Wednesday, September 21, 2011

(Cross posted from Byte Channel)

Of the many startups that try to build up a social network in one form or another, this one is different. It does not have games, apps, or sharing in circles, but has profiles and pages, and has an asymmetric sharing. Pages are for organizations and can be linked from profile pages of children, which can be followed by the second kind of members, the Godparents. is not just another internet startup. It is a platform that brings together thousands of underprivileged children in need of money for basic necessities like nutrition and education to willing donors. You would say there are numerous other organizations that do that, like CRY, Akshaya Patra, Smile Foundation et cetera. Godparents is different because it goes a step ahead and establishes a connection between the donor and the person.

By giving the child a name, a face, and a background story. And allowing you in making informed decisions on your donations, track where your money goes, how it is used, and most importantly how it impacts the lives of children that you choose to support, making a data-rich, transparent social-service-network specifically focussed at facilitating one-to-one financial support to underprivileged children.

Sample Preeti Upadhyay, who is a 10 year old girl studying in VII standard. She is good in studies and likes drawing, singing and reading stories. Her father is a daily wage labourer and mother a domestic help. She has two sisters and their parents meagre income is insufficient to meet her educational expenses. She requires a sum of Rs 8,600 per annum to take care of her school fees, uniform, books, and commute to school.

In addition to the above details, Preeti's profile page has a photo of hers, a list of her grandparents who have contributed towards her needs along with their contributions, and the NGO (with a link to the NGO page) that takes care for her.

So, establishes a three-way relationship between needy children, patrons, and NGOs.

A donor can go through the entire list of children's profiles and choose one or more of them to god parent. Every child has a total requirement and the amount left to raise. You may help a part or full of the remaining amount required. collects the money on behalf of the connected NGO, on which they have already had a due diligence done. The fund transactions are quite transparent with the incoming and outgoing funds listed on the site, including breakups of funds raised by NGO. Also accessible are regular updates on your Godchild's progress (through updates on child's profile) and the annual reports on the activities of recepient NGOs.

You can also connect to other godparents through their profile pages that have their brief bios with email ids and phone numbers If you feel good deeds should not be boasted, you can remain an anonymous Godparent. However, a public contribution adds to the transparency of the process. Your choice..

The novel idea was innovated by Shubham Shrivastava and Shivam Shrivastava. The creation and maintenance team for consists of a total of 17 volunteers, many of them IIT graduates and working in corporates in India and abroad. Apart from individuals, the effort has support from a few organizations as well. Microsoft supports under their 'BizSpark Global Startup Program', and Flipkart provides free publicity by distributing bookmarks along with the books that they sell online. As of today, the site has 15 NGOs and 415 godparents.

All the best This will make a difference. I am signing up for a god parent right away.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sound Cloud

Cross posted from Byte Channel

If you thought Google Music was cool, take a look at Sound Cloud. While Google Music, very much like all the other apps by the search engine giant, does not create/store data, but crawls the web and filters relevant data, Sound Music lets you create and share your own sounds!

SoundCloud works in the same way as Flickr; the way you click, upload and share photos in Flickr, SoundCloud lets you record, upload and share your music. And yes, very much like Flickr, you will have to buy one of the annual subscription plans available from €29 to €500 if your total tracks go longer than 120 minutes. Very much like Flickr, when you upload your music, it gives a unique url to your upload, and hence you can embed it on any website you wish to.

A short trip to the homepage, and I was impressed with the design and especially the 'Timed Comments' in the form of a waveform sitting at the centre, which I later learnt in the tour, can be generated for comments on your shared sounds as well. The footer features a list of features that SoundCloud provides, including a visualization for your sound, direct links to share it on FB, Twitter, Blogger, Wordpress and other popular websites, and connect with over 100 apps.

This Berlin-based startup had the initial intention of allowing musicians to share recordings with each other, but later transformed into a full publishing tool that allowed musicians to distribute their tracks. Over around four years, it has evolved into a general-purpose music sharing tool. I was surprised to find recent Bollywood albums like Delhi Belly and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. (Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara had its music launch just yesterday, but the album was available on Sound Cloud 10 days ago. All these albums are also available for download. I am sure they keep encountering copyright issues from time to time.

Anyway, I find this a useful site, I only wonder why is it not that popular--not popular in Indian/American circles at least, since I had never heard/read of it till last week, but the kind of music shared on this cloud tells otherwise. Google tells me they have over 3 million subscribers! I don't see any publicity for it anywhere, probably because of the European base.

While I am sceptical about the copyright infringement part of it, recalling the fate of Napster, I believe SoundCloud has a huge scope as a platform for musicians, keeping to the original intent. And I wonder why do we still not have any such startup in India/US?

  ©Template by Dicas Blogger.