TechXpla interview Mayur Dabhade, Cofounder & CEO of 360Track
Introduction: 360Track helps parents and educational institutes to be on the same platform and communicate seamlessly with each other and thus efficiently contribute to child’s academic growth.
360Track solution consists of a Device, Smart Cards, SMS service, Online Software and Mobile App. The device is affixed at entrance of institute (coaching classes/ school/ college). As soon as student taps the Smart Card to the Device, SMS is send to his/ her parent immediately. The evice is linked to the Online Software. The Software also comes with additional features wherein the class teachers can mark the student’s attendance, put up notes of their homework or class activities. The 30Track Mobile Apps allows parents to access their pupil’s information on the go using iOS, Android or Windows Phone apps.
TechXpla met Mayur Dabhade (24) startup entrepreneur and Cofounder, 360Track at their Thane office to know more about 360Track.
Tell us a little bit about your background and what led you to starting 360Track.
Well, both of us are software engineers by education. I, after my 10th, was fascinated by technology and started working on computer programming. While completing my Diploma in Computer Technology, I got some website and software development assignments.
After Swapnil’s engineering, we decided not to go for job and start our own business in technology space. To test the market response, we started a local level property portal on 7th July 2013 for a small town- TitwalaProperty.com. The portal was top-ranked within 7 days of its launching and got impressive response with more than 17 lakh hits in less than 11 months.
So, with this, we decided to start our own IT and media firm in Thane. Our father withdrew his PF, we hired office space in thane and started an IT and Media firm- The Horizon Technologies.
First 6-8 months were too hectic and we got disappointed many times. But with the financial and moral support from our family we could survive and run the business. By June 2014, we worked with 150+ clients and established ourselves as one of the fastest growing digital agency.
In August 2014, I came across a news article saying “One lakh children go missing in India every year and Maharashtra is one of the worst state in this”. I just got nervous! Then I and Swapnil checked the documents and records published by the National Crime Records Bureau and were greatly distressed to know that the children are kidnapped for trafficking, ransom and forcing them to beg. After digging deep into the issue, we found one of the scenarios for kidnapping is when the child is out from Home.
We wanted to build something that will keep parents updated about their child’s whereabouts. So we started thinking of a solution which will intimate parents when the child enters and leaves the school, tuition, hobby class, etc. We thought of a biometric fingerprint system which seemed to be difficult to use for kids. So we finalized upon Contactless Card-based system. When we discussed this idea with some schools and tuitions, their suggestion was, it should be connected with Student Management System which will offer security as well as automation.
Then we and our team thought of building a system which will intimate parent when the child enters and leaves the school/tuition, helps institute to manage students’ data and offers parents a convenience to access their child’s information. This is how we started building a solution- 360Track in December 2014.
What does 360Track offer and how is it different than other offerings in market for tracking or access control.
360Track helps Parents and educational institutes to be on the same platform and communicate seamlessly with each other and thus efficiently contribute to child’s academic growth.
We have a hardware device which will be affixed at the entrance of classroom or in the entrance lobby. Students will be provided with Smart cards which they need to scan while entering and leaving from. As they scan cards, parents will receive a high-priority SMS at the moment. This hardware is connected with Online Software that can be accessed by Institute Admin, Teacher, Parent and Student. In this software parents can get students complete academic data including attendance, exams, class routine, homework, study material, notice board, fees, etc. The online software also allows all stake holders to chat with each other. To offer ease of access, we have created mobile app for parents for all 3 major mobile platforms- iOS, Android and Windows Phone.
Distinguishing features of 360Track:
- Sends SMS at the moment and without operator
- Being cloud-based, can be access from anywhere, any time
- The device also captures & stores data locally in offline mode
- It gives access to Institute, Teachers, Parents & Students, bringing all of them on a common platform
- Book keeping becomes super-easy & hassle-free
- 360Track routes out up-front infrastructure investments by employing Solution-as-a-service model. This also eliminates maintenance headache for school- device gets replaced for free.
