The week that was: From Y Combinator-backed hyperlocal news portal Lokal to Dailyhunt's new co-founder

This week, we featured edtech startup fotonVR and hyperlocal news startup Lokal who are catering to people from Tier-II and III cities, and got an inside peek into why Dailyhunt chose to on-board a co-founder so late in its life-cycle.

There aren't many apps to make the lives of the non-English speaking population of the country easier.

Having realised the abundance of products in the metros, and its limitations in rural India, Jani Pasha and Vipul Chaudhary founded hyperlocal content startup Lokal during the summer of 2018. Headquartered in Bengaluru, Lokal provides local news, classifieds, matrimony advertisements, and job listings, besides other important information in Telugu and Tamil languages, to smartphone users of Tier-II and III towns, and villages of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Tamil Nadu.   

Lokal — a product of the parent company Behtar Technology — made a cut at Y Combinator’s Demo Day in 2019. It also raised $3 million in funding from a pool of investors — 3one4, Y Combinator, RB Investments, SOMA Capital, and India Quotient. Twitch Co-founder Kevin Lin, Xiaomi Indonesia Head Alvin Tse, Starling Ventures, US-based media-tech company XRM Media, and tech investment firm I2BF Global Ventures, were also part of the funding round.

Founders of Lokal - Jani Pasha and Vipul Chaudhary

Founding teams are very important. When former Facebook India executive Umang Bedi, who joined Dailyhunt in 2018 with the designation of President, recently changed his LinkedIn profile to Co-founder of Dailyhunt, it created a buzz in the startup circles. Coming as it did close to Zomato’s announcement of elevating Mohit Gupta as a co-founder, it did make trend-watchers sit up and take notice. 

What are the founders of established and highly-valued tech companies thinking? Is this a new way to retain top talent? How does it make sense to bring in an outsider so late in a company’s life cycle? How does the math work? And many similar questions are being asked around. 

Traditionally, young founders are advised to be on a co-founder hunt early on in their journey so that both can grow the startup as per the expectations of its Board and investors.

To eliminate memory-based learning and help children understand the fundamental concepts better, four friends — Vijay Thakkar, Mayur Patel, Mehul Patel, and Dhaval Sonpal — started fotonVR, an edtech startup, in December 2017. Based out of the incubation centre of Ganpat University in the Mehsana district of Gujarat, fotonVR facilitates practical experiments in the virtual world. 

The VR in education startup explains science activities in 3D, in a 360-degree environment. It not just increases student’s interest in the subjects, but also adds on to their creativity and engagement in learning. The startup recently won an award at the National Conference in e-Governance of India, and has been awarded the Best Startup of Gujarat Award by the CM of the state in 2018. 

Team at fotonVR

Last, but not the least, let us wrap up talking about the CTO of 1MG. His story is one that would echo to the millions of engineers who came from humble backgrounds. 

Gaurav Agarwal doesn’t remember when his interest in mathematics and technology was born. But, he remembers that he was always curious.  Education was all-important in his Kanpur-based joint family. His father didn’t go to college, and joined the Army to ensure that there was food on the table. “He would keep telling me, ‘I don’t want you to go through what I went through, so you better study’,” Gaurav recollects.

Gaurav Agarwal, Co-founder and CTO, 1mg

Gaurav went on to graduate from IIT-Delhi. And currently, he is the CTO and Co-founder of Gurugram-based healthtech platform 1MG. He leads the product and growth team at the diagnostic and medicine delivery platform, and spends most of his time on strategic aspects of technology, figuring out new tech areas where 1MG can invest.

Edited by Suman Singh


Updates from around the world