This week we’re speaking with Deepak Muraleedharan from Kochi. His dream is to use gaming as a platform to help solve social and medical issues, hence creating Joconoi Solutions. We talked to him to learn more about how his idea on how gaming could help people around the world.
Dream:IN: Hi Deepak, Can you give us an overall picture of what ‘Joconoi Solutions’ does?
Deepak: We are a gaming company with an ideology of using game mechanics to solve real life social problems. We believe the gaming industry has that power to become something great. As our flagship project, we are “gamifying” the special needs sector, and are developing a game+hardware solution for children & adults with autism, spectrum disorder, ADHD, and learning disabilities. India has more than 10 million children people with special needs attention, so this is much bigger issue than we think.
Dream:IN: What does ‘Joconoi’ mean, and how did you come up with this name for your software/gaming company?
Deepak: “Joconoi” means gameboy in the Catalan language, so the meaning is “a gaming boy’s solution”. Because I am a hardcore gamer, and a designer by profession, I’ve done branding for several companies and I’m usually the one who find names for all of them. So what we did is we tried to look for words that we want in other languages so that there won’t be any “.com”/registration issues, and I was seeking for a name that’s not there, so we finalized “Joconoi Solutions”.
Dream:IN: How exactly do the games your company create help change lives?
Deepak: The games we create are helping children (at first), in many ways. Our concentration is on academics, social behavior, biofeedback, communication, along with art. We divide our games in to phases, such as if you have a 6 or an 8 year old child, they would have to go through a separate series of training. Our unique way of making content is that we have prominent people in the special needs field, teachers, parents, PhD holders, and even kids, who are helping us to design these games. We never copy anything from the web.
Dream:IN: Can you expand more on how your games can help the autism community? And other children with learning disabilities?
Deepak: Children with autism have a very hard time concentrating on “bookish methods” of learning. By introducing affordable, interactive learning technology, their attention span will increase, which they can learn by having fun. The way we teach them syllabus-based subjects is very unique; the method has been developed by teachers with more than 25 years of experience. Additionally, all the content is available in local languages which will help them to understand. Because there are more children with different sensory issues, our games are purely customizable to the core, so the parent & teacher can use their imagination in action and help the kids more.
Dream:IN: What ‘turned the light bulb on’ for you? What gave you the idea to start this venture?
Deepak: I will say, the idea just came to me really. It all started from an interview on a TV channel, (I am not a big fan of TV’s, but I know games have lot more potential than we think). The interview was about a “not-so-famous” singer/celebrity, who is doing music therapy to children with AUTISM. It’s the first time I heard that word, so I become curious and listened to the interview fully. For 3 weeks, I stopped thinking about it, but then I heard my distant relative sister has a PhD in autism. I began researching about autism for many days and then I realized the potential market behind it and went on to construct an idea around it.
Dream:IN: How did you find the idea that gaming could be used in a positive way to change lives?
Deepak: Actually if u think about it, everything we do is a game:
– exams are sort of games, we have to complete a task in the given time.
– going to office : do a task, in a given time, by tackling some obstacles and reach your destination.
When u think of life, our one day is like a level, we are beating each level to reach a long time goal, the only difference is, you don’t have an endless life, if u die, game over.
Like that, the way teachers take class to special needs children is a game, they just don’t realize it that’s all, and in my research I came to know technology can make a big impact. In fact sometimes teachers will make their own games to teach children.
Dream:IN: When did you start enjoying games? Also, what’s your favorite games to play?
Deepak: I started playing games when I was in 2nd standard. I played close to almost 200 games in my life till now, and still counting.
My favorite game ? I like all games, I worked for 1 year as beta game tester for gamesprout.com. Games are like oxygen to me. Every day, I will play at least one level of a game before I sleep.
Dream:IN: How can people view your games? Is there a way for people to test out the games?
Deepak: Yes, people can test it by Feb 2015. We are looking for investment now, our prototyping is almost complete, and we have a very good response from parents.
Dream:IN: If a reader knows someone with a learning disability or autism, is there a way they can get a copy of the game or get involved with your venture?
