Monish Ghatalia and his team conceptualised Worldoo.com as a digital destination for children between the ages of five and nine, realising that children do not have a safe place online where they can take their first steps into the internet.
“Facebook restricts access to children below 13 years, and LinkedIn is used for professional networking. Worldoo.com is like a social network for pre-teens,” explains Ghatalia about the philosophy behind the company.
Ghatalia had begun working with an advertising agency at the age of 17, and opened his own agency, Focus Communication, in 1997, when he was just 22. He went about soliciting business from almost 100 companies before finally getting the first order from IndusInd Bank, to print 200 visiting cards. In October 2014, he partnered with Robert Lobo, former Group President of Apparels at Raymond Limited, and incorporated Anterprise Network, which is the holding company for their businesses like Focus Advertising and Worldoo.com.
“At Focus, we worked with one of the biggest kids’ brands in India, which gave me the chance to interact with a lot of children and their mothers. I once saw a mother beating her child for unknowingly browsing through a website that was not suitable for him, and that’s when we realised there was potential for something like Worldoo.com,” he says.
Ghatalia first conducted a feedback campaign, ‘Let’s Build’, anchored by popular actor Amitabh Bachchan, to understand what children, parents and educators wanted to see in a website for kids. It got more than 1,57,000 responses.
Worldoo.com was officially launched in June this year, packed with features like a virtual zoo (Doo Zoo) where kids can virtually interact with animals from across the world, a passport that allows them to visit different countries (Doo Holiday), life skills like learning to tie a shoelace or doing cool artwork (Doo Academy) and a platform to fight against social issues (War Quarters).
A special dashboard gives reports to parents, who can monitor the online activities of their children with a mobile app. The Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) has been adhered to, with a three-level check before allowing users to post comments or use the chat feature, to ensure the safety of the children logged into the platform. Parents can also set a daily time limit for using the platform, ranging from 20 to 60 minutes.
The platform is currently offered free of cost; but Ghatalia says they hope to start charging users about Rs 200 a month once they reach two lakh users.
“With 134 million kids expected to be online by the year 2017, the internet is an untapped resource in India.
Worldoo.com content will be revamped on a monthly basis. In the few weeks since its launch, we have already gained more than 3,000 registered users. We also plan to launch a merchandise store and an animation series in the future,” adds Ghatalia.
Born in Mumbai, Ghatalia played sports like badminton and cricket while growing up, which taught him the ‘art of losing’, one that is very useful for an entrepreneur. His father, Pravin Ghatalia, was the Managing Director of Price Waterhouse Coopers in India, one of the big four accounting companies in the world.