Startups fight COVID-19: Doosra offers COVID warriors free virtual numbers to protect privacy
The pandemic has brought to the forefront the many COVID-19 warriors and volunteers working tirelessly to help patients and their families. During the course of their work, many call up hundreds of random numbers to verify sources and check availability – from their personal numbers.
To protect their privacy and ensure that their phone numbers are not misused, Hyderabad-based Doosra has launched a free service for COVID volunteers, allowing them access to a new virtual number that lets them do all the coordination essential in these times.
Doosra, which means second in Hindi, is a platform that provides users a 10-digit, SIM-free, virtual mobile number that users can share at any place where they are compelled to share their personal mobile numbers. The startup is offering a free six-month plan for COVID 19 volunteers, which will help avoid endless spam calls and messages, and reduce the risks of fraud.
Aditya Vuchi, Founder and CEO, says Doosra is simply a virtual mobile number that can help protect the user’s privacy. As their website says: “There are people you want to share your personal number with; for everyone else, there is your Doosra number.”
All COVID volunteers need to do is go on the Doosra website or app, and fill a form – in less than a minute - and they will be provided a free number.
“Given the fast-changing nature of data privacy regulations and giving utmost priority to data security and user privacy, Doosra will not share data with any third party or other apps,” Aditya says.
Doosra stops all unwanted calls with its smart call filter feature on the Doosra app, and gives users the power to decide which calls should reach their phones.
“With Doosra, you have the option of calling back unknown callers who called your Doosra number, without ever revealing your personal number. Due to secure servers, the recipient’s screen displays a system-assigned, random10-digit number,” Aditya says.
The company recently launched Doosra Pro, which allows users to use the number on messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, get more control of call blocker, multi-device login, etc.
Aditya says COVID volunteers can avail the Pro version free of cost, but will need to do a quick e-KYC process as mandated by government rules.
From personal pain point to startup idea
Aditya started Hyderabad-based Ten20 Infomedia, which runs and owns Doosra, in February 2020 by Aditya Vuchi.
The genesis of Doosra goes back to a day in 2019, when he went shopping for some accessories at a large global sporting retail chain. At checkout, he was told that it was mandatory to share his phone number to complete the transaction. This small incident got him thinking about all the other instances where he had to share his phone number.
Be it buying something online, checking listings on a property portal, or even the odd social occasion, like a networking event or a reunion, he had often been compelled to share his phone number.
A serial entrepreneur who was running multiple technology companies, Aditya brought together a team to brainstorm this further and the company was born in 2020 after a lot of deliberation, ideas, and research. Doosra went live in September 2020.
How does Doosra work? All you need to do is download the app on your existing phone. All incoming calls to the Doosra number are blocked by default and go straight to voicemail. The app lets you whitelist contacts - allowing them to call or message you on your Doosra number without being blocked. You can also call back any incoming call it has blocked without revealing your real number.
The idea was one: to protect personal mobile numbers “from the systemic abuse of privacy rights by brands, companies, and marketers”.
Doosra is Aditya’s third venture. In 2010, he co-founded marketing operations company MediaMint with Neelima Marupuru. While working on MediaMint, he began thinking of solving India-specific problems and in July 2013 founded Zippr. He led the product development on a unique idea - solving the challenge of inaccurate addresses in our country.
Edited by Teja Lele