HexaVault Password Manager and Personal Information Locker

Here is my new product – HexaVault. HexaVault is a password manager and a personal information locker. You can safely store your important private information like passwords and logins, bank account and credit card details, passport and other identity documents and more.

HexaVault stores your information using strong encryption on your device.

What kind of information can you store in HexaVault?

– Passwords to websites, apps, computers, servers
– Credit cards, debit cards, ATM and gift cards
– Bank account details, loan and mortgage, insurance details
– Identity documents like passport, national ID, school or employer ID
– Medical prescriptions and records
– Subscriptions and membership details

And everything else that is important to you.

What about security?

– It is stored on your device, not on the Internet
– It encrypted using Advance Encryption Standard and a 256 bit key
– Even if your mobile is lost, the data is virtually impossible to crack

HexaVault is available for iPhone, iPad and devices running Android.

HexaVault is completely free and contains no advertisements.

Starting a new innings

by Yash 0 Comments

I am hanging up my entrepreneur boots (for now) and beginning a new phase of my career. I have joined Schoolguru Eduserve as their VP of technology. SchoolGuru partners with leading universities and provides end to end online learning solutions.
sg
I have run Uconomix for 10+ years and I have spent 13 years in the  building software applications for various platforms. Building software is my passion. I love it. I did that at Uconomix but my last idea PhotoKeeper did not take off. So I think it is time for me to take break from the rigors of entrepreneurship and utilise my skills at another organisation and luckily I found an opportunity at Schoolguru.

A new journey begins.

PhotoKeeper is dead

by Yash 0 Comments

PhotoKeeper has been shut down. One and a half years of labour gone waste. Just 3 months into the launch. 12000 visitors to the site in the last 3 months, 300 signups, 12 paying subscribers. Visitors to subscribers ratio of 0.1%. That is not sustainable.

A had a captive target market of photographers who were already using my watermarking product uMark. More than 100000 email ids at launch. Don’t assume if you have a target audience they will still want your product. Do they really have a problem that you are solving? Even if they have the problem is your product really the one that solves it? When even photography blogs don’t bother covering your product despite repeated attempts you know you have created a product nobody wants.

Above all do you have money to carry on for a long period if your initial assumptions do not work out? If not do you have connections to raise funds? If you have neither don’t bother.

The joys and sorrows of being an entrepreneur!

Snapcast.in – share photos on multiple platforms at once

Snapcast.in – share photos on multiple platforms at once

We have just launched a new product – Snapcast.in. It is a web app to post photos on multiple platforms at once. Right now it can post photos on Facebook, Twitter, 500px and Flickr. What is special about Snapcast.in is that you can select platform specific properties for photos while posting them. So you can set keywords which will be used by 500px and Flickr and select a category for 500px. you can connect a Facebook profile, a Facebook page, a Twitter, 500px account and Flickr accounts. Once you have connected your various social profiles with Snapcast,in you can select up to 10 photos and post them at once on the selected platforms.

snapcast-post

The idea came to my mind for during my 365 project. Initially when I started the 365 project I used to go to each site manually and post my photo there. But doing that every day became cumbersome so eventually I stopped posting on other sites and was posting only on Facebook. Existing tools like Buffer do not have option of posting on 500px and Flickr.

Check out Snapcast.in

Do not use CCAvenue for international payments. It does not work!

I wasn’t completely happy with PayPal and was always on the lookout for a real payment gateway.

I don’t remember how but on the fateful day of 23 May 2014 I ended up at CCAvenue and signed up under their Privilege Scheme. They have two schemes one where you do not pay any setup fees but pay higher in card processing charges, second is where you pay one time setup fee and pay less in charges. And the stupid fuck that I am I chose the other one. I paid the setup fees on 27 May. Rs. 37,415.88.

I wanted USD processing. I asked for it specifically before paying the setup fees. I confirmed it with one of their reps from marketing department.

And the fun began. I had to provide them a list of documents, 13 to be precise. Even the Indian government doesn’t ask these many docs to issue a Passport!

Any way I provided the documents and my account was activated, I came to know I can not process USD!

