Do you want to write short stories and poems, share travel experiences or rally support for a social issue? Expin.me is a platform that is recreating a mid to long format expression, that can include text, pictures, videos and audios, that can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social networks. Developed by a team led by Rakesh Agarwal, an alumnus of IIT-Delhi, the Expin.me beta version is being released today, as a dedication to our fundamental Right to Expression.
The platform already has close to 4,000 early adopters that include students of Arts, Social Science, Journalism and Creative Streams, as well as faculty of media colleges, radio jockeys and authors. Agarwal loved to hear local stories while travelling, and found that there was no platform for people to connect and share stories with like-minded people.
In the immediate future, their focus is to bring communities around various interests, where thought leaders can engage enthusiasts on the platform, which supports languages like Hindi, Kannada, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Bengali and Spanish.
Expin.me is part of the 10,000 startups initiative of NASSCOM, and was selected by Google for mentoring as part of its Inaugural Launchpad programme in India. It won the first prize at the IIM Bangalore event, DisruptIt, among 50 startups and was winner of HOT 100 Technology awards, 2014, organised by the Centre of Recognition and Excellence, Mumbai.
Rakesh spent 15 years in corporate life before starting Expin.me. His last assignment was Chief Product Owner and Director at SAP Labs India, where he worked up through the ranks over a 12 year stint. Prior to that, he was with Robert Bosch India. His advice to youngsters joining the workforce is, “Don’t work for a dream company but work for your dream job, which gives immense pleasure, satisfaction and career growth over the long run. I worked in just two companies as an employee, where chasing my dream job gave me maximum.” He adds, “It is also important to cultivate at least one extracurricular interest, which helps you to maintain a work-life balance. For me, it was going on long drives and travelling to small places, which recharged my power bank and helped me work on new ideas with increased vigour.” An advice for students is “never underestimate the power of great communication and writing skills. It is the key to your professional success, so invest early.”
Rakesh was born in Bokaro Steel City, Jharkand, a small, cosmopolitan steel city where his father was an engineer working for SAIL. Every parent in the town wanted their child to become an Engineer or Doctor, so it was a pleasant surprise for Rakesh to join IIT-Delhi with a good rank. Moving from a small town to Delhi was a big cultural shock, in the days before Google, where one only had hostel seniors for support and answer queries. This helped him develop his social skills to a large extent.
Rakesh’s desire to become an entrepreneur started during his summer internship at Tata Motors in 1996, when he wrote a CNC program for manufacturing a part of the Indica car engine. It inspired him to set up his own high tech workshop, but it was a luxury for someone coming from a middle class family. He could finally kick-start the entrepreneurial dream in 2011, with his first venture around building social media services and applications for small and medium enterprises. It gave him a good exposure to entrepreneurship but he had to shut it down within a year.
After serious brainstorming for a few months and many iterative prototypes, the idea of Expin.me was born. The management team regrouped and they started pooling in resources by mortgaging or short-selling a lot of their fixed assets. The founding team brings 45+ years of global experience. While Rakesh leads the team, his wife Sarika manages Operations, Quality and User Relations, and Rakesh Mishra plays an active role in product strategy and business planning. The alpha version of Expin.me for testing was launched in August 2014. “My role models have been Narayana Murthy and Nandan Nilekani. They have showcased how middle class educated individuals can have large dreams and achieve it,” says Agarwal. To start blogging visit email@example.com