Asia Tech Podcast recorded an interesting conversation with Fateh Ali, Co-founder and CEO of Kitcod. Kitcod is social-as-a-service that enables an in-app social community for consumer apps across industries, globally.
Some of the topics Fateh discussed:
- Fateh’s decision to leave school temporarily to support his family
- Fateh’s first tech gig with Pizza Hut
- Fateh’s first time exploring globally and first time working out of India with JP Morgan
- The emphasis of having side gigs
- The two factors that motivate Fateh to keep going
- Building a social community collaboration within any app
- Fateh’s learning takeaways from working with Antler
- What Fateh is trying to achieve with Kitcod
- Kitcod’s future wishes and what they want to achieve
Some other titles we considered for this episode:
- If You Could Give Them Something Back in Return, It Might Really Be a Beautiful Thing
- Early in the Game
This episode was produced by Stephanie Ng.
Read the best-effort transcript below (This technology is still not as good as they say it is…):
Michael Waitze 0:03
Hi, this is Michael Waitze and welcome back to the Asia Tech Podcast. Today we are joined by Fateh Ali, a Co- founder and the CEO at Kitcod. But hey, thank you so much for coming on the show. How are you doing?
Fateh Ali 0:18
My pleasure? Thanks, Michael. Really happy to be here,
Michael Waitze 0:21
you have a killer background. It’s a shame. We’re not publishing the video because, boy, whoever does your design work has just done an incredible job. You’ve got the got the iMac in the background,
Fateh Ali 0:33
too. It’s interesting. I think I’ve been keeping this for a long time that a lot of people have seen it, and complimented as well. Yeah. I
Michael Waitze 0:41
mean, I think you get away with the fact that that’s like, actually your real office and nobody would ever know the difference. And if somebody says otherwise, you can just make that face like, is it? Is it you? I think it’s you kind of can’t believe you doubt me?
Fateh Ali 0:55
Michael Waitze 0:57
So why don’t we do this? Before we jump into the main part of our conversation, why don’t we get some of your background for some context,
Fateh Ali 1:04
originally, I’m born and had been brought up in Bangalore, in Silicon Valley of India, what we call it as night and early days, both my mom and dad Tao had dual jobs. So my dad had side business side kids, you know, tremendously learned over the years, right? I grew up my dad being my hero today, like a lot of things that I’ve admired. As far as from my family, my near one spine, I kind of quit my studies in between, you know, to support my family, and later went back to college to do my bachelor’s in computers, I think just touching upon, I really don’t want to get into the depth of everything, but I just want to touch upon. So you know, when I was in my final year, I sold my Java project to a Pizza Hut in 2006, I believe, yeah, that was my first TED cake that I kind of build it up. What
Michael Waitze 1:52
does that mean, though? I sold my first Java product to pizza. Like that didn’t happen by accident, you didn’t just walk in and say, I’ll take a pepperoni pizza. And here’s my Java thing. Why don’t we just trade? Like, how did this happen?
Fateh Ali 2:04
It’s interesting, right? So why, like, you know, took a quick break from my studies supporting my family financially, you know, it was important for me to really go back to studies and see how I can bring those real world skills as compared to anybody else in the college to kind of go out into something, something something different. So when, while I was in the final year, I went and told out to a lot of people, including my dean, saying, hey, this project, I’m not actually going to do it for the MCSE, maybe I’ll be actually looking to see if this, this project, it has a real scope out in the market, right. And the intent was, from day one of the project, for the three, four months of the project, it was really clear that you know, I building something to going out and making money, not just for the sake of, you know, marks like that, that was the intent, right? And that actually,
Michael Waitze 2:57
can I ask you this? So what was the genesis of this idea, like, did pizza to have a competition that said, like, We need someone to solve this problem for us? Or did you notice this thing? Or did you just think like, this is something that everybody should use? And maybe pizza? Actually, don’t? I mean, like, how did all that happen?
Fateh Ali 3:14
Right, right. So it was two factors. One was front end and one back end, right? As a very good at coding, I won some reasonable competitions out there and at that stage, so I, my intent was right, going out and creating a project random project. So I don’t know why I started with peace out. But you know, I really randomly got into you know, creating pizza, just because I saw there was a boom and how people would actually pursue companies like pizza in Bangalore, those days, right? Like, outclass outstanding, they wanted to go online. I learned something recently that, you know, they’re trying to see if they can bring in the website and bring in some online ordering system. That was just back to the point I just went and created and that really happened that really gotten me into creating a project and just go out and try with the intent clear that you know, when I have this, it has to be a class where, you know, it should be somebody should be able to bite it off. And move on from there. Right? I got my first job while this gig gave me some small quick bucks, you know, I really got the taste of you know, doing something on the side and picking up some extra money right since then I work for TPU sorry, and Fidelity Investments, my first job in 2006. And for three years, while still with the company, I kind of got a lot of side project side gigs, some web projects from family and friends nearby people you know, there was a photographer wanted to go digital, right, helping and supporting those small small projects. While
Michael Waitze 4:49
was that okay with fidelity? I mean, because let’s be let’s be clear fidelity getting a job at fidelity. I’m presuming is like your family. Super proud. It was, how can you do side gigs when you have a job at fidelity? Was that okay? Or Not really?
