"Hooeey who?", you say? Well, should we just say it is a browsing history manager or should we say a bookmark manager or rather should we say it is a social network? Our first impression was it is Google Personal Search + del.icio.us + MySpace. We were so confounded that we did not know which category should this post go into! Bookmarking or Social Networks or something new?
But hey didn't we also say "Hooeey is here to help us". So, here it is. Hear it in the master's own words.
About Hooeey "The user's interaction with the web is changing - the web allows far more participation today through innovations such as RSS, blogs, podcasts, Wikis, etc. One area that has remained neglected is the user interaction with his or her browser history. Browser History has remained a simple list of links that extend back for a limited time and offers limited functionality. Browser history continues to be an isolated data island that is not easily accessible and susceptible to complete loss when browser settings are cleared routinely. The inherent value in the browser history is being completely under-utilized or worse, lost forever. A computer user has no easy way of searching or seeing information about his or her browsing habits over time.
Our startup, hooeey, de-links browser history from being the sole function of the browser's built-in history function. A browser toolbar installed from hooeey.com ensures that the user has access to multiple functions such as Record On/Off toggling, ability to tag pages, add reviews, do searches and view/edit history and tags off-line.
More importantly, hooeey.com allows registered users to upload their history and tags to a personal on-line account.This portal is the earliest instance of recognizing that browser history is a fundamental source of data that can be processed to provide valuable information to the user."
Interesting, isn't it? So, we hooked up with Hooeey's head honcho to know more about it. The rest follows.
1. What exactly does the word "hooeey" mean and what is your service about? It's simply a catchy word and does not signify anything. The service is a combination of browser history tracking, tagging and social sharing. We'd like to say that the hooeey concept in its entirety is much greater than the sum of its individual parts.
2. Could you please share with us the motivation and the story behind its origin? Simple - we got tired of losing track of sites visited in the past and not being able to access history across browsers, across machines and for more than 2 weeks at a time. hooeey was conceived before sites like del.icio.us and digg became public knowledge and the timing was purely coincidental.
3. Aren't there privacy concerns? The concept of privacy in the Internet space is constantly being re-defined. As of now, no one knows exactly what privacy means. hooeey is very transparent to the users because the user has full awareness and control of the process. At hooeey, we give our users enough safeguards at different times within the process (stop Recording sites, Upload only selected links and tags, being able to keep all links private and so on) and we will continue to enhance this process.
4. How does hooeey compare with Google Personal Search? Google Personal Search only retains history of searches performed in Google. It does not track every page you have visited, does not allow you to tag those pages, nor does it allow you to share them with friends/family and the public. Also, the history is only stored at the server level - there is no possibility to track this information in an off-line, client-centric mode (which is already under development in hooeey)
5. Whom is this service targeted at mostly? hooeey is targeted at Internet users who want to be able to keep track of their history and without duplicating efforts, also share interesting URLs and tags/comments with friends/family/community or the public at large. There is no pre-requisite for users to be geeks to be able to use hooeey.
6. How is hooeey doing so far? How many users signed up? Is there a lot of interest in this service? How well was it received by the users? At hooeey, we believe in the concept of user centered design. Hence, we have started a pilot program with friends and family and already, we have more registered users than the number of pilot users we invited. This clearly shows that hooeey has caught the imagination of our pilot users. In addition, the initial feedback we have received (from both professional designers/coders as well as casual tech users) has been that the idea is very powerful and that the user experience is both professional as well as pleasant.
7. Could you please share any significant achievements. As one person who is very experienced in the field of startups said, "What is remarkable about the hooeey beta is that it works ! You will be surprised at how many betas I have been invited to test which do not go even 0% of the distance that hooeey does. I am very excited about where you will take this concept".
8. Could you tell us more about yourself, your position & other key players/stake holders, if any? What were you all doing before starting this company & also your previous work experiences? I was the Founder and Managing Director of CyberBazaar, India's first and largest conferencing company. After selling CyberBazaar to WebEx, Inc., I was the Managing Director of WebEx India till mid-2005. I started hooeey about a year ago with a friend who is based in California. I have a B.S. in Industrial & Systems engineering from the University of Alabama and an M.S. in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M University.
