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Humans have always been fascinated about the future. For ages, we have obsessed about time and the course that our lives will take. Astrology, dated back to 4000 years ago, is a study of relative positions of celestial objects that have an influence on human lives. Ancient philosophers and alchemists have regularly mentioned the study of astrology in their academic pursuits. Even to this day and age, the prediction of future events, through the study of celestial bodies, attracts human attention and curiosity. In India, astrology plays a major role in socio-economic decision-making, like marriage, real estate purchase or business moves.
Astrologyapi.com is astrology as a service platform which uses the ancient science of astrology and modern technology to provide unique astrological predictions & analysis. Here are excerpts of our interview with the young founder of Astrologyapi.com, Chandan Tiwari:
BSC: Congratulations on the successful beginning of Astrologyapi.com. So, when did you first set off as an entrepreneur?
Chandan: Thanks! Well, it started way back in 2007-08, when I was in college. My father, Pandit Rishiraj Tiwari, is a practicing astrologer. I was trying to create a website for him at the time. But, quickly, we had concluded that a static website would not serve his needs. At the time, we approached a professional organization to create an interactive website and they quoted an “astronomical” figure!
I was determined to create a portal that was functional and useful – that’s how vedicrishi.in was born. It is a B2C astrology portal that is free to use and devoid of advertisements.
For many years after, I developed and maintained the website along with my day job as a software engineer. I never thought of monetizing it. What set it apart from other astrology websites was its design and clean, web 2.0 feel. I guess, in many ways, that was my initiation into the world of entrepreneurship – even though I wasn’t making money out of it
Chandan: By 2010, we had incorporated the company, and Ajeet joined us as a developer around 2012. We were getting a ton of footfall on the website – but, we stuck to our guns and kept the site ad free. Around that time, we started getting a lot of queries about varied services.
We noticed that one out of every five queries was for the software that we were using. We realized that this was our possible product for monetization.
The industry had already started talking about api as the future, I was personally working extensively on that technology at the time. So, we decided to create astrologyapi.com as a product on a subscription basis. Even before we started, we had at least 5 parties who were keen to buy the software from us. Today, we have more than 160 subscribers. I am proud to state that we are financially sorted for the next couple of months at least – based solely on money raised by the product. We are, of course, in advanced stages of getting capital infusion into the business.
BSC: Interesting! I was wondering though, given that astrology is a loosely interpreted science/art, how easy/difficult was it to create an algorithmic product on it?
Chandan: See, the interesting thing about astrology is that it really is an amalgamation of science and arts. A part of astrology is a set of rules and mathematical calculations based on relative positioning of celestial bodies.
This, the science half of astrology, was the easier part to code, of course. The much harder part was creating the content for the interpretation of the charts.
We depended heavily on our Chief Astrologer, my father, Pandit Rishiraj Tiwari, for this purpose. With his help, and after incorporating the knowledge imbibed from many prominent literature on the subject, we created in-depth reports. While there are many superficial astrological software out there, our customers, who are mostly practicing astrology, have always found our product to be comprehensive and accurate.
BSC: Who is your target talent pool? How do you ensure that your team is well equipped with the subject matter of astrology?
Chandan: My key talent pool comprises of software specialists who can help us develop the B2C product that we want to launch soon. We were also fortunate that Bella Arora, an experienced corporate with deep knowledge of astrology, decided to join us full time as our Chief Content Officer earlier this year. She is my father’s student and is just the right mix of industry and subject matter knowledge for the company. Also, I regularly host learning sessions in the offices, to ensure all the employees are well versed on the principles of astrology that are being instilled in the software.
BSC: What is your advice to entrepreneurs in India?
Chandan: Well, if you are used to a salary at the end of the month, it is a change of perspective when the money doesn’t hit your account. But, that is what keeps an entrepreneur driven, I feel. It is also important to read the need of the market before deciding on what and how you want to make money out of your business. The rest is hard work and perseverance.
We want to thank Chandan for his time and insights. Here’s wishing the team of astrologyapi.com all the success!