Fateh Ali 5:06
It was okay. Right? Because as long as it’s not contradicting what we do with the business, right? And it’s all small gates, right? Your friends comes in and say, Hey, I’m a photographer, and on part time photographer and writing to, you know, go out and publish something, right? I started doing doing small projects. And finally, to answer your question, I, by 2009, I was so confident were aware, I was getting more and more clients larger projects. I said, Hey, I think this is a time I think I have to quit my corporate life and mourn something with my business, right? So I intend to come up with a whole thing and web based company where, you know, maybe a full time opportunity for me to create, you know, a business out of it. But
Michael Waitze 5:48
what does this tell you about business creation and the ideas around building a business from scratch? I mean, I think this is the perfect, not just metaphor, but real example of, you know, again, you didn’t sit around and have this epiphany idea of like, I think I’m just gonna go out and start my thing. And I know, I’m really good at building websites for photographers, and I’m simplifying. Yeah, just to make the point. Yeah. But you somehow figured out like in the, in the process of doing your own job, and having all this incoming inquiry, you’re like, I bet if I focus more on this, not only would I be able to scratch an itch that I love, like I really love doing this, but I’ll probably also be able to support myself, and then maybe build scale into it and make it so much bigger. Why don’t I do that instead? You know what I mean?
Fateh Ali 6:28
Exactly. I had very similar intent, right? So instead of, you know, spending that nine to five, I had random shelves, I was kind of getting pulled out of what I was like being forced to do there, rather, you know, but something that I do enjoy. So when I started seeing these products coming in, because everything came up through reference, nothing going out in the market. But I knew when I actually go out in the market, I would stand better in terms of getting projects then, because 2006 not too many people, not too many software companies in Bangalore doing small stuff. And my intent was clear, right? Going out to friends and family first little bigger circle, just in my locality. I kind of randomly went door to door for small companies, somebody’s a lawyer, somebody something, knock their doors and said, Hey, do you have a website? I think you should have it right, and just leave a card and come back. So I did that. I mean, and then I started seeing just to test the market before quitting. And that really was wondering. So yeah, I think that that was interesting. And finally, when I took this call, saying, Hey, I have to go out, let’s do it, right. Guess what happened, I got an opportunity from JPMorgan, Singapore, because I was working on a specific project called Microsoft application virtualization. And there were very, very few people in the world who knew that technology. And I was like, kind of handpicked from Bangalore to Singapore, everything happened like 1518, this was an 18 days, I didn’t know that I’ll be in Singapore, I will be doing something here. But you know, that journey really started changing the way I started thinking of personal finance, and hey, now instead of, you know, quitting fidelity and getting into job, I think it’s an opportunity let’s let’s explore globally, and that was my first time I moved out of India a while it might look crazy, but you know, that’s my first flight to Singapore, those states this is to bank,
Michael Waitze 8:15
can we go through this? Again, I just want to reiterate for people just summarise a little bit. So you left school a little bit to support your family financially. I think this is really an important point, right? Because it shows at least to me, and I think the listeners just like this closeness, and this comfort you have with your family, and this idea of my life isn’t just for me, right? But it’s to help my family as well. And my extended family, you do that however it works. You also said my dad’s my hero, because I learned about him and you know, your mom and your dad worked two jobs, whatever, like it’s hard work. Right? It just really is you go back to school, you graduate or whatever, you succeed, you get this other thing, you start finding other work. And then I just want to know where JPMorgan goes, Okay, you’re coming to Singapore, like, this is a life changing thing. But again, I want to get back to this idea of your mom and dad must be looking at you and just going I can’t believe the life this kid gets to live to a certain extent it must feel great for them as well. Do you know what I mean? Because they get to vicariously have the same experience through you. Absolutely.
Fateh Ali 9:16
I think what you mentioned exactly where those emotions and feelings are. On one side, my dad does more personal but I think I can let let it go. Now my dad always wanted to go abroad and you know, get a job, get things done. So we can he can take care of future of his kids. Right. And it didn’t happen, right. And he was very proud when I got this opportunity. Because I’m kind of fulfilling history now. But it worked.
Michael Waitze 9:39
The point is it worked right so this is the thing that’s so hard for people that don’t understand that relationship to understand is that your dad is not just like some jealous dude who says that’s what I wanted to do. He looks at you and says it worked like it was worth it. It works he can because I know this right? And I was having this conversation with somebody yesterday. When my daughter got into her first school, I took the note that we got from the school where we applied. And I went upstairs and I want to read it by myself. And when I opened it up, and it said she got in, I cried. But it wasn’t for me. It’s because I knew that that was going to be like a life changing experience for her that if she could do that, and get through that, that every other step along the way was going to be a little bit easier, which meant that all of the sacrifices that I made to make that possible, were worth it. And that’s the point. And I think your dad, probably at some point just went, I can cry now, because now it’s working kind of thing. Anyway, go ahead.
