5 minutes before this text is deleted
In a world that runs on the Internet, the lack of privacy seems like an unavoidable price to pay for ubiquitous information and constant connectivity. However, the people behind 11beep are one of the few trying to get the best of both worlds.
Bimal Maharjan was initaly participating in Techs Peak, a people accelerator program for tech entrepreneurs, when the idea of 11beep struck him. “I used to go through the pages of competitors on Facebook and Twitter to analyze their behavior,” Bimal says, “and the fact that I could know so much about them using nothing more than an Excel sheet freaked me out. Just imagine how much more can be learned using softwares and algorithms.” With this thought in mind Bimal came up with the idea of 11beep, a social networking app that does not leave any trace behind. “We humans are naturally wired to forget things but these sites do not let you forget,” says Bimal. “Hence, people aren’t authentic in social media, as much as they are in real life. Most of the users no longer post original thoughts; they share someone else’s thoughts to brand and market themselves.”
Before the idea even germinated, Bimal had already started projects such as Mapkathmandu, and was also involved in the conception of StoresMunk and FlipKarma (previously called Creative Karma, currently Phunka Technologies owns the project). During the program at Techs Peak, he co-founded a company called 88yaksS.R.L. and was also able to raise pre seed money for the same. And around the same time, Bimal was also hatching the new idea of a trace-less social networking site.
Bimal then teamed up with Vivek Bhushal, to start working on his idea. Bimal had met Vivek two years ago at Young Innovations, where the two worked on apps like ‘I Paid a Bribe’ and StoresMunk. The two shared the idea on a blog, along with their views on the issue of security in social media. Getting 1400 views overnight really pushed them to start working on the idea. They then turned to Reddit and Corra where they created threads discussing the matter to get a larger pool of feedback. Again they got a similar response, so they started a website called babbler.com as a test. The website got 400 people signing up in two weeks without any marketing. After taking feedback from the users, they considered building a mobile-based product rather than web-based. The popularity of Snapchat , a photo messaging app that permanently deletes posts within 10 seconds, also helped Vivek and Bimal validate their idea. “Snapchat’s popularity showed us that people have already bought this idea. So we thought it was the right time.”And thus, 11 Beep was born.
The posts made on 11beep get automatically deleted at a user-determined time period. As the posts aren’t permanent (the posts will be deleted from 11beep server as well), and are shared with a limited number of people selected by the users, 11beep provides a more secured space for users to express themselves. “Nowadays, people go through your online profile to know more about you, whether it’s for a job or even marriage. People’s profiles have affected their jobs and relationships. With 11 beep, these problems are less likely to arise. Mistakes won’t be permanent anymore,” says Bimal. After its launch on January 10, 2014, 11beep was in a private alpha phase with around eighteen customers who gave them feedback on the app. The app’s beta version was made available on Google Play Store after a month.
As for extending the reach of their service, the team plans to target South Asian countries, mainly India and Nepal to start with. Bimal’s stay in India for seven years has helped him understand the culture and mindset of the wider population of the sub-continent. Requests from Australia, Russia and Italy have also helped them consolidate their belief in 11 Beep’s international viability. Already available for iOS and Android, they will soon be bringing the app to Windows phone as well.
Vivek has recently left for Melbourne for further studies, and will be contributing to the venture remotely. Bimal is trying to raise capital to take the idea further. The team is considering using their contacts and the users from abroad to invest in the merit of the product. The app has also been opened to everyone (till recently the app was only accessible for invitees).The team is now working to improve the functionality of the app, aiming to provide the best possible user experience with intuitive functions. The team aims to reach 1000 downloads, by the end of April. A lot depends on the first impression the app is able to make; Bimal and Vivek are doing everything possible to make the impression a lasting one.