Deepak: Yes you can mail me at email@example.com. This I my personal id, anyone who has interest can contact me. We welcome new ideas also.
Dream:IN: Do you have plans for new games in the future?
Deepak: Yes we are planning in a big way, after this we are coming to make every ones brain healthier
Dream:IN: What other problems would you like to solve with your games?
Deepak: There are so many! We have found problems in more than 20 sectors, to solve with games.
Dream:IN: Where would you like Joconoi Solutions to be in the next 5 years?
Deepak: The future is very bright and strong! We would like to extend Joconoi to many sectors, such as wearable’s, toys, board games, and artificial intelligence are just some of them. We like to “customize the future for the mass”.
Dream:IN: What’s next in the near future for ‘Joconoi Solutions’? What should we keep an eye out for?
Deepak: Games that can interact, and be your best friend. Games which can transform your surroundings into levels, play and earn real-time rewards.
Dream:IN: Do you enjoy entrepreneurship? Would you ever go back and do it differently?
Deepak: I love entrepreneurship, it’s like a game you play in a hard mode. If I can’t make it, I will try harder and smarter to make that happen! I never quit any game! One day I played a level of a game called ‘DARKSIDE 2’ for two days, and then I finally did it!
Dream:IN: If people want to learn more, stay up-to-date, or follow ‘Joconoi Solutions’, what’s the best way they can stay connected?
Deepak: Mail me directly, I like to chat and meet new people.
Dream:IN: What tips do you have for other budding entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
Deepak: We are still a budding company, so I don’t think it’s appropriate to give tips but, NEVER QUIT!!
Dream:IN: Fun answers, thank you for your time Deepak!
We spoke to Durga, the co-founder and tech-team lead, of Mind Dots an app-development company, based here in Bangalore.
Dream:IN: Hi Durga, Thanks for speaking with us today. Can you give us an overall picture of what Mind Dots does?
Durga: Mind Dots is a product engineering firm, with focus on api integration, cloud data automation and apps development for Smart TV, Google Glass, Watch and other Smart devices. MindPulpy automates, sync’s up the data, task between cloud applications, aggregates, manipulate, simplifies and mashup content from around the web’s api, gets data from any web protocol/authentication, method and convert into a developer friendly urls and built apps for multiple devices using Apps builder. Here is the platform url http://mindapp-pulpy.rhcloud.com/
Dream:IN: What was your “aha!” moment and knew that you should start Mind Dots?
Durga: Their is no ‘aha’ moment so far. We have started Mind Dots solely because of our passion towards digital medium.
Dream:IN: How did you get the idea to start this?
Durga: We are a small team based in Bangalore and having a passion for apis and cloud technologies. The idea by seeing an increase in app-development including Internet products, brands & mobile apps, we wanted to simplify consumer time by either aggregating data, rapid prototyping to multiple devices for developers and automating data exchange.
Dream:IN: What things in the industry are you trying to change and do new and differently?
Durga: We are trying to connect apps to devices, apps to apps via apis, in an easier and faster way.
Dream:IN: What are your marketing tactics presently?
Durga: We currently rely on our partners.
Dream:IN: What has been some of the most memorable projects you’ve worked on?
Durga: Many memorable projects. Since we have a strict nda in place, we’re not supposed to talk about the third party projects here.
Dream:IN: What types of apps have you worked on?|
Durga: We worked on a plethora of apps across verticals and categories. Most of our apps are on top of third party apis.
Dream:IN: What the most interesting thing you find about app development?
Durga: We get to talk with several budding entrepreneurs, start-ups, studentpreneur and corporates for the app development. The interesting part is to hear their ideas and their views on solving the problems; Some really solve the hard problems in both the personal and business side, some make the process of our daily routine work smoother and better, some really assume the fictional problem, and some just ask for the clone/similar app.
Dream:IN: What do you think the future of app, and app development is? Furthermore, what do you think the future of mobile technology is?