Fateh Ali 10:33
True. Absolutely. I think I think it was one sided problem. And it was very emotional for my mom, because I’m still close to my mom. It’s an emotional thing for her to be detached. Yeah. But yeah, I think it’s been almost 13 years through that journey, right. And living in Singapore now for the last 13 years. So coming back to that. So I think I think that’s, that’s how it started. So I came to JPMorgan played multiple different roles with JP Morgan. So a couple of major different digital transformation, the last role I played was as a project manager, you know, the whole digital transformation, leading about 1213 countries in Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand as well. So what gives me a very good exposure, that at a global level, like companies would work at a high level, high challenging project, and I was kind of very interested more from a perspective of, you know, transforming things, getting to new technologies, pushing the boundaries and limits to you know, encourage, get people out of their comfort zone, and then really go out and achieve something which the vision of the companies or vision of the whole technology ecosystem is to really go leaps and beyond. And only these are the end users who have to take that leap of faith to, you know, move that bring that transition, and I was the one who was kind of a catalyst, making sure things are working, you know, existing systems to the new system. I think that was a great journey. And those experiences really helped me out as well. Now, this is interesting, maybe I kind of found this out. Because you asked me earlier, you know, working at fidelity, and how did you manage to get things done? Right? Yeah, I continued the journey, right. I continued by sidekick journey, even Africa to JPMorgan. And nobody knew it at JPMorgan. Probably, if somebody’s actually listening out, maybe they would definitely know. But only except for few close friends and family, friends, definitely friends and colleagues who knew about it. So what I did is, I continued getting more side gifts. And in fact, this time, it was like international type get side projects from Singapore and Southeast Asia, set up a small team back in India, the US takes good projects. And this was not purely for money, but it was more for trying to live the journey, because it was still a part time thing. I could not really think of you know, quitting JP Morgan for this reason now, because did Morgan we had a decent money, mutual secure and got married and tried getting kids. I have two kids now. So I think it was more of a dependencies that I had, you know, it wasn’t an easy journey. Until the journey took me to multiple different things. I started going very close with grassroots communities at that different kinds of initiatives. I had Singapore Disabled Sports councils, going back to faith based communities on the weekends doing multiple different things, volunteering ring, but say willing hearts and many other nonprofits. Why? Because I think I really understood early in my career and in my life, right? I think community and people are everything for you. Without that you really don’t, you’re not satisfied as human, at least for me, I’m more of a religious and you know, a people focused person, I always feel happy being around people, talking to people doing something for others, that really satisfied me. Now, what happened is this whole journey of you know, going back to grassroots and doing multiple things, that community, the more and more I connected, I started seeing, you know, while I was doing digital transformation for bank, I said, Hey, there’s an opportunity here where you know, nonprofits are least used people in terms of technology, right? It’s technology, something that the last thing that gets into their mind, and I started seeing opportunity when your business can transform, why don’t a nonprofit groups transform, right. And over a period of time, I have different small projects, led by web websites, or some apps for some communities I created, which helped them to, you know, connect with their people. That’s how I kind of understood the two things in life that helps me or motivates me to really go out and do things even at 2am at nighttime, and those two things are people which is like more of a community and then second one was technology, right? So what I did is I put these two things together and started seeing in bigger opportunity, which I think you know, doing a lot of small stuff here and there on the sides. I said you know, I think the the two interest which is within me, if I can start looking in that direction, it might really help me build something out of it as a business and as well as Atos and established players. Some agents are doing multiple different things.
Michael Waitze 15:02
Got it? And so what is the genesis of kid card? Like? Where does that fit in?
