New Delhi: Netizens Prabhu Pathak, David Toms and Barinder registered themselves in myBantu.com to make their lives easier and the start-up is just doing that. Using an online assistant to deal with multitude of works and paucity of time in city life is not a luxury but a necessity.
Leveraging this need, a smart web-based start-up myBantu.com from GloMantra Inc., came up to help netizens in their daily needs. Right from reserving seats at a famous restaurant, booking tickets at theatres, information about the city’s best surgeon to shopping for favourite books, myBantu.com serves as multipurpose agent of web-based guidance.
“myBantu.com uses recommendations from humanized web using its patent pending technology, ActiveRelevance. If you like any recommendation but not sure about it, myBantu assists you in getting opinions from your friends and social networks,” said Bhaskar Enaganti, co-founder and chief executive officer myBantu.com.
The application functions on the conjunction of two principles—artificial intelligence and social relevance—and calls it social intelligence.
“We use social intelligence to get recommendations from the web and opinions from friends,” said Enaganti.
myBantu.com uses online applications like search engines, semantic engines, social networking sites and sites like Yelp, Yahoo, OpenTable, RottenTomatoes, Amazon etc. to serve the users.
“My experience with myBantu is complete fun, rich and exciting. It is integrated with Facebook, which makes it easy to use and at the same time involve and interact with your friends,” Vipul Singh, a myBantu user.
Investment and revenue
As an initial investment, the start-up secured about $1.3mn in February 2009 and is planning to raise another $6mn.
“myBantu is free to the user and its revenue model is primarily transaction based revenue model. Whenever the user likes a recommendation and gets it done through myBantu, a transaction commission is realized from service provider,” said co-founder and vice president (marketing and product strategy) Bharath Yadla.
At present, myBantu has integrated with 2,200 such service providers in US from whom revenue can be generated.
“There are other revenue streams including Opt-in Ads based on CPA 9cost per action) model, and referral based models,” Yadla said. myBantu though in private beta stage, the monetization model is validated and has just kick-started its revenue generation.
Competition and challenges
“myBantu’s competitive landscape includes Siri.com (mobile based virtual personal assistant, acquired by Apple). The other competitors include Hunch (personalized recommendation system) and Aardvark (acquired by Google),” said Yadla.
As an early player in this arena, myBantu is now trying to establish itself as the market leader.
“With giants like Google, LinkedIn and Facebook making a move towards this space, myBantu needs to beef up its presence in the recommendation technology territory,” he said.
myBantu plans to acquire over 2.0 million users by 2011 and 8.0 million by 2012.
“At present myBantu is tuned for entertainment related needs like dining, movies, music, online shopping. We plan to enter the travel and health by Q4 of this year,” said Enaganti.
The online assistant would extend itself to mobile platforms like Android and Blackberry soon.