Vebbler is a personal network that was launched in Mumbai a month ago. It has been built with a mission to create a world where people have meaningful conversations without the different relationships in their lives spilling into another, and keeping all the aspects of their life separate.
It is an extremely ambitious project, and one of the first in India, to create a home-grown social media platform.
Vebbler is founded by Sahil Bhagat and engineered by a passionate team mostly in their early 20s who love building products.
Whom do we cater to?
Vebbler is a free and open platform connecting every individual who wants an intimate and personal space to share their life’s moments with the people who matter most to them. Since its launch, most of the traction has come from users between 16-24 years of age.
What do we offer to our consumers?
Vebbler offers a personal space to connect with the people who matter by layering each relationship and providing a separate space to connect with each of them. Social media platforms have become very impersonal today. In the real world, you do not really have 1000+ friends, and you don’t talk in 140 characters. You don’t share your experiences with your family in the same way as you share these same experiences with your friends. There is no product on the web right now that is working on a personal networking model, which enables you to connect with close people, a place where you can be yourself and have a completely separate sharing space for each relationship. Vebbler hopes to create that market, by investing in the quality of relationships and content, rather than the quantity of it.
Features of Vebbler include:
Clubs (for personal sharing): Clubs are a core element of Vebbler’s user experience, which allows a user to add a person into different layers, such as friends, family, workmates and acquaintances. This enables a user to have an entirely separate space for sharing with each relationship. A person does not come to know which club he / she has been added into.
Followers (for public sharing): While keeping the closest 500 people in your Clubs, you can follow as many people you find interesting. This makes Vebbler a great platform for public conversations too, while keeping your private life intact.
Bigger, Better Photos: Profile photos are big again and photographs are stored in high quality, making Vebbler a delightful platform for photographers and photography enthusiasts. Photos are also layered with privacy, so that you can choose who can view the photos and which people are allowed to be tagged in them.
Wavetags: Move over Hashtags. Now, start a ~Wave! Build conversations in real time, follow waves that interest you and see its popularity with the Wave-O-Meter.
Search: Social search is beyond searching things by name. Searching interests, photos, waves and conversations around a particular topic creates a more intuitive search experience.
What motivated us to start up?
A few years ago, Sahil was working on another social network called Frogster, which was a platform to connect people who were passionate about various causes. He even received seed funding from a company in New Delhi. Frogster was later re-modelled to become a more mass-driven, holistic network which paved the way for the birth of Vebbler. India had grown to become the second largest country with a social media user base, and with half of the country being young and inter-savvy, India proved to be a very lucrative market. Around that time, there was a big scare around privacy (which continues till today) with parents, teachers and even bosses coming onto social media and sending ‘friend requests’.
When the site was being re-modelled, Sahil kept one core philosophy in his mind – that Vebbler needed to offer a deeper and more layered form of sharing, which he today calls the ‘Crowd Layering Model’. He also focused on building Vebbler on the ‘personal networking’ model rather than the social networking model, so that conversations held more importance than connections. The company’s motto is ‘you’d rather add a 100 people and intimately share with most of them rather than adding a 1000 people and sharing with none of them’.
What’s in a name?
Vebbler has a young, fun and snazzy sound to it, which reflects the product perfectly well. The biggest difference between setting up an internet property as compared to a standard company is that the ‘domain name’ needs to be available. Vebbler was, and fit perfectly well into what we were building.
Currently we are….
In a month, Vebbler has 5,000 users from 57 countries and 380 cities.
Our biggest challenge was..
Building a social media product that can compete, both aesthetically as well as functionally, with established western platforms, was the biggest challenge for the company. It involved a long ideation process, which included building new features, re-modelling the functionality of existing features, and creating a visually stunning user interface that was easy to use.
We want to dominate the world by..
Vebbler aims to become the leading social media platform for personal networking by investing in quality rather than quantity. The platform is determined never to lose focus of the fact that in order to keep the platform personal, it must implement their ‘crowd layering model’ in every product and every feature they implement in the future.
Our What The **** Moment
Just a day before launch, the site’s main pages i.e. the homepage, profile page and waves page stopped working. After signing in, it showed a blank screen. Everybody panicked, as nobody knew why that had happened. Thus began the process of going through thousands and thousands of lines of code, which went well into night. In the end, the problem was found. There was an extra space on one line in one of the pages. :/
Social media and the Industry as we foresee
India has grown to become one of the most powerful markets in the social media user base in the world. It generates the second highest number of the user base after the US. It has 100+ million internet users and 60+ million mobile internet users, and these numbers are expected to multiply 4 times in the next two years, making India a potential market for having its own homegrown network.
Yet, India remains a service-based and outsourcing Industry with companies like Wipro and TCS. The smartest IT minds are working on products outside India. The only product companies that were sustaining themselves in the market before 2012 were marriage and matchmaking portals such as Shaadi.com and BharatMatrimony.com.
However, 2012 saw a rise in the e-Commerce industry with names such as Flipkart.com, Myntra.com and Jabong.com taking lead. The biggest challenge for them, however was to effectively monetize the product owing to India’s current retail scenario.
If 2012 was the year of e-Commerce, 2013 will be the year of Social Media, and the company is hoping that Vebbler will lead that trend.
Lastly, Are you hiring?
Yes. Vebbler is looking to expand its family by bringing in fresh talent in web designing and programming.