Huge amount of content, difficult to find relevant stuff: Vishal Dutta, co-founder DrumUp

The major opportunity is solving a largely unsolved content discovery problem - both on the professional and business side, and in a way allowing the users to claim their own version of the web. The key challenge will be to expand to languages other than English as we expand geographically.

Jun 16, 2015 04:06 IST India Infoline News Service Anil Mascarenhas |

Vishal Dutta is co-founder of DrumUp and was previously co-founder of Godot Media. Prior to this he was a management consultant at Accenture. An IIT Delhi from the 2001 batch and IIM Lucknow from 2005 batch, he was instrumental in setting up a content discovery and social media scheduling platform called DrumUp.
 
DrumUp is an intelligent content discovery app for professionals and small businesses to track their industry, get a daily digest of news and keep up their social presence. The founders are IIT/IIM graduates who have been in the digital content space for several years. The company is based in Bangalore. It launched its first solution geared towards social sharing for businesses. The second product is a daily news digest app for professionals that the company is working on.
 
In an interaction with Anil Mascarenhas of IIFL, Vishal Dutta says, “There is a huge amount of content being generated online today and it is becoming increasingly difficult for businesses and professionals to figure out what’s most relevant for them.”

How did you conceive the idea of DrumUp? Any experiences which led to develop the same.
There is a huge amount of content being generated online today and it is becoming increasingly difficult for businesses and professionals to figure out what’s most relevant for them. This became evident to us was when we were developing content marketing and social media campaigns for our clients. Content discovery becomes even more important when the online presence depends on the content that you share with your followers on social media. Realising this need gap, we started working on solving the problem. DrumUp is the result of several months of effort invested in building a powerful content discovery engine that recommends the most relevant and personalized content to a user. 
 
Explain to us your business model. Who is your target customer? Comment on how you cater to the Sme segment.
We are in the process of rolling out a freemium pricing model, where users pay a higher amount for access to additional features. Based on this tiered system, we are going after three target segments: professionals, SMBs and enterprises - all three of which have a need to make sense of the huge amounts of content being published on the web. This kind of targeting and pricing model has already been proven to work for most SAAS (software as a service) businesses.

Do you find a willingness among users to pay for an app?
Yes, a lot of our users are power users who use the app on a daily basis and are willing to pay for it. 

Which are the sectors you cater to? What is your USP?
We are focusing on professional content - news relevant to different industries or interest groups. Within that context, we are agnostic to sectors. Our USP is our content discovery engine, which uses a number of techniques like machine learning and natural language processing to make sure that we surface content that’s most relevant to each unique user. As the user interacts with the system, we get better and better at understanding his or her references and make content recommendations accordingly. 

To what extent are you able to give measurable results. Any anecdotes you can share?
We measure the success of our app through the number of posts shared through it on social media channels like Twitter and Facebook. That number is about to reach 100,000 shares/month. In terms of measurability at the user’s end, we will soon be launching an analytics dashboard where the user can see how the content recommended by DrumUp performed on different channels. 
 
One of our users, a US based boutique design agency, was having a hard time keeping up their social media presence because of the amount of time it took to curate relevant content to share, and the team did not have a dedicated resource to spend hours on this. After signing up for DrumUp, they started getting the most important stories of the day based on their themes in their Inbox and also readily accessible on the app. They now spend a few minutes daily going through the daily recommendations and scheduling posts for their social media accounts from DrumUp. They are able to maintain a much stronger social presence and are also seeing increased engagement from their followers.

What is the price range for your solutions?
Being a freemium model, It will range from $0 to about $2000/month.
 
What are the opportunities and challenges for your company?
The major opportunity is solving a largely unsolved content discovery problem - both on the professional and business side, and in a way allowing the users to claim their own version of the web. The key challenge will be to expand to languages other than English as we expand geographically. 

Comment on your financials. Have you achieved break-even.
We have an extremely low burn rate and reaching profitability very quickly is a key goal for us.

What is the shareholding pattern. Any plans to dilute stake? Any estimate on the valuation of the company?
100% of the stake is owned by the promoters right now. We are now beginning conversations with investors who share our vision and would like to be a part of the DrumUp journey. 

What is your employee strength? Your geographical spread?
Our current team consists of 11 people, including full time employees and interns from top institutes like IITs. We are focused on US and UK right now, India is the next market we are working on.

Comment on your marketing initiatives.
We have a lot of experience in online marketing and that is the most relevant channel for us - including outreach, organic presence, as well as display and search advertising. 

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