Could you tell us what an aspiring founder should keep in mind?
Entrepreneurs are driven by the urge to solve problems. They should solve problems they believe in – solving your own problems is a lot easier than understanding someone else’s problems. If the problem you’re solving is meaningful, everyone will join you in your mission. Entrepreneurship is a very difficult path full of rejections and turmoils. Everything that can go wrong, goes wrong. Hence, persistence and belief in a better future is very important. A person with a weak resolve probably won’t make it.
What are the main challenges you faced in your corporate journey till now?
Finding talent is the most difficult thing. Startups and companies are built by great teams. It’s very difficult to identify hungry people. Usually people seem a particular way in initial interactions and are very different when they start working. It takes a few years to get stability and build a good team. Hiring is usually the most challenging part of building a start-up.
How do you think knowledge sharing apps can help students both in rural and urban India?
India is a very young and aspirational nation. We want to keep learning and growing so we can get better jobs and hence a better life. Education is the best way to achieve these dreams. While urban India is a little more privileged with ease of access to quality institutes & experts, rural India faces challenges of teaching talent.
We believe that the internet will be commonplace and will help solve for access to the best talent. Education and knowledge is important not just for students but even for adults to upskill and improve their prospects. Knowledge sharing apps will have a repository of gyaan than most physical books and coaching classes can’t parallel – thanks to the power of the internet.
The internet penetration is expected to touch about 750 million people in the next 24 months. Almost 600 million of these will be non-English speaking people. Language diversity is the biggest challenge that the country faces. Experts only teach in English whereas 90% of India doesn’t speak English. Knowledge sharing in vernacular languages is the solution.
Vokal enables the best minds in India to share knowledge with people in their local languages. This helps bridge the knowledge gap and create access for those who didn’t have it. Providing access to knowledge and education paves the way for a country that’s prepared to do meaningful jobs, earn a livelihood and enjoy a better lifestyle. The internet enables a much better way to share all this knowledge with everyone. We want to be an important force that creates this future for India.
What are the main hurdles in the sector of e-learning?
Access to the best teaching talent.
After Taxi for Sure what encouraged you to begin with Vokal?
My TaxiForSure journey seemed abrupt. We ran the company for just 3.5 years before we were made an acquisition offer. I wanted to continue doing something of impact. All the Internet companies were catering to the same 100 million English speaking, largely urban population. I wanted to do something at a larger scale and thought of the challenges. I also observed how people who didn’t know English used very few Internet products and used existing products very differently. I saw an opportunity to cater to this audience that didn’t know English.
We experimented with multiple products before we realized that vernacular India had a lot of questions and were seeking credible answers. We realized that there’s hardly any knowledge in vernacular languages on the Internet. This was the beginning of Vokal as a knowledge sharing & learning platform. A platform like ours can change the way India learns and exchanges knowledge.