This Y Combinator startup aims to be the Zoom alternative for all Indian startups, SMEs

A Y Combinator - Winter 2021 startup, Dyte is a Made in India video calling platform that competes with Zoom, allowing you to integrate plug-ins (apps) right into your call.
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Abhishek Kankani, Kushagra Vaish, and Palash Golecha would participate in several coding events and hackathons while at VIT Vellore, much like many other blue engineers and coders before them. 

While they landed lucrative jobs after completing their engineering — Abhishek (Accenture Analytics), Kushagra (Paypal), and Palash (CloudSek) — the trio had decided, if they would ever build a startup, they would do it together. 

However, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and a dramatic shift to remote working, they realised most of their meetings were not productive and were very tiring. 

"We discussed it with each other and realised that it was something that all three of us felt, and we decided to look for a solution. After not finding a platform that offered what we were looking for, we decided to build it ourselves,” Abhishek Kankani tells YourStory

This led them to start Dyte — a Made in India video calling platform — that allows you to integrate plug-ins (apps) right into your video call. The Delhi-NCR-headquartered startup was founded in September 2020 and has been selected for Y Combinator - Winter 2021 batch

At present, the co-founders work remotely, where Abhishek works out of Faridabad, Kushagra out of Haridwar, and Palash is based out of Rajasthan. 

Kushagra, Founder of Dyte

How does it work?

On Dyte, users can choose from pre-built plug-ins or even build their own set of plug-ins to suit their use-cases. Nearly all the online meetings end up non-productive as most of the time users are watching a screen-share, and the process seems slow and laggy. 

Abhishek explains, "We feel that video calls need to be more than what they are right now. You should be able to collaborate right in a call rather than having to move between multiple tabs or even have back and forth meetings for the tiniest things. We help overcome this with a plug-in approach. For example, if you need to have a sprint planning meeting, you can just add a Trello instance to the call and everyone can add their tasks to it right away. This makes such calls more productive. We're also a purely Indian replacement to video platforms like Zoom.” 

Palash, Founder of Dyte

The product 

Dyte has an in-house video calling stack built on top of WebRTC — one of the best technologies for video communication — that allows the team to customise and include additional features as and when needed. 

“We wanted to make the process as seamless as possible, yet customisable. You can start a meeting with one click, but can also customise settings, including a waitlist, invite-only, password protection for a meeting, mute participants on entry, etc. But, for most of the quick calls, you don't need these, and we feel, you shouldn't have to deal with them,” Abhishek says.

To use Dyte, users can hop on to the website and can get started. When on the call, users can add a plug-in from the Dyte plug-in store by simply clicking on the plug-ins button present on the bottom right of the call. Presently, it has a Google Drive plug-in, where everyone on the call can view the files and make edits if they have access to the file. It also has WhiteBoard as a plug-in. 

The next set of plug-ins will include Chess, Trello, Figma, and Miro Whiteboard. Users can choose the required plug-in, which gets started for everyone present on the call. 

The market 

“We're pre-traction as such, but we have had a simple video calling service running since September 7, and we've had over 6.7K sessions created ever since. It was a friends' and family launch, and now, we see people coming back to use the platform because of its ease of use, as well as the quality of the call even with lower bandwidth,” Abhishek adds. 

Remote working has transformed the way teams meet and communicate. Owing to this, many startups are entering the video calling space, and US-based Zoom has seen 30X growth in users since the pandemic began. 

Other players like Google Meet, GoToMeeting, Bengaluru-based Airmeet, VideoMeet, Jitsi Meet, and MeetFox have also risen to prominence in recent months. 

In fact, Airmeet recently raised $3 million in funding to push its offerings in the aftermath of the pandemic that forced widespread event cancellations. 

Dyte’s team says the startup’s offerings are different as it has the ability to have an entire plug-in on the call, so people will not have to move out of the call. However, its key differentiator lies in the fact that it allows users to create their own plug-ins suited for their needs. 

"We have an SDK that's very easy to build with, and you don't have to go through the hassle of managing the participants or any other issues. Our key clients are small and medium startups and businesses,” says Abhishek. 

Moving forward

At present, Dyte is in its pre-revenue stage. It plans to launch the Beta version of the application to an initial set of customers and subsequently, work on the feedback received from them. 

Abhishek says the startup plans to onboard developers on its "Dyte Developer Programme" to build their plug-ins and make it available to the users. 

"Our primary focus is India and the Indian startups in the first phase, and we plan to become the default app used for collaborative meetings, team stand-ups, as well as quick catchup with friends,” says Abhishek. 

Edited by Suman Singh

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