What is Seva Call, and how did you get started in the field?
Seva Call is an algorithm-based, virtual concierge service that matches consumers with the right local service professionals and connects them by phone in real time.
My brother Gurpreet saw the need for such a service in 2004 based on his experiences at his IT firm. He couldn't help every customer who called, he often had to turn people away, and sometimes this would be a person’s third or fourth attempt to find someone local, available and qualified to handle the specific request.
How can individuals in the marketing/advertising industry (i.e. agencies, CMOs) use Seva Call to create either more impactful end-results or enhance in-house performance?
Marketers can have their business clients create a premium profile with us so that we can connect those businesses to the hottest leads in the industry: real people standing by waiting for them to offer their services.
What is your view of where Seva Call currently stands in the marketplace today? Where do you see your product/service/company in 3 years? What problem are you solving?
We are in a position of aggressive growth and competitiveness at the local level. In three years, we’ll be a formidable national competitor in our own right, fending off businesses seeking to replicate our smart product and business model.
Right now, our challenge is a matter of branding. We’re still explaining and defining ourselves, and we will continue to do so until “Seva calling” a problem becomes as ubiquitous as “Googling” — and making the latter verb a little less prevalent while we’re at it.
As an entrepreneur, what impact has branding had on your venture’s success so far? How do you approach marketing? With whom do you collaborate to get your message out to your target audience?
We primarily collaborate with the media — especially the tech industry blogosphere, which has been so supportive and instrumental in spreading our message.
We also rely on tweet of mouse: creating content that our fans, friends and followers love to “like” and share through social media.
What entrepreneurial ideas and startup lessons can advertising professionals apply to creating breakthrough work?
Be an intra-preneur. Have a mind towards innovation, and loosen your allegiance to old ways of doing things.
Many advertising professionals find themselves interested in entrepreneurship. What advice would you give to someone with marketing skills interested in starting a new venture?
If you can sell fire in hell, great! But take care to ensure that your product is truly a unique improvement that adds value to the market. Consumers are savvy enough to recognize fool’s gold in slick packaging.
Thought leaders in marketing regularly reinforce the idea that agencies (and other marketing-oriented organizations, too) should collaborate with startups. Do you agree? Why? How would you like agencies to collaborate with your organization?
Understand that businesses and consumers don’t want to need agencies in order to connect. Marketers should use startups to make connecting as seamless as possible.
Manpreet Singh is the co-founder and president of Seva Call, a revolutionary algorithm-based virtual concierge service that links customers with the precise local businesses that meet their needs by phone and in real time. He began his entrepreneurial enterprise running a social networking startup in high school with his brother. He continued his entrepreneurial drive as employee No. 1 at a DC-based investment management firm.
Originally published Apr 26, 2013 1:00:26 AM, updated December 05 2014