Within the age of smartphones, social media, and ‘FOMO’, many Gen–Z and Millennials are seeing their stress and anxiousness ranges spiking. They’re additionally inclining towards personalised astrology providers to seek out solutions to their questions.
To cater to this younger technology, Manu Jain, Himanshu Semwal, and Acharya Dev based Digital Astrology and Mandir App () in 2020.
The Delhi-based faith-tech startup supplies quick access to non secular and non secular providers. The one-stop digital platform claims to supply providers, together with e-puja, purna puja, on-line darshan, astrology consultations, face studying, Vastu, zodiac signal prediction, Nadi astrology, numerology, and Kundli matchmaking providers, amongst others.
“Earlier than VAMA, some devotees used to obtain e-puja providers by way of WhatsApp video calls that weren’t well-organised or adopted a strict algorithm and laws. With VAMA, customers can now do any puja of their alternative in any of the registered temples with full transparency and correct tips,” Manu Jain, Co-founder, VAMA, tells YourStory.
VAMA needs to transform the offline mandir ecosystem to digital by way of partaking, empowering, and habit-forming content-driven merchandise by offering tailored options.
Initially bootstrapped with about $100,000, VAMA launched its Android app in September 2021 and has over 100,000 downloads. The startup plans to launch its iOS app by June 2022.
How does it work?
VAMA brings the providers of India’s most iconic temples to the web medium, making it simply accessible for devotees from all around the nation.
For devotees, clergymen in VAMA’s associate temples carry out the precise rituals as per the reserving, which they’ll attend remotely by way of video name, app, or web site.
Thus far, VAMA has onboarded over 300 astrologers and 100 clergymen and has partnered with greater than 30 landmark temples.
“By bringing pujas and darshans to the web medium, we aren’t solely addressing the spiritual necessities of devotees throughout geographies and age teams but in addition financially empowering pandits,” Manu says.
In reality, VAMA additionally supplies coaching and infrastructure equivalent to cellular and Wi-Fi providers to astrologers and pujaris.
Manu is a seasoned skilled from the telecom sector and an angel investor. Earlier than VAMA, he held managerial positions at Paytm, Aircel, and Mydala, and had launched two startups — Carbun8 and Unpuzzleit.
Himanshu Semwal, Co-founder at VAMA, has over 14 years of expertise in telecom advertising and marketing, enterprise technique, product innovation, and gross sales. His prior expertise has made him conscious of “prospects’ mobile-driven traits,” which he strategically deploys in the direction of the expansion of VAMA.
Co-founder Dev is a third-generation astrologer and holds a Grasp’s diploma in Astrology from Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, Lucknow. He has over a decade of expertise in managing astrology enterprise for main telecom suppliers in India.
The puja enterprise
In line with Knowledgeable Market Analysis, the Indian spiritual and non secular market was valued at $44 billion in 2020, anticipated to develop at a CAGR of 10 p.c between 2022-2027.
VAMA straight competes with, Sri Mandir, Guruji, , and .
The startup goals to get rid of geographical and bodily obstacles that will stand in the best way of a devotee’s non secular journey and allows them to do darshans from the consolation of their properties.
It supplies customers with an authentic entry slip from the temple to authenticate their presence throughout the premises throughout puja and darshan. After the ritual, customers additionally pay the priest ‘Dakshina’.
Whereas VAMA’s e-puja and e-darshan providers begin at Rs 500 and go as much as Rs 100,000, its ‘per-minute’ astrology session costs begin at Rs 100.
The startup has additionally signed a business-to-business (B2B) partnership with Jeevansaathi.com and contributes to its astrology portfolio.
“We’re getting equal traction from Tier I and II cities, and the common age group of customers is eighteen–25 years, of which 40 p.c are ladies,” Manu reveals.
Since January 2020, VAMA has facilitated over 500 e-pujas. Its app has enabled over 50,000 on-line consultations, rising at a month-to-month fee of 100%. Manu claims that VAMA sees about one-third of its consumer base returning to the platform throughout the identical month.
“Our goal teams are tech-savvy working professionals and Gen Z who discover it tough to go to a temple to carry out rituals because of their packed schedule,” says Manu.
A few of VAMA’s iconic temple companions embody Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Shree Mangalnath Temple, Vindhyachal Devi Mandir, Naimishranya Lalita Devi Mandir, Shiv Mandir, Prayagraj, and Hanuman Mandir, Ayodhya, amongst others.
In April 2021, the startup raised a pre-seed spherical of $150,000 led by PointOne capital, the funds had been used for constructing a minimal viable product (MVP).
In March 2022, VAMA had raised a seed spherical of $750,000 co-led by Huddle and 7Square Ventures. Thus far, the startup has raised a complete of $1 million in funding.
Angel traders, together with Kunal Shah (CRED), Varun Alagh (Mamaearth), and Ashutosh Valani and Priyank Shah (Beardo), additionally participated within the spherical. The startup will use the funds to bolster product growth, introduce new service verticals on the app, and purchase new expertise.
Transferring ahead, VAMA plans to introduce live-streaming of darshan and aartis and a function to make on-line donations in the direction of temples. By the tip of 2022, the startup plans to broaden its providers by collaborating with over 200 temples. It additionally goals to enterprise into worldwide markets, together with the Center East, the US, and Canada.
All of the consultations on VAMA can be found in languages, together with Hindi, English, Bangla, Gujarati, and Marathi.
“Religion-tech’s on-line market share is lower than 5 p.c of all on-line platforms mixed. We really feel the house is extraordinarily unorganised, and the market is large enough for all gamers to carve out their area of interest. Bringing even 10 p.c of the customers into the web ecosystem can be a major accomplishment,” says Manu.