Have you noticed that even though we have so many friends on Facebook, yet we don’t connect with them because maybe they are busy, they do not like the same stuff as we do, or we are somewhere where our friends aren’t there leaving us bored and lonely.
It all started when Nawaz was at Bangalore airport and was flying to Mumbai. It was winter in India and the northern parts of the country were foggy. His incoming flight from Delhi was delayed by over 3 hours because of the fog all around. Needless to say, he was bored. While playing with his phone he wondered how great it would be if I could see people at the airport right now on my phone and pick people whom I want to talk to?
How great it would be if I could “shout” something like – “Anyone bored around and interested in #coffee?” and people could join me for a hangout? How great would it be if I could discover and connect to local people who like what I like and make new friends and expand my network?
As soon as Nawaz landed in Mumbai he contacted Anshal and Abdul with the Idea and we realized that we face such situation on a very frequent basis, yet there are no applications to connect us to interesting people and things happening around us in real time.
Microsoft Imagine Cup is the most premier student technology competition, now in its 11th year it’s the most expansive Imagine Cup ever with prize money upto 300,000$ and Microsoft grants of 3 Million USD. Imagine Cup is a global, yearlong competition that culminates in a Worldwide Finals event, to take place in St. Petersburg, Russia, July 8–11, 2013.
While we showcase our application “Zoik It” at the worldwide finals in St Petersburg this year we would be competing against the best student innovations from over 86 countries and competition which has seen a participation of 1.65 million students over 11 years.
Since the news of us being selected came out on 29th of May, we have been fairly excited about the Russian Odyssey but we know the amount of hard work it has taken us to reach this stage and the amount of hard work it will take to win this Cup and get it to India.
The entire team is working very hard for the finals to be held in Russia, some of the key activities are :
- We are working on polishing the application to remove bugs
- Get the right sponsors associated with our brand
- Creating lucid posters, infographs and Marketing Material.
- Improving the UI/UX of the application
- Fine-Tuning the presentation
How is Our App Different
Even though there are so many social networking applications in the market like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare that helps us connect to people yet we find ourselves alone at times.
The application is powered by an intelligent algorithm which feeds in data from your social feeds, interests, your physical location and creates a unique social experience which resembles your personality. In short it is a dynamic, real-time and highly intelligent social networking tool. So what you see on your application screen are things you like and the people you would love to connect and hang out with.
Have you ever been a part of one or more of these scenarios?
- You wanted to go out for a recent “James Bond flick”, called up your friends and family, but they were too busy to go out for a movie?
- You were at the airport and your flight is delayed by 3 hours. You’re bored?
- You want to trek/hike, but none of your friends are actually interested in this activity.
With our Local Social Networking app “Zoik it”! You can for example, share a status saying “I want to go #hiking at #4:00PM #tomorrow”. We know that you’re going to hike tomorrow at 4:00PM because of the hash tags. We send out this notification to all of those users who love to trek, are in the same city and have some free time tomorrow at 4:00 PM. So the only people around you who are interested in hiking gets the notification are most welcomed to join you for a great meet up. We help you connect with real people at a real physical location easy and fast! Be it Hiking, Having a coffee at your local coffee store, grabbing a beer tonight, partying or even planning tennis – We connect you to people instantly who like what you like.
We are a geographically distributed team with Nawaz and Abdul working out of Hyderabad and Anshal out of Bangalore. We have a great mentor on board Rainer Stropek from Austria, who helped us all through the way in developing the product with his invaluable guidance. Anshal and Nawaz met online when they were taking an online course on Technology Entrepreneurship by Stanford University in the summer of 2012 and roped in Abdul later to cater to the designing needs.
- Anshal Anand – Manipal University, Bangalore
- Nawaz Dhandala – Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, Hyderabad
- Abdul Rahman Janoo – Deccan College Of Engineering And Technology, Hyderabad
- Rainer Stropek – Mentor, Austria
Currently we are only on Windows Phone MarketPlace, but once we come back from Imagine Cup we would replicate the application on all the major platforms such as iOS, Android and Blackberry as well as create the Web Application for the same. We expect to be on all platforms by September but for that to happen we would be looking for investment to hire some of the smartest minds around.
Follow Zoik It on twitter!
About the Author: Anshal Anand is a graduate from Manipal University and co-founder of Zoik It! Ernst & Young Alumni, he works at Deloitte, Bengaluru, Karnataka.