Startups News and Views

Interview with Founders of Bakfy- the App for Campus Gossip

Bakfy allows its users to share scandals, rumours and gossips anonymously.  Bakfy is one of coolest new apps on the market that targets college students. Where nobody can judge you on it.

So we bring you a detailed interview with the founders, talking about the popular app and much more!!  

Founders:

Ashutosh Garg, 26 yrs, B.E (Computer Engg) from Delhi College of Engineering (DCE) Click Here

Niranjan Bala, 34yrs, MCA from NIT Trichy Click Here

Rajesh Eswarlal, 25 yrs, MCA from NIT Trichy Click Here

Tell us something about Bakfy and the team behind it? Where does the idea come from and how did it get implemented? bakfy

Early this year, we were discussing about college life and feeling nostalgic about it. Discussion eventually boiled down to the fact that college life can be and should be much more fun than what currently is. The biggest problem we realized was the social constraint on facebook with parents, family, friends – basically the whole world watching you and judging you. Then there are stories of youngsters being prosecuted for expressing themselves freely on social media. We thought how cool a social network will be wherein there is no pressure of reputation and social stigma and where people can share their deepest thoughts freely. One thing led to another and we ended up developing the 1st version in 3 weeks and launch in a local college.  The response was amazing : 300+ downloads and 1000+ posts on day 1. We redesigned the product and added features based on user feedback, eventually launching in closed beta in April 2014- mainly IITs, NITs, BITS Pilani. Now the app is open to every college and we are live in 40+ colleges across India, with 4000+ users.

So I see Bakfy has 3 co-founders- Niranjan Bala, Ashutosh Garg & Rajesh Eswarlal, so how do you divide the work?

We have complementary skill sets and so is the work we do. Niranjan is the backend developer and takes care of entire technology infrastructure for the app. Rajesh is the android developer and takes care of mobile application development. I take care of product management and sales/marketing.  It’s always easy to work with founders will complementary skill sets.

How has college education helped you? Or has it?

Haha. I don’t think it did. Frankly I don’t think education is a major takeway for anybody studying in college. It’s always what you do outside class – the networks you create, extra-curriculars you participate in, the friends you make. At least that’s what I like to believe.

How has the vision for Bakfy changed since you started working on it? Where do you see it 6 months down the road now?

In short term, we want to expand to 80 colleges and cross 10,000 users mark by end of this year. Also we are talking to investors for raising seed capital. We are expanding in schools as well.

In long-term, we want to make Bakfy a de-facto app for students. Every student should download Bakfy on 1st day of college. We may eventually choose to expand outside students but no plans as of now.

Bakfy has been a huge success since the moment it launched. What do you attribute its popularity to?

Anonymity feature is major reason why students love Bakfy. It allows them to share the kind of stuff with other students, which is otherwise not possible on platforms as facebook or watsapp due to social constraint. Unlike facebook, where the whole world is watching you and what you post, users have no reputation pressure or social constraint on Bakfy. They can share their deepest secrets on Bakfy by being anonymous.

What do you think of the whole startup culture rise in India? How has the response been from various colleges? We have heard some universities have banned Bakfy?

 I think this is just right time for anyone to start a company in India. Infrastructure is cheaper than ever, investor money is available easier than ever, more tools for market validation and user acquisition are available than ever. We are right at cusp of technology. This is grown out of proportion in next 4-6 years. As far as society is concerned, I feel the change will happen eventually with every new generation coming. You see more and more people taking the plunge and starting up.

I think the thing about people is that they have opinion on everything. This is true for everybody. So the best way is to listen to all but don’t take things at face value. They are humans after all – reading the same stuff that you and I do.

I must agree that anonymity does have some side effects. Although we make sure that posts which are reported by people are pulled down, but there has been cases wherein students post stuff about their teachers or administration. For the same reason, some universities have warned students against using Bakfy. But we believe these hiccups are coming because this concept is very new in India and will take some time for people to get used to it and become more mature. We are already seeing that. It’s been weeks since we have deleted any posts.

A Problem you had not anticipated when you started up but it nevertheless showed up?

Everything. Literally. When we launched we thought that we will reach 50,000 users in first 6 months. We are barely at 10% of that. I think the biggest problem with any social consumer product is distribution and marketing. How do you get users and keep growing before the first investor check and how quickly you can reach the product market fit.

One of happiest days in relation to Bakfy?

I think the happiest day was the first day. The feeling when you see someone using your product and appreciating it is just great.

Advise for young entrepreneurs out there.

Just go out there and do it. Do what you are passionate about. In hard times, its your passion which makes you going. For me, when I see the conversations users are having, it brings a smile on my face. It will be one of the most difficult things you would do it your life but that’s because you are trying to achieve something that is much bigger than your size.

 

We would like to thank the founders for taking out the time for this interview!

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