Posts filed under QnA – convergence calling?

Written by: Abhinav

On Mar 30th, 2008

We spoke to Yusuf Motiwala from recently. The conversation covered various aspects including the technology involved, the revenue model, funding and staffing.

iLeher: How did TringMe come about?
Yusuf: We were looking to build a Voice 2.0 platform. This was the TringSwitch that we were planning to push to enterprises so that they could support all types of voice terminations – SIP, Mobiles, VoIP, IM (Jabber), etc. When we built this, we came up with TringMe as a way to demonstrate this platform that we had built and thats how TringMe came about. Then we got covered by TechCrunch and the site took off

iLeher: So how many users do you have now?
Yusuf: 60,000+ plus.

iLeher: Cool!
Yusuf: Yes, we are already generating revenues as well. A lot of these users pay to use the site.

iLeher: That brings us to our next question. Whats the revenue model that you are envisioning? Mostly the Skype-like Call In/Out kind of model?
Yusuf: Not at all. Like I already mentioned, we built a platform that we could sell to enterprises. That remains a revenue model we are going after.

iLeher: So you basically install the boxes in enterprise networks?
Yusuf: Not necessarily. We are also looking at Hosted Services where the enterprise need not spend extra on installing the box. We can take care of the back-end for them. In addition to this, we are looking at licensing our technology to different websites where a real-time interaction between different parties makes sense.

iLeher: Such as?
Yusuf: Dating, travel, reservations (for hotels, travel, etc). There are lots of areas one can think of.

iLeher: Alright. Any other revenue model?
Yusuf: Yes, we are also looking at partnering with developers who have ideas and are looking to build on top of this platform. We will provide them with SDKs which they can use to build their apps.

iLeher: So do you charge them for it?
Yusuf: Depends on the company. We could do a cash deal or take equity. Depends. We absolutely reserve the right to partner in these cases. We will evaluate the company and only then partner with them. Having said that, if we believe in the company, we will see how we can work with them.

iLeher: So what is next on the horizon as far as TringMe is concerned?
Yusuf: We have just announced a mobile solution for low cost handsets. You can check out the announcement on the blog. Our blog has a lot of information about our various offerings- what all we support, etc.

iLeher: Yes, coming to that. You support a lot of terminations. What is your team size and how long did you take?
Yusuf: We are about 9 people

iLeher: Thats all?
Yusuf: Yes, we started around May-June last year. I started the company and then slowly the team grew to its current size

iLeher: Thats a lot of work for this short a time and this small a team!
Yusuf: Well, we have a lot of experience in this field and we were able to apply it to get things working.

iLeher: How about money?
Yusuf: We are self-financed at the moment. Friends and family besides our own money.

iLeher: So are you planning to bootstrap your way to an IPO?
Yusuf: We will go in for a round of VC funding at some stage. We will let you know as and when that happens. 😉

iLeher: Thanks a lot for talking to us
Yusuf: My pleasure!

We spoke to a Yusuf about a few other things which are already covered on the TringMe blog. Please hop over after leaving your comments here.

We wish TringMe all the very best for the future.

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Are we ready for answers?

Written by: Nishant Kumar

On May 6th, 2007

At each stage of life, we use different resource for questions. Starting with parents (when we were kids), then teachers, then friend(s), Professor(s) and the list goes on. We seem to be broadening the answer set. As internet becomes more prevalent, a new group is being introduced which potentially provides a forum to tap into the collective wisdom of the whole world. These are the new “QnA sites on web”. 

The services essentially work on two principles: 

1. Do not reinvent the wheel: Which translates to “If you have a question, somebody has already answered it or has the answer and waiting to be asked” 

2. Give back to the community: which translates to “If you have an answer, somebody is searching for it with a question” 

These services try to facilitate these exchanges. 


What do the users gain? 

1. Increased productivity: More often than not, the questions are just means to an end. It might be something technical which you need answer to move forward, or it is a nagging question which is eating up brain cycles (which can be otherwise used more productively) or it might be on lines of “how do i do this…” which has the potential to save a lot of time. 

2. Community aspect: It fulfills the need of being able to help others while deriving the usefulness of collective wisdom of the masses. 

3. Perspectives: For more subjective questions, it provides you with multiple perspectives. Some may be similar to yours; some may show you a completely different side. 

4. Ego boosters: Most of the sites have some kind of *contribute and get recognized* incentives, which are a way to satiate the *ego demand*. 


What do company gain? More answers you provide, more traffic you get, more eye balls, more exposure and more opportunities to monetize it (in today’s world – read ads) 


Current players in Indian Market: 






How do these stack up? (What are my evaluation criteria?) 

1. UI of the site: Eye candy factor, usability etc. 

2. Content: Number of questions and their answers. 

3. Search Capability: It is easy to ask new questions, but can I easily find a question close to mine? 

4. Repeat Factor: Is the service compelling enough to come back once the question is answered. 

5. How active is the community? 


First Impression:

 First Impression


1.     This is just the first impression (more detailed explanation and review in later post)
2.     iBiBo is a site in Alpha stage
3.     IndiaHowTo seems to be following more of the *Wikepedia* model rather than the traditional Q&A model. The ‘How do I do…” articles are well written and useful. The messaging about “is it Q&A site or not” is unclear

Let us know what you think of this growing trend of QnA sites and how do you think they are contributing to the collective wisdom of the web.


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