Fateh Ali 15:06
I think it comes later having a one more short story to go ahead, maybe? Yeah, go ahead. Yeah, thanks. So I think I’ll while I was doing multiple different things, I started understanding the E commerce market globally, I had a few side ecommerce tools, set it up on Shopify, and then almost everything automated, right, so while I was still at work, I can see on my phone thing, thing, I’ll get those notification that somebody bought something, somebody buy something, and you’re teaching them how to pronounce or say that out, you know, there’s like magnification with a sound. That’s like your money flicking right. That was a beautiful experience. So while I was going back to a couple of a nonprofit, I was sitting in one of the prayers and Friday the Muslim community, because I’m a longtime Muslim faith, I was sitting there and looking at this person, and you know, in the community who’s like, kind of asking for a donation for a specific project, maybe it was like renovation of this community. And I said, Hey, this guy’s did the same thing last week. And he did the same thing last few weeks ago. And he’s telling the same thing again, and again, to the same people, right? If somebody has to give it they will have given but you know, the, the large amount that they wanted, you know, I think the small set of people were too small to tackle. So I said, Hey, how about, you know, taking his voice and, you know, broadcasting it to a global audience, or at least, you know, at the Singapore level, and see more people can come back and be generous, and then helping this community. Right. And that was like a stigma, once I thought of, you know, instead of why why would somebody pay $1? Right? Even if they’re very religious, right? Why would somebody pay, if you can give them something back in return, it might really a be a beautiful things. So that’s when something triggered in me. And I said, Hey, I understood the gap in, you know, in terms of market, right, if I see there’s a gap, and there was this hardware product that I actually built, by going to China travelled to China, a couple of times, found that manufacturer could build a specific device, for me better than innovative product called Smart Ziploc in those days, and I thought of sitting in Singapore, working for JPMorgan, having a company back in India, distributing those products from China globally, right, that was an ultimate journey I had, and with not too many efforts, literally, you know, it’s all these experiences, it will just like, you know, I just need to have to put puzzles together. And really helped me go to that journey where, you know, I was able to do build up a global product, you know, where I pre ordered without spending too much money, just for the initial cost, and then country on Earth, so that globally, and that gives me a motivation, hey, I could do it. There is a market and I started understanding this market called the Global Islamic economy. It’s a trillion dollar economy, where you talk about Islamic finance, you know, the modest fashion, halal travel, it’s a trillion dollar ecosystem. So I started understanding, hey, there is a big, big opportunity that we need to kind of go back and give more of a technology there. How do we do it right. And that’s when a new idea was born. And that is collapsing, collapsing as a new journey, right, which I quit JPMorgan and 2017. But all those experiences, and now actually began a full time, opportunity, a full time startup founder with collapsing,
Michael Waitze 18:25
were you scared, I two kids,
Fateh Ali 18:28
I had two kids, then I was scared. Obviously, wife, my wife has been my biggest strength even today. Without her, I wouldn’t have actually achieved some of my dreams, most of my dreams. It was tough Geneva the tough call. Because you have a well paying job, you have opportunities beyond, you know, doing multiple things. On one side, you have money, you have good future. And then on the other hand, you kind of jumping out of a plane, you know, without a parachute, and then looking down you’re actually trying to get a parachute out of whatever you have in hand. Right? So it was thinking
Michael Waitze 19:03
about this too, right? Think about this, too, is that again, let’s just get back to your family but also to you to like when you walk out into the real world, if somebody meets you for the first time. Let’s say it’s very nice to meet you. What do you do I work for JP Morgan is an easy thing to say your parents can kind of, you know, humbly brag about the fact that like not only did my kid make it, but he made it at this big global financial institution that you’ve heard of kind of thing. It’s very easy. You don’t need to say that much. But like once you leave that first of all, you’re insane for leaving, why would you do that? Now you got to explain that to people. But the second thing is collab Dean like how do you explain it? You don’t I mean, like, your parents can’t explain it to people, your sister doesn’t understand it your uncle’s or think you’re insane for leaving your big job. Like, that’s what I mean, when I say it’s hard to doing. It’s actually not that hard. It’s just that all the other sort of supplementary and ancillary things that come with it are just like, now I have to explain my whole life. It’s hard to
Fateh Ali 19:51
edit. It was really hard on one side, you know, explaining the concept, you know, I actually gave up in between explaining to people just say, Hey, what are you All right, I just said when I started hundreds, I’m still struggling in trying to, you know, meet the ends, like kind of easy. For some people, it’s easy, easy part. But I really believe me, it’s a hard thing to explain something to people. And because why because, you know, it took me myself a two years journey to really figure out what I’m doing that right. The whole intent of Calabrian was, you know, we were building a faith based community collaboration and fintech platform, right. It’s a payments platform, which could, we could provide the technology to communities like a mosque for bringing their people together, it was more of a social imagine this, like it’s a private social media for communities. And they’re about 19 billion global communities around who needs this technology to talk to their people on a daily basis. And, and that’s what we’re building. Yeah.
Michael Waitze 20:49
And like you mentioned earlier that the Global Islamic business population is large. But again, I just like to put some stats on it almost 2 billion people, if we’ve reached a billion people in the world, that’s 25% of the world’s population is underserved when it comes to using technology for their business, both remote pure finance and Sharia law standpoint, just to every other way that the community wants to interact with each other that could be different or differentiated. Somebody needs to build that anyway, I understand the idea. Go
Fateh Ali 21:17
ahead. Absolutely. It’s a huge market, both in the population and money. And, you know, if you just put that down the whole economy of this multitrillion dollar ecosystem, it’s larger than India’s, or, you know, grew closer to China’s economy as well. So well, yeah,
Michael Waitze 21:33
but it’s also a very dispersed right. In other words, it’s not the same place. Yeah, it’s the fragmentation the deserves and desires, the technology to bring it together anyway, go ahead.
