusers away. In order to maintain quality, the tech team has created an algorithm, which does profanity checks, and claims to have put 500-700 abusive terms on the backend, so that whenever a user writes an abuse, it will get masked.
The platform also masks religious terms and has a report abuse button, which can lead to account blocking. Further, the platform has a minimum character count so that users write a meaningful sentence, rather than just writing posts or comments such as ‘I agree/disagree’.
Speaking about how the platform stands out from competitors such as Twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram, Sumit says the USP of the platform lies in its unique method of creating a community based on interest, and not the user. “What this means is that VentAllOut users don’t follow other users but follow “interest” of other users,” he says.
Quoting Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Sumit says the service works best as an “interest-based network,” where you log in and see content relevant to your interests, no matter who posted it — rather than a network where everyone feels like they need to follow a bunch of other accounts to grow.
The platform also rewards users with points and awards for venting out. These rewards can range from small-ticket vouchers to big holiday experiences.
VentAllOut is targeting to have at least five million users in the next 18 to 24 months.
For the next couple of years, the company also plans to make the platform available in vernacular as well as in foreign languages.
Sumit says VentAllOut is now looking for seed and Pre-Series A funding this year.
(Edited by Megha Reddy)