“Creativity is contagious, pass it on”
Don’t we all just love smart phones? With a single touch you can explore a plethora of information, all thanks to internet access on our beloved phones. However, as of matter of fact only 21 % out of the 70% of the world’s population using mobile phones have internet access on their devices. 60 % of India doesn’t even know what Google is because computer penetration is so low. What about these people? They certainly can’t be ignored and their problems must be addressed. SMSGyan provides an out of the box alternative to those who do not have internet access on their phones.
SMSGyan is a software launched by Innoz which works on a very simple algorithm. All a person needs to do is SMS his query to 55444 and the software will search the databases for a reply. The query can be on any topic from how to make a particular dish to what to say in an interview. Their system generates an answer and sends it back within a few seconds. Each query costs Re 1, but there are also daily and monthly packages for unlimited queries. Innoz Technologies is working in partnership with Wikipedia, YouTube, Google and Yahoo to provide answers to customers.
Deepak Ravindran, Founder and CEO of Innoz and his other friends, Abhinav, Ashwin and Hisam studied in BS College of Engineering, Kerala. All four had one thing in common: to not join the rat race and do something new. They weren’t oblivious to the fact that startups aren’t a facile task, especially student startups! It’s not a 9 to 5 job, investors don’t take you seriously, clients will criticize your lack of experience and your parents will always suggest that you take up a job to earn and live a smooth life! Deepak and his friends thought of implementing something with which a person can get information just with a help of an SMS. That’s when Innoz Technologies was born in 2008.
The very next day, they sat in their college library and started working on the idea of giving internet to the offline world. Deepak dropped out of college and went to Gurgaon to meet Telecom Operators who could provide support to their idea. After being rejected by many, their idea was accepted by Bharti Airtel and they finally managed to launch their product. Airtel also joined hands with Innoz to launch Airtel Gyan.
Innoz Technologies have also partnered with True Software Scandinavia AB to enable users to search for people by texting their phone numbers. True Software provides an app named Truecaller which helps a person to identify people from all over the world by just entering their phone numbers. According to Innoz the feature is already live. One needs to send SMS TRACE <10-digit mobile no.> to 55444 and the user will receive a response with the details such as the name of the person, service provider and region.
The reason for SMS Gyan’s success is simple; they effectively identified the problem faced by the majority of people and chose to solve it. Not everyone owns an iPhone, iPad , Pocket Laptop and has internet on their devices. They took a step ahead than just cribbing about the problem and executed their idea. Today it handles one million queries a day and is working on achieving the target of 10 million a day by the end of 2015. More than 60 percent of the queries come from tier II and tier III cities and the company has already reached the one billion-mark in terms of total SMS queries.
Deepak was named one of the MIT Technology Review outstanding innovators under 35, for the year 2011. He advises entrepreneurs to not join a startup just because it’s trendy and every other Tom, Dick and Harry are coming up with one. You should have a thirst for innovation and not a monthly paycheck. Positive reviews of your work in print or TV media can do wonders for your startup. Aim at solving a problem; keep the technology to minimum so that even a layman can understand it. Never fear competition even if there are some juggernauts in the market you are entering and always take it as a challenge. There might be million times where people will suggest you to quit your dream but you need to keep working on it because at the end of the day it’s your dream- your passion.