Fateh Ali 21:42
So I think, yeah, that’s fine. You know, I spent a lot of time the Colombian. And with all those experiences, and description, the story, you know, we spent almost four and a half years me and my co founder with the team, Wow, very, very supporting early investors who believed in my vision, even before putting JPMorgan, who said, hey, I’ll give you the money. And that gave me the confidence. So this is the answer for your question you had, were you scared? I think I was scared that but but again, you know, I knew that, you know, there are people who are there around for me to support, especially financially to raise my first seed round. That was good. You know, for whatever reasons, we have gone through this roller coaster ride for like, almost four years. We build technology for the first two years. And we realise right, it’s not an easy task to build a global community collaboration platform. And especially, you know, the user expectations are, you know, they’re expecting something to go as smooth as Facebook’s and Instagrams, that LinkedIn, right, and these customers expectations to meet that right, even though we had NDP instal six months to really go and you know, have a fine tune product, where communities can say, hey, I think I need this now. So it took almost two and a half years to get the right product market fit. And however, after that, you know, we’re close to COVID, we had some issues, the market was kind of fluctuating. And one of our competitors without naming, not really a direct competitors, because we were the first one to build this. But somebody who had almost 15 million app downloads, like large one of the largest Muslim app, they were struck with some privacy issues, a lot of negative news running around. Also that company being from Singapore, you know, every time we, you know, went out in the west, from anywhere in North America was signing some important contracts. And they said, Hey, are you the same company who were in news? Because you’re also from Singapore? I think I think that also had us very badly. The multiple things that happened, unfortunately, or fortunately, it is, you know, we had we had kind of went down the drain, because, more importantly, the market is not ready for us. Right. We I think we were slightly early in the game for this economy in terms of what they need when they need I think that getting Richard COVID has really shaped them to think that Okay, now we need to adapt knowledge. But But I think we kind of felt been a little early into the game. But having said that, the foreign half years of journey with collabing has helped me dream about Kitcod, for sure.
Michael Waitze 24:12
This is again, this is one of the things that people don’t understand, right? Because the natural question is okay, so collaborating didn’t work the way you wanted it to the stuff you learned, like you couldn’t pay enough money to learn it. It’s just not possible. There’s no course that teaches that it’s there’s not even like you can’t even go through Y Combinator and learn what that for and plus years has taught you. But it doesn’t sound to me like when that ended you were just like, You know what, nevermind. I think I’m just gonna go back to JPMorgan and get another high paying job and just make my life easy again. Because once you do this thing once, you don’t even have to get close to building a billion dollar company. But once you do it now, it’s addicting. Now you’re like, Oh, shucks, you know what if we just made like a right turn and then a left turn instead of the left turn in the right turn? I think we would have been able to get to Okay, I gotta do this one more time. Got it. I think I No, no, no. Don’t you feel that way? In fact,
Fateh Ali 24:58
the other guy that you had just equity I sentiments now clearly that’s how it is right? I think we have learned a lot of mistakes, every mistake has taught us a lot of things out of it is something that’s not a problem by entrepreneurs journey. So I think in between, you know, all the things happening have, that’s one of the good thing that happened is I happen, you know, got an opportunity to even travel around the world build a really good network opportunities with people Gordmans investors at various level, been to San Francisco, from from, you know, travelled from east to west, almost got closely to understanding of a lot of government initiatives and projects, because that’s invited to a few of the largest conferences in this Islamic world, I started establishing myself as a keynote speaker in that region and director. And that gave me more and more confidence, you know, primarily, I go and talk about how is this consumer market? Moving ahead? Or how do you tackle this consumer market? Right? There’s like 2 billion Muslims there, how do you kind of, you know, go out and bring products and services to them. So purely, you know, talking about trends, and, you know, things that will happen in the next few years, and how people can prepare for it. I think that’s helped me, you know, go travel places get a lot of respect, apart from the only thing that I, you know, I’m shameless, to say this, but you know, we didn’t make money. But you know, we really made everything else with this journey here.
Michael Waitze 26:24
Yeah, I love it that, that maybe that should be the title of this thing. We didn’t make money, but we made everything else. I think it sets up the rest of this thing. So you said it inspired you to build or to think about KitKat? What’s the what’s KitKat? Like? What’s the difference? Or is it just completely different?
Fateh Ali 26:37
I think you have to break down in few things. But before that, I think I’ll just give you a couple of things, right? So when this happened, slowly, things were ending up with collabing, the new even though we went, you know, 100% month on month in terms of giving the best shot, some of the things didn’t turn up as much as we expected. And slowly, I started thinking, Okay, what’s next, right, because I was very much passionate about, you know, really going out and disrupting with technology, you know, in this consumer market space. And coming from this, you know, background of building social power with Colombian, it took us almost two years to even build that basic layer of whole infrastructure. Right? I thought, you know, you know, one of the most important backstory for us is, you know, we have integrated Dusenbery in our journey. If you know, sendbird, it was more of an API chat, you know, just plug and play chat and Calabrian had chat and a couple of days, right? So sendbird, inspired us at KitKat, to go out and say, Hey, can we actually bring some social components, which is plug and play, just like sendbird sendbird did so well, and are giving out chat to any app, whoever needs can we build a configurable social, right, that was the whole very vague, vague idea. And this was like, two years before even Kitcod was born, maybe we thought, you know, whenever we get an opportunity in the future, it’s kind of tinker around us. Because there are 12 million apps existing out there. Every day, there are about 3000, new apps getting launched. And they need some kind of social, to engage with people increase, you know, fields or manage the retention. I think this could really work. So that was a formula like high level idea.