Then I was told USD has a higher charge than what was promised to me earlier. I agreed. USD was enabled.

But it did not have MasterCard only Visa and American Express!

I contacted compliance team and I was informed on that it would take 15-20 working days to activate MasterCard.

After a long wait, some tweets, few phone calls and emails later MasterCard was enabled.

During the integration I realised the USD wasn’t actually enabled, again after a few emails and phone calls that too was enabled eventually.

And finally I went live with CCAvenue.

And first transaction failed! Card bin stop listed was the error I got. I asked one of my US based friends to test a payment and again the transaction ailed with same message.

When I asked CCAvenue about that I was told they are blocking certain international banks for fraud prevention. Perfectly valid cards are being denied just like that! Blanket ban all in the name of fraud prevention!

Fortunately the customer whose transaction failed later made another transaction using PayPal and it went through.

I asked CCAvenue to disable the BIN check for my account at first they just told me to ask my customers to pay using some other card!

Anyway after some haggling over phones and emails and after I demanded a refund of my setup fees, they switched the acquirer for my account. Previous it was ICICI then they switched it to something else Electra or Citi may be. I asked my friend in the US to try paying again and this time the payment went through. I thought finally things have been sorted out so I put CCAvenue live again.

And in last 2 days 7 transactions have failed! Only 2 went through, one paid on the third attempt, the second one paid using AmEx after his first attempt to pay using Visa failed. Rest all paid successfully after I routed them to PayPal. So 2 months and 37000 in setup fees later I am still sending my customers to PayPal.

I really don’t know what to do at this stage. All I wanted was ability to accept payments from my genuine customers who happen to be based outside India. I was using PayPal and I thought India’s oldest and largest payment gateway will make things easier and cheaper for me. But all I have faced is troubles. And my money that I paid as setup fees is stuck.

I don’t know who is at fault here, is it RBI and it’s stupid rules? Is it the paranoid acquiring banks or is it CCAvenue?

Paulo Coelho said when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it, but it seems in India if you just wish to accept payments from international customers the Indian financial system conspires in stalling you!

Reserve Bank of India and its senseless policies!

F*** you RBI! Because of YOU I can not use balance in my PayPal account to make a payment abroad! Every time I spend $$ for something where I could have used my PayPal balance I have to give a cut to some worthless Indian bank for using the credit card!

You know what, your stupid policies have made sure I will never launch a product or service for Indian audiences! When I launch my next subscription based idea I will register a company in the US just to be able to use something like Stripe!

And then people say why India doens’t have its Facebooks and Googles.

Gadhe jab desh ko chala rahe hai to desh ka kya ghanta kuchh hoga!!

Why am I an entrepreneur

by Yash 4 Comments

I guess I was an entrepreneur since my schools days, while in school I used to write comic books. Super hero comic books. I had my own characters, I would write the stories, and draw the comics although the readership was limited to my class mates, I guess that was my first entrepreneur venture. As a kid you are full of energy and kids want some way to use the energy. Most kids spend it playing cricket or video games. We did not have any neighbours back then and certainly no video games so my energy found a creative vent in the form of comics creation. It was more of a hobby but it was different than what all of my friends were doing.

After college I started my professional career. I am a computer programmer by profession. Why I chose this profession? Cause my mom wanted me to learn computers and one of my cousins had been in this field and had shifted to US. I did not have any Greencard dreams but I guess my mother certainly did (She still has!). So because of her insistence I landed at NIIT center just to enquire about basic computer courses and the counselor sold me and my dad on a 3 year programming course! I didn’t really enjoy it for the first couple of semesters until I started learning Visual Basic. Learning VB was really fun because our faculty was a good programmer herself and she would give us assignments which were not in the book. I learnt to find my way through and started enjoying the programming challenges. By the time I finished the NIIT course and my graduation, I was game on the career I’d choose. From the original batch of 30 odd students in that course, I am the only one who is in the IT field today and I still enjoy the programming!

