At the age of seven Snehal Shinde along with his twin brother Swapnil Shinde built his first online game with basic programming on a Wipro computer with 100 KB of RAM. From their early childhood, both the brothers were pretty much clear that their future lies in computers.
Born in Pune and then later moving to Nashik, both the very much inseparable brothers went for computer engineering at COEP Pune. The choice was obvious for both of them, shared Snehal when I met him at the Dhingana office in Pune recently.
Today Snehal is VP at Rdio, a global online streaming site that had acquired Dhingana earlier during the year; Dhingana was an online music streaming site co-founded by the brothers in 2007. Dhingana, a Marathi word meaning joy and zeal was built out of love for Bollywood and provided a variety of Indian music to listeners worldwide. It offered a library of over 1 million free on-demand songs, in over 42 Indian languages and genres. By the month of Dec 2013, Dhingana had over 10 million active unique users with pretty much zero marketing efforts.
In this first part of the conversation, Snehal talks about his early childhood days, his bond with Swapnil, going to the US, doing computer engineering and his enriching work experience at Yahoo. Working at Yahoo media especially became the base for starting up Dhingana at a time when hardly any Indian startup was venturing into a challenging market like online streaming.
Both brothers’ love for Bollywood music and focus on product and technology helped scale Dhingana to great heights in a short span of three years.
Click on the video to watch and listen to some very interesting thoughts from Snehal. The second and final part will have him talking about his startup’s exit, challenges in the online streaming business, role at Rdio and the road ahead.