Most startups around the world strive to incorporate technology with various sectors, be it food, finance, logistics and even religious rituals and sermons. India, being the land of vedic astrology, has very few startups that incorporates technology with astrology. One man, however, wants to create a disruption in the field of astrology with his startup. Maybe he is destined to do so!
After pursuing his Bachelor of Engineering (BE) degree in Electrical, Electronics and Communications Engineering, Chandan Tiwari went on to work as a Systems Engineer with Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and Solution Architect with LRN .
He comes from a family of established astrologers and right from his childhood, he was inspired and mentored by his parents in the field of astrology. This innate passion toward astrology instigated him to couple his passion with his tech expertise to create a disruption in the ancient field of astrology with his startup called Vedic Rishi.
In an exclusive conversation with EntrePotion, Chandan talks about his venture – Vedic Rishi, the amalgamation of technology with astrology, his journey so far and, his predictions for the future of his company.
Q) How did you come up with the idea of starting Vedic Rishi?
The idea of having an Astrological website came up in my engineering days since my father is an astrologer. I created an astrological platform in my spare time while working with TCS. I created a small website for users to use this platform.
However, I soon realised that most of my inquiries were coming for the platform itself. While sensing a business opportunity there and a unique way for presenting astrological data, we created an Astrological solutions based company catering to both B2C and B2B in December 2015. Even before we launched our product, we had customers willing to try our services.
Q) How does it work? What is the technology behind it?
For B2C, we have mobile app and web apps. These are completely free to use.
For B2B, we offer API (Application Programming Interface) to other businesses which can integrate our APIs into their platforms. These are very simple yet powerful APIs providing astrological algorithms, match-making reports to horoscope predictions. Our platform is built on latest scalable technologies and our server infrastructure is on Amazon Web Services.
Q? What are the key features that Vedic Rishi offers?
Besides our B2C app, Kundli, we offer following APIs to businesses –
1. Key Astrological Algorithms
2. Match Making and Dating Algorithms
3. Daily, Weekly and Monthly Horoscope Reports
4. Horoscope Predictions
5. Horoscope PDF API
Q) How has Vedic Rishi created a disruption in the field of astrology? How does it cater to the pain areas in this sector that other startups have failed to address and reform?
When we launched our B2B SaaS based product, astrological software were sold as a complete monolith packages. Businesses/startups could not create their own platform on these software as they were rigid and expensive too. We are trying to completely modernise the Astrological domain with our SaaS offering. You can create your own platform, brand and customise it as per your own requirements and the best part is the pricing, which is pay as you go.
Content is one of our USP which is completely fresh and coupled with astrological algorithms enabling the creation of unique and personalised reports.
Q) How has the company grown since its inception?
We have experienced steady growth since we began and more so in the past one year. This growth has largely been organic.
On the B2C side we have registered more than 3.5 Lacs app downloads with a 4.3 Google Play Store rating and reviews. Whereas, on the B2B front, we have garnered more than 1000 subscribers with more than 25 million API requests hitting our servers per month.
Q) How do you generate your revenue?
We are generating revenue mainly through our API subscriptions. This is a recurring revenue stream that we have. Along with this, we also have premium support and enterprise offerings as a channel of revenue.
Q) What was your annual turnover in FY 2016-17 and revenue projections for FY 2017-18?
Being the first year of revenue – FY 2016-17 – our annual turnover was over INR 25 Lacs. For FY 2017-18, we are projecting it to be around INR 90 Lacs.
Q) What were some of the major challenges that you faced while this venture was being set up?
API services in the astrological domain is something which is unique and we have been the pioneers of the same. This made it initially difficult for us to convince non-technical businesses about our model and benefits that they would get from it.
The other major challenge was hiring key skilled resources as this involved skilled people who would be adapt in dealing with Astrology and Technology in a combined manner. We needed someone who shares the same passion as we do and willing to learn some bits of astrology as well.
Q) What is the funding scenario like for Vedic Rishi? Who are the investors backing your venture?
The scenario is quite positive as some of the investors we approached are willing to know more about us in terms of traction and future plans. Currently, we are in talks with Z-Nation lab for seed funding.
Q) Do you intend on raising funds in the near future?
As we are scaling our operations and expanding business, we are looking for raising funds in the near future.
Q) Have you partnered with other institutions and organisations to smoothen the operations of your venture?
We are currently evaluating this option of partnering with some leading institutions and organisations to smoothen some of our operations.
Q) What are your expansion plans?
We are looking at clientele from some of the key enterprises in the News & Media, Entertainment and Matrimonial categories by providing them unique and customisable offerings. We are also trying to expand our footprints in the Western markets with our Western Astrology specific API and content offerings. By the year end, we are looking at least a million active users for our App and Web offerings.
Q) What new products do you have in the pipeline?
We are recreating our mobile app and web app for better user experience and with more interactive features. In terms of APIs, we are targeting one category at a time, currently we are working on Dating and Match Making algorithms and creating unique reports based on same. Stability and scalability are our key priorities in product development.
In the last month, we have launched our APIs in 8 different Indian languages and we are working on additional 3 International languages as well in the coming months.
Q) Who are your competitors in the domestic market? How does Vedic Rishi stand apart from them?
Astro-Vision Pvt Ltd and Future Point Pvt Ltd are our key competitors in the B2B segment and AstroSage in the B2C segment. We stand apart from them through our Astrological APIs which are customisable, simple to integrate and continuously updated unique content.
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