Shehzad Noor Taus is the co-founder of Incogmito-one of the four startups that made it to Bangladesh Startup Cup’14 final. Incogmito is an anonymous social networking platform that lets its users to share thoughts and ideas, make confessions, post problems, ask questions without giving off their identity.
Recently, we caught up with Taus to better understand what Incogmito is, its vision, current stage, how Bangladesh Startup Cup affected the startup since it was part of the program and more.
Tell us briefly about yourself.
I am Shehzad Noor Taus. I co-founded Incogmito, a social networking app. I want to build technologies that help change the world for good.[blockquote source]Incogmito is an anonymous social networking platform that lets its users to share thoughts and ideas, make confessions, post problems, ask questions without giving off their identity.[/blockquote]
What is the core idea?
The idea is to build a social networking site like that of Facebook but the users can network and post on Incogmito without giving off their identity. That means you can make confessions, post your problems, ask for solutions, and ask questions that you wouldn’t be able to ask without disclosing your identity. Basically it is freedom of speech in a different way.
What is your business model? How do you plan to generate revenue?
The most obvious way in our case is by using the app. But that is not the only way. We are developing a model to give people opportunities to carry out premium surveys in their target groups and as the respondents won’t be aware of the survey source, they would give honest response to the surveys. Individuals or organizations, to have their surveys gone through Incogmito, would have to pay to launch their surveys and then we would help the surveys to go around their targeted demography.
Who are the co-founders?
Incogmito has two more co-founders along with me: Muhtasim Rahman and Jamiur Bin Nasir.
At what stage are you now with your startup?
We launched a beta version back in August and then we launched more and more versions over time and we stopped in December. We thought of redesigning our product and this process has been going on for the last 2/ 3months. Technically we are in the developing stage but we did market our product and had few 100 users before.
How did you manage your initial fund?
Initially we invested ourselves and then we approached other external sources and raised fund by taking in a fourth partner. We raised a pretty good amount for us to run for the next 6 months or so.
What do you think about Bangladesh Startup Cup?
A great platform obviously, providing the startups an opportunity to get out and do something meaningful. For instance, when we started our journey in Bangladesh Startup Cup, we only had an idea of building an anonymous social networking site. As time went on, we got reviews and feedbacks from mentors, judges, audiences which helped us to bring perfection in every aspect of our product. Bangladesh Startup Cup helped immensely in making whatever Incogmito is now.
How did Bangladesh Startup Cup help in your journey in terms of attracting investors?
We really never wanted to attract investors through this platform. But eventually few investors approached us and we thought of going around and see if we could attract more and this is how we got our best choice and now going on with it.
What are the few good things about the cup?
First, it is a good community. Second, in this 7 month long process, regardless of our background and everything, we had to focus on bringing progress in our business model. It helped us in taking our ideas to a stage where we could market the products, attract investors and start our own company. So I think that’s the best part.[blockquote source]When we started our journey in Bangladesh Startup Cup, we only had an idea of building an anonymous social networking site. As time went on, we got reviews and feedbacks from mentors, judges, audiences which helped us to bring perfection in every aspect of our product. Bangladesh Startup Cup helped immensely in making whatever Incogmito is now.[/blockquote]
What are the few things that you did not like about the cup?
Initially the platform lacked IT or tech expert mentors. So when people came in to judge us they did not really have enough tech background to understand our business.
Another thing is that the process is quite lengthy. We were supposed to finish in November but its April now when we finally ended our journey.
What better do you expect from the next Bangladesh Startup Cup?
I am sure many more quality startups are going to apply this time.
Interview by Fatema Mohammad for Future Startup, Images by Incogmito