“The future of publishing is about maximising your revenue potential by keeping visitors hooked to your website for as long as possible. You are fighting against the likes of Facebook and Twitter and only the most determined publishers will survive through these turbulent but exciting times”
From the days of reading stories and news on paper, we have come a really long way. Nobody today has time or patience to browse through newspapers or magazines. The internet has disrupted traditional media. This is where online publishers play a major role. Every traditional news outlet from The Times of India to the New York Times today has web and mobile presence. However, they are not able to keep the visitors on their website to stay for long. This is where Ravi Mittal comes in with his product Vuukle that has taken the online media world by storm.
Ravi Mittal has come out with a unique product called Vuukle that solves this problem faced by online publishers. Mr. Mittal has developed audience engagement tools through which he is able to retain the visitors to the website spend more time on it. He uses powerful widgets like comments, sharing, recommendation engine and analytics to achieve this. Ranked 3rd in India and 7th Worldwide, this product has already proved its success. He did face initial hiccups in convincing Indian publishers to accept his product developed in Silicon Valley. But once he was able to get The Hindu on board, there was no looking back.
Let’s read more about this unique toolkit of Ravi Mittal that is taking the internet media by storm.
- What is the Name of Your Venture?
2. Who is your target Audience?
Online Publishers of news and content such as online news websites, blogs and websites that post viral content.
3. Where is your venture based (city, state, country) at & What are your target areas?
We have sales offices in Palo Alto, California; London, UK and New Delhi, India.
Our target market is worldwide.
4. What problems does your venture solve? What are your products or services?
Online publishers today are not able to sufficiently engage their website visitors to stay longer. Most web traffic originates from social media and returns to it. We provide audience engagement tools which dramatically increase the total user session time spend on publisher’s website.
Our main product Vuukle is an audience engagement system that comprises of several powerful and fast loading widgets: comments, sharing, recommendation engine and analytics.
5. Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it come to existence?
Back then I was based in London and used to travel by train to work. I noticed many people reading magazines during their journey and later on discussing their opinions at work, during lunch or online social media. I wanted to express my opinions but not just for my friends and family to read rather have an impact on the global online community. We wanted to bring discussions live on publisher websites. Vuukle is all about vocalizing your opinion on the internet. We started working closely with a select group of customers to understand their pain points and slowly incorporated many of them as features in Vuukle. Over the last 2 years we have launched various new widgets like the Emoji Reaction widget, sharing tool widget, real time analytics and many more are in the pipeline.
6. How did you identify your co-founder?
I have no co-founder.
7. What expansion plans are you looking at in the next 2 years, next 5 years?
We are ranked 3rd in India and 7th Worldwide by comScore in distributed software service provider category. Our focus is to challenge the incumbent market leader in the North American and European markets.
8. Where do you want to see yourself in next 5 years?
We want to power 25% of the Internet by Vuukle Audience Engagement system.
9. Have you raised any funding? Or have any plans for the funding?
We are a self-funded company. Currently, several media investors in Silicon Valley are pursuing us to raise investments but we are taking it slow. We are here for the long run and we understand that raising too much money too quickly could be lethal as well. If you look at the Indian start up ecosystem, it is over funded and we are already seeing the early signs of a crash. We will raise funding from a strategic partner when the time comes.
10. What were the problems you faced during the starting days and how did you resolve them?
The fundamental problem was getting the publishers in India to try out a technology that was developed in Silicon Valley and they had never heard of! Indian media companies are not early adopters. We had to struggle a lot to get them to see value in partnering with an external technology company so that they can focus on their core business. Luckily, we met the fabulous team at The Hindu, which became our first big client. Most of the products were developed while helping The Hindu team solve their problems.
11. Are you married, single or are you in a relationship?
I am single. Hopefully, not for a long time.
12. What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
An entrepreneur has no “non-work time”. That said, I am a keen fitness enthusiast. I consistently work on my body by practicing a mix of strength training, interval training, Yoga and dancing.
I love traveling to new countries for my work and manage to take out time to explore the local cuisine and culture.
13. What’s your favorite food & holiday destination?
I love Korean food. Favorite holiday destination is California – Silicon Valley.
14. Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?
It has become fashionable these days to worship Steve Jobs! But I have always looked up to Bill Gates and Richard Branson. Some of my favorite books are those written by Branson and I have learned a lot from him.
15. What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
An entrepreneur feels more ownership. He takes responsibility. He does not give up. Ever.
16. If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
Probably, I would dabble into stand-up comedy! My friends think I am funny 🙂
17. How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & Social life?
It has been tough. Working on a start-up does take a toll on relationships and family. There are times when I really felt that the route of entrepreneurship is the hardest of all. But I just could not think of giving up. That is not in my dictionary. In retrospect, those friends and family who really matter always support you and never leave you alone.
18. Anything, you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
Stay the course. Stay focused. The journey is longer than you think but it is worth it.
19. Tell us something about your education & family background.
I was brought up in London until the age of 10. I moved back to India with my parents and finished my schooling from St. Columba’s Delhi. I received an opportunity to study at The Imperial College London to pursue Information Systems engineering, after graduating with a 1st Class honors degree in 2008. I had the opportunity to work at Goldman Sachs London for a short while. My family is based in Delhi, India.
20. What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other start-ups in similar domains?
Vuukle is World’s first audience engagement system to partner with Google to provide their spam and troll detection AI technology to online publishers. We are technologically superior, our widgets load super fast and our database is infinitely scalable. But in the end, our durable advantage is that we are ethical and transparent about our business model. For instance, our biggest competitor was recently caught off guard when they tried to slip in ads on their clients without informing them! We would never dream of doing such a thing. Perhaps, all this is because, we are not under the pressure of external investors who are here for a quick buck. We are committed to our clients for the longest haul.
21. Please share complete name, address, phone number, email id & website of Your Business & Contact Person