Life is ever-changing and cyclic, like a season. In an instant, fortunes can be changed and lives enriched or destroyed. You never know what hand fate will deal you. We all experience varying degrees of struggles in our daily lives and respond – how we rise, each time we fall…determines the outcome. Proving this right is the story of a simple person, who chose to do things differently and believes in the simple values of dedication, knowledge, courage and trust. Losing his father at 13 and experiencing hardships firsthand indelibly impacted Ramesh Sinha. Overnight, he saw his family transformed into lower middle class and started working just after 10th std exams. A serial entrepreneur with total confidence, Ramesh is always questioning set norms and embracing change. With an idea, guts and grit he sired his new venture: SHARKID: his co-founders are Jignesh Patel and Rakesh Sinha . Ramesh succeeded in getting 60,000 downloads by May , 2017.
The world we live in has so many platforms, communication channels that we have ended up with minimum dozen odd identities/coordinates i.e. mobile, phone, fax, IP Phone, website url, email id, social handles FB, Twitter, Instagram & so on, address, biz card.
As a species, Shark is the only animal that connect to all the continents, so Sharkid is also a global id which will synch all your social identities seamlessly into a unique ID. With Shark ID, users can share all their contact coordinates by sharing just their name and hence SharkID – your global ID.
A nature lover, Ramesh opines: “Fall in love with your idea. Treat your idea like a super model girlfriend, there will be many people in the race to win her heart, but she will go with one who loves her the most, one who is most committed, one who is most passionate. Bet everything you have, Risk it all. Entrepreneurs don’t get to blame other for failures , they are their own boss “
This multitalented entrepreneur is a runner , biker/cyclist and prefers non-urban destinations for vacationing. He has a clear vision for for the future, hoping to cross 1 Million downloads in the 1st year.
Lets meet the founder of SharkID and hear their story till now.
1. What is the Name of Your Venture? Any specific reason for this name?
Our Venture is called SharkID – Shark Identity Private Limited.
The world we live in has so many platforms, communication channels that we have ended up with minimum dozen odd identities/coordinates i.e. mobile, phone, fax, IP Phone, website url, email id, social handles FB, Twitter, Instagram & so on, address, biz card & so on We wanted to make it a Smart phonebook app that replaces all other coordinates.
SharkID is about facilitating enablement – we wanted our users to be able to share all their contact coordinates by sharing just their name and hence SharkID – your global ID.
As a species, Shark is the only animal that connect to all the continents, hence we combined Shark & ID and coined word SharkID.
My SharkID is ~ramesh. It also doubles up as my mobile, phone, fax, IP Phone, website url, email id, social handles, address, biz card, emergency contact & so on.
SharkID Use cases
Share SharkID to share all your contact coordinates
Feeling hungry, order pizza by typing just ~Dominoes
Want to register/enroll, just scan your SharkID.
2. Who is your target Audience/clients?
A. Every individual who owns a Smart Phone is my target audience.
B. Any and Every type of business entity is my target audience. Feeling hungry, type PizzaHut& dial. You do not need to have a number to call someone. For companies, their brand is their SharkID.
C. Every professional is my target audience. No need to print, share business cards. Your ID is your business card
3. Where is your venture based (city, state, country) & What are your geographical target areas?
We are based at Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India.
For first year our focus is to get 1 Million users from India.
Once we achieve 1 Million users, we will expand to other countries.
4. What problems does your venture resolve? What are your products or services?
- We all have smart phones but we are always manually updating the apps, services, etc…>SharkID is a self-updating phonebook, so if your friend/contact changes his number or job, you will get his new contact coordinates, automatically.
- We all have multiple contact coordinates but we rarely share >Now all your contact coordinates get seamlessly merged &shared – just give your sharkID, mine is~ramesh. (~ tilde)?denoteSharkID.
When strangers call, we are lost/confused>With SharkID when strangers call, you’ll not only know who the person is (Caller ID) but also know how they are connected with your phone contacts (Mutual Connections)
We don’t know who has our number > With “Who has my number” feature one can know how many people have stored our number but I don’t have theirs.For example, a Girl can know how many boys in her college have her number
No Tele caller spamming > With SharkID, when you block a contact in your SharkID phonebook, your number from his SharkID phonebook gets deleted. Since telecaller won’t have your number, he won’t call you back or share with other callers.
