Update 1/15/18: The total amount raised as of January 11, 2018 was $4.8M, with $3.3M through Regulation A+ funds and $1.5M through private backers.
Social media and the need to rank higher on search engines continues to grow in importance with U.S. residents loving their social platforms more each day. So why aren’t citizens of other countries as enamored? For instance, in India, none of the current platforms attract more than 34% of the population (which is 2nd highest in the world). The answer is simple – India's social platforms aren’t really built for anyone outside of the U.S. or those who may settle in the U.S. after living abroad. The global population has a great interest in social commerce, but user-to-user commerce on social media is illegal there. E-commerce is Asian users’ highest priority, so many abstain from American platforms. Sagoon tries to bridge this gap by launching an app where users can connect, share, and earn.
We had a chance to interview Govinda and asked about his story, how he started his business and the future of Sagoon.
Tell us your story. Why did you start your business?
Sagoon was originally formed as a search engine in 2009, but we continued to evolve as a company when we saw an opportunity to provide a social media experience that also focused on the growing interest in social commerce offerings.
We want to provide a social experience that appeals to users across the globe. Currently in South and Southeast Asia only 37% of the population uses social media. There is a clear disconnect between available social media platforms that are more focused on the American audience and what users worldwide are interested in. According to recent research, e-commerce and use-to-user commerce are what Asian users are most interested in. We look to fill this void while also rewarding customers for being a direct source of revenue.
How did you come up with your business name?
The name Sagoon was derived from the Sanskrit word “Shakuna” which means “an auspicious moment” or “good luck.”
Tell us about your products and services. How do you help users?
Sagoon’s goal is to help users connect, share and earn. Below are details on how we accomplish this:
Connect- We provide a social media community that focuses on creating more intimate, meaningful connections with family and friends.
Share- There are three distinct parts of Sagoon that allow users to share with friends and family on a deeper level. The first is My Day, a shareable online calendar with reminders and notifications. Sagoon also offers Mood Talk, a messaging app for peer-to-peer chatting that lets users share their current mood with their status. Lastly we offer an anonymous messaging section which allows users to share experiences, confessions or incidences of your life which you have never disclosed publicly in words. But, if disclosed, it can help people learn something significant.
Earn- As we continue to work on the launch of our Android app, we are aiming in the near future to provide users the opportunity to earn. We are developing a “Social Smart Card”that will offer users the ability to seamlessly engage in peer-to-peer commerce, such as buying and sending gifts within the app. This feature will also allow users to find, share and redeem coupons and gift cards. The more users buy, sell and gift the more they earn in return for their loyalty on this smart credit card.
What makes you unique? What is your unique selling proposition (USP)?
Sagoon is multi-application platform. Every application/product has its unique offering features. The ultimate goal of each product is to build intimate relationships and a productive life. Also Sagoon, unlike other platforms, share 5% of the company’s revenue with every individual user as a reward of spending their time on the Sagoon platform. In short, Sagoon is a revenue sharing social commerce platform.
Where do you see your business in the next 3-5 years?
Sagoon recently surpassed 1 million active users. After launching our Android app in early 2018, we are aggressively focusing on users’ growth across the globe, including developing a more established presence in the U.S. I also see Sagoon continuing to innovate in the technology space as we further build out our technology lab to focus on solving consumer issues related to both social media and our mobile devices. We want to be the leaders in social commerce, creating a platform where users of all nationalities can connect and engage with each other, and be financially rewarded for doing so.
Any advice you would give to entrepreneurs and business owners?
My biggest piece of advice is to never give up. If you have a vision for a product that you believe can positively impact society and change the world, do everything you can to bring that vision to reality. Many times you’ll be faced with hurdles or you might need to make hard decisions, but you can always find a way to succeed. When I started Sagoon it was to be a search engine, and I failed. But I learned so much in the process, and now we’ve built a product that more than 1 million people are already loving and using every day. Keep pushing forward and you will achieve your goals for your business.
What is your favorite business quote and why?
‘First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win' – Mahatma Gandhi. I like this quote because it is a real-life experience to change and that is what I am going through right now as well.
Anything else additional you want to tell our readers?
We recently announced surpassing $1.9M in regulation A+ (mini IPO) capital and are excited and encouraged by the over 2,000 investors who have shown their support for our vision.
What makes the DMV area a great place to be an entrepreneur or business owner?
As an entrepreneur the D.C. area boasts a constant influx of talent, whether it be people who are graduating from one of the area’s esteemed colleges and universities or someone who has come to town to work in the government or within another popular sector. This creates an environment that is constantly evolving and supports creativity and innovation. As an entrepreneur you have the opportunity to network and build connections with a wide range of people.