’For many of us, a Start-up is a radical invention or an amended conception. To me, it is identifying a problem and then develop a conventional system that leverages technological dynamism to solve the problem’ –
Prakhar Lunawat, Founder: Lokus
Having gained its foothold in the digital world since August 1, 2018 for Android and iOS users, Lokus serves to be Central India’s pioneering News mining application. It foresees setting up a foothold in every nook and corner of India’s geographical diversity.
It envisions to acquaint the readers about the relevance of being updated with their immediate surroundings.
Having said that, no matter how great the idea may sound; almost all entrepreneurs tend to have a roadblock. Let’s unfold the incredible journey behind the making of and launching Lokus:
A Candid Interview with the founders Prashant & Prakhar Lunawat.
- Why Lokus? We have almost identical apps available in the digital market to cater the consumer needs.
Prashant: There are several News apps that publish National and International News. Regional News is hardly being covered. We want people, especially our young generation to be aware of every little incident happening in their surroundings and neighbouring communities. Regional News facilitates a bond between communities.
The major source, I can say, for Local News is Print Media. Local newspapers are considered more trustworthy than social media. Having said that, local newspapers don’t appeal much to our Gen Y and that’s where Lokus will be the gap-filler. Through Lokus we want to bring back the reading spirit among the youth, and keep them aligned with current affairs in real-time through our status-quo mobile app.
- How are you hunting talents to build an efficient and result-oriented team?
Prakhar: We believe in dynamism and welcome diverse and creative people on board. But, the first step was to get the ball rolling on the right track. For that, we chose to hire experienced professionals from the journalism industry. Young blood comes with a lot of passion but to ignite the engine we were looking for depth of knowledge and networks that come from experience. Hence, the decision.
Our team comprises of people having 25+ years of work experience in journalism, while on the other, we also have a team of freshers who use their unique skill-sets and work in unison. They work with passion, display more flexibility towards the dynamic market trends and eagerly welcome new ideas. This age-diverse workforce is our strength we boast of.
- So then what is Lokus?
Prashant: Simply put, Lokus is a user-friendly app that enables the users to read news with a swipe of the thumb. To unearth, discover and publish the regional news which otherwise remains buried, is the prime objective of its conception.
Summarised News is gaining popularity due to the fast-paced lifestyle. Readers prefer reading summarized news with key points; currently, there are 2-3 national players in this league. Hence we plunged into the pool with a dash of personalization publishing 50% news on Chhattisgarh and rest 50% includes National and International news. So users are getting the best of other apps, along with regional news.
Considering the reader base in India, one of the indispensable features; the ‘Language Swap’ button has been incorporated which enables the readers to switch between English and Hindi as and when convenient. Each and every news article is inscribed in Hindi and in English to cater to a wide range of readers.
And most importantly, Lokus is a name to be reckoned with. We come with the promise of Credible and Unbiased news. It is ‘all facts – no opinions’ for us.
- How did you come up with the name of your product?
Prakhar: During a brainstorming, we had this eureka-moment; came up with a Latin word ‘Locus’ which means a particular position or place where something occurs, ‘an event place’ basically.
It later got metamorphosed into a Hinglish word ‘Lokus’, a linguistic blend of Hindi and English ‘Lok’ means ‘people’ in Hindi and ‘Us’ is ‘We’. So, it is basically ‘We the people’
- What ignited the spark in you to start a new venture? Where did the idea of your business derive from?
Prashant: We have always had that worm inside, you know, of making something from the scratch. Coming up with a product that can be used by the masses and for the good of the community. Prakhar’s marketing and business background with my design and creative domain clubbed with international academic exposure, something that was destined to spring up.
The inclination towards news in our post-digital generation is narrow and incidental. Gen Y and Millennials, the online natives who integrate technology in their routine, spends most of their hours consuming information online.
Our zeal to tune in the neglected content, i.e. News into the lives of our young generation in a customised form, gave rise to Lokus. Hence, we embarked on a journey of connecting people to their environment.
- Considering the fierce competition in Today’s business world, how would you highlight your company’s competitive advantages? What makes it stand out from the crowd?
Prakhar: To set a benchmark in this industry we are majorly relying on customer feedback. Customer is the king and we let the king dictate. The feedback we gather is scrutinised, evaluated and then implemented. Our strategy ‘the flock always gets attracted towards the best grass and figuring out how to drive as many of the right people toward this grass’ has worked in our favour. It has given us an opportunity to customise and render the best possible service in a shorter span. Being small right now also means we have a lot of flexibility.
Sensationalised headlines are social media fodder. A wave of sensationalism and fake news has descended upon us. Popular News apps are creating sensational headlines which compel the readers to start clicking. This is nothing but provocative headlines over advertising-laden filler to make money.
We refrain from creating a buzz or giving opinions. Our motive is to display facts and events that need attention. The content of many websites is not even close to what the headline claims and usually these things have us wanting to click on a link or ad. Click-bait stories have somewhat diminished the value of news which we’re endeavouring to resurrect.
- What features do you consider adding?
Prashant: We prioritize customer feedback to develop or add enhancements. It’s hard to tell what we’ll add, but one idea is Reading Voice Assistance, the read-out feature (radio) will integrate speech APIs to read out the headlines and summaries. This ranks first on the customer-request wish list, hence we’re soon to launch this feature. We’re burning the candle on both ends to make Lokus, a go-to place and the only platform to supply information on regional news in the most convenient manner.
- How are you planning to monetize the app?
Prakhar: We’re looking at different options which include, leveraging social media and generating revenue through advertisements. We’d also prefer co-sponsorships and partnership deals. There are ample ways to monetize that shall follow in the later stage of its operation. For now, our goal is to build a credible informative platform for the localites, news enthusiasts and our digital generation.
- What are the 3 pieces of advice would you give to college students who want to become entrepreneurs?
- Identify yourself: who you are and what is your expertise. One should not be rigid but it is something everyone should focus on.
- Set your priorities and be disciplined about it.
- Failure is a part and it is the best teachers in the school of life; so never be afraid to fail. There is no such thing as a failed entrepreneur, you only fail when you quit. Till then you are simply not successful… yet.