Anjana Rajguru spoke to Bharath Rao about his company – Precily, and also his personal accomplishments.
At 20, most people are busy leading a life with friends, parties and loads of fun and frolicking as their main focus. But not Bharath Rao. A second year undergraduate student, he is a man with a mission. He has already clocked four years in web hacking and is an expert Android developer and Youtuber. He is the Founder- CEO of Precily, a digital publishing company which publishes summaries of an entire book in two and fifteen minute reads.
On Precily and His Entrepreneurial Bent
Bharath shares “I am super excited about using new technologies on the mobile apps and web space. It amazes me how these can impact lives and also turn out to be extremely profitable for the creators. This is what led me to start exploring “business opportunities”.
Bharath is a whiz kid and apart from many notable achievements, he reported a security hack in iPhone in 2015 and a Facebook location bug in June 2016. He developed Precily MVP and launched it on Google Play Store in July 2016.
Bharath explains on his role as a founder “I pitch my idea to investors and as the CTO, I lead the app design and development”. “Starting Precily was the turning point of my life. I drew courage and inspiration for doing something on my own from Anantha Rao who now works as the Chief Operating Officer at Precily. He advised me to look beyond college degrees to achieve great things in life”.
Bharath with his team.
He elaborates “Initially, we started with non-fiction book summaries/ precis and built an MVP for Google PlayStore. The summaries are prepared by a team of content writers. We are exploring ways of moving towards an AI machine based summary process, though they are at a preliminary stage. We have now included self-publishing for both fiction and non-fiction authors. In fiction, we believe there are many new voices wanting to reach their audiences in non-traditional ways like writing based reader input rather than editorial input and writing with multiple endings based on different forks in the path to the end”. Bharath informs that Precily has the support of some leading celeb authors who will publish exclusively for them. For non-fiction and educational books, they are in discussions with leading publishers. Bharath says “ We have a “Mentors Column” where many of our mentors who are thought leaders have agreed to share their insights”. These ideas have emerged after many rounds of discussions between Bharath, Anantha and other core team members, Rahul Narang (Chief Marketing Officer and co-organiser TedX) and Yogini Jhingan((Content Head).
Precily is on the verge of securing seed funding of nearly half a million dollars from a Bombay-based venture capital firm and a leading angel investor too is backing the start-up.
Speaking of their future plans, Bharath informs that they intend scaling up Precily to reach one billion people. He also wishes to work with his other partners and mentors to realise their respective goals.
Other Interesting Projects
As a growth hacker for 1M1B, Bharath worked with a variety of stakeholders ranging from the Government of Andhra Pradesh, UC Berkeley and the weaver community to demonstrate how the e-commerce website would work and how it would benefit each one of them. He adds “My involvement in 1M1B exposes to me newer areas and I see that as a great learning opportunity”. Bharath informs” 1M1B, 1 Million for 1 Billion, is an open innovation, entrepreneurship and a jobs creation initiative aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations. It is based on the principle “Small is the new big”, the people and enterprises that they support address a very specific local issue which has the potential to create a big social impact in the community”.
Bharath’s inspirations are his dad, Richard Branson, Peter Thiel and Elon Musk. He says “My first mentor was my dad. I was an average scoring student throughout my school life due to which my father used to sit with me every night helping me with assignments while attending his late night meetings. Instead of completing the assignments, I always had random questions about his organization, bosses and as to why he deserved to be at that position. He never hesitated to answer any of my questions and this helped me gain knowledge on the workings of an organisation and understand its functioning”. “I have also learnt a lot from Manav Subodh, Ashutosh Chadha and Ramachandra Budihal”.
On Work/Studies Balance and Other Interests
Bharath says “College keeps me busy during the first half and the remaining part of the day is spent either meeting potential partners or working on my app”. Bharath is also a volunteer for TEDx Delhi and has worked with guest speakers in the curation process. He has been working as a volunteer with United Nations since August last year.
Bharath loves to explore latest developments in gadgets, reading about achievements of leaders like Vijay Shekhar Sharma of Paytm and Peter Thiel (first investor in Facebook).
On his advice to young entrepreneurs, Bharath says “Believe in your idea, build a team who believes in the idea, and get going”.
Images Courtesy : Bharath Rao.