Delhi, Delhi India (PressExposure) October 04, 2007 -- "There's a little bit of rickshawvala in all of us" jokes Satwant S. Sobti when asked why his newly-formed company hareepa!com has hired a local rickshawvala to spread awareness about their website. Their launch campaign includes a humorous video viral "Revenge of the Rickshawvalas II" which showcases the rickshawvala performing various stunts and dances.
Sobti is the Founder and CEO of hareepa!com, an online portal that allows Indian users to connect with like-minded people through matching up similarities of their profile and interests with the other users' profiles. "It's really simple - you fill out your profile and one click later, hareepa!com's similarity engine matches you up with the most similar people in your area" says Sobti. "The whole process takes 3-4 minutes and the results are extremely relevant" adds Sobti, a recently arrived NRI from the U.S.
Social networking websites have recently come under scanner due to the belief that the recent death of teenager Adnan Patrawala was planned on Orkut.com. Vipul Narula, IT Head of hareepa!com, assures users that hareepa!com's security policy, which does a mobile check on each member, prevents this type of behavior as an authenticity check is required to get a mobile number in India.
Despite this concern, more and more India-focused social networking websites are mushrooming up every day. When asked how hareepa!com would compete in this market, Sobti replied "hareepa!com is serving a need in India today better than any of its competitors: making new friends". According to a hareepa!com-MediaTurf survey conducted earlier this year, 85% of the users who visit social networking websites do so to make new friends; and while most of the 85% use Orkut to do this, Sobti is confident that hareepa!com's similarity engine gives users more relevant results and a better way to interact. "Our technology allows us to simply do this better than our competitors" says Sobti. He also reveals to us that hareepa!com has introduced a new feature where users can SMS one other without being told the other person's number.
The hareepa!com team operates out of Gurgaon with a team of 10 employees including recent recruit, Avnish Saxena from competitor HumSubka.com. Saxena, who has great experience in the India's Web 2.0 space, believes hareepa!com can become India's biggest social networking site in 2-3 years. "This is a product that is truly catered to the needs of India's youth--it's finally here." says Saxena.
Time will only tell if hareepa!com is "the one" - in the mean time, you can check out their funny viral, "Revenge of the Rickshawvalas II", by logging onto hareepa.com.