How Smartican is changing the landscape of social media
Smartican is a Digital Social Media, Game Development and Entertainment Company.
BY Aparajita Choudhury | March 30, 2015 |
Founded in January 2013, Smartican is a youth oriented Digital Social Media, Game Development and Entertainment Company. Initially created for developing games for the rapidly growing smartphone game market in 2D and 3D category, the company has now extended its portfolio by providing products and services that are new, creative, engaging and thought provoking.
A core product of Motion Punch Studios Pvt Ltd, Smartican is slowly changing the landscape of social media, giving it more meaning through ‘Topic’ based networking. People from all over the world meet on Smartican through their interest in common topics. With an aim to engage relevant audiences through a dynamic and flexible social networking portal, Smartican’s platform today houses 20,000 businesses around various topics of conversations.
Abhishek Puri, Mani Dev Gyawali, Aastha Almast and Charak Almast together came into a consensus that access to content as it exists on the internet today is too restrictive, specific or chaotic for users to be able to view and discuss it in a comprehensive manner. This idea led the team to develop Smartican.
Abhishek Puri, Chief Business Development Officer, Smartican ensures that the company has the requisite workforce to enable the accomplishment of its business strategy. He is overseeing the company’s infrastructural development, employment strategy & hiring, online marketing and supervises customer acquisition strategies. He aims to shape business vision and to increase the customer base of Smartican.
As the Co-founder and CTO of Smartican, Gyawali is responsible for the company’s Research and Development and Information management. His key roles are to create new technology and apply to company products, identify future technological trends and position the company to adapt to those trends and further manage overall product development (Design, Optimization and Delivery).
Aastha Almast, the Co-founder and CMO of Smartican is responsible for the company’s marketing, operations, legal compliances & IPRs, company policies, finance and human resource management nationwide. She has previously been associated with Capital IQ and Bank of America.
Charak Almast is the founder and CEO of Smartican. He believes that Smartican has the potential to transform the way the world sees social networking. Charak studied Computer Science at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette.
“Users are either thronged with content from all sides, by brands and content aggregators or are able to exchange content only with a limited universe on mainstream social networks. The idea was to create a platform, which is more open and where targeted content is highly visible throughout the platform. Here, topics take precedence over familiarity,” says Aastha Almast.
Aastha Almast further emphasises that Smartican users can easily interact with several other users, getting the chance to interact with interesting people with varied interests, and to attain high visibility for themselves and their content. Smartican today has over 260,000 sign ups with 200,000 daily active visits.
The founding members of Smartican believe that social networking in its true form is about meeting new people and making new contacts, essentially with people whose interests are aligned. In the physical world, it is impossible to network beyond certain geographical limits. But in the virtual world, there lies limitless scope to engage with people who have similar interests. With the creation of Smartican, they have tried to bring this virtual experience to life, keeping in mind that on the internet – every geographical, cultural, and social boundary becomes blurred, encouraging like-minded people to start connecting and conversing.
Aastha Almast points out that there is hardly any social media platform where users can build network, engage with themselves and anonymously express themselves. On Smartican, people network through their interests or conflicts over topics, which are streamlined into categories to facilitate easy access to content.
Today, social networking is no more restricted to the personal life but has become the part and parcel of professional life as well. Social media platform can fulfil these intrinsic needs among humans to socialize, meeting more people, getting to know more through other people’s experiences, and most importantly having the opportunity to be known and be recognized by others; beyond the limited purview of one’s profession and or relationship status.
Smartican develops and publishes interesting content for users and businesses on the website free of cost, which gives it the title of comprehensive social media platform rather than only a social networking portal.
Documentaries, social games, animations, music, online shows and a lot more are freely available for users to access and share with one another, offering an end to end social networking experience, all in one place.
“We also offer customised topics with regards to the content developed by us. So far, we have customized 1000 topics of the 5,00,000 total topics that we have on the website. And we have put into effect various features and measures, which ensure systematic ways of making content highly visible across the portal,” shares Aastha Almast.
Highs and lows in the growth path
The start-up faced initial challenges related to creating a conducive, compliant and efficient ecosystem for the company. Altogether, it was a rigorous task for the team to bring together an impeccable team of lawyers, PRs, CAs, mentors etc. who not only have a complete understanding of the industry, but also the passion that the founders hold for their vision of Smartican.
Team effort and equal participation from all stakeholders can build a strong foundation of a successful start-up venture and etching the path for its journey of growth and success. “We are grateful to each other and the entire team is able to conquer this stage of starting a new business. We believe in the entrepreneurial spirit and aspirations found in young minds like ours, all over this country,” says Aastha Almast.
Making people understand the concept of Smartican was another crucial challenge faced during the initial days. Smartican, in terms of its format, is a new concept and requires users to leave the older and more conventional mainstream social media platforms which they are accustomed to.
“However, we have witnessed that after exploring Smartican, users have expressed their affinity for what we have to offer, making Smartican a key tool for networking in their lives,” says Almast with a sigh of relief.
User friendliness and simplicity of Smartican allows businesses to promote themselves and minimises the need to rely on a social media manager. Businesses have seen value in joining a social networking portal to engage with relevant audiences, based on the natural segregation by topics of conversations.
Since the user base is currently based only in India, Smartican brings with it a local appeal and the capability for businesses to tap a more specific audience. The company makes it convenient to promote content to a targeted audience, with the ability to identify focused groups of users based on their specified interests.
Smartican offers three ways of communication. For instance, if a restaurant creates a topic on Smartican, the restaurant can reach out to each and every user on the portal to promote their topic as well as monitor all trackers. All the users, who are tracking restaurant as a topic, are visible to one another and hence can network with each other based on the commonality of their interest.
The openness of the platform not only grants focused access to an audience, but also allows various businesses across categories to network and collaborate with one another through Smartican.
Currently, the key focus areas of Smartican are improving the product portfolio, increasing awareness and hiring the right talent. Smartican has a strong workforce of 20 people and by July 2015, the number is likely to touch 100.
On the product front, several features have been announced and the biggest of them being Smartiwood, video sharing platform. And in terms of awareness, the company has launched a show ‘Sab ki Shruti’ on Smartican that is going to entertain users and reveal the network’s use case too.
As per Nasscom Startup Report of 2014, India is the fastest growing and third largest start-up ecosystem in the world. The next key objective of Smartican would be to help other start-ups with their unique ideas to overcome the hurdles faced while starting a business, by launching the “STARTICAN” – India’s first online start-up challenge. This challenge will expose young, aspiring entrepreneurs to mentors from various domains, and help them develop their ideas and to take them several steps closer to establishing their own successful start-ups.
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