Leher empowers: a Drop-in Live Audio/Video Discussion Social Network App

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Every individual and family owes its quality of life to healthy communities. One can know this intuitively, since family members, school and college groups, passionate communities for music, dance and other creative arts; all inevitably stem from the human desire to mingle in groups.

The world is full of creators and builders who wish to reach their audiences directly. Audiences on the internet have varied tastes, interests and passions. We find ourselves seeking niche communities where we can learn, play and earn together like a collective, but built in economics for the individual to make something out of his or her creativity. Healthy communities form the bulwark of the modern world, with venture capitalists and entrepreneurs terming this decade as the decade when their visions for the ‘creator economy’ would be realized.  

Social networks represent the dominant way humans today connect over the internet, in addition to professional tools like email. This decade will represent the coming of age for audio and video first social platforms which enable deeper engagement between the users of the network. Today, at Bangalore Insider, we spoke to Vikas Malpani, Co-founder & CEO of Leher, a creator-first live network. Below are the excerpts from our interaction.  

Give a brief info about your startup?

Leher empowers creators to build rewarding communities and earn. Creators build their clubs and monetize via Leher coins by sharing content, hosting audio/video live rooms and engaging their community.
Club members too can get rewarded for sharing creators’ links, referring more members to their club, or hosting rooms in the club. 

Leher is a network over live discussions, where users can drop into rooms or discuss within communities and groups [Clubs]. Leher aims to democratize discussions by enabling seamless audio and video discussions on mobile.

Leher App launched its closed beta in late 2018 with video opinions and Q&A. The platform pioneered LIVE Discussions in February 2020 and has grown to 3, 00,000 + Downloads. The app is available on both android and iOS.

What made you start your startup and what problem does it solve?

I want to democratize discussion and enable community builders to earn from their efforts. I also wanted to build a platform to have a free-flowing conversation around topics of interest and form a network with people around subjects that you care about. It provides everyone an opportunity to voice their views & experiences & to create a new network.

Leher was built on the insight that humans need a better way to socialize in the online world which would be based on natural mediums (voice & video) and centered on conversations. 

Though there are many social networking apps in the market, at present, there are not many platforms offering audio and video conversation-based networking. Leher is not invite based it is open to all and has a user-friendly interface and a variety of clubs and unlimited participants.

Tell us about yourself, your previous jobs/ventures? What were you doing before this startup?

Prior to my current stint, I worked with SAP Labs India.

I previously co-founded CommonFloor.com in 2007 which was acquired by Quikr.com in 2016. I was leading the “Apartment Management Software” (Referred to as CommonFloor Groups) division at CommonFloor.

I was awarded MIT Technology Review’s 35 Innovators Under 35 in 2012.

Where is your startup based out of? Why do you think that is the best place for you?

We are a Bangalore-based startup but a fully remote team. Being based in Bengaluru helps us connect to the best minds working on important problems. Remote work helps us understand and empathize with our users’ need for belonging. 

As a startup founder, what are you paranoid about? What keeps you awake at night?

We are paranoid about finding the best solution to our user’s needs and finding ways to grow fast. Questions about our path, speed, and execution keep me awake. 

Who are your competitors and how are you better than them?

Clubhouse app among others [such as Twitter Spaces, Discord, Telegram, Youtube/Facebook Live] is considered our competitor. 

We are unique in providing a way for club owners to earn for building their clubs [adding members], Hosting live rooms, Sharing content & Engaging their members. We also help club owners/creators reward their members for sharing their content & inviting members to their club. 

From the beginning, we have provided users with many more options. We were already on iOS and Android, and we had built-in audio and video features. We have user-moderated clubs and self-moderated rooms, so anyone can step in and start a conversation. One only required invitation for private clubs.

The app also lets you record the discussion live and lets one schedule a discussion and go live accordingly. The time limit for a live video is about 180 minutes, and there is no time limit for club sessions. There is no limit to people joining a club on the Leher app.

How hard is it to have a work-life balance as a startup founder and how do you manage it?

There is hardly any work-life balance in the traditional sense of the question and I don’t mind being fully absorbed in my work. I do prioritize certain aspects of my life to have a much healthier approach to building a startup by – Spending some time on exercise & meditation, playing with my kids, talking to/helping fellow founders and teammates. Starting your day early, having a great support system[Mentor, Founder Friends, Spouse/Parents], and keeping some time to reflect are important things for me to keep myself sane. 

Have you raised funding? If yes, then we would like to know the details. If no then please tell us if you are looking to raise.

We have raised an undisclosed amount of funding from some bluechip seed investors [Blume, Orios, PitchRight] along with angels. 

What’s the biggest misconception people have about you? Why do they have that? What’s the reality?

People assume being a second-time founder is an easy way to success and capital. It’s true to an extent if you are solving execution-only models in the domain you were previously built-in.
In reality, if you are picking an innovative first business that hasn’t been done before, the effort required is greater than the first time since you have to unlearn and relearn. 

What gets you excited about this company?

Being in uncharted waters, executing and building something for consumers which can be globally scaled from India and using the technology platform {Audio/Video Social} of the future is an exhilarating experience. 

The excitement of rewarding both the community builders [Creators] and community members by providing a sustainable way to run a community is unparalleled. 

Tell us how a day in your life looks like? Your schedule for a day right from the time you get up till you hit the bed at night.

My day starts with getting up before sunrise, spending an hour on exercise and meditation. Post which I spend some quality time planning my day and then take a break to play with my kid before I start my day. 

My workday starts with reviewing and reflecting on yesterday’s tasks/reports post which I hold stand-ups with my team to get the rhythm of execution and view of things in motion. 

Next is scheduling time for my tasks, calls, follow-ups, emails, and analysis. 

Evenings are reserved for meeting my co-founder/core team to align our execution.

I take occasional breaks to play with my kids or attend a personal call. Food is generally on fixed times a day and dinner is usually early (by 7pm).

I do at times consume an unhealthy amount of social media/news/WhatsApp messages which I am trying to overcome. 

I try to sleep by 10pm with some family time before that. 

Tell us about your team and how did you meet each other?

We are a pretty small team of 12. My co-founder Atul is a college roommate.
Many members joined via referrals and some were very interested in what we did and they applied in the startup to be part of our team.


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