Bolkar App: A voice based Quora alternative for non-English speakers
Bolkar means 'speaking' in Hindi. Bolkar App enables native speakers of Hindi and Bengali to share their knowledge. The crowdsourced question-answer platform is aimed at people from tier-3 and tier-4 towns of India who aren't conversant with English. The app was recently funded by GSF Accelerator and Axilor Ventures. In his conversation with NewsBytes, Bolkar's co-founder Prince Tripathi shares his journey.
Tripathi explains Bolkar's unique selling proposition is that everything on the app can be done using voice. Community members can ask, answer, and search for questions on the app, all using just their voice. The app is like voice-based Quora in regional languages. It currently offers content in Hindi and Bengali. Tripathi plans to add other languages to Bolkar in the near future.
Prince Tripathi co-founded Bolkar in 2019 with Dhruv Kaushal, Saurabh Rai, and Abhishek Tripathi. Kaushal is the CTO whereas Rai manages the community. Prince Tripathi oversees product strategy and Abhishek Tripathi handles UX and growth. The app incorporates experimental features, despite the core value proposition being infotainment content. Bolkar has 100,000+ downloads on Google Play Store and has 700,000+ questions posted online.
Bolkar leverages speech-to-text APIs to transcribe users' voice recordings into text. The transcripts are then processed by algorithms for content classification and control. The app offers content on a variety of topics such as education, technology, politics, relationships, and lifestyle. Tripathi admits a strong creator ecosystem will draw more users to the platform.
Users answering questions (called speakers) are grouped into a level-based system governed by engagement on their answers and subscriber count. Level 1 and 2 speakers are super-users who spend hours on Bolkar everyday, says Tripathi. They play an active role in encouraging new contributors, while ensuring Bolkar is devoid of spammy, vulgar, and misinformative content.
Tripathi agrees no opinion-based platform can be perfectly moderated, especially as it grows. However, Bolkar treats its top creators like product managers, he says. Level-1 creators can, in fact, directly contact Tripathi. Bolkar's team currently has its eyes set on content personalization, growing the platform, and bringing high quality real-time content on it, with assistance from regional micro-influencers and Subject Matter Experts (SMEs).
Tripathi says GSF and Axilor recently invested in Bolkar. He says the added push will be used to bring SMEs and influencers on board, while strengthening the app's Product-Market Fit (PMF). Tripathi specially mentioned GSFs mentorship program provides the Bolkar team weekly feedback on brainstorming sessions. He says "they are always there for us".
The biggest change coming to Bolkar soon is real-time audio-based discussion-style groups for popular topics. Internally dubbed "the disaster feature," it will allow participants to interact with SMEs over voice chat. Tripathi explains this will boost community engagement, as users will no longer have to wait for speakers to record their answers. Bolkar's approach to community development reflects how Indians can make India smarter.