So I joined a small company as a programmer and then went on to join Mastek – a large IT company. Soon I got frustrated at Mastek. In the small company I knew how things worked, I knew how I could get projects from freelancing sites and earn a good side income. I joined Mastek hoping I would get some insights into how things worked at a large concern. CMM level 5 was a big deal then. I got frustrated at Mastek because everything was done by the book and by the rule. My frustration grew over the fact that they were paying engineers more than me because they had the BE degree and I was a mere BCom. That I had experience of 1.5 years on Microsoft technologies did not really matter. I figured this difference will remain throughout my career. And even before I had joined Mastek I had decided I am gonna have my own company someday. (During my first job interview my boss had asked me where do you see yourself five years from now and I had replied – “I see myself running a company like you!”) Getting a degree like MBA only for career progression didn’t really appeal to me cause I figured I could do some more useful things in that time. So I started mulling the option of starting on my own.

I knew I could get freelance project from sites like eLance and RentACoder and I thought I can employ a few programmers who would write the code and I can have a business! I started bidding and soon landed a project that was matching my annual pay at Mastek! That was the moment, I put in my papers at Mastek and started hunting for programmers to employ. I found some ex-programmers from my previous employer who were willing to join me. I had spare computers at home from one of my earlier venture – a computer coaching class – that came in handy. And thus I became an entrepreneur. I stared from a spare room in my home, put computers and recruited three programmers.

Its been five years since I started my own company. I have a team of 8 people now and we work from an office. I haven’t grown the business much in the past five years. But considering that I did not take any partner or any outside investment, I guess I have done well. My initial investment in business was about Rs. 2,00,000. From then to here. Without any help, on my own I guess that’s an achievement!

Most of all entrepreneurship gives me freedom and a sense of ownership and fame! I can come to office anytime I want. I work from home, often at night. The best part – I work on things that I like the most! I am a programmer and I love writing new programmes. Being an entrepreneurs I can work on my pet project during the day time! At work and still get paid for it ;) I have launched several products under the brand of my company which started as my pet projects and there are tons of semi finished products lying on my computer.

Another motivating factor behind me being an entrepreneur is fame. Since childhood I have liked being in the limelight, and being the center of attraction. If I creating a ground breaking software for a large company or even small company its that company and its founders who are going to get the recognition. Ratan Tata gets credit for creating Tata Nano, Bill Gates steals the show for Windows, Narayan Murthy gets the accolades for Infosys scaling new heights. If I work for another entrepreneur, he will get the fame for my hard work. If I work for myself, the fame would be mine! I am not coy about it! I want to get recognised for my hard work. I want to see my photo on the first page of some newspapers somewhere down the line. I can achieve that only by working for myself and not for someone else.

And money is of course a motivating factor. If I manage to build a successful business I will reap huge dividends. And I will get recognised too! Its a gamble for sure – entrepreneurship is fraught with risks and sacrifices have to me made. But I am in the game for name, fame and money. I don’t mind if it comes a bit late. Better late than never! And I am sure I will achieve what I am set out to achieve.

Real purpose of an entrepreneur

Read this article Find Your Purpose by Roy Spence on Entrepreneur.com.

The author is talking about the purpose of an entrepreneur. He says entrepreneurs should think about improving people’s lives and not about making money. To an extent he is right, but rest is BS! The guy is trying to sell his book! Purpose of the business is to make money! Entrepreneurs get in the business to make more money! Not because they want to change the world!

Roy says if you think about improving people’s life, create value for them the money will follow. I agree with that – nobody’s gonna pay you for a product that doesn’t solve a problem. BUT I don’t agree with the ideology behind that! It’s a simple fact that you should make what you can sell and not the other way round. The motivating factor is money! Not some inner desire to improve the world and blah blah! Nobody gives a damn whether you start a business or not!

Entrepreneurs have two motives – fame and money. The notion of making a difference, improving people’s lives etc are driven by these two motivating factors. I want fame, recognition and I want to be rich? How? Okay people have this problem, lets solve the problem and I will make money. Most of the entrepreneurs think that way. Its not like oh People have this problem, lets do something for them. Such people are rare and they start Wikipedias and Craigslists of the world, not Googles or Microsofts or Apples! People with such noble intentions go and do relief work in Africa, not start companies.

When people sell you something they don’t want to improve your life! They want to improve their own lives by improving your life!