About the Platform
Perchh is a search-engine for human connections.
In an ever-increasing maze of information and data on the internet, imagine if there was a search-engine that, at the simple click of a button, allowed you to interact and meet with people who love the same things that you are passionate about. Today you may want to find a person who loves solving crosswords over steaming cups of tea on a Sunday morning, tomorrow you may want to have a debate on Bachchan’s greatest dialogues and the day after, you may want to find people who are as passionate as you are about the carbon footprint.
Perchh is that kind of platform. It takes information about your interests, blends it with other information about you that you would like to share and then using its proprietary algorithm shows you other people who have similar interests. The Perchh difference is that it makes your interest graph work harder by making it a people discovery engine.
Perchh is the first of its kind interest-based network and search engine in India and hence, is the evolutionary next step in the world of Social Media Networks.
The Founding Team
Perchh is led by Shweta Sharma, supported by Idea Wave Labs and Neha Sareen, an incubator & growth partner in the internet space.
‘Shweta Sharma’ (Founder & CEO) Shweta has spent over a decade with the biggest advertising agencies like Lowe Lintas, Ogilvy & Mather, Grey Worldwide and Publicist Ambiance. She has helmed the account management and strategic planning roles across the Asian markets for their most prestigious clients. Her roster boasts of Unilever’s Lifebuoy, Clinic Plus, Clear, Pears, Breeze, Liril, Rexona, Annapurna, Sunlight and Comfort and Tata’s Croma and Tata Tea. She holds a B.Com degree from NM College – Mumbai.
‘IdeaWaveLabs’ is led by the following:
Chris George: Chris has a versatile background of entrepreneurship and service industry experience. He founded his first company at the age of 16 and is currently the Chairman & Group CEO for EBS Worldwide Services Ltd., arguably India’s largest technology enabled Marketing Services group. Chris is passionate about the internet and its possibilities, having started one of India’s early e-Commerce companies in the year 1999. He has since been an active investor and mentor to various companies in India and abroad. He is a frequent speaker and writer on the Digital Marketing, e-Commerce and Internet industries in India.Sunil Chandarana: Sunil has over 14 years of experience in the technology and new media space, having worked with various brands that are looking to leverage the internet. Being well acquainted with most types of technology, Sunil has coupled his ‘self-taught’ technology skills with strong business management capabilities. Sunil is currently the Business Head (India) and CTO at EBS Worldwide Services Ltd. He is a frequent writer on the subject of the internet and has often looked to explore ways in which his two children can safely explore the infinite possibilities of the medium.
Amruth B. R. : At 16, Amruth invented a non-Newtonian shock-absorber that won him several accolades and a NASA award at the International Science & Engineering Fair, 2004. At 20, he was leading one of India’s top entrepreneurship centres at BITS Pilani from where he completed his Masters in Physics with a distinction from Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS), Pilani. At 21, he started his first company – Vita Beans and led it to create over 100 interactive applications for learning and assessment on web, mobile and desktop. He has also featured in the Top Young Innovators report by Intel to the Prime Minister, is a recipient of the Star Young Entrepreneur of 2011 award and of Canada’s prestigious Sauvé Scholars fellowship.
Neha Sareen: (COO) Neha has spent a decade working with leading TV networks like Neo Sports and Sony Pix. She holds a Masters in Economics from Ohio Wesleyan University (USA) with a perfect GPA (4.0).
Whom do we cater to?
All those who have a propensity towards social media is our target. Perchh has a universal proposition that cuts across demographics. It is simple. For example, if a young girl of 25 is discovering Ayn Rand and a mature lady of 45 is re-discovering Ayn Rand, we are confident that they would have a lot to connect with, irrespective of their age gap.
Having said that, we feel that young adults and adults, age 20-35, will form a great part of our TG, for obvious reasons.
What do we offer to our consumers?
Today, there is Facebook that offers us a social utility to deepen connectivity within our existing social graphs. Interest-based social networks have a markedly different focus and approach than Facebook. The Pinterests and Foodspottings of the world enable users to organize and express their interests in new, engaging ways. Perchh also subscribes to and builds on the above philosophy – that there can be an entirely new set of dots that can lead you to engage with complete strangers.