- Call support for Institute, Teachers as well as parents.
- Everything is in-house: The product is conceptualized, developed and manufactured in-house.
What was your team size when you started and what is it now
We started with 2 and now we are 8. We are recruiting few more people in the company.
How does your business make money?
360Track is based on solution as service model. This eliminates up-front infrastructure investments since we charge per student basis. This way, even small institutes can also afford it. With this cost we take complete headache of school on our shoulders. If the device stops working, we just replace it for free! In case anybody has problem while using our online software and apps, they can contact our support on 8080 55 2323.
We are tying up with trusted channel partners pan India for sales of our product. This will enable us to expand and grow faster.
Do you use Social Media marketing: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, to promote your websites? How successful has it been for you? Any advice on how people can use social media to promote their websites?
Both of us are well versed with technology and are cofounders of a digital agency- The Horizon Technologies. At The Horizon Technologies, we do Digital Marketing, Website & Mobile App Development and Software Development. We are also strategic partners for some start-ups for Technology and Digital Marketing.
We use Facebook and Google Ads for 360Track. Recently we organized a #SelfieWithSis contest which got nice response. You may visit our Facebook page (www.fb.com/360track) and see how nicely it was done!
As we believe, social media is one of the most powerful communication medium for brands, if used wisely.
Branding has been our focus from the very beginning. We do also have a website 360trackbrand.in which as of now hosts the entries of #SelfieWithSis, will eventually showcase what 360track mean as a brand.
How do you do customer acquisition? Do you have any partner (dealers) organisations helping you? Also what is your social media strategy?
The scenario is our client is Institute and end-user is parent. So we need to do hard-sell our product to client and create awareness in parents.
For Sales: Channel Partners
We, as a company are not looking for in-house sales. As of now we have 3 channel partners for Thane-Mumbai, Solapur, Ranchi and Pondicherry. 6 months down the line, we aim at having our channel partner in all major cities of the country.
For Awareness: Social Media
Social media strategy would be:
- Platforms: Facebook & YouTube
- Creating Awareness, why 360Track is an essential tool, how it will benefit
- Organizing contests to engage audience
- Surveys and opinion polls
- Sharing important & essential information- for parents.
- Last but not least, creating videos of institutes, parents, teachers & students using our product and create word of mouth awareness.
Who does installation of the system?
We do have 2 dedicated persons who take care of installation (which is damn easy!) and product training at institute.
We create a subdomain for institute and install online software there. Our apps can be downloaded from play store and app store.
As a part of installation process in the school, we provide a device per 60 students which we configure to school Wi-Fi. Students are provided with programmed cards and all done!
Post to this, we plan product training for school staff and if required, for parents, as well. They even can call our support in case any difficulties.
What does it take to run 360track? What is your typical day/week? What tasks do you do?
- Approaching as many schools/coaching classes/colleges through the channel partner network.
- Following up with existing channel partners.
- Identifying & tying up with new channel partners.
- Thinking of how we can improve experience of end users.
- Driving branding strategy- Online & off line.
- Taking care of delivery and after sales service.
What is technology roadmap for your business? Share some of additions you would like to do existing business model? (Use IoT, advance analytics etc). What are your future plans for new technology to be implemented on the website?
As we outsource complete sales though channel partners network pan India, our focus would be Branding, R&D and Product Enhancement.
We look forward to develop each of the module in online software thoroughly and taking care that our end users get best experience.
There are few enhancements lined up and soon we will be launching next powerful version of the 360Track.
What are your hobbies ? What do you do in free time ?
Hahaha… Nothing as such. We hardly get time. However, acting is my hobby.
Both, I and Swapnil are food-lovers and love to explore different-different restaurants in the city.
We mostly read online blogs related to social media marketing, technology trends and entrepreneurs.
Thanks for speaking to us. Wish you all the best for future. Looking forward to interacting with you in future.