Death claims all – that’s a painful but irrefutable reality. But what will happen after one passes away and the memory fades gradually? The truth is we tend to forget even our dear ones and very little information will be available about the deceased when the future generations try to look up the person. Yes, we know there are millions of virtual profiles on Facebook
, profiles of people who are dead and gone but whose social accounts have not been deleted. And there are sites like MyDeathSpace.com who keep a track of such profiles. But then, there are more people outside the reach of social media who are dying every day and it is time that their families
should actively manage their digital legacies. The same goes for the netizens active on social media. Instead of letting them rot in digital oblivion on some social site or other, why shouldn’t the people concerned try and cherish their memory in a more effective manner?
That’s exactly what Shradhanjali.com
is trying to accomplish. This 20-month old start-up from Rajkot
, claims to have started India’s first ‘memorial’ portal where family/friends can dedicate a page to the deceased, along with all necessary information. Each profile page is an archive of sorts where you can find all you want to know about the person – right from information about his/her personal and professional life to photographs
, family tree and more. What’s more, people from all over the world can post their messages and condolences
on that profile page, making sure the person stays alive in our memory even though he/she is no longer living.
The site’s USP is the information and the emotional value it generates, but the scope is immense, even from a business point of view. India’s current population is estimated to be 1.27 billion while the death rate stands at 7.4/1,000 people. That’s a huge number since the start-up is targeting every Indian household. Curious to know what all you can do on Shradhanjali.com? Here is a snapshot that captures the start-up’s vision and viability. Who runs Shradhanjali.com:
Two co-founders – Vivek Vyas
and Vimal Popat
. Vivek is a first-generation entrepreneur
with more than 7 years of experience in sales and training. He holds a postgraduate degree in Management and prior to starting Shradhanjali, held several leadership positions in the bancassurance space. Vimal, a Commerce graduate, has more than a decade’s exposure to concept development, execution, testing, man management and sales/marketing before he started his entrepreneurial journey with Shradhanjali. The duo conceptualised the whole thing back in 2010 and the site went live in June 2011. What inspired the venture:
A chance incident. The duo had their lunch wrapped in a newspaper page and a cursory glance made them realise that it featured obituaries. “That’s a shocking revelation,” recalls Vivek. “Those newspaper pages were not the right medium for remembering people who are gone forever. We realised that a more sustainable platform is required – something like a website that will be always there and that can feature a lot of information about the person while friends and families can access it from anywhere in the world. Moreover, it will be less expensive than the Print media,” he adds.
According to Vivek, the real pain point is that very little information about our ancestors
is available on the Internet and the young generations don’t have the means to find out more about their roots or ancestors. “That’s when the idea of Shradhanjali.com came to our mind – a handy digital platform where one can share everything about the deceased and start a digital family tree
that will never die out,” he explains. What’s the pitch:
Shradhanjali.com is India’s first ever memorial portal
which helps one relive the memories of the loved ones and know one’s ancestors. It should become a family archive
that every Indian household will love and cherish. “We can learn a lot from the lives of those who had passed away. Our ancestors had their achievements, struggles and life lessons, and these should be handed down to the generations to come. We are glad that technology can make it happen this time,” says Vivek. How it works:
Shradhanjali operates in the B2C
space and the user interface is as simple as can be. But before you start uploading information about the deceased, you have to fill in the registration form and make the payment (right now, you can’t register online
but the service will be available soon) to become a registered member. Once that is done, a member can create a profile page for the deceased and post all relevant information, including family details and a special mention about the deceased’s contribution towards his/her family, community and society.
You can also upload unlimited photographs (along with captions) and videos, and choose a piece of religious music to be embedded with the page as background music. Now that the profile page is ready, anyone can post special messages and condolences on that page, even in regional languages. Even biographies
can be featured in various regional languages. You can also set up e-mail reminders about birthdays and death anniversaries. In brief, the profile page becomes a ready reference resource
that can be kept up-to-date without any hassle. Claim to fame:
The uniqueness of the concept. Although there are similar sites globally, such as Ourlovedones.com, Tributes.com and Legacy.com, Shradhanjali is a unique venture in India and has found its place in India Book of Records
. Show me the money: Revenue generation
happens through paid subscriptions
but the co-founders are quite determined not to display any advertisement on the site. “We don’t accept any advertisement for maintaining the decorum. Our portal should be a step above the rest as we are here to show our respect for those who are dead and gone from our life,” they note. As of now, the paid membership costs Rs 5,000 and is valid for a span of 30 years.
The start-up is currently bootstrapped but will be raising funds in the next 4-5 months. “We are looking for early-stage VC funding
for business expansion and hope to raise it by the first half of 2014,” says Vivek. The company also targets operational break-even by the end of this calendar year. “As we can’t earn ad revenues
, we have tied up with several agencies to market this service to a wider audience base. We are also coming up with a franchise model
that will help us break even
and reach profitability
at the earliest,” informs Vivek. Biggest challenge:
At this point, the co-founders are not too worried about competition as there is no Indian site offering similar services. However, creating awareness among people is one of the biggest challenges. Shradhanjali is also working on its technology platform
and looking for funding. “That’s how we can move to the next level. The funding
part is especially important as that will help us market
this service aggressively all over India and reach out to more people who want to subscribe to this unique memorial portal,” concludes Vivek.