Founded in 2015 by Karan Walia, ZULOC is a proximity based professional networking app that lets you discover and engage with professionals on real time basis. It is a mobile platform built with a vision to help you in making your next hire or finding your next job or closing a business deal right from your phone promptly.
The company is based out of Kolkata and is currently under the accelerator program at John Lowth Entrepreneurship Center, (Tampa Bay,US)
What led to the conception of this business idea?
Upon being asked this question, Walia put forth a counter query- We make business connections with an unintended purpose by using networking apps such as LinkedIn which leads to mere accumulation of 100s of global connections. However, how many of them have been meaningful and impactful ?
He added, “the current platforms do not allow users to build connections based on users specific needs/expertise/skills, hence making the whole outcome of networking ambiguous. Not only did we experience the aforesaid issues, but upon surveying across various industries we ascertained that most other professionals too need a solution to the same”.
Walia maintains that professional networking needs to evolve based on user’s specific needs (personalization), allow engagement based on proximity and on real time basis , and be more engaging .
Key Features and Services of ZULOC
- Discover – It helps one discover professionals of their specific interest in their vicinity by focusing on two elements: exclusively mobile and proximity centric.
- Connect – Upon having discovered someone, users can start building connections based on an intended purpose. This could range from finding new clients or a mentor, raising investments or hiring your next employee.
- Engage– Engaging with your connections real-time is just as important as discovering them. This is where ZULOC’s in-built messenger could come in handy.
What problems is ZULOC addressing?
Here are a few problems, the startup attempts to address-
1.It is difficult to meet relevant people based on your specific interest which translates into a major roadblock on the way to defining the actual purpose.
2.User experience is quite tedious when engagement is not real-time.
3.In fact, the real-time engagement too could be time consuming, so it’s much better off discovering professionals in next 100 meters and conveniently meet them, an option that ZULOC facilitates.
Technology Used by the Startup
The app is built on native Android studio. “Moreover, we have used cloud technology and a very popular mobile backend service provider called Parse. Our app is currently available in beta stage on the Google Playstore. We will be rolling out the iOS version soon”, maintains Walia.
In-app purchases; Internal advertising platform that partners with Corporates/SMB’s who would want to cater to professionals. Both shall be rolled out soon. It currently has over 2000 registered Beta users.
The company is currently bootstrapped and is looking forward to raise investment soon.
Potential Competitors and Scope in this Sector
Linkedin is the biggest competitor to ZULOC, however, the latter has the advantage over the former for being a proximity based app. Nevertheless, a couple of players which could give a direct competition to ZULOC are City Hour and Caliber.
A few other names competing in similar segment are Opprtunity, Biznik, PartnerUp etc.
According to Walia, Professional networking segment demands a transformation, needs to be more personalised and engaging. He says, “In next 2-3 years we are looking forward to bring onboard and manage the entire lifecycle of professional/business on a mobile device.”