NewsAurChai: Hi Vaibhav, tell us something about yourself, your personal life, educational background.
Vaibhav Magon: I am a TechEvangelist, who is highly passionate about technology, creativity, and innovation. I completed my Graduation in Computer Science from Sir Padampat Singhania University, Udaipur. Before Askmonk, I have worked with top product companies like Goibibo at various technological positions. I have always been a keen problem observer and love to solve them intuitively by providing scalable solutions. My first startup idea was Goalist, an online goal listing community, (started as a major project in his University), which got all round appreciation and which I later open sourced. I also love to play and compose songs on guitar. I believe in one motto – “Making life interesting through innovation“.
NewsAurChai: What exactly does your startup do ?
Vaibhav Magon: Askmonk is a mobile first tech startup that helps people get easy, fast and affordable astrological solutions. Askmonk brings astrology a new dimension where people can consult & seek solutions to problems from astrologers in an innovative Q and A format on the go, anywhere, anytime.
Askmonk is trying to disrupt the space with a hassle free, top notch, highly engaging, interactive app that kills the pain involved in fixing appointments, arranging telephonic conversations and travelling for face to face meetings with astrologers. Askmonk has a highly scalable and non money burning model. The Astrologers at askmonk are not only hand picked by the team but are educated and passionate in the field of Astrology and consider it as a science. We also have something called as Mythological summaries where in every alternate day we present to our users stories from Hindu mythology in form of cards that are in less than 60 words, crisp and short. The motive behind this is to provide relevant and intellectual stories to our users in an easy to read and concise format.
NewsAurChai: How did this idea come to you?
Vaibhav Magon: The idea about a platform like Askmonk occurred me almost a year back when I was working for Goibibo. I saw a lot of my colleagues worried about their jobs & promotions, small family cousins worried about results of competitive exams, friends about their marriages and almost everyone not feeling comfortable to face an astrologer or even talk to them because of either trust issues or time issues or costing (on an average astrologers cost Rs 3000 for 1 session of about 30 to 40 min) or even authenticity. That is when, an idea came up of a platform where in a closed one to one environment people can consult educated, learned and user rated community of astrologers (one they could trust upon) by just posting questions on the go anywhere, anytime ( making it easy) in a cost effective manner and get not just answers, but solutions within 24 hrs (making it fast). This is the small story behind Askmonk and how it came into the picture!
NewsAurChai: What were your challenges?
Vaibhav Magon: When you start your journey, it being anything, the initial few days are the ones you’re always charged up and you’re always jolly. That’s the time when innovation is at its peak and you’re always filled with new ideas and better implementations that are already in the market. But, as you go forward, there are times when things are not fine and they don’t fall in the right place. That is the time, I feel one is actually tested, because if you surpass that, you would appear as a winner.
Askmonk has had it’s share of ups and downs when people were very skeptic about the Idea whether or not it would actually work, whether we would have customers or not, whether astrologers would join us or not and to win over the mindset of so-called “progressive people” who openly don’t admit Astrology as a science. And to our pleasant surprise, the younger generation of age group 20 to 40 which is mostly struggling with uncertainties in jobs and unpredictabilities in relationships has the maximum response. Also according to an article by The Hindu, by 2020, India is set to become the world’s youngest country with 64 percent of its population in the working age group. We are happy that our target audience is appreciating us and we work towards making Astrology as a service, easier, faster and more affordable because ultimately we need to stand by our tagline – Predictions just a ‘Question’ away 🙂
NewsAurChai: Tell us about your team.
Vaibhav Magon: Askmonk is a team of 3 engineers from varied product based technology companies like Goibibo, IBM etc. We are mentored by an IIT Roorkee Alumnus Mr. Sunil Kumar Magon, who is our Chief Astrologer and who has been passionately following Astrology as science for the past 24 years. Our team is a perfect mix of Technology & Astrology. Askmonk has been Accelerated by ESpark-Viridian Accelerator-based at Gift City, Gandhinagar and we work from there itself.
NewsAurChai: What is the current status of ‘AskMonk’ ?
Vaibhav Magon: Askmonk Android app has been launched and we have got a tremendous response from the market. We have got questions coming from all over India right from Visakhapatnam, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Pune, Mumbai etc. And the best part is we have got some questions at times like 1:30 in the night, which is what we wanted to achieve that users can post questions anywhere, anytime. We are very happy with the market acceptance and we are working on Web-App and IOS App which would be rolled out soon. Also, Askmonk was one of the 5 curated startups at the IAMAI submit held at Hyatt, Ahmedabad as well from about 100 + startup applicants.
Team NewsAurChai wishes you lots of success for all your future endeavors! Good Luck! Predictions just a “Question” away! You can download ‘AskMonk’ App by clicking here and visit their website by clicking here!