Vartika Manasvi never really planned to be an entrepreneur. She had goals like most young people do today – to travel the world, meet interesting people and make one friend in every city, every country in the world. The difference is that most youth only dream these thoughts but Vartika decided to take action. This MBA graduate went from selling life insurance policies during college days to resume writing, copy editing, being Head of Marketing, being a product manager and working with NASSCOM.
The inception of imeyou
She started imeyou as a side project on slack.com (a platform that connects teams with apps, services and resources they need) and joined an Asian blog as a community manager to make some money for survival.
“I onboarded 300+ people on the slack group by doing Skype calls with them and telling the vision of imeyou where people share with each other and collaborate among themselves. The objective of this experiment was to make one friend in every city who can help with local information and test digital trust among strangers” says Vartika.
Finding the core team
Part of this 300+ group were two young engineers, 19-year-old Celento C George and 21-year-old Arshpreet Wadehra who were blown away by the vision and power of Vartika’s idea and came forward to build the platform. When backend, frontend and business skills came together, magic had to happen! Vartika believes that the internet is moving us from being passive consumers to innovative creators and highly enabled collaborators. Professionals of every kind are able to now connect with consumer directly peer-to-peer.
She says, “imeyou is an ambitious project that’s attempting to create a local knowledge network where people can depend on people for advice, borrowing something, share a thing or get some service. We’re doing this by enabling location based hubs where you can connect and discover people as per the place that matters.”
Targeting nomads, migrants or travellers who relocate and have the need to connect with like minded people around them, imeyou is currently bootstrapped (though raising capital is in the works), has over 3,000 users and recently launched the first version of its app in ios. Imeyou is doing early pilots in small community hubs like co-working spaces and educational institutes to get a critical user base at one catchment area and plans to build on scale from thereon.
The Tinder of skills & services
“Well we yet don’t allow or facilitate buying/selling/renting of products and services. It can eventually happen. For now, we are a marketplace or a matchmaker of skills, services and advice,” she says.
Vartika’s long term vision is to create connected communities that can solve all kinds of queries for travellers in new cities. It is a need feed that will thrive on sharing and caring individuals who can each take a pledge to help one person daily with something he/she needs. As the concept of a sharing economy catches on around the world in sectors like travel, hospitality and transportation, imeyou seeks to grow as a collaborative platform or a community of meaningful friends who would like to help each other.
Vartika on entrepreneurship in India
“Well, in my honest opinion, we are currently in the biggest era of fake entrepreneurship. It seems it’s a trend to be an entrepreneur. Book a dot com, advertise on facebook and boom! An entrepreneur is born! It’s more complicated than anything else. Biggest challenges I guess are acceptance, being honest to yourself, focus on the problem and not the solution and then of course prioritization of tasks.”