Digital has pervaded all kinds of businesses today. More recently during the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020, Amit Banka, founder and CEO, WeNaturalists, took digital transformation into a field which has been considered focused on research, conservation and infotainment. “Behind the several organisations working to conserve wildlife are a host of project management activities and a big community. They are often inefficiently handled due to distance and lack of technological push into this space. We aim to solve this problem using digital,” says Banka.
The startup aims to have an online community of naturalists who are otherwise active only on social media and outdated forums. “This is one aspect of the business. They are at the core of nature-human interaction. We cannot miss out on their individual activities. They like sharing their adventures in nature with others around,” says Banka. “If an organisation wants to find a bunch of people to volunteer or recruit in a particular geography, the community will be the place.”
The other aspect of the business is providing digital tools and project management capabilities to organisations which are invested in taking care of nature. “When an organisation is running a number of projects, events or campaigns across multiple locations, it is difficult to coordinate the distributed activity efficiently. Many of these organisations are NGOs and cannot afford to have their own tech platforms. On a consumption basis, the organisations can use our platform at low prices to run these activities effectively,” he says.
“In addition, we want to use the data we collect to make the content on the platform, including the user generated ones, more contextual and engaging,” says Banka. For this purpose, the bootstrapped startup has an in-house tech team who also work on AI and ML. Having started operations just a few months before the Covid-19 pandemic when outdoor activities came to a halt, the platform has managed to get over 30,000 users and over 100 organisations doing commercial as well as non-commercial activities.
Banka intends to keep the platform solely for community and environment related activities. “We do not want to venture into sales of consumer products,” he says emphatically.