Website – Leher
Founders – Vikas Malpani and Atul Jaju
Leher! Most of you might be aware of the meaning of the word! For those who don’t, it means a wave in Hindi. And creating a wave among people through conversations is what this application is all about.
Today’s inspiring start-up story is all about an app called Leher, a platform that allows free flow conversations on any topic creative network of people with similar interests and similar things they care about. Started by the two masterminds, Vikas Malpani and Atul Jaju. The app helps connect people with alike interests and devise conversations elevating the essence of social media differently.
The inspiration behind the idea
The founders of Leher identified that despite there being multiple social media applications on the internet, there still was a lag/ disconnect between people with similar interests that could enhance their conversations. While platforms allow you to put down your perspectives and ideas on social media, there lacked no conversations among people. And hence, the two came up with the idea of developing Leher, which could build a social network where people could come together, have discussions, and increase empathy by understanding each other’s point of view.
The Leher Set-up
Vikas Malpani and Atul Jaju, the founders of Leher, launched the app in mid of 2018. During 2018-19, they built an app confirming users could share their views/opinions over audio & video. During 2019-20, they built the whole networking layer on the app. This included functionalities like follower /following, DMs, Ask Questions in DM, Richer Profiles, and also improved the UI/UX to be at global standards. Later in 2020-21, they have added live conversations, clubs for communities to have internal conversations created flexible rooms.
Today, Leher is rapidly growing with 175,000 users active on the platform. The company envisions growing its user base to 10 million by end of 2021. The rooms on the app have already reached a few hundred users and the team is doubling active participation every week.
Success to Leher
The meaning of success is different for each one of us. It depends on our goals and strategies that help us measure success. Likewise, success to Leher means helping creators, community moderators, and users to have meaningful conversations, fun, and build deeper connections over conversations.
Currently, Leher is funded by Orios Venture Partners. They are also a part of the for Startups and Orios Misfit Program. The founders mention that they are open to funding and would be happy to have conversations with investors around it.
The company confirms that growth to Leher means retention & referral. They aim to ensure that every user who uses Leher should not just have a great experience but also bring their friends along. It is all about the experience of users on the application that can help Leher grow!
While enjoying extensive growth, the journey of success does not end here. In the coming years, the team aims to make Leher one of the most popular and extensively used social networking app. They aim to expand globally empowering people around the world to have free-flowing discussions. In terms of business goals, Leher wants to enjoy the largest market share in the conversation and discussion social network.
The team has been continuously added interesting and innovative features such as the ability to share live discussion recordings to multiple podcasting networks. They have also started giving creators, i.e., the Club Owners & Room Hosts, the tools to monetize their members.
With the vision to scale up Leher globally, the team wants to transform a made in India app into a global consumer social platform.
What made you strike this business idea? What inspired you to start this company?
Vikas – Leher was started with an idea to democratise discussions. At Leher we wanted to build a platform to have a free-flowing conversation around topics of interest and form a network with people around things that you care about. There was no other app facilitating people to find other people with similar interest and listen to various perspectives. There is an upheaval in the way people consume social media today, not just for entertainment, but also for conversations.
We were inspired to build a world-class product and the core idea that went behind formulating the app was to build a social network where people could come together, have discussions and conversations, and increase empathy by understanding each other’s point of view.
Indians don’t have a distribution network and for a company to reach masses have to take support for foreign companies.Through Leher we are trying to build an alternative global distribution network.
‘Leher’ means a wave in the Hindi language and the app lives up to it — create a wave among the users through your conversations.
When did you start your business?
Vikas – Leher was founded in the mid of 2018
2018-19: Built product to validate users will share their views/opinions over audio & video
2019-20: Built the whole networking layer – Follower/Following, DM, Ask Questions in DM, Richer Profile and overhauled the UI/UX to be at global standards
2020-21: Doubled down on Live conversations, Clubs for communities to have internal conversations, flexible rooms.
What does success mean to your company?
Vikas – Success to us means enabling creators, community moderators, and users to have meaningful conversations, fun, and build deeper connections over conversations.
Our success is aligned to successful outcomes for all our users on the Leher platform.
How are you performing currently?
Vikas – Leher is scaling up rapidly, at present has 175,000 users and with growing interest by users and influencers across the globe, the company envisions expanding its user base to 10million by end of 2021.Many of our rooms reach few hundred users, we are doubling active participation every week. Currently, the app has a total download of 150,000 and is doubling the download numbers every week.
What is the biggest risk to your company?
Vikas – Our biggest risk is that users choose some foreign platform not because its better but because it’s bragworthy. We also are de-risking ourselves by active promotions, partnerships and delighting users to generate word of mouth.
What are your plans for the funding?
Vikas – At present, Leher is seed funded by Orios Venture Partners and is part of prestigious Google for Startups and Orios Misfit Program. We are open for funding.
What is the biggest challenge you faced during your start-up setup?
Vikas – We were lucky to find some really good teammates, active support from friends in the ecosystem and early believers as investors.
Life hasn’t been easy because we started very early in the direction of making the next generation Social network around conversations over audio/video.
User adoption pre-covid was hard, also innovating a global product from India is very hard as we aren’t yet considered pioneers in consumer tech products especially Social products.
Rest of the challenges remain similar to other Startups:
– Hiring great talent
– Building the initial traction etc.
What does growth mean to you and your business?
Vikas – Growth to us means retention & referral. Every user who comes to the platform should increasingly have a great experience and come back bringing his friends along.
How does your product stand different from others in the market?
Vikas – We are most stable product with both Audio & Video Possibilities
We also are on both platforms – Android & iOS
We have Internal Networking features like DM, Ask Questions(Video Answers), Richer Profile
We provide an ability to record rooms
Unlimited Members per club and Unlimited users in a Room
Interactivity in room via – Comments, Emoji’s, Stickers
Advanced Interactions in Rooms – Polls & QnA
Replays are available via interests
Ability to form groups called clubs
Moderation features for club owners & room moderators
Scheduling of rooms, realtime speaker addition/removal
What does it feel to be the founder of your start-up? How does it feel to get up every morning and getting on to work?
Vikas – Being a founder is both a Joy & a Responsibility. The ability to drive the world forward with a team that believes in your vision is a gift that very few receive.
Life is a rollercoaster, somedays are very hard and others are super exhilarating. Everyday starts with a Josh of doing something big and moving the needle.
Last year and this year due to Covid & remote work has been tough on the entire team mostly the mental stress.
Where do you see your business standing in the next 5 years?
Vikas – In the coming years, we see Leher as the most popular and widely used social networking app which is enabling our global citizens around the world to have free-flowing conversations.In terms of business goals, Leher wants to enjoy the biggest market share in the conversation and discussion social network.
Leher will add many more interesting and innovative features such as the ability to distribute live discussion recordings to multiple podcasting networks
Providing Creators[Club Owners & Room Hosts] tools to monetize their members.
Our vision is to scale-up Leher globally and transform a made in India app into a global consumer social platform.
We also wish to bring personalities with humongous influence such as Amitabh Bachchan, Anand Mahindra and Ratan Tata on the platform.