Hello, please walk us through your entrepreneurial journey and background before you started? Any interesting stories?
We started by developing World’s First Financial Accounting package on Linux, named Kalculate. Went on to create a Linux distribution and combining the above two resulted in an Affordable-Friendly-Secure Business Desktop for SME. Being in Linux and Open source, Koha – the Library Management Solution came across, starting the next phase of our journey and, here we are, having created a SaaS platform for Libraries, enhancing education & positive values with intervention of technology. BestBookBuddies, the platform for Libraries, aims to become the platform for Libraries across the world, providing them the complete LMS services absolutely without cost.
Tell us something about founding team
- Sudhir Gandotra – Founder & CEO – bringing the vision and overall execution capabilities.
- Vivek Kumar – Co-founder & Technical Director – brining Linux server management expertise.
- Devansh Jain – Co-founder & COO – bringing technology, training and social-media strategy and capability to the project.
- Sunil Kumar – Domain Team Head – bringing library domain expertise to the project.
Tell us little about your product/ platform
BestBookBuddies, is the platform where Books are at the Center. Libraries, Readers, Publishers, Authors, among other stake-holders will find the platform to be of great use for their work and growth.
Koha – the Library Management Solution came across, starting the next phase of our journey and, here we are, having created a SaaS platform for Libraries, enhancing education & positive values with intervention of technology. In a nutshell, we will provide benefits: For Library: Free technology, hosting and maintenance. Freedom from manual data-entry; For Readers: Book-sharing, Review writing & sharing, Friendship Forums, Author Forums, Publisher Forums; For Publishers: Direct connect with readers. National Catalogues.
Tell us about your customer traction
- Libraries: So far, we have over 1,000 Libraries signed up and these are being on-boarded.
- Publishers: Our interaction with nearly 750 Publishers during the Feb’17 World Book Fair at Delhi have shown excellent results, as all of them wish to join the platform, showcasing/selling their books. We foresee around 500 publishers selling around 50,000 books from BestBookBuddies.com over the next 4 to 6 months’ time, thus launching a new phase of the platform’s activities. We are providing the Publishers a direct interface with their readers, an aspect that will be first of its kind, and hence they are finding the platform to be of great use to them.
- Authors: We plan to have authors on-board for promoting/selling their books. We have interacted, so far, only with 3 authors with 100% positive response.
- Advertisers: Currently we are integrating Google-AdSense, that being the largest source of on-line advertisements. In future, we plan to reach out to advertising agencies as well as Government for their ads.
How has been your association with IBM Global Entrepreneur? How important do you think IBM Global Entrepreneur is to help and improve the ecosystem?
“We are certainly grateful to IBM for these credits. By offering free credits, IBM-GEP is creating new possibilities for many Start-ups, which may not have been possible for most of the Start-ups.”
These scheme, creates the unique possibilities for the Start-ups, who, being boot-strapped, otherwise, may not just have the funds to take their offering to the initial stage of clients, investors and others to whom they need to reach.This way, the eco-system benefits, as the possibilities grow for everyone involved.
While the success of this system can mean more future clients for IBM-GEP, the aspect of IBM-GEP investing in the start-ups, through these credits, is a unique/great contribution to the ecosystem by IBM-GEP.
What’s your take on the IBM Bluemix, which has IaaS (earlier Softlayer ) and PaaS offering ? How is it helping your start-up grow?
“Having a server at Softlayer, means for us, that we have a secure system completely in our control and we can easily manage it just the way we would want. being die-hard users of Linux OS, this open system with complete control makes a very big difference for us.”
Softlayer (credits) are very crucial for us and not just important. It can be described as follows :
The stability and robustness of the system is un-beatable. Being aware of this system (since the year 2000, after which I have seen its 3 acquisitions), we have seen this happening and the experience helped us connect and we are 100% sure of its stability and robustness.
The problems of working are very rare, the small issues that come (just 2 minor issues since september 2016) got resolved almost instantly through the online support system. The support staff is definitely very nice, helpful and never frustrating, which is very crucial for everyone involved.
Hearing various experiences of industry colleagues, we, at time, wonder why people stop making meaningless choices. I must say that we are 100% satisfied with the system and have yet to find a single suggestion worth giving for further improvement. I will only say : “Thanks, Please remain doing what you are doing”
What is your road ahead for your start-up?
We have signed up 1,000+ libraries. We have started getting the users. The advertisements have been integrated and we can expect the beginning of revenues in near future. The other categories of customers are also arising. The potential investors can now be presented with the working product, which can make a big difference to the growth.
We are expecting to have 50,000 Libraries, 2.5 Million daily users, 1,500 Publishers, 1,000 Authors, 1,00,000 books for sale and a lot more consisting of Authors, Publishers, Libraries and Readers on the platform, using these services, by the end of 2017.