The Advent of Flico: From Manipal to Silicon Valley
Described as a Chrome Extension which aims to fulfill the average user’s curiosity by predicting relevant information from a media file, ‘Flico’ is the first product by Flicksys Inc., a startup launched by five students of MIT. The app has four modules – Words, Landmarks and the yet unreleased, E-Commerce and Music modules, with the Landmarks feature being the most popular.
In case the user wishes to identify the location of a certain landmark in a movie, or any YouTube video for that matter, Flico identifies and presents the landmark along with its location on Google Maps, even displaying nearby restaurants. Flico has processed around seven thousand requests and the downloads stand at four thousand and counting. The extension was featured on Product Hunt’s website, Hatchley’s newsletter and also on the Chrome WebStore. Due to these admirable feats, the team doesn’t require to spend time and resources on Public Relations.
The team behind Flico, the winners of AngelHack Manipal, comprises Yash Goel, the founder, and co-founders, Kartik Arora, Anirudh Raghunath, Rahil Patel and Amrit Ayyar. Theirs is one of those best performing teams which has been invited to pitch at the Global Demo Day to be held in November at Silicon Valley in the USA. The event will be attended by a large number of investors and is a huge opportunity for the expansion of their venture.
With the vision of extracting maximum information from any media file, the students started working towards making a product that would serve exactly that. A discussion with Mr. Kartik Mandaville, the founder of ‘Springrole’ and an alumnus of MIT, Manipal, provided the initial validation that the students required to start with the implementation of their idea, and on insistence of Mr. Mandaville, they participated in AngelHack. This of course proved to be central to the development of their product.
One of the many perks of acing AngelHack was provision of strategic mentoring so that the team could evolve the unfinished product into an actual startup. Technical support was generously provided. From then on, the team got incubated in Silicon Valley with AngelHack as their incubator. Weekly interactive web conferences with chosen experts accelerated the process. The three month long incubation process will culminate with the Global Demo Day, which will be held in November.
The team received immense help from another alumnus of MIT, Dr. Arun Shanbhag, who was a professor at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Dr. Shanbhag is also the Chief Innovation Officer at MUTBI. The advisory board comprises Dr. Shanbhag, Mr. Radhesh Kanumury, the country lead of IBM India, and Mr. Kartik Mandaville, founder of SpringRole. IBM has invested $25,000 into the venture and is officially the back end partner, hence the upgrades required due to the surging traffic are covered.
The Global Demo Day will ring in the next step for the team. It could be a more mature incubator, an acquisition, or any sort of funding. When it comes to the trip to Silicon Valley for the event, the university has supported the team and they have not faced problems in acquiring permissions. The team has taken the crowd funding approach to fund the trip and has raised around Rs. 2 lakhs so far.
The next module of ‘Flico’ which the team plans to release is the E-Commerce module. The founder, Yash Goel, acknowledges that developing a functional music module is one of the challenges that the team plans to focus on and will be something to look out for. It will be very interesting to see how the future rolls out for Flico, and their company, Flicksys Inc.