Michael Waitze 28:12
But this is a different than what like HubSpot does and different than what buffered does, right? Where they’re trying to give you connectivity and API connectivity to different social media networks, what you’re suggesting is different than that
Fateh Ali 28:23
very different power. So tell me how well actually, you know, these things were happening. I got into antler but very open slate understanding, should I do something like KitKat called the name KitKat was not even born? Right. So should I do keep got an API stuff? Or maybe figured out something else? Maybe let’s see, let’s get into antler and see what I could do. Right? I came up with a very open slate, try out different projects different, you know, you know, how antler works? Like they put in like minded people together, you know,
Michael Waitze 28:54
focus we want to get, right, yeah,
Fateh Ali 28:56
I was very open, you know, not just force my idea, let’s, let’s see if there is like best match that other people to really do something better. We try to for different projects and for different boot camps. And finally, I fell back with my idea that hey, I think KitKat is my dream, I think let’s go back to that. Now, antler was very supportive, and to help us get our whole idea into reality, by you know, backing us up, right. So get caught is now I’ve answered back startup, okay, what we really do get caught as we are really building a social community collaboration within any app, right? So I would love to give you an understanding, even before really getting into whatever, why because this is important right now, we all have seen that, you know, technology. Evolution has happened so much in the last 3040 years. And one thing that’s not really changed or evolved or disrupted was more of a social club, you know, how people communicate and behave. And over a period of time, you know, a lot of things happen right? That shift that evolution of social and community from social 1.0 to social 2.0, which we call it as social class. Now, you need to imagine how these digital societies have evolved over the years. And what’s next for them, the world is heading for more of a decentralised social interaction. What I really mean by that as earlier with social Onedotzero, it was all about, you know, different companies coming together, putting their users together for making sure you know, they get something out of their users ability to go out, for example, Google acquired bloggers, they started forming more in business community, we saw the transition that happened from Facebook, you know, Facebook is now becoming more of a central power in terms of power. I’m talking right now in terms of the user’s ability to be controlled for the business needs. Facebook’s Twitter standard we have seen while on Musk has been actually doing recently. So all this is more of a central establish, you’re using users joining in flow, and whatever vision the businesses has, at the top level, they drive things, they dictate things, they have control over every users everything and anything that you want to do in those platforms, it’s restricted. What I mean by that is, if I have a million users on my Facebook page, I still can’t engage with those 1 million users, I don’t have their users contacts, I don’t have any information about them, right, all that you can do is just need to draw attention on the wall and then hope that Facebook’s can publish it to a smaller segment and the more and more and more money to get it more of wider reach. And that’s how older social platforms and be working on. Now the new evolution is having towards more of a decentralised what I mean by that as the decentralised socialist social to dot zero where a lot of people are talking about vettery talking about the inap engagement. Now, for example, if a brand builds in that community, right, where instead of engaging with the brand outside on Facebook, or Telegram, or slack, they have their users they have a captive audience say about 10 million users sitting on an app. Why would they want to, you know, push out on a third party platform? Yeah, you see the different types? Yeah, for sure. The businesses are thinking especially large businesses who understand where this whole Sushil is heading, there’s only started thinking how we can actually bring social elements within their existing platform. Right. And very highly spoken by Andreessen Horowitz, you know, it said, the best version of every consumer product is the one that’s intrinsically social, anything that has social component baked with the core product within an app is a game changer. And we’ve seen a lot of evolution of products. Like one example that’s been deodorant, what can you do that is, you know, it brought in a group buying concept, you know, the transactional Act of, say, purchasing, maybe at cheap prices as inexpensively linked to that social and interactive, you know, dimension, let’s just see prices, because of friends, right? Cheap piles, but more friends. So neither layer feels inappropriate. And you know, each layer feeds off each other in a seamless way. You know, you’re bringing in more users, you’re kind of serving them giving discounts. So it’s kind of a win win triangle for those businesses. And we have seen not just when you do say, for example, what clubhouse did, they brought in an open social plus angled towards it where you know, instead of a typical one sided podcast that been running for the last 10 1215 years in the market, now club has changed that saying, Hey, you come on stage, let’s have a two way communication. You don’t have to sit and listen to a podcast one sided, but you know, you can be part of the conversation, right? That’s the social element, the product and we’ll see saw, you know, how quickly clubhouse went from zero to hero. And I think that is the essence of social placement. And that’s what we are trying to achieve with Kitcod. Now. Now, the main thing right? Now, if somebody wants to bring this social competence really baked into the existing product, how would they do they go out in the market, find a team or establish a team in house typically, like that could happen now, right? If you have an app, you want to, you know, see, hey, I need to bring in news feeds and groups. For putting people together in my app, you go out look for, you know, people in the market say, hey, I need two developers for this to develop the front end back end is that you know, sets up a team of six people have a budget of about at least 100,000 To even get started to break in that old social component. You spend about six to eight months time developing, say about 100,000 at least save worst case, you know, $50,000 to even get started with this project, you will not find people in the market who have already got experiences building social, right, we ask this took almost two years to you know, figure out how this all social components can be really baked together, right? It’s not anyone’s job, right? If you have a core business, you focus on core business, maybe go out and find a there is an API that can be planted into my existing app. That would be a good thing. But there are no all in one social API to cater to this fast growing trends right? Lack of solution. Basically, they might be some solution. Somebody’s providing chat like that. Somebody is providing chat, you have different service providers like stream providing news feeds, nobody’s providing, say groups, or maybe the entity is providing groups, but you know, they’re like multiple different things, channels for different segments, right? What God is doing is we are disrupting the space get caught as a suit of API’s powering communications and community engagement through new feeds groups, chat profile, forums, video stories more within any app, making it social and RS at a very flexible monthly cost.
