Business Today

Sminq: The Queue Cracker

The Pune-based company is working to build a world without queues by giving access to crucial data.
Sanghamitra Mandal   New Delhi     Print Edition: September 9, 2018
Sminq: The Queue Cracker
(From left): Co-founders Sheldon Dsouza, Santhosh Nagarajan and Shachin Bharadwaj

1) The Founders

Shachin Bharadwaj, Santhosh Nagarajan and Sheldon Dsouza who had previously worked together to set up their first venture TastyKhana.com. The trio made a successful exit when Rocket Internet-backed Foodpanda acquired TastyKhana in 2014.

2) The Concept

The idea cropped up when the co-founders were mulling over several possibilities to start a new venture. Bharadwaj's wife was pregnant at the time and the couple had to wait long hours at doctors' clinics despite appointment. Soon, they realised how long queues at hospitals, banks, utilities, retail stores, restaurants, entertainment zones, car parks and other places take a toll on people's time and energy. "You get stuck because you have no access to real-time data about these places and can't adjust your schedule. So, the idea is to keep you updated in real time, via a reliable app," says Bharadwaj.

3) The Journey

After six months of pilot run, the trio decided to focus on healthcare and built an app so that users can book appointment with doctors and get real-time alerts on waiting time at clinics. Doctors can also plan their day using the app. Now covering Pune, Mumbai and Nashik, the app has a subscription-based revenue model, features 150-plus premium clinics and caters to 5,00,000-plus users. In April this year, the co-founders also launched Sminq - World Places, Live Now, an app for sharing user-generated live feeds (texts, photos and videos) from places that are popular or trending. Simply put, it is a community-driven platform where users from all over the world post real-time updates so that others get to know what is happening near them and act accordingly. The company is now planning to raise $5-10 million to promote the app in the US, the Middle East and South-east Asia. Both apps are available for Android and iOS users.

4) The Challenge

Fake post/misinformation is the biggest challenge, but Sminq has a stringent validation system in place. For instance, locations can be verified and users are encouraged to post onsite photographs and videos for credibility checks. Feeds are not rated, following places is given preference over following people and selfies are not encouraged, meaning the focus is on places alone. There is also a flagging mechanism while the feeds expire just after 24 hours, leaving no scope for trolling.

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