Have you been inundating your friends’ Facebook feeds with cricket news, match updates, support for your favourite batsmen and what’s-the-point-of-living-now-that-we-have-lost statuses? If so, then this feature is especially for you. Facebook is a great place to share match updates, bemoan losses and cheer your team on, but there is a better place to do this, and it’s called Cricout.
Cricout is ushering in a new era of experiencing cricket, and the formula is technology plus cricket plus friends equals an interactive and social platform for enjoying Pakistan’s favourite sport.
Cricout is a social media platform that combines cricket and social networking, as the product description explains: “Cricket is passion. Cricket is love. And Cricket is fun when you follow it with friends! No more is following Cricket online a lonely experience. Cricout is enabling friends from around the world to get together and have fun following the game.”
Cricout is available online, through a website, or you can download the app on your phone, and the app is available for both Apple and Android devices.
Cricout has several different features that make it a comprehensive and interactive experience. There is a news feed available which gives the latest news relating to recent matches and events, an option for following cricket experts to receive their expert opinions in your individual feed, and there is also a live feed for ongoing cricket matches.
What makes this live feed different from other sites such as cricinfo that also offer live feeds is that users can comment on match progress in real time, and also comment on experts opinions during the match. Users can post their opinions, ideas and feedback and start and get involved in conversations.
There are also options to personalize what an individual feed might look like on Cricout. Users can select which teams are their favorites, and have their news tailored to updates that are specific to developments with those teams. The same can be done for following cricket experts, as the website explains: “We don’t want to select what you should read! Pick the experts who you like by ‘following’ them and you’ll get to see what they write in your personal news feed. You can even interact with them. And if you don’t like any of them, become one yourself!!” There is an added process through which users can become experts themselves, and give their commentary on matches and events.
There is no need to make a new account, new users can log in using their Facebook accounts and use this to connect Facebook friends who are also using Cricout. The app makers have also made it possible to post items from Cricout straight to other social networking sites such as Facebook, with their new cross-posting option.
Cricout is one of the products of eMumba, a Pakistani startup based in Ialamabad. They also have another product called Patients With Power, which is a tool informing breast cancer patients about treatments and treatment plans.
eMumba was founded by Owais Anjum (@owais_tweets), who is also the CEO of this startup. Starting out in January 2012, eMumba worked to raise funds and spent a year doing this and developing their product before approaching investors in the Silicon Valley in the US. Owais Anjum had some contacts in this industry in the United States, due to his education and work experiences.
Despite this, he explains the difficulty of getting funding in an interview for Dawn news: “Even for someone like me who has contacts in the USA, it was very difficult. They advised me to pack my company and move to the USA. I moved back for my parents and that reason still holds, [but] being in Pakistan and working out of Pakistan is not something I was willing to compromise on. If you’re raising money for the first time and you don’t have a history of raising money, it requires a lot of skills; the way you pitch; the way you build those slides; your networking. Once we had the money, we executed really well.”
In January 2013, eMumba received an investment of $85,000 through Silicon Valley, and since then they have gone on to increase their team and launch app versions of Cricout for mobile phones.
2014 is set to be a big year for the company, with the CEO explaining “If we are able to have one million users by the end of 2014, our cash flows will improve and our advertising revenues will surpass our expenses.”
Advice for Startups
There are some things that budding entrepreneurs can take away from Owais Anjum’s experience of struggle to get started in this industry.
In an interview for Dawn news, he explained: ““I’ve been going without a salary for almost two years now and it is a very significant risk. That source of conviction has to come from some place. It took me two years to take this decision that I was going to leave my job and pursue this start-up. Thankfully, I had that conviction. When you are struggling to get your start-up to gain some traction, the last thing you want is your family to tell you to go back and get a job. I was fortunate that my family was supportive and continues to be, despite my insanity. When you do something like this, be very clear to yourself that you can be bankrupted for 12 to 20 months, and you have to deal with that. If you can’t say that to yourself with complete honesty, then you are not ready.”