Startup Mantra: A big fat Indian wedding on a lean, efficient, AI-driven video service? Superpro.ai makes it happen
The founders of Superpro.ai claim the video platform, paid model, was tested successfully, with 30,000 participants attending an event at the same time.
Those numbers, as macro as they may seem for everyday Zoom and Teams users, among the lot, are pretty much what ant web-based video service must deliver in the Indian market.
Superpro.ai is not re-inventing the wheel. Born out of Joynt, a video call platform for influencers, Superpro.ai is looking into a future where video is the engine that runs the economy; the e-economy, that is, the only kind that will exist in the near future, as per Superpro.ai founder Gaurav Tripathi.
Superpro.ai is not the only video service attempting to cash in on a video-verse pretty much dominated by Zoom and Teams globally, and in India.
Airmeet (Bengaluru), Troop Messenger (Hyderabad), VacYa (Hyderabad), Say Namaste (Mumbai) and Bharat.live (Dehradun) are all Indian web-based video services that are looking to cater to the culture-specifics and engagement demands unique to India.
It is in the bustling market that, as the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak started in India in March 2020, Gaurav Tripathi decided to make his move.
He was acting on the famous quote of Apple founder Steve Jobs: “If today was the last day of my life, what would I do?”
“I would definitely not do a job, but start something new. I could see a big opportunity emerging and thought video communication will definitely be at the centre. In April 2020 I formally joined the Joynt startup – founded by Vijay Goel, Vivek Kumar and Sagar Ramteke – as a cofounder and CEO,” says Tripathi.
A “super” Joynt
Says Tripathi, “Video communication is where the actual service delivery and consumption is happening. So, the value is actually delivered and consumed over video. Hence, we helped freelancers, independent professionals with video communication. We manually setup zoom sessions for them and also helped them setup Razorpay pages for payment collection. We helped them setup calendars, reminders. We developed a minimum viable product (MVP) and experimented with it. Smaller startups approached us as they had similar problems. That’s when we realised video itself is the core and the rest of the services are accessories.”
The ‘feel good’ factor
The term “Zoom fatigue” was coined in the first lockdown in 2020, as people stared at their screens for the entire day with only faces changing at the meetings.
Says Tripathi, “In India, when it comes to being happy or a feeling that I am connected to something, it needs to connect with our culture. So, people did not want a better Zoom, but they wanted a different experience. The core is the engagement and that the person should feel good.”
Sharing his experiences, Tripathi said, “Initially, people thought about any online meeting as joining an ‘event’, but for us event was something different. In the beginning, OYO Weddings team had approached us and they wanted to conduct virtual wedding events. They wanted to make the attendees ‘feel’ like participating in a wedding event. We realised that the value is not just in being connected. So, we gave them a setup that gave them an ambience of wedding.”
Later, IIM Bangalore approached Superpro.ai. for a college festival event. “We gave them a view that actually showed an entrance of campus, also a lot of emojis and interaction through chat. The ‘feel good’ factor came through customisation and personalisation of the participants’ experience,” says Tripathi.
Data and insight
“Companies don’t provide you data around your video communication. If you are not capturing it then you can’t measure it. For example, do you get analytics about how many meetings or calls have been taken, did the call actually happen? Just because a meeting link is generated does not mean the interaction and engagement has actually happened. Furthermore, you never know who had to wait for the meeting. Superpro.ai platform captures such critical data and provides insights to the businesses and end users,” explains Tripathi.
“Data and insights help us improve the service and stability of the system. A lot of this data is available to users and we are ready to provide it to businesses if they request,” he added.
The AI factor
Explaining the important role of the artificial intelligence (AI) model to improve customer experience, Tripathi says, “AI is driven by data and video communication gives us a lot of rich data. We can generate insights based on data, improve the service, customer experience, personalised recommendations and network profile. If you can enhance the customer experience, then you have an edge over your competitors. Data will be extensively used by AI models to improve the experience.
India needs a better product
None of the video communication apps currently being used by Indians are developed by Indian companies.
Says Tripathi, “Video communication is going to be crucial. We are gifting the biggest market to foreign companies on a platter when we should be the ones benefiting from it. Also, it has far deeper implications including the economic impact. We recently also witnessed a tussle between the government and Twitter. These companies are bound by US laws and seem reluctant to follow Indian laws.”
“Everything is going to be digital. A lot of services are going to be consumed and delivered over video. Video communication is going to be the economic engine of services. Worldwide, IT services are being delivered using video. We cannot let somebody else control this engine. We will build a product which is aligned with Indian culture and how India works,” he adds.
Superpro.ai has 20 paying customers at present. The platform usage has grown 200 per cent this month itself and has also crossed one million usage minutes, Tripathi claims.
“We are primarily tracking the video duration and usage. People want to use Indian products. They need to know that they have an alternative. If they actually use it and feel better by using it then they will continue with it. We also had a mental block about why people would use our platform if they already have other applications. But then we realised, if you give better option, they will use it,” he says.
Says Tripathi, “The video conferencing market (enterprise audience) in India alone is limited. However, video in context of other services, is a huge market. There are about 10,000 startups in edtech and healthcare in India and 200,000 businesses that can use video in some or other way. From the end-user perspective, our target is to reach the mark of 200 million daily active users in the next three years. It is estimated that by 2025 there would be 950 million active internet users per month in India. Of those, 450 million would be using video regularly to consume or deliver services or simply to celebrate events online.”
He adds, “5G is going to play much bigger role. It will be a game changer as it will solve the access problem for sure. It will grow the market multi-fold. The introduction of 5G is not just going to impact domestic, but global market too. A few years back we saw the outsourcing boom that happened around IT, BPO. That will make India superpower in terms of all kind of services and not just IT-heavy services.”
“We are extremely happy and elated to work with Superpro.ai and we believe that our investment in the company will augment their growth and expansion.”
- Vikram Gupta, Founder and Managing Partner, IvyCap Ventures Advisors
“Superpro is our first pre-seed investment, where we invest in great founders riding a big wave, really early in the life of their start-up. Superpro founders have chosen the extremely high-growth space of video communication, solving a real problem in helping businesses use video communication workflows..”
- Gireendra Kasmalkar, General Partner, Pentathlon Ventures