appEverything on the internet today is revolving around the 3C’s – Collect, Create & Connect. We want to collect resources, create things and then connect with people all over the world to share it with. With portals like Wikipedia, Wikihow, Slideshare, etc., getting information is no more a challenge. However, getting information about a particular topic in different file formats such as .jpeg, .doc, .ppt, etc. all at one place is difficult. Also sharing this information requires the user to connect with other platforms such as mail, social networking sites and much more.
In order to address these gaps, Paul Jr. and Dinny Paul came forward and cofounded Alchetron Technologies. Last year in January, the company, with a team of 9, launched its first product Alchetron (means Alchemy of Technology) with the byline – Next Generation Social Encyclopedia.
‘Social’ because the platform helps users search, access, organize and share Information on topics/wikis/news socially; ‘Encyclopedia’ as it provides the related information to a particular topic in all major formats at one place.
How it works?
After logging onto and registering on the platform, a user can then search from the available Topics or can create his own topics.
Let’s say, an individual has a keen interest or knowledge in astrophysics / music / nanotechnology / painting etc. Once he has created a topic, he can blog in that topic and upload relevant files. The user can integrate his topic and blog with videos, presentations, pdfs, images and YouTube videos. Also, one can connect with people creating blogs/articles on topics which interests them.
Most of the videos and slides are taken from websites which offer free data. In case any user wants to post a copyrighted content, then the URL has to be mailed. Once the ownership is verified, the admin team deletes it from the system.
A user can perform most of the conventional social network functions like messaging, dashboard, social profile, albums, invite, friend connections, and themes. Also recently, they have launched the full version of their Android app. Some other features provided by the portal include:
- Free cloud storage: Uploading/Downloading & organizing unlimited number of files, text, images etc
- Privacy settings which allows user to share blogs, topics & images appropriately
- A social profile page, with an integrated Tell button to share, message & mail data
- Unique rating mechanism where user can rate a topic. Higher the rating, better the visibility
- Additional features like outbox integration and dedicated discussion forum
Here is a video to show more:
The platform deploys HDR (Human data relation) Technology in order to filter the data created by the user in different file formats. The data is then organized by using big data technologies like Hadoop. “We have 2-4 modules which can be patented including HDR and many design patents as well,” said the founders.
The web version provides the user with a closed loop environment enabling data and user mapping. (Who has uploaded what). It includes around 30 open source technologies such as java, reverse Ajax, Ajax, etc. The iOS app is currently under development while the android app provides only encyclopedia.
Competition and Marketing Strategy
As per the founders, Alchetron currently competes against portals like Wikihow, Facebook, Encyclopedia.com, Wikipedia, etc. “Traditional Indian software companies work in a b2b model and are driven by their service offerings. Now, the trend is changing, Indian startups have ventured into b2c model, where consumers use software products built by big US companies like Google (Gmail, maps, search) and Facebook. Mumbai-based Alchetron.com is one of the startups that took a plunge into this sector where very few have dared to enter.”
They are currently targeting the age group of 16-40 years with a focus to increase their user base. Apart from social networking, the team has also conducted seminars in various engineering and management colleges in order to increase app installs.
The team plans to bring in cash through CPC (Cost Per Click), CPM (Cost Per Thousand Impressions), native ads, etc. Also, the founders are looking forward to tie-ups with B2B ad networks, smartphone manufacturers and mobile networks, etc.
Challenges and Plans Ahead
Upcoming newer and simpler technologies in the market create challenges for the team to continuously innovate their product. Also, there might be the effect of world issues such as Net Neutrality in growing user base or in further expansion due to different government regulations all over the world.
The founders are currently planning to raise funds to create high quality content and improve technical, marketing and infrastructure domains.
As claimed by the founders, the team has already created 12000 diverse topics on the portal, with plans to reach a number of one lakh within 2-3 months. There are around 30, 000+ unique web+mobile users which are growing at the rate of more than 50%. If compared to wikipedia’s approx. 4.8Mn articles and 2.4Bn users, the road still goes long for Alchetron. On the other side, however, it lacks in high quality multimedia content and suffers under utilization of data due to absence of social layer, thereby making the prospects good for Alchetron. Same is the case with other platforms such as eHow, WikiHow, etc.
If we go by the facts, in 2014, total world internet population was 3 Bn and 11% of these were the content creators and modifiers. Also, the 60% population was within the age group of 23-40 years. Thus, if implemented well, the Alchetron concept can grab a large share of the success pie.