Currently, people sit on multiple platforms, blogs and apps depending on what their interest is e.g. ‘Goodreads.com’ for book-lovers, ‘Foodspotting.com’ for foodies or ‘Getglue.com’ for entertainment etc.
Most of these sites are also fundamentally about curating your interests and content being exposed to you depending on your interests. However, there are very few sites that-
- allow you to build your vast and varied interest graph in one place and
- focus on human interactions around your interests.
There exist a few such online platforms in the international market. However, none of these have reached the stature of Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. Some interest-based platforms that have been launched and are in beta are Branch.com – Twitter, iTimes.com – Times of India group, So.cl.com – Microsoft. Facebook has “Graph Search” but it is more focused on applying an interest filter on your existing connections.
What motivated us to start up?
The first version of Perchh focused on connecting people with similar interests around the premise of dating. ‘Ditto’, as it was called, saw tremendous resonance in its Beta stage itself, which led us to realize that people really liked meeting people with similar interests, even beyond the context of dating.
Of course, this is what happens in our interactions in the real world too. An entrepreneur may connect with a potential investor, because they happen to like the same kind of music. A traveler may bide his time at the airport, casually jumping into a passionate conversation about cricket with a fellow traveler or you may hit it off with someone you met at a bar just because you two liked the same kind of cocktail.
We then decided to expand the idea to include all such interactions and Perchh was born.
What’s in a name?
We think it’s a fun and catchy name. It basically means that we can connect, chat, hang out, relax and hop from person to person or conversation to conversation just like birds do when they perch on a tree.
How do we see Social Media?
Our hunch is that for a social media company to become a giant like Facebook, it will need to enable a novel network of people. That’s not to say that it won’t start with your friends but ultimately its network will need to look different than your Address Book. Otherwise, it’ll just be another watering hole.
Essentially, thanks to Facebook, most people these days have only known an internet that is filled with familiar faces. We feel that the need for interactions with familiar people will be complemented by a parallel platform that will be, at its core value, a proposition about interacting with cool people that you don’t know, or don’t know that well.
Interacting with people you don’t know makes a lot of sense when you think about all the contexts that enable this behavior in the real world like at parties or bars for example.
And we, as a team are very excited to be a part of this new wave of social networking.
Currently we are?
We have been in beta since the end of October. There has been no social media campaign / marketing activity around Perchh since we have been focusing on getting the product right. Now 2 1/2 months later, we have 650 users on Perchh.
Google analytics show that by 22nd Jan, our repeat visitor rate was 54%, we have had almost 8000 visits, 34,000 + page views. The average time spent on Perchh is almost 10 minutes and there are 4.3 pages/visit. So all in all, it has been a healthy and steady growth curve and more importantly, as the data suggests, we are building a strong, engaged core user base.
Our biggest challenge was..
Getting the product design right was the key challenge for the team. It called for an in-depth understanding of barriers and inhibitions people feel when they are interacting with strangers on a new network (as opposed to the safe and secure feeling of interacting with friends and family on social networks). And then for Perchh to provide triggers that would help people overcome these inhibitions.
We looked at real life, observed how people behave around strangers and then started drawing parallels between the online and offline world.
Take house parties, as we mentioned earlier. Though they’re often intimidating, there’s nothing like drifting into an awesome conversation and connecting with someone new.
If you look at the Perchh product design you will notice that it uses the same approach. You register onto a platform replete with conversations around your stated interests, you can jump into any of the conversations and share your views. And then depending upon vibes and compatibility, start making one-on-one connections with like-minded folks.
We want to dominate the world by..
We, at Perchh, want to dominate the word by bringing a new dimension to the concept of six degrees of separation. Our version of the theory is that everyone and everything is six or lesser steps away, by way of interests / likes / views / passions from any other person in the world, so that a chain can be made to connect any two people by a maximum of six steps.
We’re making moolah by…
Since Perchh is all about building communities of like-minded people and brands/advertisers are extremely attracted to clearly defined segments for targeted and efficacious communication, the main monetization will be advertising revenue.