We are very excited to announce Kalaari Capital’s investment in Vokal. Based out of Bangalore, Vokal is a voice and video first vernacular knowledge sharing platform founded by the seasoned team — Aprameya Radhakrishna (Ex co-founder Taxiforsure) and Mayank Bid (Ex co-founder Goodbox, Core team member of Redbus).
Vernacular content — Large opportunity
India has approximately 250 million digitally active users. These users spend an average of 2.5 hours a day on smartphone, and approximately 80% of this time is spent in consuming some form of digital content. This digitally active user base is expected to grow to 800 million over the next 5–7 years. Approximately 80% of these users are likely prefer vernacular language for consuming content. Moreover, formats like video and voice will prove much more powerful as they overcome the barriers of literacy and language fluency to a very large extent.
Hence, we believe that video/voice based vernacular content platforms will create a large opportunity for India as 800 million users are expected to spend a significant amount of time consuming vernacular content.
Uniquely Indian platforms
While global platforms have been able to serve the needs of English internet users to a large extent, there is a big market for India specific platforms to cater to the needs of non-English Indian internet users.
Language plays an important role in catering to the needs of vernacular Indians, but other factors such as relevance of content and community building, which drive users to adopt the platform, are equally important. While the language in some of the global platforms can be changed, will vernacular users find the relevant content and people on those platforms? This creates an opportunity to build a platform unique to Indian vernacular population built through a long journey of product iterations based on deep users insights.
Monetization through micro payments
Contrary to how the content has been monetized so far — largely through advertising — we believe monetizing through micro-payments will open up much larger revenue pools.
Certain platforms will have content and community that is more monetizable than others. Hence, while MAUs and DAUs are important metrics; quality of content, and community engagement are equally important in the long term.
Knowledge and opinion sharing platforms where users can get quick answers to their questions still pose a number of problems for vernacular internet users in India. Seeking help from trusted circles of people is core to India’s society, and Vokal is trying to replicate this in the digital world.
More than 95% of questions get answered within 30 minutes, which is a testament to a strong community that Vokal has built. Voice and video first approach has allowed Vokal to engage a large number of users irrespective of their literacy levels and language fluency, a factor that is important towards Vokal’s growth.
Aprameya and Mayank imbibe the strong DNA of understanding deep user insights based on data and constantly iterating the product, which is critical to solve for this large and unique problem. We believe Vokal is on a path to become a default knowledge and opinion sharing platform for billions of Indians, and Kalaari is very excited to partner with Aprameya and Mayank on this journey.