Deepit Purkayastha along with Azhar Iqubal, Anunay Arunav of IIT Delhi founded News In Shorts in 2013. The company was recently re-branded from ‘News in Shorts’ to ‘Inshorts’. Inshorts had raised its seed round in June 2014 after starting their journey from TLabs incubator in 2013. After a Series A round in February 2015, the startup raised $20M in Series B funding from Tiger Global in July 2015. The Inshorts app gives 60-word summaries of the day’s top stories across a range of categories. Let’s have a look on what Deepit has to say about his entrepreneurial journey.
Q&A WITH DEEPIT :
Awaaz : From where this idea came from, and how you formed the team with IIT Delhi students?
Deepit Purkayastha : I am from Delhi itself, I chose CS in KGP, and they were my friends from coaching, both of them went to IIT Delhi. We three made a great team to work together on this.
I liked to do new things, we already did some projects before this and also filed patents. That desire of doing something new resulted in me becoming an entrepreneur. One of the projects that I was doing had summary of things in 60 words as a part of it, and that is where the idea came from. We saw that there is a need of such app, where people can read relevant news very quickly. And that’s how it started.
Awaaz : What piece of advice you would give to the college students who want to become entrepreneurs?
Deepit : If you want to start something new and you think that you lack the idea, you are completely wrong. You can never lack in idea; just keep an eye out, observe the problems, filter what you see and try to find out a solution with a means to generate revenue with it. I have seen students do not think upon social entrepreneurship because they think it does not give you enough profits, but it is not so. For example, everyday you see beggars at traffic signals, just organise this ‘Traffic Signal Selling’ sector, and yes, it is a big market. Just observe the problems, and try to find out a solution.
Second important thing is to develop skills, just being passionate for entrepreneurship doesn’t help, skills do.
Awaaz : What role did KGP play in your success?
Deepit : I think random bhaats, discussion with different friends provided exposure. The opportunities at IIT gave me to work on different things and gave me a great experience.
"It was worth leaving for an year"
Awaaz : Dropping out from KGP must have been a tough decision for you. Did you ever give a thought or were you ready from the start?
Deepit : When we were doing the previous project, thought of taking a leave for an year. When Inshorts came, It was worth leaving for an year. But, then I came back and completed my degree. And still most of the media says that I dropped out.
Awaaz : Why did you buy retention, how is it going to benefit Inshorts?
Deepit : Retention, ummm, we liked the team, Amritanshu and Anshul are very good friends of mine. And in mobile analytics retention is very critical, if you are able to crack retention number your app is a success. Thus we think this tech is going to help us grow a lot.
Awaaz : When are you releasing the revenue model of Inshorts?
Deepit : Currently we are not working on revenue model, but it’s very easy to crack for someone smart(laughs). User acquisition has always been the first focus of not only Inshorts but all other mobile tech startups as well.
Awaaz : As compared to other IIT Bombay and IIT Delhi, don’t you think IIT KGP has lesser successful start-ups? What do you think could be the reason?
Deepit : I don’t agree that we have lesser successful start-ups. The kind of startups from KGP are different from others, we have more B2B players which generally people do not get to listen the name of other IITs have startups in consumer internet like Flipkart, Snapdeal and Housing.
Awaaz : What are the next goals for Inshorts?
Deepit : We are launching personalisation, in which 1000 articles a day would be released, where you would get to see 50-100 articles which are relevant to you. Our next goal is to successfully implement it.
Awaaz : We will try to publish this interview in 60 words.
Deepit :Ha-Ha, sure! (both laughed).
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