Entrepreneurship has been on the rise in India and there have been many startups that have sprouted. Unfortunately, not all startups in India are of good quality. Many suffer from good ideas but bad implementation. It’s interesting that the meaning of ‘Founder’ in Dictionaris ‘fail miserably’! There are a few that stand out for its usefulness and one such site is www.AskLaila.com
I’m quite bullish about the power of local search. It’s a perfect example of service that touches your daily life. The other day I had reach the airport to catch a flight at five in the morning. To my dismay, I found that my regular call-taxi company didn’t have vehicles at that early hour. The instinct was to quickly reach out to the JustDial service and lo, I did the right thing. I had three options to choose from.
That’s just one example but I’m increasingly finding myself using more local searches. That’s one of the reasons why I’m bullish with local search services that help make our everyday lives easier.
AskLaila is an India-focused local information, yellow pages website. The site started about a couple of years ago with Bangalore and has now expanded its services to Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai. The founders of the site are bullish about taking the service to more major cities and towns in India.
I wanted to give the site a spin and decided to use a real case need as a test. My business cards are over and needed to get a fresh set printed. Over the last few weeks, I have been procrastinating mainly because the printers are far away and I didn’t know of any in my area. I went to AskLaila and came out with three good references of printers and one of them worked out good.
Shriram Adukoorie, co-founder, has this to say "AskLaila’s technology is ingeniously developed to understand closely what people search for and what they mean – i.e., identify with people’s language and the context of their query."
I decided to give it another test and this time, I gave it a far more simple search term – Pizza. I know that there is Pizza Hut in Virugambakkam (Chennai) and a Domino’s Pizza not too far away. However, the search result showed only one of them indicating that their search results are not fool proof.
Having worked at a company that dealt heavily in Yellowpages, I know how difficult it is in collating local information. It is an extremely tough task but with strong competition around, the only way to survive is to provide comprehensive, yet accurate information.
Talking of competition, AskLaila will have to deal with players like Guruji, TolMolBol and Burrp and not to mention, well established players like JustDial who have a phenomenal database and early mover advantage.
Another grouse is that the system does not automatically identify which city you are living in. You have to manually select your city which I think should already been taken care of. For example, when I first fired up AskLaila, it asks me "which part of Bangalore" do I want to search for when I’m clearly sitting in Chennai looking for Chennai related information. It’s such simple things that matter.
In addition to search results, AskLaila also presents reviews on food, events, lifestyle, shopping and more. It also allows for reviews from people in the form of comments.
AskLaila was founded by Shriram Adukoorie and Kiran Konduri. Shriram is a long time Microsoftie who helped set up MSN in India, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia. Kiran is a serial entrepreneur having founded companies like Zephyr Software and Cogniti.
The founders successfully raised $10M in series B