About the Platform
Dapple is a social variant of IMDb which helps you discover movies via your friends and personal taste.
Dapple was founded by Tapas Dwivedi, Prateek Sharma and Saikat Ghose, all three of whom are BITS Pilani alumni and have known each other for about 7-8 years. Prateek and Saikat were also teammates at Amazon before they started work on Dapple.
Apart from the 3 founders, we also have two interns, Shashank Murali and Prem Parekh, 3rd year students at BITS Pilani who are working on our mobile apps.
Whom do we cater to?
With a rich catalog of over 2,50,000 titles, Dapple has been built to help movie buffs all over the world connect and discover movies while helping each other.
However, our primary focus is on young Internet users in the age group ranging from 18 to 34 and the primary markets we are targeting currently are India and the US.
What do we offer to our consumers?
Movie discovery is intuitively social as one of the most common ways people discover good movies is through recommendations from friends.
Dapple helps you discover the movies that are trending and are the most popular among your friends, which popular movie discovery sites like IMDb don’t do today. Our personal recommendation engine also helps a user discover movies based on their own favorites, as well as allowing them to connect with other movie buffs on the site. Thus we have created multiple avenues for content discovery.
User ratings/reviews are preserved in such a way that a user can instantly find his friends’ ratings for a movie, the social context most relevant to him. Thus we are creating greater selection and also easing the decision making process.
What motivated us to start up?
Success stories like Flipkart, AskLaila etc., as well as the entrepreneurial spirit which has always been very strong at Amazon, we were always in the same vicinity as the motivation required to startup.
The initial idea for Dapple came while brainstorming with teammates for an internal hacker day competition. We slowly came up with the idea and after having spent 4 years in the tech industry, we felt that we had the right amount of product design and development experience to take the plunge!
What’s in a name?
Sorry nothing very interesting here. It was part of a large pool of names we came up with and everyone thought it was quite cool :)
How do we see Social Media?
Social media is changing the way people communicate with each other and with brands and businesses. This is especially true for the film industry, which in recent years has turned to social media platforms to engage with users and analyze and understand their sentiments.
The recent Will Ferrell starrer Anchorman 2 relied heavily on user generated gifs and memes on Tumblr and Facebook to promote the movie.
Anna Kendrick’s Pitch Perfect analyzed pre-release trends on Twitter to understand the user segment they were most popular in, which resulted in significant changes in their marketing/release strategy.
More movies are choosing video channels like Youtube and Vine to debut their trailers.
Overall social media is a transparent and relatively cheap way for movies to build awareness and promote their movies and in recent years, production houses have started to channelize significant amounts of their marketing budgets to social media.
We ran a controlled private beta from May to Oct, 2013 with around 500 users. Dapple was launched publicly on 20th Oct, 2013 and we are seeing very encouraging user growth and engagement numbers. Our user base has grown to 2,300 users in the last 2 months and within 10 days of our public launch; we were featured on Startupranking.com’s list of ‘Top 100 Startups in India’.
With more than 63% return users, the average time spent by users on the site is close to 10 minutes (19 mins for return users) with approximately 25 page views per session.
All three of us, Prateek, Tapas and I spent the first 7-8 months focusing on product design and development.
Once we had a stable beta version, we started diversifying our roles. I am currently working on user growth and business development, Tapas is helping build a social media presence and Prateek is mentoring our interns who are working on the mobile apps.
Our biggest challenge was..
We realized quite early in our entrepreneurial journey that while it is important to build a high quality product, it is equally imperative to have a good marketing strategy. Having a core team that is primarily from a technical background, we were relatively inexperienced when it came to business development and marketing.
We have read numerous case studies of other successful companies in the social space, talked to fellow entrepreneurs, growth hackers and have put together a strong roadmap for publicity and user acquisition for the future.
We want to dominate the world by..
With the rapid adoption of tablets and smartphones, people will consume more and more content over the Internet. As digital data explodes, discovery services which guide people to the most relevant content will become increasingly important.
The entertainment industry in India is expected to grow at more than 15% in the next few years and we want to become the default standard for the entertainment discovery.
Also, we will be looking to scale the product internationally over the next few years.
We’re making moolah by…
We are currently making money through lead generation to sites like Amazon, Flipkart, BookmyShow and Fandango.
We are also exploring the possibility of creating a Netflix like video-on-demand platform for India. While there are currently a few players like Bigflix, BoxTV and Spuul in the market, one of the main reasons for Netflix’s success is their powerful discovery engine, which the above sites currently lack.
We have already created a social and personal discovery engine which should ideally give us an edge over the competition.
Industry as we foresee
With the rapid spread of broadband and mobile Internet, innumerable Indians are going to be connected with social media becoming the most dominant method of information exchange.
Social media will help people make more informed purchase decisions, enable more honest feedback and will help revolutionize all industries which thrive on customer interaction. We have already seen how a powerful social media campaign has caused major political upheaval in the country.
Lastly, Are you hiring?
We are starting a university ambassador program soon and will be hiring college interns for the same.