Kalyan Manyam Talks About Mojostreet And The Road Ahead

Kalyan Manyam CEO of Mojostreet talks about the social discovery app, the global expansion plans, location based market and road ahead.

Social networks today don’t have only massive numbers to boast about but also the humongous data that they are collecting daily. Facebook may be a simple network for me and my friends but for Zuckerberg it is a platform that holds large behavioural data, which is being used to generate revenues and will keep doing so.

In addition to social networks, location based platforms have the same potential. So when recently Mojostreet was in the news for its global expansion, I was curious to find out more about the location based app that today brands as a social discovery platform. Mojostreet was always targeted for the global audience from day one and was not built keeping in mind the Indian audience only, shared Kalyan Manyam, CEO of Mojostreet.

Global expansion

Kalyan explained that the global expansion is being carried out in two phases. The first stage started with building a product keeping in mind the international standard and creating a powerful social layer which was achieved while they built their local data in India. Kalyan further added that,

“We have partnered with multiple countries to obtain local data. So if you explore the app from any part of the country, finding a place is easy since you don’t need to create a place anymore.”

The second phase is creating a deeper integration with the local data which will happen as we see more traction from different countries along with India. The app for now is seeing a good traction and downloads from countries such as US, UK, Malayasia and Singapore with India leading among them, shared Kalyan.

Shift to social discovery platform

The two-phased approach is  a smart way of growing when you are attacking the global markets. Nevertheless, Mojostreet has been in this space for a while but when it was launched the app was more about gamification along with location based features. Kalyan agreed that going the gamifiation route was to get the initial traction. However, he highlighted that the traction was there and users were contributing to the product but they were not consuming and the product’s vision was getting lost.

“We re-shaped the entire app and focused more on discovery of places. The focus was getting the local discovery right and we also added the social layer along with it. So we were back to the main motive of Mojosteet i.e. discovery of places.”

Plans for feature phone market

The re-shaping of the product was required and the recent addition of features to the app has really made it ready to hit the international markets. The app definitely is a breeze from usability aspect but has ignored the feature phone market which is still a big market in India and in developing countries.

“Agreed, feature phone market is big and we are going to surely look at it in the coming future. We initially targeted the smartphone users in the country which is also gaining numbers. However we have a WAP version which could be accessed by feature phones and also have a web version. One can carry out most of the features of Mojostreet from these versions. ”

Integration of brands with Mojostreet

Feature phone definitely is a big market still and it’s encouraging to see that Mojostreet is available in all spheres. But location based marketing apps have struggled to prove a major business use case specially in India. Foursquare way back formed an association with Café Coffee Day but then that was it. Mojostreet, on the other hand, have worked hard on minimizing the gap between brands and users. In the past they had several tie ups like IPL team Deccan Chargers, Cafe Coffee Day, etc.

Additionally, Kalyan updated that for a year and half they have been working with more than 600 brands. But he highlighted that brand signups with Mojostreet was never a problem but the challenge was the serviceability of an offer for a user.

“Let us say that we tied up with a Café store that provided 25% on every second checkin. The agreement is signed between our app and the café, the user checks in and asks for an offer at the counter. The problem starts here as often we have seen that either the staff is new who has not been trained or the staff who was trained is no more working. These problems leave a bad taste in the consumers mouth. So after noticing such problems which are not in our hands we have restricted only to work with trusted merchants. We are going to carry the same format while we integrate with brands internationally too.”

Additional revenue sources

Before we winded up our conversation, Kalyan also added that the other revenue streams that are being looked at to open up in India is location based advertising and contextual ads. I am not surprised by this move as they are collecting such massive data that can be used in multiple ways.

“Possibilities are immense since we are collecting tremendous amount of data regularly. Tomorrow we can also suggest Starbucks where they should open a coffee shop in Hyderabad with the power of our data”, informs Kalyan quite positively.

Mojostreet is just not a mobile app but a platform that is also consolidating immense data that can be used in a number of ways. Foursquare are you aware buddy!