Interview with Prateek Chandrayan, Co-Founder at Reacho

[This interview is sponsored by workspot.in , India’s leading aggregator of co-working spaces, meeting rooms and shared offices. If you have additional office space and are looking to rent it, please do list it on workspot.in. If you are looking for space for your startup, do visit workspot.in]

 

Reacho is an app based start-up that lets its users share news/events locally. It is a crowd sourced hyperlocal news app in which the news is posted and shared by the app users using a unique “Spread” feature of the app. This feature lets the users define the radius in which they want to spread the news.

Reacho was founded by Prateek Chandrayan in Nagpur and was limited to just one city for its beta phase. The app received a lot of praise from its users in Nagpur and based on this success the company is planning to expand their outreach to other cities as well. It has already created quite a buzz from its unique “Spread” feature and is all set to make its presence felt in the time to come.

What motivated you to start the company and what is it all about?

We could see a gap between the hyperlocal news and happenings section. There are many mobile applications and websites that generate or aggregate national and global news. However, getting digitized information about local happenings is difficult. While the awareness about national and international issues have increased due to digital and social media penetration in the country, awareness about one’s locality is decreasing. People do not want to spend much time reading about local happenings, however they do want to be cognizant about it. Current options such as Twitter, Facebook do not provide the information in an organized manner with focus towards user’s neighborhood. There is a scarcity of quality mobile applications that address this issue, a difficulty Reacho aims to resolve (www.reacho.in).

Reacho tries to solve the problem of “What’s happening in my area?” It aims to organize and deliver quality, crisp and timely information about local happenings. The posts on Reacho are sourced and aggregated from local news media, local blogs and most importantly the locals themselves! An in-house content team curates the posts to maintain quality and brevity of the posts. A unique ‘spread’ feature allows users to spread the news within specified radius and locality. We also give rewards/coupons of local restaurant to the citizens who post quality content.

Our vision is to be a comprehensive one-stop news, happenings and engagement platform for all-things-local. Our mission is to encourage and engage citizens to share, spread and discuss local news and enable them to be more informed about their neighborhood.

Reacho app is currently released on android and is open for public beta in Nagpur. An iOS app is in development and planned for release by early 2016. Our website with content should be up and running in December. We plan to launch next in Pune in January 2016 and reach at least eight major cities in next two years.

Our readers would like to know about your core team and their roles?

Our core team consist of 5 members:

Prateek Chandrayan (CEO) did his B.Tech from VNIT, Nagpur and Masters from IISc, Bangalore, Ketan Paithankar (CTO) did his B.E from RECOM, Nagpur and M.S form Wichita state university, Sagar Ghonge (CPO) did his B.Tech from VNIT, Nagpur and M.Tech from IIT Bombay, Pratik Siddharth (Chief Editor) did his M.A in Journalism and Piyush Patil who did his engineering from Nagpur.

What is the current Team Size?

Our team consists of 8 guys including the core team.

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How did you hire your initial team?

Initially it was a bit difficult to convince the guys to join us in our 100 sq.ft office. But, after meeting us a couple of times they started believing in the idea and wanted to work on it. We also hired a few freshers and trained them on Android and iOS.

Which recruiting channels work best for you? Referrals/Job Boards/ Staffing Agencies?

Personally, I don’t think that any recruiting channel is good for start-ups like us. It is mostly through referrals that the majority of the hiring takes place.

What are the key factors that you look for in a potential candidate?

We only check for logic of the candidate for the development team. Also, we want our colleagues to give their 100% to solve the problems. For content team, we look for a candidate with BA, MA English or MA in Journalism and who can tell us the difference between it’s and its’, their and there,etc.

Who all are your competitors and what are your views on them?

We have a couple of competitors who are operating in Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi. NearFox and LocalPress Co are our main competitors. This is a new concept and all of them have launched their apps in mid-2015. Too early to comment on anyone as of now, as we all are in a nascent stage.

What are your marketing strategies? Do you take help of Social platforms to promote? Which channels have been very effective? Which marketing channels have been super flops?

We’ve tried different marketing techniques. The best and the cheapest is Facebook marketing as of now. The worst is newspaper advertising. We were covered by a few local newspapers which gave us a good visibility. Also, we got some visibility at local events where we put our standies and gave marketing cards to people attending the event. We have also done SMS marketing but that didn’t give us good results.

What has been your experience with paid marketing channels?

We keep boosting some posts on Facebook which has been very effective for us. SMS marketing didn’t give us the expected results. We also tried to deliver pamphlets through newspapers which gave us the visibility but very few downloads.

Can you elaborate on the Challenges in promoting your website/ App?

The hyperlocal start-ups always face a lot of problems in promoting themselves. If we write about our app on famous websites then people from other cities will download it and immediately uninstall it as it is not relevant to them. Local newspapers, hoarding and Radio is extremely costly for a non-funded start-up like ours. We have to rely mostly on Facebook, local restaurants and local events to promote ourselves.

What is the current traction? Can you share some numbers on Usage and Revenue?

We have around 1000 users with 15% DAU. Our primary focus as of now is on increasing user engagement. Once we gain a loyal user base, revenue generation possibilities are plenty.

Based on your experience would you have any advice to new Entrepreneurs / Startups?

I think that passion is an abused word now-a-days. Just being passionate about the idea won’t help. Perseverance is the key. Keep pursuing users and investors, and then things will fall in place.

“App only” is a bad idea as there are many android devices on which your app won’t work properly. So do develop the website for your products as well.

 

[This interview is sponsored by workspot.in , India’s leading aggregator of co-working spaces, meeting rooms and shared offices. If you have additional office space and are looking to rent it, please do list it on workspot.in. If you are looking for space for your startup, do visit workspot.in]

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