Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Youth Ki Awaaz-Giving voice to youth through web, IVR and other channels

Youth ki Awaaz, is a very popular youth site where you can voice your opinion on a variety of topics. Change always starts by someone noticing a problem and talking about it out. So in that regard, YKA, is trying to create a platform to talk about issues. We at Ozonetel, have always believed in the power of youth and are very happy to be associated with YKA in partnering with them for the Youthline(Go ahead, call and voice your opinion). In the normal customer series, that we do on our blog, this week we had a chat with the Anshul Tewari(website wallah), the founder of YKA. Following is the gist of our Q and A session with him.




1. What made you start YKA. What was the one thing which inspired you?

Even though youth is a demographic dividend in the country, the views of young people are never taken seriously. You are at best naive when it comes to the crucial issues we face. Back in 2008, I felt the same challenge. I realized that as a young person, I have very minimal stake in the country's issues and decision making and I wanted to change that - thus, I started Youth Ki Awaaz as an instant response to this frustration.

2. Can you narrate any one incident which made you feel proud about YKA?

There have been many. I think I feel proud everyday when young people from across the country submit their opinions on very pertinent issues of our times. It makes me believe that we are on the right path and breaks so many stereotypes about young people. Just the sheer passion that the audience brings to Youth Ki Awaaz is an extremely proud moment for me.

3. What is main vision and mission of YKA. Where do you see YKA 3 years from now?

We are trying to create an amalgamation of a fast growing media company with social and impact objectives. While it is very difficult to say where we will be 3 years from now, but I see us innovating around crowd sourcing, social media and mobile technologies to make freedom of expression and opinion sharing an easy task for anyone and everyone.

4. Any new features you are planning immediately?

Thanks to Kookoo, we've been able to introduce an IVR system where anyone can call and record their opinions on crucial issues. Going ahead, we are launching a campaign platform specifically for NGOs and non-profits to engage with our youth audience and grow their base through conversational engagement.

5. Any plans on going international. After all, youth are everywhere :)

Absolutely! But not in the nearest time. We first wish to establish our authority in India and scale up to reach a wide audience - India is a huge youth market for us. Once we gain prominence and start having impact then may be we will consider moving to other countries and going international.

6. Who is your inspiration?

There is no one person that inspires me. I think multiple things about many people together have been an inspiration. I usually take my inspiration from the everyday struggles of the common people like us who strive to do something different and impact the society.

7. What do you find as the biggest motivation for youth in India currently?

There are many. I think youth in India are now very motivated not just by career, education and material gains, but are also very concerned about their emotional and mental needs and their personal aspirations. I think that shift is coming slowly and we will be able to see more passion driven individuals in the days to come.

8. Are you planning for offline channels like magazines etc?

No we are not. I think mobile and web are the next big platforms and we wish to stay here for good.

9. Have you raised any funding or planning to raise funds?

We haven't raised funding yet, but are open to investor interest. We've discovered a unique business model and if we go in for funding, we would be looking for more unconventional, impact investors who prefer impact over high revenues. Content is a tough nut to crack, and I've seen many content properties raising funding and deteriorating in content quality. Thus, we'd look for someone who believes in our work and our impact before anything else - thus we are very patient and finding our own way through as much as we can.

10. Any funny anecdote in your startup life if you want to share?

I think the funnies moment was when one of my aunties called me a "website wallah" when I told her what I do.