Monday, March 25, 2013

The MakeSense Story-Gets Acquihired by Naukri

Almost two years back, when we had launched the KooKoo platform, we were evangelizing the platform waiting for some innovative company to come along and build cool telephony apps. The real power of a platform is realized only through awesome developers.

It was at this time that we got a mail Vivek Arya from Makesense to our support mail id( He was asking some questions about whether KooKoo can do this and KooKoo can do that. So, to answer his questions, I got on a call and heard about his application. I just loved it the first time I heard about it. They had developed algorithms for semantic search using NLP and wanted to add a phone channel to automate the candidate screening process on an IVR. I said, go ahead and we will try to help you in whatever way we can. Incidentally, after the call with Vivek, I had remarked to my colleagues that very soon Makesense would be a prime candidate for acquisition by Naukri. Who knew that it would be so prophetic :) 

Last month we got the wonderful news that Makesense was acquired by Naukri. I reached out to Vivek to get some comments from him about his journey. I am posting his answers below. It has been a real pleasure working with the Makesense team and I hope they go on to build more innovative stuff.

1. Can you explain a little bit about your semantic search technology and how it can be useful?

This is explained in a summary form on our webpage:

2. What was your team size?

Our business went through various pivots so the team saw changes as well. On an average we were a team of around 5 - 6 people.

3. How long did it take for you to build this?

We spent the first year doing hands-on placement consulting to get a deep understanding of the current process and technology. This was the time when we started conceptualizing our product. Subsequently it took us around 3 years to build the entire tech though we kept releasing it in parts to test the impact. This we did via our placement services business where we deployed the technology as well as via clients who we signed on for our alpha and beta.
4. What specifically interested Naukri?

The quality of our semantic search platform and the ability it provided to be able to increase the efficiency as well as user experience for recruiters and job seekers is what interested them most.
 5. Any advice to people starting up

Every startup has its own journey and set of learnings. These are obviously not applicable for everyone. In our case if we look back and reflect, the ones that come to mind are:

Know the problem you are solving thoroughly, if possible experience it firsthand.
Question every assumption in your business plan, it's very easy to get carried away by your ideas and ignore the ugly parts.

If it's clear that a particular path is not working, pivot quickly, don't stay stuck.
Keep your team as small as possible.
Have at least one hacker-founder (This only applies to tech companies of-course).

 6. How are you going to spend your money :)

Mostly on investments. A little on parties. And some on trips with friends & family :)
7. How did you like to work with KooKoo?

We found the KooKoo team to be really supportive of startups. We can recall the number of times you provided us great prices when we were in tight financial situations. In terms of the technology as well as tech-support I'd say you guys rank out there with the best :) We don't recall it taking more than a few hours to resolve issues or even setup custom features. Plus the fact that you guys were always accessible over call was a great advantage as well.

Comment: Yes, I remember the requests :) We had to do a couple of night outs to make sure the deadlines were met.
8. Would you recommend KooKoo to other developers

Absolutely. For us, integration with KooKoo was a breeze. The documentation was nice and the entire API structure very intuitive. I code in python and combined with the KooKoo wrappers, we could churn out major features in a matter of hours.
9. What next.

Right now the focus is on integrating our technology across all parts of We had a vision of how we could change recruitment and with the availability of the resources of Naukri, that vision is close to realization.