Michael Waitze 35:34
And are you are you service agnostic? In other words, do you make a determination yourself of and I’m just gonna use sendbird? Because you’ve brought them up? Okay, all chats gonna go through sendbird? Like, what if I already have chat set up with some other company? I’m just using it as an example. Yeah. Or is it like an open platform or anybody that wants to be on your platform, can then get the ability to face your users or your customers by adding that API connectivity to the social part that you’re trying to build?
Fateh Ali 36:06
Right, so I’ll just simplify this, right? You bring in your own app, you have an app, say about with 1 million users. And then on top of it, you plug in gift cards layer, the social, yep. So imagine you have an app on the bottom, you have, say four different tabs, one of the new tabs that will be introduced as a community tab, and that as an entry point to that social. Now, if somebody wants to, you know, use chat, the same API’s from Flipkart can be used. But if they still want to feel that, you know, they can go out and integrate, say, centre, they can still do that. Okay. So it’s all to the businesses to decide. But why would somebody want to, you know, pay different companies and have users segmented? Right?
Michael Waitze 36:46
They wouldn’t want to do it. That’s my point. But let’s just say just, I’m used to whatever I’m using, and all my users are already there. In other words, are you religious about the services? So there’s only five services? One for this one for that one for this one for that? Or can I have like three different choices for communication? Or doesn’t matter? You just communicate with everything? Because the API is there and open? Like how does it work?
Fateh Ali 37:07
For us, we are very much ground up company. We have control over every line of code, every pixels in terms of your kids. So we give them the power of that making decisions. You want everything to be used from us. You want to build something in house, do you want to integrate third parties? We are? We are all open in terms of infrastructure.
Michael Waitze 37:28
That’s what I want to know. Okay. So how’s it going?
Fateh Ali 37:31
Interesting, right, so far, we spent almost eight months with antler coming out of antler. We raised a small funding from antler, say, 100k. And we went out in the market, but slightly bigger aim and dreams CDROM, raising a bigger seed round, because there is an opportunity, we are speaking to people from foodpanda, from Paytm, that, you know, Paytm is one of the biggest competitors. Yeah, and so we started speaking, and there’s like more of an inbound interest that’s coming in from large organisations. So we really had an open thought, Hey, let’s go out and raise a larger seed round. And then you know, start building start scaling from there. However, in the last three months, we’ve kind of shifted gears for good for our business, because a lot of healthy discussions that we had two times three times four times, but a lot of VCs kind of diluted in the sense where, you know, they’re looking for a real actionable integrations with customer because we’re still building right, what we are building is ground up a lot of tech stack to be built. It’s not like, you know, just put up a website and you’re, you’re able to get some customers. So it is like you really go out and build that solution. So it’s a long journey. And we had this very deep dive conversation that answer even before beginning all this thing, right, we might need more funds. It’s like building a rocket, and you definitely need more funding. But however things changed for us. Now, what you’re doing is we had Bootstrap. Good thing is we have a very strong team, internal core team, they’re looking to bootstrap for a while, which we did for last few months. Now, we’re actually raising a small, very, very small Angel, round 100k or so. And that will help us onboard the first half to three pilot customers. And early next year, q1 will, you know, target a larger round? So that’s when you know, we have connected to almost 50 Plus VCs, they’re all kind of sitting there and waiting on us, probably. And then you know, we’ll start bringing them with more of hoo ha, saying so. And so it’s been integrated this our daily active users, monthly active users, maybe in two, three months time. We are there at the moment, we’re just trading as more RAM.
Michael Waitze 39:35
So do you need an app to do this? Like, what if I just wanted to create a community around one of my podcasts and I just wanted to use KitKat to do that, right. So I want to connect to people’s ability to comment but I want to be able to manage it through one platform. So I don’t have to connect through 17 Other things, right, like, Yeah, is that possible as well?