Durga: As we all know that mobile & wearables is going to be everything for the next few years, I echo the same thought everything is getting/going to be connected, mobile is just a interface for I/O commands
Dream:IN: What tips do you have for other budding entrepreneurs who are considering entrepreneurship?
Durga: I really haven’t yet build that credibility in the industry so I cannot comment on this, however based on the last 5 year journey, i understand entrepreneurship is a very tough game to play, you need to commit at least for 15 to 18 months to see the cash flow along with the good supporting team.
Dream:IN: Great. Thank you for your insights in ‘Mind Dots’ and your thoughts on the industry and entrepreneurship.
This week, we are featuring Shiva Kumar N who was recently featured in the Times of India. He was a newspaper vendor, working long hours for little pay. He started as a delivery boy but with his entrepreneurial spirit, he started his own distribution agency. Recently, he worked hard and received high marks on his CAT, which got him accepted into IIM-Calcutta, as a PGP Student. We wanted to speak with him about how he achieved his dreams, and what’s next for him, because he’s truly an inspiration to everyone here in the Dream:IN team, his peers, in his community, and to everyone he encounters.
DREAM:IN: Hi Shiva, thank you for speaking with us today. How long have you been selling newspapers? How old were you when you first started?
Shiva Kumar N: I have been selling newspapers for the past 11 years i.e. since 2003. I was 13 years old when I first started. I worked as a delivery boy from 2003 to 2007 and in 2007 I saw an opportunity to start an independent newspaper distribution agency. Since 2007, I have been running my own distribution agency.
DREAM:IN: How did you first get the job?
Shiva: Due to financial problems at home, I was looking for part-time jobs which could help to earn some money without stopping me from going to school. On one fine day, around 6 am, I saw a boy delivering paper in my neighbourhood. It suddenly flashed my mind that even I could start delivering papers between 4am and 6am and I’ll also be able to go to school without any issues. Then I figured out the nearby distribution centre and got a delivery job with one of the vendors there.
DREAM:IN: What was the toughest part of the job?
Shiva: I have always enjoyed whatever job I have done and never it as a burden. But it was a challenge to manage your work, as well as make sure that you don’t underperform in your academics. I started enjoying every bit of the challenge. I started setting goals, both in academics and work, and always gave my 100% to accomplish those goals. Time management and coping up with fewer hours of sleep were the few challenges.
DREAM:IN: So in 10th standard, you became an entrepreneur and started your own agency, can you tell us about it? What happened to that agency now? Is it still running?
Shiva: In 2007, I saw an opportunity to start my own newspaper distribution agency. But I had no money to invest in the venture. So I borrowed some money from my friend’s family and raised some more money through mortgaging my mother’s jewellery which was gifted to her during her marriage. Finally I started the venture in 2007 with less than 50 customers, and currently in 2014, our customer base has crossed 550. When I got admitted to IIM Calcutta, I started training my father to manage the business. Now currently he is running the agency in Bangalore. There are 5 delivery boys working under him and we are looking to grow the business after I pass out from IIM Calcutta.
DREAM:IN: That’s amazing, especially how you turned it into a family business, and employed your father as well as with how much it has scaled up. While you’re studying at IIM-Calcutta, we wish your father lots of success with the distribution agency. Can you tell us more about your experience and relationship with Krishna Veda Vyasa? Are you still in contact with him?
Shiva: When I was in 8th class, my family was facing a very bad financial situation. My school fees liability kept on increasing and we had no money to pay the fees. So I decided to approach anybody for help. But I had no friends or relatives who could help. One day at 5 am in the morning, I was delivering newspapers. One of my customers was standing near the gate waiting for the newspaper. That customer had very recently moved into that locality. I was a stranger to that customer and vice versa. During our first meeting, I figured out that he looks like an approachable person. So I approached him for help. His name was Krishna Veda Vyasa. He is funding for my education from 8th class to present. He is the only reason for me getting into IIM Calcutta. We have become good friends over the years. We chat about various topics whenever we get time. We are always in constant touch and discuss about each other’s life.
DREAM:IN: That’s really nice! You are lucky to have come across such a warm-hearted person. Do you see yourself ever dealing with newspapers again in the future?
