An exchange with Siddharth Jain, the man behind Hoodoo.
• Name of Startup – Hoodoo
• What is the startup about? What does it deal with?
Hoodoo is a virtual personal chat assistant where any wish of a user can be made true- if it’s legal. Real conversations and friendships are dwindling with people immersed in their phones all the time. Today, there are too many apps and the clutter in this area is making lives very difficult for users.
We wish to we wish to overcome this barrier by bringing all the functionalities of these apps under one roof along with exceptional customer service to produce a magical experience that takes away the shopping hassles and allows one to spend more time on things that do matter more to them.
.• What according to you is the USP of your startup? Why do you think people should avail the services provided by your startup?
We provide end-to-end facility for any service that they wish to avail. This reduces the hassle that the user has to face and will be able to save money, time and energy. At the convenience of a message, we provide the user with the convenience of getting rid of all the worries. From expert advice on shopping matters to finding and delivering hard to procure items that the customers had been looking for, we do it all just for our customers utmost convenience.
• What was the inspiration behind launching this startup?
A few years ago, I had told my dad “Dad I think I want to start a helpline, similar to justdial. But here, rather than only the phone numbers, we should be able to create a more personalized environment. No-one knows everything. But almost everything that is wanted, is available. This supply-demand gap has still not been rightly filled”. My dad blatantly said, “its too complicated. leave it. “ After this summer, I realized more and more, the reason for such a thing’s existence. And now here I am, working on setting up a framework for the same.
• What do you want to say to budding entrepreneurs who are still shying away from following this unconventional path?
To all the budding entrepreneurs, I would like to tell that it takes courage to do what you wish to do than do what are told to do. But when you see the impact you are making in people’s lives, you won’t ever leave this path.
Money, I’m not sure if everyone can get (most of you would if you are passionate about your work). But the happiness and excitement will never reduce. The adrenaline rush will be there.
• How do you plan to /did you pitch your idea and convince the VCs when you are still attending college?
Seniors are an important part of the network to get in touch with interested investors. We have just begun the process and it is a very extensive process and requires a lot of time. I suggest you work as hard on your idea/product as possible before approaching VCs.
The VCs shouldn’t come into picture unless it becomes absolutely necessary. Money does give you a chance to do a lot more. But it doesn’t do the work. Remember that.
• What are the challenges that you’re facing?
Challenges. They are almost the only thing I’m facing. But these challenges when successfully surpassed lead to a lot of delighted customers. Right from apt solutions for customer issues to thinking about a specific feature in the app to the size of the icon being made, everything is very critical at this juncture. Every small cog in the machine when perfectly oiled leads to a smooth operations and as in charge of overseeing the operations I have the responsibility of creating seamless operations at every stage.
• What motivates you to give up the ‘safe’ path of taking up a job and instead start off from scratch?
When I see a Samsung or a Consult job, very few of these let me make a direct impact in the way people live; in the way things work in this world. But when I am working on Hoodoo, I see how I can directly save time for my customers, how I can bring smiles to their faces & this satisfaction is what keeps me going.
• Where do you see your venture ten years from now?
10 years down the lane, I see Hoodoo as a household name. A name which anyone can connect to. If you can’t find something, just Hoodoo it. If you don’t have the time to do/get something, just Hoodoo it. Whatever you want, just Hoodoo it.
• What role has the college and city played in assisting and providing you an environment for setting up your venture?
IIT Delhi has given me a very conducive environment to develop my own ideas and implement them. It has given me a platform where I learnt about operations more than I had ever learnt before. Staying in Delhi has been very critical for me to understand the audience. Since this is a startup focused more on the urban crowd, this exposure turned out to be very fruitful.
• What other activities in college do you think would encourage more people to start with a venture of their own?
I think all activities can excite and encourage more and more students to start their own ventures. If only the students are given a free space to ideate and develop their own creativity rather than follow their senior (in hierarchy or age)
• How do you network with other people outside the campus?
This has been difficult for me and I am doing this mainly through mutual friends.
• What is that one thing in your idea/venture that you think is different and is going to tick with people?
Our approach to customer service is more like a friend than a usual customer-seller relationship. This friendly environment when combined with expert advice and a knack for getting hard to find items creates an atmosphere so addictive that the customers start looking for challenges for us even if there aren’t any just for the joy of using this service.