Fateh Ali 39:53
That is a real possibility. Right? You will imagine you get community dot ACIAR tech podcast.com Yep. But Emily, that’s where we want to go. But primarily at this stage, we are very much focused on starting up with mobile experiences. So you’ll have to wait a few months, once we raise a seed round, then maybe you can start talking about community dot htm tech podcast.com?
Michael Waitze 40:14
Well, yeah, I mean, I can be one of your biggest beta testers, we can work together on it to make sure ends up being huge, because I’d love to do it. And it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time as well as KitKat. What an interesting what interesting idea. And again, it falls into the category of businesses that I love, right? Because basically, what you’re doing is you’re saying there are like, 1000s of these services out there, you can’t get a competition, every single one of them and to hire for that. It’s hard. I mean, essentially, this is happening a lot, right. So basically, what Kitcod is doing is it’s abstracting a piece of your business away from you, and building software to automate it for you. So you don’t have to think about that part. You want to sell, you know, hamburger buns to the hamburger guy, you don’t want to have to worry about how to connect on social. So you just set that part up and pay for it the same way. You’re not like cleaning your own bathrooms, you just hire someone to do it for you. Because that’s not a part of your business.
Fateh Ali 41:00
Exactly. Exactly. I think just adding on to that thought, right? And given that we’ve been speaking to large, really large enterprises. Yeah, like likes of foot Bender, maybe I can say this. We had some deep dive discussions with food panda and few other competitors of panda in Europe and a few other places, right? What they would like to see as they want to put up a news feed. And imagine you have a food panda app, and you’ll see this experience where you know what your friends have been, you know, buying up from foodpanda take some pay. It’s
Michael Waitze 41:35
ridiculous to me that food panda is not the social media network just for food. Like it’s just dumb. In other words, why can’t I share recipes there? Why can’t like it’s just so funny. You have 100 and something million people that go there every day to buy like, again, a hotdog and then they leave you get nothing else from them. Keep them there. They’re waiting 30 minutes for the hotdog anyway have a food show?
Fateh Ali 41:54
Absolutely. Absolutely. That’s the intent, right? When we had the legal discussions, they have the vision where they want to bring in some some kind of social, right? When you talked about newsfeeds met in the 60s, you put in all the riders in Singapore in a community and you know, riders can share their experiences. You know, they have a place they have a forum, you have all the restaurants owners and one you know community or a group, you have different things do different things. Now a chef taking a picture of or picture or it’s quick 30 seconds video and uploading it onto his news feeds, you know, people will see and purchase it from that there are a lot of social component that can be really baked into this whole system. And that’s going to be a game changer. Because it’s like, like the example of Pinyon who grew buying experiences that’s really revolutionise things, a lot of lot more people are trying to become vineyard you or eToro where it was brokerage where you know, people follow you and I follow you
Michael Waitze 42:46
and it comes on the social side of trading.
Fateh Ali 42:49
Exactly. Yeah, I think now everyone is trying to become Pina do or eat rule in the space and they don’t know how to do it. Right. Right. That is when KitKat comes as a superhero and say, Hey, we rescue you. So spending six, eight months, 12 months figuring out let’s do it and say, Are you ready this weekend? Or next weekend? Right? We can get started discussions. Awesome.
Michael Waitze 43:09
Awesome. This kid could mean anything
Fateh Ali 43:11
it does. And there’s a funny and interesting story. Probably my last half of the day, I went to Turkey for this conference, world health summit. Yeah, to this. And I wanted to really share about you know, the future technologies. And that is when I was talking to enter getting started with this idea. And they asked me an email, what’s your company’s name? Right? I just made up kit code, right? And then try to figure out why I did that is for two reasons. I really wanted this very small domain name, which resonates to our business. So kit for us is more of a plug and play social suit of plugins, right? That’s okay. Right when you call us a cat, right? And the cord stands for community on demand, right? foodpanda needs a committee on demand. They plug and play right. So get caught. That’s how I made it up. Luckily, I got this domain name. And you know, all the teams within Kitcod are called coders find that all coders Okay, is there anything else? All made up?
Michael Waitze 44:04
Is there anything else you want to cover? Should I just let you go? This was awesome. By the way.
Fateh Ali 44:06
That’s it, I think, you know, we kind of trying to go on steroids. Next year, we have a large vision, what we really want to achieve a card. And we definitely need people support. Investors, innovators, you know, community builders, Clear out everyone in this space, you know, happy to talk to them as many people as possible. And then take this journey where you know, we really revolutionise the whole inner space for the future, right? Because our vision is go out and be the social API for the internet.
Michael Waitze 44:40
Perfect. And what’s the best way for people to get in touch with you?
Fateh Ali 44:42
Usually I use my social media handles as ask Fateh as buying hashtags. So a lot of things that’s been done for the last few years, but for Kitcod, you can reach out to me Fateh Ali get con.com
Michael Waitze 44:57
But Fateh Ali, Co- founder and CEO of Kitcod that was Awesome. Please come back again into this soon.
Fateh Ali 45:03
Thanks, Michael. It was my pleasure. Thanks for having me today.
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