Shiva: Yes, for sure!!! I might not work full-time in the newspaper business, but it will continue as a part-time business. I don’t want to forget my roots till the very end. It will keep running to keep us grounded, irrespective of what other lucrative ventures I start in the future. I will try to grow the business in the future and set aside the profits generated from it for helping the newspaper community. Now it’s time to give back whatever the newspaper has given to me. I would like to create a fund for helping the delivery boys/vendors/agents.
DREAM:IN: What’s your dream?
Shiva: My dream is to make my country proud in whatever I do and make it shine on the world map. I want the people around the world to look back at India through whatever work I do. I want to create Indian brands which will dominate all around the globe. And also support government in all their current and upcoming projects like Swachch Bharath/Make in India/Smart Cities etc…I want to dedicate myself for making India the best place to live in the world.
DREAM:IN: What’s your dream job?
Shiva: There is nothing called as dream job. Every job will have its own pros and cons. I want to be an entrepreneur. Being an entrepreneur will be more satisfying than working for a MNC. I want to create Indian brands which will dominate the global markets and make India & Indians proud.
DREAM:IN: And what about your charitable dream?
Shiva: I want to touch people’s lives in every possible manner to make their life more easy and peaceful. I would start with education and let’s see how I could build on it.
DREAM:IN:What made you want to go to an IIM?
Shiva: During my 3rd year of engineering, I got placed in Wipro Technologies. And I told this happy news to my uncle (Krishna Veda Vyasa). But my uncle told me that getting a job at Wipro will not make any drastic changes to my life. Yes, it will give a standard source of income, but that will not give you the freedom to explore your dreams of helping the society. By getting into IIM, I would be able to earn more and also I will mature into a better individual. This will give me better opportunities to explore new avenues in life and you will have the financial ability to help the needy. On my uncle’s advice, I got into IIM.
DREAM:IN: What was the process of you getting in Calcutta? Why did you choose to apply to IIM Calcutta vs other IIM?
Shiva: After I decided to appear for CAT, I enrolled into a tutorial and started preparing for CAT aggressively and the results went in my favour. It was my uncle’s decision to prefer IIM Calcutta over other IIMs. He wanted me to move out of my comfort zone (Bangalore) and get the exposure of the outside world. And with due credit to all IIMs, he also told me that people who pass out of IIM Calcutta will become a CEO one day.
DREAM:IN: What has been the biggest inspiration or motivation factor on your path to IIM-C?
Shiva: My uncle has been the biggest inspiration. He is the only reason for what I am today. He has changed my life completely. So now, even I want to change other student’s lives. But that will be possible only if I’m able to get into an IIM and do well for myself in life. It all started there and half-way through. Now I need to recognize talents and nurture them into future leaders of India.
DREAM:IN: What are your favorite subjects?
Shiva: Back during my school days, mathematics was my favorite subject. At IIM Calcutta, finance has been the most challenging subject. Because it is challenging, I like finance the most even though I perform very badly. I am trying hard to learn finance and perform well. Marketing and operations are also very exciting.
DREAM:IN: What’s some of your passions and hobbies?
Shiva: I am a huge cricket fan. I follow most of the sports. I am sports person too. I play TT, Pool, Badminton & Cricket. I have very recently started reading books. The few books which I have read are “The monk who sold his Ferrari”, “Rich dad and poor dad”, “Biography of Steve Jobs”.
DREAM:IN: When times were tough, what were some of the things that kept your head up high and kept you going?
Shiva: I have never felt that I was going through a tough time. I just enjoyed my life as it was. You need to have idols in life. One of my idols is Sachin Tendulkar. Even though he is the best batsman in the world and a sincere genuine servant of the game, it took him 22 years to win the world cup for his country. This sums up everything. It is a tough world; you need to just keep fighting your way through. One fine day, the world give up looking at your determination to succeed and you win.
DREAM:IN: So what’s next for you?
