In an age where book clubs and libraries are rapidly becoming extinct due to mall and multiplex culture, Vowelor comes as a fresh breath of air. This barely one-year-old startup has created a virtual world for book lovers that seek to recreate the magic of book clubs that was so much prevalent in the bygone era.
However, Vowelor is not merely a place where book lovers get to dissect & discuss their favorite novels. But it is also a place where they get to interact with some upcoming and popular authors as well. In the process, authors get great opportunity to promote their books in a rapidly growing book community.
As of today, Vowelor has very few parallels as far as the competition goes and therefore it is among country’s first online ecosystem for the diehard book lovers. Two young entrepreneurs Manik Ghawri and Lalit Sharma are behind this unique online ecosystem that aims to create the best possible virtual community for India’s bibliophiles.
This young startup’s ambition has already got a good head-start, after it raised Rs 10 mn in pre-series A round led by angel investor by Mr. Sanjeev Juneja, an eminent FMCG Player.
To know more about this young startup, Techpluto caught up with Vowelor’s co-founders Manik Ghawri and Lalit Sharma for an exclusive interview. In this special interview, both co-founders have shed light on the company’s journey, latest funding, future plans and many other important aspects.
Q) Could you’ve imagined starting a platform like Vowelor if you have not been an avid reader yourself?
No but after we wrote a book soon we realised there’s no platform of readers where we can showcase our book. That’s when we got the idea of starting a Facebook group where readers and writers can interact with each other. As the community grew, we (Mr. Manik Ghawri and Lalit Sharma co-founders) analysed that users were facing a number of problems that are common. Readers struggle to find the next book to read while authors face hurdles in book promotion.
After all the research, we started Vowelor as a one stop platform for readers and writers with the unique concept of ‘Why, Read Alone’.
Q) Can you briefly describe what Vowelor is all about and how do this ecosystem benefit readers and authors?
The Vowelor app connects like-minded book lovers who read similar books. Most importantly, it allows you to discuss books in real-time and help you find what books you should read next.
Vowelor brings innovation into this industry by gathering readers, writers and publishers all under one roof and solving problems that were faced by each of them. India’s publishing industry is in dire need of this evolution and Vowelor has the potential to do it.
Q) Vowelor recently raised Rs 1 Cr in pre-series A round. Can you shed light on how does the company plans to utilize this fund infusion?
While other startups in this domain are into buying and selling books and subscriptions, Vowelor is entirely focusing on the community aspect where user can have meaningful conversations around books in real-time.
Our short term goals include launching the iOS version of Vowelor books app and expanding our reader’s community. Soon, we will also partner with Bookstores and Publishers to take our app to next level.
Q) What is Vowelor’s current revenue model?
Our primary revenue comes from helping and promoting Authors to reach maximum numbers of readers. We do this by utilizing our community and organic reach from our website. And in coming days, we are planning to automate the entire process via Vowelor App.
Moreover, in the near future, Vowelor will collaborate with publishers and book stores opening new revenue streams as well as bringing the much needed change in the books industry in India which is estimated to be worth Rs 739 Billion by 2020.
Q) Does Vowelor plans to add any new features to make the ecosystem more engaging and exciting?
Yes, definitely. We are first planning to release the iOS app and then we will look forward provide features including the in-app Author Program for book promotion.
Q) Is there any long term plan to cater to non-English and vernacular readers?
On Vowelor app, many readers have added non-English books in their libraries (including Hindi, Bengali and Tamil). As a community, we welcome readers of all languages and interact with those who read books of same language.
Q) Vowelor claims to be India’s first ecosystem of readers and authors but going forward do you see competition heating up in this niche space?
As this industry has a lot of potential, it is definite that more startups as well as biggies are eyeing on the books niche. It is important to solve the problems of readers and writers to be on the top.
Q) Where do you see Vowelor in next 2-3 years in terms of growth?
In the coming years, we plan to turn Vowelor into one of its kind platform for authors, readers, publishers and bookstores and remove the bottlenecks that they currently face.