By Komal Nathani:
Possessing an idea of Hindi interface, IIT Mumbai Alumnus Amitesh Mishra entrenched a long-awaited platform in the world of web. The young engineering scholar gave up lucrative job offers and made way to an avenue where he could chase his dream. With his vigorous team-mates, Amitesh created one of India’s first Hindi social networking site – Shabdanagari.in, which in no time has garnered more than 5000 users.
With paramount passion and with a desire to create an innovative change in the arena of social networking, the young impassioned engineering scholars laid all their efforts to reach to their dream of connecting 65 crore people together on a Hindi interface.
Shabdanagari.in provides a platform which is extremely easy for anyone to use. “You type in English it’ll get translated into Hindi,” said Nitin Tripathi (Digital Marketing and Production head of Shabdanagari).
In an interview with Shabdanagari team, Amitesh Mishra (CEO and a social entrepreneur of Trident Analytical Solutions) sheds light on his entrepreneurial career and shares his wonderful experiences working with his team on his dream idea.
What went through your mind in 2011, when you left your job with a renowned I.T giant and came back to your hometown (Kanpur) to initiate Shabdanagari, an idea that you probably thought of during college?
A few of my friends and I once thought of programming a site while I was pursuing M.Tech in IIT-Bombay which should strictly be a Hindi interface. We always wanted to begin something new in the web world also which hasn’t been analyzed yet but has an exigency in today’s scenario. So, after intense research by joining SIIC (SIDBI Innovation and Incubation Centre) in 2011, we set off with an aim of creating a Hindi social networking interface and launched Shabdanagari.
What triggered you to programme a social networking site in Hindi despite the fact that today’s youth are more indulged in the hashtag trend in English?
Well, for that matter firstly, I would say Hindi is our national language and it shouldn’t be neglected. Secondly, what we primarily observed is, if people want to ask in Hindi “how are you?” they probably choose to write- “kaise ho?” This is of course because the keyboard is in English. So we thought why not change that completely. You type it in your own way and after pressing space bar, the word will be translated into Hindi.
How did you decide the site’s name? ‘Shabdanagari’ is very much akin to the word ‘devanagri’. Is that how you kept its name?
Yes, you can say that. At the time of the launch, we all were thinking that it’s a Hindi social networking site, thereby, the name should also be in Hindi and that too different. Then one of our team-mate Rajat suggested Shabdanagari. And it’s certainly simple and quite easy to learn and speak. So, this is how we got the name to our website.
Who supported you in making your small idea to a big national product in the market? Did you face any sort of obstructions in the avenue of meeting the people’s expectations?
Of course, Shabdanagari is not just my initiative, we have a team of around 10 members, who buckle down and put all their efforts for the organization’s work. Besides, SIIC (SIDBI Innovation and Incubation Centre) of IIT-Kanpur supported our initiative in financial terms. More so, IIT-Mumbai also appreciated our idea and supported us.
Well, obstructions are pretty apparent in an avenue when you’re leading your dream product. But I believe when you have the support and skills of people with you, it strengthens one in a very different way which is inexplicable.
Therefore, I would like to thank my team, who have been very supportive in each and every situation with me.
How is Shabdanagari different from other social networking sites? Can you briefly describe its special features?
Shabdanagari has got peculiar features which will fascinate young people. It offers blogging, share and search, making a website and other multiple options, but all strictly in Hindi. More so, it’s very easy to work on, there is no complex procedure or language issues which people might face in other sites. It, in a way, eases your communication.
Moreover, to work on Shabdanagari, one doesn’t have to learn Hindi typing to write on it.
How do you see your project from an investment perspective? I mean don’t you think that it fits into the ‘Make in India’ project of PM Narendra Modi?
Yes, surely why not. Shabdanagari has a distinct feel of ‘Make in India’, which can attract anyone, be it foreigners, NRIs, civilians. For us as I.T professionals, it’s more like ‘Make for India’. We, firmly believe that Shabdanagari will do well from the investment perspective as it has Hindi as its quintessential feature.
Does Shabdanagari have any advertisements so far on web, or on T.V or radio?
We launched our first advertisement on YouTube which is basically presenting a small and an easy process as to tell how one can connect with site. We have advertised on the web till now and will do in other mediums shortly.
We have heard that your team is running one more site which is a social media management site known as ‘SOCIOTA’. Would you mind explaining what it is all about?
It’s a social media management site by which you can deal your campaign in a better and in a more dynamic way. Sociota is a product which facilitates that, moreover, it’s more useful for advertisers, campaigners etc. We launched Sociota in 2012, before Shabdanagari.
Is there any advice that you would like to give to young engineering aspirants and young entrepreneurs?
I would just say, always step-up and try. If you have a small idea, don’t lose hope before trying it for once. You never know that someday your small idea might make billions and trillions out of it.