Shiva: It is just the beginning. The real challenge starts from here. I need to leverage the platform that is given to me. I will work on my entrepreneurial ideas and try to create Indian brands at the earliest and make India shine at the global scale. I also want to support government in all their projects such as Swachch Bharath, Make in India etc. And also, I want to work simultaneously on helping the needy in all possible manners and touch their lives in all areas to make it a peaceful experience.
DREAM:IN: Can you give our readers some words of wisdom with regards to achieving your dreams?
Shiva: You need to stop worrying about your problems and start enjoying every process of whatever you do. Be positive in your thoughts. Dream big, believe your abilities and have hopes of a better future. I have always kept things simple. Do your best and forget the rest. Everyone is here for a purpose. Identify your purpose and start fulfilling it. Never hurt anyone. Always try to bring smile on others face. Respect your parents and everyone else. Make India proud in whatever manner possible by you. Prioritize India first and everything else next.
DREAM:IN: Thank you so much for your time and inspirational words Shiva, you truly have an inspiring story, and your positive outlook on life and work does enlighten us all. We wish the best for your studies at IIM-Calcutta and for your future.
Last friday afternoon, DREAM:IN hosted its first meet-up for the newly formed Dreamers Network Facebook Group. The ‘Dreamers Network’ is a community where local, national, and international entrepreneurs join together to network, help each other, spark conversation, create new business opportunities, provide possible collaboration, provide suggestions and solutions for business obstacles, along with helping other entrepreneurs with resources if needed. DREAM:IN decided to take this aim and host a meet-up, where members could meet and discuss in person. The meet-up was very successful to say the least. Attendees were very immersed in the conversations, everyone input their thoughts, and they even helped with resources that some other business owners needed. The evening started when all the budding entrepreneurs arrived at the Dream Center. Friendly introductions and small talk occurred over coffee. Once we started, everyone took turns with formal introductions, introducing themselves and their company. After each introduction, all the entrepreneurs took turns describing their, “Eureka!/Ah ha!” moment when they realized that they had a great idea and wanted to take it further turning it into their enterprise. Each business idea was unique and different, had a great story, and not even two were closely related. It was very inspiring to hear everyone’s dreams and learning how they took the steps to make their dream a reality. One story we liked was Rakesh Agarwal, the founder of expin.me, who turned his love of traveling into a platform where users can, “Give voice to your passion with expression”, which prides itself to be the “Linkedin” for passionate and creative people worldwide. (Hosamane talking about how she got the idea for ‘Hasovan) The entrepreneurs, continued by discussing what stage their companies are currently in, what challenges and obstacles they are currently facing, what resources they were looking for, and their roadmap plan for the future. Nearly each time someone stated they needed a resource to help improve their business, a different attendee had a networking contact for them to get in contact with. Take for example, Brekkie, co-founded by Ashwin Chandra and his two partners. Brekkie delivers breakfasts to residential and office addresses each morning in and around the Indira Nagar area, Bangalore. His company uses a lot of plastic to package the food, so he wants to find an alternative, but doesn’t want to compromise on the quality of food. Another attendee, Hosamane, who founded Hasovan pvt. ltd, a startup company which provides humorous products and services for your home and workplace to keep you happy and stress-free, offered Ashwin a connection she had, who could help with a more sustainable, eco-friendly packaging option for Brekkie’s breakfasts, which he warmly accepted. There were lots of laughs and productive talks that happened throughout the evening. Everyone was supportive of each other. Ankith Nazre, who is the sole founder and director of Groceshoppers.com, who was more than willing to share his business strategy, business tactics, and marketing strategy with the rest of the group, and the other members were very grateful for his strategies and insights. Before the meet-up started to shift to a close, DREAM:IN recorded a short video of each attendee, having them talk about their dream and their venture, so we could feature them on the new and improved DREAM:IN Portal (www.dreamin.in). Each attendee had a great time, they told us they were looking forward to the future ones, and I think it’s fair to say that each person left with a lot more than they came with. The attendees were made up of five budding entrepreneurs and their team members. Some of the businesses that were in attendance:
Hasovan Pvt. Ltd. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hasovan/397872023573316