Moojic strikes the right note with digital jukebox

Amrita Nair Ghaswalla Mumbai | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on October 07, 2016

Kumaran Mahendran and Neha Behani, founders, Moojic

Allows retail stores to create interactive, custom, radio-like experiences

As classmates at a business school in Manila, Philippines, Kumaran Mahendran and Neha Behani kept bouncing ideas off each other. That practice stood them in good stead several years later, when the duo met up and decided to turn entrepreneurs.

The path was not easy though. Several misfirings followed, and 18 months after they burned a big hole in their savings, the duo hit the perfect note to launch Moojic, a digital jukebox service for restaurants, cafes, bars and salons.

After their graduation, the duo kept in touch, and talked about getting into hyperlocal advertising. “Something on the lines of Google AdWords... Both of us quit our jobs to start this new venture, but soon realised we were trying to build a product which no one really understood. Targeted ads on mobile were unheard of 5-6 years ago,” reminisces Mahendran.

The disheartened duo realised their idea was not piquing anybody’s interest. “One evening, while seated at a coffee shop waiting for a client who was running late, thoughts drifted to the ubiquitous jukebox. We wondered whether a digital avatar could be adopted, one which could update new songs,” he said. Intense research followed. “In two months, we built our first prototype which worked on SMS. That was in May 2011. We had a catalogue of songs and decided to try it out at a friend’s restaurant, since we wanted feedback.”

Moojic’s interactive player allows retail stores to create custom, in-store, radio-like experiences that allows customer interaction using Moojic’s proprietary music management platform. The service also allows users to view the catalogue of songs playing at an establishment, even as they request songs and view the lyrics on their smartphones. Ten prototypes later, and over the next three months, a mobile app was launched, whereby one could upload new songs on location in 10 minutes. “We got a good response from coffee shops and bars, but not any good paying clients. And when we had the last ₹20,000 in our kitty, we got introduced to Rajan Anandan, MD, Google India.”

Turning point

That proved to be a turning point. “Anandan was interested since there were not many similar players in this space. He encouraged us, and offered to invest ₹20 lakh. He also advised us to visit the NextBigWhat event in Bengaluru, a shark tank where one can pitch ideas to investors. Post that event in April 2013, we got a commitment of more than ₹50 lakh.” “From rolling out 20 outlets, we are now close to 2,000 outlets, and are looking to launch in Dubai, Singapore and Malaysia. We also have plans in place to roll-out in the US and Canada by January 2017,” says Mahendran.

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Published on October 07, 2016
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