Emerging Entrepreneurs

LocalCircles: staying connected for a cause and a voice

Venkatesh Ganesh | Updated on January 20, 2018 Published on April 04, 2016

SACHIN TAPARIA, Co-founder, LocalCircles

K Yatish Rajawat

Delhi-based start-up aims to be an information pillar of future society

For LocalCircles, Facebook has been a huge inspiration, but it believes that life is more than mere ‘likes’.

The Delhi-based start-up is trying to create a name for itself in the ‘social entrepreneurship’ space by being the an online place where citizens can voice their concerns, share ideas and help each other. For example, when someone’s heart surgery has gone bad, finding information of another doctor who could handle such a case is often difficult.

“This instance happened in my family and it was then that we realised it was hard for citizens to come together for common causes, connect with the government for resolving issues and assist each other in emergencies,” explains Sachin Taparia, one of the four founders.

Taparia founded the company with K Yatish Rajawat, who is responsible for Strategy, Investment Alliances and partnerships; Abhishek Gupta, CTO, is responsible for Engineering and Technology; and, Mukesh Gupta takes care of Product Management & Analytics.

LocalCircles is trying to fill a gap in much the same way a Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn does. One needs to look at this company in the context of Indian democracy, the largest in the world.

“Individual voices cannot make a change but as a collective community we can make democracy work better,” opines Taparia.

It will also enable elected leaders to connect with their constituencies and better understand and solve issues that matter to the collective, at the grassroots level.

Accountability, transparency

The underlying philosophy of the company seems to be accountability and transparency in citizen-related services.

“In most cases in a community, someone has a challenge while someone else has the solution; today, they are either disconnected or connected through middlemen,” says Taparia. This includes both governments and businesses, he adds.

As LocalCircles moves forward and builds more communities and makes them available to more citizens, governments and businesses, issues will get addressed faster and better and the gap between what the collective wants and the government or an organisation delivers will reduce.

“We will move towards a society with higher trust and accountability levels,” says Taparia.

While social media is largely used to share mundane activities and comments, the next wave will drive a lot of user-focussed improvements that have a direct impact on their daily lives.

“To give you an example our blood circle in Delhi helps save lives on a daily basis by connecting donors with those in need of blood.

“Media is all about context and social media in 2.0 will also be about context and action,” emphasises Taparia.

The efforts seem to have yielded some dividends. Currently, around a million registered users use LocalCircles. It has caught the attention of businessmen like Nadir Godrej, Anand Mahindra and Puneet Dalmia, the MD of Dalmia Bharat Cement who founded Jobsahead.com.

Recently, Dalmia even made an undisclosed investment in the company with the rationale being his ability to scale up the business going forward.

LocalCircles gets its income from multiple streams – brands looking for hyper-local advertising, consumer feedback for companies, local service providers looking for customers, products looking for specific customer profiles and sponsorship for specific causes.

Funding plans

LocalCircles is working towards raising $3 million to help it expand to more cities, hire employees and make itself available to more citizens and causes across the country. LocalCircles plans to expand its community base to six million citizens by 2018 and 30 million by 2020.

This will be implemented by strengthening its platform, making it easier to use for the common citizen, enabling many more causes to be addressed and expanding presence in more States and cities. It also expects to hire top talent that is passionate about driving social change through technology and communities. The ideology of the start-up revolves around a participatory, commons-based Internet, a cooperative and information that can be the pillars of future society.

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Published on April 04, 2016
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