Featured Startup Pitch: Pune, India-based uFony’s Zoment app makes messaging more contextual based on delivery time and location
Headquarters: Pune, India
Year Founded: 2012
Founder: Ashish Chaturvedi
Investors: The Chennai Angels
Brief Company Description: uFony, the company behind Zoment, is dedicated to making communication more personal and contextual. We enable users to ‘choose the moment to get heard.’
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Zoment is a context-messaging app available for iOS and Android phones. What is context messaging you may wonder? Here is what we think—
‘Everything in the world is beautiful depending on the context. A school bell sounds irritating at 9am but the same bell sounds melodious at 4pm.’ –by Unknown.
Zoment lets you choose a right context, be it time or location, for your message. So, a voice greeting from your loved one arriving at midnight on your birthday or a reminder from your wife listing things to buy delivered right when you are near a grocery store become more meaningful with Zoment.
1. Zoment for that efficient professional in you—
You can use Zoment as a tool to set meeting reminders, scheduling work based on employee location and timely information delivery for meetings.
You can also use Zoment to effectively communicate with your clients and colleagues who work across different time zones. Message scheduling ensures that your messages get delivered during their work hours, thus not disturbing them in their personal lives.
2. Zoment for that street-smart person in you—
You can use Zoment to leave location specific tips–places to see, food to try, things to buy etc. for your friends who are in the same location, or who may visit that location in future. It’s an innovative way to share your footprints with your friends.
3. Zoment for that caring family person in you—
You can wish your loved ones well in your voice on their birthday, anniversary and other key occasions using Zoment. You can also use Zoment to send timely reminders (such as reminding your mom at 8am sharp to take her medicine) to your loved ones.
I conceptualized uFony as a ‘customized caller tunes’ service during my MBA days at IIM Calcutta. While researching, my initial idea evolved into a context-messaging platform. I was convinced that it was going to be a useful product and registered the company in June 2012.
A B.Tech from HBTI Kanpur and MBA (PGPEX) from IIM-Calcutta, I call myself a jack-of-all-trades. Working with Fortune 50 companies in telecom and retail sectors in diverse roles such as that of strategy planning, operations, product management, financial management and marketing, I was always told that I should focus on a single expertise. However, I resisted and never spent more than eighteen months in a single role; thus upgrading my skills continuously in a corporate career spanning more than a decade.
As a CEO I now look back and feel that it was good on my part that I didn’t take those suggestions seriously! Today, my job requires me to handle all aspects of business simultaneously, be it product management, marketing, user experience design, or finance, and the knowledge acquired while playing those past roles is coming in handy now.
Our first goal is to create awareness about the concept of context messaging and how it can help people make their communications more effective. In order to achieve that we are trying to make the user experience extremely simple and pleasant, thus leading to adoption.
We also have built some viral mechanisms in Zoment. Through one of them users get automatically connected with their phonebook friends who too are using Zoment. Second, users can invite their phonebook contacts by sending them a pre-populated SMS/email easily.
Apart from this we are trying a three-prong marketing strategy to acquire an initial user base—
1. Organic PR
2. Social media marketing.
3. Offline in colleges, events and other offline forums.
One out of four people (based on a survey we did with 400 people in our target group) we surveyed expressed a need for the ability to schedule their messages for either time or location as they kept forgetting to act at the right moments.
Assuming that our lives will become busier as the days go by, we feel this need to communicate at the right moment will become critical.
We think context messaging could be a USD $2 billion market by 2015-2016.
How We Differentiate
Competition such as WhatsApp and Viber is focusing on real-time messaging whereas our focus is on context messaging, which is driven by location and time-based message scheduling. Of course you can also do real-time messaging with Zoment.
We are looking for two avenues for revenue generation—
1. Freemium model where we will provide premium services and content via subscriptions and in-app purchases;
2. Contextual ads for free users.
We are looking to hire the tech lead for our India operations. The person should be an expert in ASP.net MVC (Entity framework, LINQ, WCF) and should help us scale our systems fast, as we intend to scale up our user base. We acquired Seed funding from The Chennai Angels. We are looking to raise our first VC round in the next few months.
uFony – www.zoment.com