Power to divorce your Telco/ISP >We don’t change our contact coordinates because we do not want to go out of touch. With SharkID you never go out of touch as we will keep your contact coordinates updated in world’s phonebook. With SharkID, you can change your number daily.
We all maintain phone number separately > With SharkIDit’s crowd sourced & collaborative. E.g. one can create directories of Family, Friend, Colleagues, Buyers, Suppliers, Society members, sports & hobbies Groups, etc. and every member in the group can view contact cards, if public. If private, friend request can be sent to view card.
5. Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it came to an existence? What motivated you to start your own venture?
I am a serial entrepreneur, having built 2 companies (abcprocure &etl ) over the last 20 years. After working for more than 20 years, I took my first sabbatical. I took a year off, bought a Harley and went on a tour. In between I ran out of my biz cards. Though I had a smart phone, I realised I had to depend on printed business cards to share contact coordinates. Being a nature-lover, , I felt the urge to make business cards obsolete from the planet, just like inland letters & Post cards have become obsolete. I started with the idea to make a smart phonebook but, like ideas whose time has come, over a period of time it evolved into much more than just a smart phonebook.
6. Who are your biggest competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
This problem is a universal one and many are trying to solve it in their own way. 99% of the people are currently managing their phonebook manually which proves that there is no one concrete solution available today.
There are other smart phonebooks but then there is just one SharkID.
We are trying to build a social network around the phonebook, because unlike social media, contacts in our phonebook are real people, whom we have spoken to, met or would like to meet.
7. How did you identify your co-founder? Tell us some thing about your co-founder/s
The cofounder is Jignesh Patel, Owner Silver Touch Technologies Limited, a 200 Cr IT company based of Ahmedabad. He was my supplier & we ended up becoming biz acquaintances. I just shared my idea with him and he showed interest in joining. After few meetings we joined hands.
8. How did you hired your first team members? What skills Do you want in your employees/team?
As my co-founder has an IT firm employing 1000+ people, it was easy for us to identify the core team & depute them on this project. Eventually we started hiring people on our own to fulfil the needs of the project as it evolved.
We are actively looking for skills in machine learning, OS level programmers, UX experts, new database specialist like Graph, senior IOS & Android developers, etc. We need minimum of 7 years of experience in each area.
9. What are your goals over the next 1, 3, 6 and 12 months?
We formed SharkID in August 2016.
It took us 7 months to develop the minimum viable product (MPV).
Beta version of the app was out in March 2017.
By May, 2017 we had 60,000 Downloads.
We launched our new version on 15 August 2017 and expect to close the fiscal with 1 million downloads.
10. What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years, next 5 years?
Our 5 years plan is as follows
Year 1/ March 18 – 1 Million downloads
Year 2/ March 19 – 10 Million downloads
Year 3/ March 20 – 50 Million downloads
Year 4/ March 21 – 100 Million downloads
Year 5/ March 22 – 400 Million downloads
11. Where do you want to see yourself in next 10 years?
We see ourselves as the default phonebook of the planet. We want to eventually launch our own chat messenger, internet calling, etc. to support Billion calls/messages daily. We want to be Global Aadhar Card and eventually also provide vault to store government ID like Passport, Aadhar Card, driving license, etc. We expect to reach 2 Billion users in next 10 years.
We want to make Website URLs, email ids, Phone numbers as redundant as IP address. We want to save a million trees and impact climate change by making biz cards obsolete.
12. Have you raised any funding? Or have any plans for the funding?
Shark ID is a joint venture of e-Procurement Technologies Limited & Silver Touch Technologies Limited. As of now we are boot strapped but both companies have agreed to chip in enough till we don’t achieve our 1 million downloads marks.
13. What were the problems you faced during the starting days and how did you resolve them?
Human Resource – Hiring the engineering team was challenging as every software professional we interviewed had a dozen offer letters on hand. Talent recruitment and fit, retention and attrition are always a concern in the tech industry and more so in the Start-Up space. Initially we got teams from our parent companies, outsourced few modules & eventually managed to get few people join us.
