What do you do when you are in pain or you are depressed and there is no one around to listen you? What do you do when you feel alone? Probably nothing you can do! But now, you’re not alone. Here’s a portal for sharing pain! Yes, you read it right. This week on Startup Talk, we are presenting story of world’s first emotional network, SharingDard.com! A portal where you can share your feelings, emotions or pain anonymously and there are thousand people who will listen you! Have a look at our conversation with Ritika Sharma (Co-founder, SharingDard.com) to understand their venture.
What is SharingDard.com? What’s the idea and concept behind your startup?
SharingDard – The name itself suggests to vent out and share all your pain (Dard as we call it) and feel the magic. No real names required, no identity required. You can just be plain yourself without being judged. It’s the world’s first emotional network
Many a times, we are engulfed with such situations, where we feel so alone in this world, have that moment when nobody is around, want to explain but are not able to, want somebody to understand, and desperately want to be heard. These are all moments which make us feel alive and full of emotions. Also, these are moments when a shoulder to cry on, a person to understand us gives us comfort and energy to fight back positively. SharingDard is exactly that platform where you can do all this and be comforted by thousands on the network. Nobody knows your identity here, so you can be as candid as you want.
Who are faces behind this startup?
Well, we are 4 close buddies and batchmates from IIM Lucknow, Sumant Gajbhiye, Ritika Sharma (me), Gaurav Rajan and Lima James.
Lima James is a Biotechnologist, MBA from IIM Lucknow. Having worked in a sales profile at Lenovo, and internship in Seedfund, she contributes to the creative and financial aspects for SharingDard.
Ritika is a Food Technologist, did her masters in Management from IIM L. She has worked in managerial roles for sales and marketing with GlaxoSmithKline. She takes care of brand building, marketing and lead generation activities for SharingDard.
Gaurav Rajan is the most experienced of the lot. He has done B Tech, Electronics before his MBA from IIM L. He brings immense industry knowledge and technical expertise, owing to his experience with companies like Wipro, Batelco and Nortel. He primarily takes care of product development for the venture. His constant motivation has been instrumental in bringing SharingDard to touch greater heights.
Sumant is an Electronics and Telecommunications Engineer, an MBA from IIM L, has worked with Accenture, ICICI and Airtel in Business Development, Strategy, Sales and Marketing roles. He brings forth the strategy, vendor management and business excellence to the group.
How did you initiate Sharing Dard? What is the story behind starting up SD?
The idea germinated back in IIM L when we used to share our life’s experiences with each other during our hangout sessions. We used to find solace and learn a lot from each other’s experiences. We always thought that there should be a platform on a bigger scale for all such lonely souls. Then we parted ways and joined our respective jobs, we realized the importance of having a candid friend all the more. Almost a year into our jobs we felt the need in our lives to have such a community online; that is when the idea actually took shape and we started working on it.
What was the motive behind starting SD?
Once we ended up with our so called dream jobs, we realized that probably job was not the end to our potential. We could do much more justice to our passion and talent by starting something on our own. We already had this idea which had huge potential in the Indian market. Also, subsequently, our primary and secondary research revealed startling facts about the Mental Health sector in India. The market potential of our concept in these times is 3,300 crores. This further bolstered our confidence to take a leap of faith and pursue entrepreneurship.
Why did you name it Sharing Dard?
We wanted a name which appeals to the masses. We have kept it a mix of English Hindi so that every Indian could relate to it. The word “Dard” signifies pain. Courtesy, our bollywood movies and songs, everyone is familiar with this word, even abroad. Plus, it makes the name catchy.
How much time and money did you invest in this venture?
The idea came way back in 2011. We started actively working on it early next year. We incorporated our Private Limited Company in August 2012 and the research continued. As soon as the prototype was ready, we quit our jobs and started working full time on SharingDard to take it to the next level. Till now, the venture is self- funded and bootstrapped. We are looking for Angel investors or VCs for further expansion.
Tell us about the revenue model of your startup.
We haven’t started monetizing with SharingDard yet. The registration is completely free on the website, provided your age is 15 years or more. We have our Tele counselling arm for Adolescents, Your Candid Friend. It is a prepaid service where our counsellors provide emotional support 24X7. We are in touch with schools, colleges and corporates for mutually beneficial tie ups. We will soon be integrating both the ventures together. Apart from this, we are planning to place a referral channel in place for one to one counselling.
What’s the stats of your startup?
We launched SharingDard in May 2013. In the past 6 months, the response has been overwhelming. We have around 47,000 registered users with us which is consistently on the rise. Alexa rank is 18,219 in India and 1,93,241 in the world. More than 50% of our users are returning users. We feel that we have managed to create a positive impact in thousands of people’s lives. We often receive appreciation emails and messages from people all across the world. This itself is a great satisfaction.
Which challenges have you faced while converting your idea into reality?
One of the major challenges we faced was managing the vendors. Most of the vendors we outsourced parts of the work never met the deadlines which affected the deadlines for critical tasks. We have learnt it the hard way which made us more careful in our further marketing activities.
Which is the major challenge you are facing right now?
Our endeavour is to make people accept that the fact that Mental Health is as important as physical health and to remove the stigma attached with the same. Although SharingDard has got good traction from the market, somehow awareness through word of mouth is still a challenge for us. We hope to remove this barrier from the Indian society and contribute positively to the emotional wellbeing of the nation.
What’s your future plan?
We plan to touch the life of every adult who has access to internet, (180 million in Indian subcontinent, June 2012). As a conservative estimate, by 2019, we aim to gather a user base of 10 million and revenue of 400 crores by then.
What’s your success mantra?
When you get the opportunity, be prepared to make the most of it.
What is Entrepreneurship according to you?
Entrepreneurship is a roller coaster ride. Everybody has his/her ups and downs in this journey. At the same time, it is equally rewarding when you see your idea progress from conception to reality. The thrill to live this journey is unparalleled.
Which message would you like to give to upcoming entrepreneurs?
If you are planning to be an entrepreneur you need to believe in your idea. People may or may not understand and accept it but it is your baby and you need to make people understand; make them see it through your eyes. At the same time you also need to be open to others opinion about your product and the strategy for your venture because sometimes your own ill-conceived preconceptions may make you take biased decisions.
What do you think about BuddyBits.com?
BuddyBits.com is quite a systematic and informative platform for varied interests of people. It is soon becoming the sought after place for first- hand information, be it Startup Talk, movie reviews etc. We wish BuddyBits.com all the luck for all your future endeavours.
Well, we loved your concept! We wish team SharingDard.com a huge success.