India Inc. Interview: Start-ups trendy in India now

10-Mar-2016 #Digital India Source: India Inc

Ankit Prasad is the founder & CEO of Bobble App, which converts selfies and pictures into bobbles for social media. As part of a Start-up India series, India Inc. caught up with the techie from Delhi to see what makes this concept such a runaway worldwide success.

Does Start-up India hold promise for start-ups like yours?

For start-ups like Bobble App, Start-up India program does not hold direct benefits but given the scale of the program, we are and will be benefitted in many indirect ways. After the initiation of Start-up India by honourable PM (Narendra Modi), people’s perspective towards start-ups has changed significantly in a positive way. It is easier for young talent to justify starting up, or sometimes even to work in a start-up, to their families.
Other stakeholders in the start-up ecosystem like media, policy makers, banks, service providers etc. are now more active than before. Overall, it’s a positive change for all good reasons.

Is the start-up ecosystem ripe in the country?

It is, indeed! Practically, it’s early in the journey and expected to become much more mature in the coming months.

What sets Bobble App apart from other messaging/sharing apps?

Bobble App helps its users to have vivid conversation while they are messaging on their usual chat apps like Whatsapp, Hike, Wechat etc. Bobble gets integrated easily with any chat app in the form of keyboard and complements the usual format of messaging with user’s face and custom text in the form of lively stickers.

What are Bobble’s expansion plans?

In terms of product, we are working on advanced technologies like face expressions i.e. we can make you cry/ smile in 20 different ways. Keyboard will be one of the primary features of Bobble. We are strengthening Bobble keyboard with regional languages as well.

In terms of geographies, Bobble has been launched in 10 English speaking countries this week. We are seeing good traction there. Very soon, with the help of product level partnerships, we would be launching in non-English speaking South-east Asian countries as well.

What are some India-specific trends within this field?

We had launched Bobble in March 2015, restricting it to only Indian users. Surpassing all our expectations we crossed over 5 million users in less than a year. Apparently, Indian users want to have lively conversation with rich formats not limiting themselves only to Whatsapp-supported yellow emojis.

In terms of keywords, we have seen high usage of ‘love’ and ‘happy’ as primary keywords during conversation. In terms of topics ‘Bollywood movies’ and ‘Cricket’ are the most-talked-about ones.

Bobble has become a preferred format of conversation for the 18-24 years old age group. It is growing with four times the rate of Snapchat, and engagement is comparable to top 10 apps in the world.

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