Time – We thought it would be an easy journey, but it took us 7 months, multiple iterations to develop our first minimum viable product. Every day brings newer directions and challenges. It is still a work in progress for us.
14. What was the most challenging part of your journey till now? How did you overcome those challenges?
1. No one wanted to be the first user? We participated in exhibitions, interacted with 1000’s of people and got our first 100 tech savvy users.
- People didn’t want yet one more app? We reworked on our app & reduce the app size to less than 10 MB such that it was easier to download & occupied less space.
We thought that corporate & professionals will love our product but they were the one who had loads of reservations. So we shifted our focus to students, added few features that will attract them & started pitching SharkID to them.
15. Are you married, single or in a relationship?
Married with 2 Kids Boys aged 18 & 14 years, both have same birth date, so I am good with planning.
16. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
1. I cultivate bonsai. I founded my own bonsai group called Indian Bonsai group on FB with 20000 members.
2. I am a runner, cyclist & Biker
3. I have a capsule wardrobe
4. I am toying with idea to make money obsolete from this planet. #culfofhappiness. I plan to launch cult of happiness 1stcommune in 2018 where money & barter in any form will be banned. Commune will provide stay, food, education, entertainment, transport, clothes, power/gas to members absolutely free. While startup are working to become next billion dollar venture, my next startup #cultofhappiness will work towards making money obsolete.
17. What’s your favorite food & holiday destination?
I eat to live. So anything organic/inorganic chalega
Any place that is not urban is my ideal vacation nation.
18. Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?
I am motivated by thousands of people. Every TEDEX speaker leaves me awed. Everyone is so much better than me.
19. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Entrepreneurs don’t get to blame other for failures.As an employee you can blame on product, market, team, HR policy, infrastructure, etc. As an entrepreneur you are responsible for everything. You get all the blame if you fail, but if you succeed you share it with your team.
20. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Be more futuristic and not live for just today, tomorrow, week or year.
Have bigger than life Goals
Make more friends, Collaborate more, network more
Read more, Learn more.
Take bigger risks, fear less.
21. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & Social life?
Yes. It’s the best thing that happened to me.
I can provide more for my family.
I get to spend more time with my family.
I am good at delegating. The first thing I do is hire my own boss, who can run business in my absence with authority. Such that I am free to focus on tomorrow & not spend time fire fighting present issues.
22. Anything, you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
Fall in love with your idea. Treat your idea like a super model GF, there will be many people in the race to win her heart, but she will go with one who loves her the most, one who is most committed, one who is most passionate.
Bet everything you have, Risk it all.
23. Tell us something about your education & family background.
I lost my dad when I was 13. That turned our family lower middle class, overnight. I started working just after appearing for 10th exams.Adversity rocks.
24. What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other start-ups in similar domains.
I am crazy.
I just don’t see myself as failing. I am overconfident.
I have enough bad experience under my belt
I am burning my own cash, and am cautious
25. What do you think is the biggest threat to the success of small businesses & Start-ups today?
Global Resources are easily available and hence this is the best time to become an entrepreneur.
26. Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
I have no grudges. My wish bucket is empty.
The best yardstick of success for me is when customer renews their services with you, employees stick around & chase same goals. I have been lucky that a lot of my initial employees are still working with me.
As far as SharkID is considered, it still has to go on to become a Billion user app in my lifetime.
27. Please share complete name, address, phone number, email id & website of Your Business & Contact Person
Ramesh Sinha – Founder – [email protected]
Jignesh Patel – Director / Co-Founder [email protected]
Rakesh Sinha – Director/ Co-Founder [email protected]
Rakesh Sinha – https://www.linkedin.com/in/rakesh-sinha-7b393817/
Jignesh Patel – https://www.linkedin.com/in/jigneshstl/
Ramesh Sinha – https://www.linkedin.com/in/sinharamesh/
~Ramesh – Ramesh Sinha
~OnlyJP -Jignesh Patel
[email protected] – Rakesh Sinha