SharingDard is an ‘Emotional Networking’ website that wants to cater to the emotional aspect of one’s social well being. The service was started with an idea to let clinical psychology reach each home in India and let the users avail the benefits of it. Due to the online nature of the service, users can opt to remain anonymous as this will help them do away with the social stigma or taboo attached to psychological services.
The portal has various groups for the different types of issues like work related, family related etc for users to post their problems. Only registered users are allowed to contribute to the website. There are professionals and certified counselors who moderate and monitor the contents posted on the network.
Services like this are sure to get a good amount of traffic, especially with the anxiety and stress filled city life today’s generation lives with.
We got in touch with the team at SharingDard for a quick chat.
Hostel Room no. 120 in a random session when we were sharing the respective problems in our lives. Suddenly we realized that each of our experiences/personal accounts and anecdotes were helpful to each other’s situations. Eventually we decided to take the idea online by connecting people who could actually understand and guide each other through their learning’s from their personal lives.
All of us were well placed in various corporates and were doing really well in our respective fields. The belief in the concept in combination with the luxury of working with friends on something that we could call our own led us to move out of our high paying jobs to pursue this venture full time. Also, the condition of the mental health sector in India and the projected statistics by WHO and NIMHANS for Indian population makes this one of the most unexplored and unorganized sectors. This is a big opportunity for any entrepreneur to take the leap of faith.
Did you always want to be an entrepreneur or was this just accidental?
Well, as a team, none of us really knew that we will become entrepreneurs one day. Once we ended up with our dream jobs, we realized that probably the dream jobs were not the end to our potential and we could do much more justice to our talent by starting something of our own. We already had an idea that had huge potential in the Indian market. This further bolstered our confidence to pursue entrepreneurship.
How did you go ahead with the idea?
We conducted a thorough research about the scope of such a service. A combination of primary and secondary research gave us in-depth insights to come up with following conclusions about our target audience and way forward.
In essence, every single person alive, by default becomes our target audience, which makes this one of the biggest idea/concept/start-up we have seen in a very long time now. Studies say, ‘Venting out’ is a pressing need in today’s scenario. This combined with increasing difficulty in finding someone who would sympathize & understand you just the way you would want them to have led to a large number of people suffering from mental Disorders like Anxiety, Depression etc.
People have all sorts of problems ranging from a ‘breakup one finds difficult to handle’ to ‘a job that one hates but has no other choice but to stick to’ or ‘handling a female fight between one’s mother and wife’ to ‘finding a perfect spouse to marry’. These are only a small fraction of the problems or ‘DARDs’ in the lives of people living in our times. All these people who have atleast once felt in their lives that they are not being understood by anyone are our target audience.
Talking about numbers, each and every of India’s 137 Mn internet users(June 2012) becomes our target audience. We would focus on age group ranging from 15 to 40 years and people living in tier-1 cities for starters – basically aiming for the internet using population.
- SharingDard.com stands on the shoulders of its three rock-solid founders – Sumant Gajbhiye, Ritika Sharma and Gaurav Rajan, and one core team member – Lima James.
- The Muscle power, the gentle-giant (with brains ofcourse!) of the team is Sumant. Post his Engineering in Telecom, Sumant moved to complete his Double Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in the fields of Marketing & Operations from IIM L. He literally is the hands and feet of SD; runs around for everything – strategizing and execution being his forte.
- Ritika is the lean, mean taskmaster of the team. Her unassuming stature betrays her assertiveness which has been elemental in managing SD’s vendors. Co-founder of ecommerce venture called ‘Click n Pick’ at IIM Lucknow (while being a student there) & a sales professional (Key Account Manager at GSK), she carries a holistic view both on business aspects & life!
- With 4 years of work-experience (Nortel, Batelco and Wipro Technologies at Canada post his B. Tech in Electronics from REC (MNNIT), Allahabad) and another 2 years as a manager at LnT (post his MBA), Gaurav is the most experienced of the lot. He is adept at breaking down humungous tasks into smaller to-dos and making everything look achievable. His constant motivation has been instrumental in bringing SharingDard to its current stature.
- Every group needs a foodie, that’s Lima… but apart from her passion for food she shares her passion for SD as well. Having worked in a sales profile at Lenovo, and internship in Seedfund, she has a penchant for talking and also is the silent intellectual in the group.
How has the response been so far?
Launched on 19th May 2013, under two months we have an Alexa India Rank of 23,796 and Alexa Global Rank of 317,717.
With over 10,600 users across 60 countries and over 1.77 Mn page views as of 18th July 2013, we are one of the fastest growing social networks in India.
The most interesting, in fact path-breaking incident happened during a meeting. We were to meet a consultant who was referred to us by a close well-wisher. As usual we were to get this guy to shell out information about probable investors. So this guy walks in in shorts and a T-shirt! Surprised as we were, we started our well-versed business idea and plan and so on. 15 minutes into the meeting, he interrupted us and for the next one and a half hour gave us the most eye-opening feedback and insight about our plan of action, our outlook towards business and frankly our unrealistic expectations. It was a massive shock for us, the myth that being MBA grad, we knew how to run a successful business was shattered. That realization had a great impact on how we are currently running the business
How has the journey been so far?
The journey of entrepreneurship has been the most powerful experiences of our lives. It has been full of challenges, problems, downturns and difficult situations, which makes the joy of battling them and emerging winners, even more enriching
Vendor management is the biggest challenge that we have faced. Most of our vendors never met deadlines which unnecessarily resulted in problems. We really learnt it the hard way and would always be utmost careful henceforth while dealing with any vendor.
Any advice for fellow entrepreneurs?
It’s not about thinking that you can do it, it’s about actually doing it. Life of an entrepreneur is all about serendipity, once you have chosen the path of entrepreneurship wholeheartedly, a lot of guidance comes your way from sources you never ever expected from.