The second founder works as a Director for a large enterprise software provider in Palo Alto, CA. He has more than 10 years of professional experience in the US, South East Asia and India. He is an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) and is an Electrical and Electronics Engineer from Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani.
9. By the way, is there any association between hooeey and WebEx? No.
10. How large is the team behind hooeey? Are you all based in India? There are two co-founders and a team of three (two developers and a project lead). Only one co-founder is not based in Bangalore, currently.
11. How is your startup being funded so far? Did you receive any other external funding? If not, do you plan on seeking external funding? hooeey has been funded by the founders. We have not raised any external funding. We will raise external funds at a later, more appropriate, stage.
12. Few of our readers indicated interest in learning how to go about taking an idea from concept to inception. So, could you please share with us your experiences. Clearly, there is no one right way. The only way to do something is to actually do it. The belief in an idea and the passion to see it through will fuel an entrepreneur to focus, build a dedicated team, raise funding, build out the idea, evangelize the concept, get customers and dominate the space. My experience has beenthat if the idea "feels" right and you can get a team together based on nothing more than "the idea", it is worth pursuing it whole-heartedly.
13. What are the key technologies your product is built upon and why did you opt for them? We are using a WIMP stack - Windows, IIS, MySQL and PHP. The reason we are using Windows/IIS is because some of our work is done on machines where this is the only combination available/permitted. The entire architecture is such that hooeey can be easily ported to a complete LAMP framework, if we feel the need.
14. Where do you plan to take hooeey going forward? To every browser.
15. What is your business/revenue model or do you have an exit strategy on mind? We are considering several options at this time on the business/revenue front. The exit strategy is not on our horizon yet--we are busy getting across hooeey's value proposition to users who need it.
16. What are some of the challenges in your business and how do you plan on tackling them? Speed of execution is always going to be a challenge in an Internet-centric business. The real challenge is to build and convey the 'x-factor' in one's product that's crucial in differentiating one's product or service. hooeey's focus on people-centered design will help us meet these challenges.
17. In your experience, what has been the most effective way to market a business? In my experience, the CyberBazaar team was able to communicate the value clearly to the right audience and also deliver the stated value. This helped us become the dominant player in this space. I think that any business that can do this can forge non-fungible ties with its user or customer base and become successful.
18. Also, what do you think would act as a catalyst to drive startups(especially in India) towards success? The best catalyst for start-ups is to see the success of other Indian start-ups. That said, there isn't a way that success can be guaranteed.
19. What is your take on increasing number of startups in India? There has been a upsurge in the number of people starting out on their own in the last two years. The number needs to grow even faster because for every ten people who have a good idea only two or three act on it. I see many stake-holders in the entrepreneurial ecosystem making welcome efforts to change this situation and it will certainly beneficial to the future entrepreneurs of India.
20. On a personal front, who is your role model? I admire some distinct traits in people I've come across or in people I've read about, but I don't have a 'role model' in a narrowly defined sense of the phrase.
21. Also, which websites do you read often? I visit many tech-related sites/blogs--TechCrunch, Gizmodo, Engadget, Lifehacker, PCMag, SourceForge, Wired and ZDNet. The other sites that I constantly visit are BBC, Business2.0, Fortune, Businessweek, NYTimes. For topical subjects, I enjoy blogs such as datelinebombay.blogspot.com, 6ampacific.com, and several others.
22. How did being an entrepreneur affect your lifestyle? Do you get enough time for yourself/family? I started my career as an entrepreneur knowing fully well that it'll enhance my life(style)--I could choose to prioritise what I wanted to do and when I wanted to do it. And obviously, since time for family/oneself is paramount, becoming an entrepreneur allows one to do just that. My family had supported my decision to become an entrepreneur right out of graduate school and they are fully behind me on my second venture. My wife, Divya, who is a marketing professional has helped me right from the ideation stage to the pilot launch. My co-founder's wife Sudha, an experienced corporate consultant, has helped us make hooeey more user-centric. As an entrepreneur, you can initially get your family to help out which means you'll end up working and spending more time with your family. A win-win situation!
23. Our final question, One thing that you love the most? I value my family the most and the relationships that I've built with my friends and acquaintances.
That was Rajeev Purnaiya of Hooeey.com who as we heard is not only passionate about being an entrepreneur but is equally passionate to deliver something interesting and useful to the users.