IamHere is a hyperlocal social network to discover, connect and engage in the neighbourhood for hobby, interest or profession. By bringing together people, businesses and NGOs and giving them a platform of chats, stories and events, we are breaking the neighbourhood boundaries.
Naren Kumar, Co-Founder and CEO of IamHere is talking about his startup and how it differs from other social media platforms.
There are plenty of social media platforms and why would someone choose IamHere?
Technology today does a good job of connecting us with people across the globe, but it falls short of connecting us with people near us. For example, Facebook connects us with our friends, LinkedIn with our professional network, Instagram with our interests, but what do we do to connect with our neighbours?
There are multiple WhatsApp groups, noticeboards, paper slip-ins, newspaper inserts. It’s all very unstructured today. IamHere is a location-first social network that brings together people within neighbourhoods and communities for social collaboration and local commerce. We are digitizing neighbourhoods and communities for hobby, business and social causes.
Meetup is similar to your business model. What is the USP of IamHere?
Meetup is a great platform for events. Where Meetup fails is in the people discovery. One of the things we want to do in our neighbourhood is events. But we want to know who is in our neighbourhood, we want to connect with them, we want to ask questions, we want to post something for our neighbours to see.
IamHere also has events, we even integrate with Meetup, but that’s only one part of the collaboration story on IamHere. On IamHere, you can know who is nearby and what is happening nearby. The “who” could be a person, a business, even an NGO. The “what” could be an event, a sale, a business promotion, a social campaign, even a class. Just think of what you would want to do in your neighbourhood outside of your home, IamHere brings that for you.
What is the role of AI in building this Hyperlocal Social Network?
AI can help in multiple ways for a hyperlocal social network. One, there is a lot of data out there already on the internet, we don’t need to recreate them. We need to compile them and make sense out of them. Two, we need to learn from everyday user interactions and fine tune recommendations so users can have a personal experience on the network. Three, we need to monitor user behaviour to maintain the integrity of the network so users will not be disappointed while they interact. In each of these use cases, AI can play a significant role.
How do you ensure the communication goes beyond map based discovery?
Map-based discovery leading to 1-1 chats is only 25% of the engagement on IamHere. Another 25% comes from physical touch points through transactions, events and such activities. The remaining 50% is on the wall where people are posting about their hobby or business, people are asking or answering questions, or they are discovering deals, events or jobs near them.
What is the roadmap for IamHere?
We are augmenting the platform with videos soon. We are rolling out a full-fledged marketplace suite on which businesses can build their storefront or catalogue and users can transact and order. We will be tying up with delivery companies for users who want to opt for delivery. This marketplace suite will extend even to events where the booking can happen through the platform.
We are extending our public community model of the neighbourhood to the private community model of apartments and associations, because our goal is to connect people nearby, it doesn’t matter whether that’s next door in the apartment or next street in the neighbourhood. We are 300K users now and have started clocking revenues. We will be crossing 1 million users in the next 6 months with some good revenues as well.
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