Here’s something that gives a whole new meaning to the mountain coming to Abu. Or the well coming to the thirsty. If you are too busy to go to the temple, don’t worry. OnlinePrasad will bring ‘Prasad’ and temple memorabilia to you. Founded by former Bain & Co analyst Goonjan Mall, the portal will deliver ‘prasad’ and religious merchandise from temples across India to your doorsteps.
Serial technology entrepreneurs, K Ganesh and Meena Ganesh have invested in the startup. The duo, known for having built and sold companies like TutorVista, Marketics and Customer Asset, has acquired a 35% stake in the year-old venture. [Source]
Indians spent more than $1 billion on online religious portals and services, which is now a space under watch by investors according to the news report. With a large number of middle class users accessing such services, this is an important space for investors to tap into and keep a watch out for especially with the growth that it is seeing. Religion-driven IT is expected to generate more than $40 billion in software and service opportunities by 2017. That includes investment on infrastructure and software.
The entrepreneur duo have an investment arm called GrowthStory.in, which deals with Internet based startups in education, healthcare and spirituality.
OnlinePrasad provides puja facilities at more than 30 temples across India, ranging from Vaishno Devi to Palani Murugan. The company also staffs pandits, who at times help them conduct pujas at these temples on special occasions, these special services costs about Rs 501. FedEx and DHL, who handles the logistics for the company, will deliver the prasad home within 5 days.
Another website DivineIndia curates religious content from across India and has nearly 50,000 paid subscribers. The site provides members with access to videos of over 1,500 holy shrines and live content from 60 popular pilgrimages of all religions in India. A one year subscription can cost upto Rs 1,200.
This is not the first instance Indians have resorted to technology for their religious needs. In the mid 90’s flash player based ‘e-aarti’ apps were a fad, with each god having better animation or options over the other. Temples like ISKON and many others offer darshan which livecast over the web. Tirumalai temple also allows devotees to books ‘darshans’ and ‘sevas’ through the internet.
Some of our spiritual gurus have built multi million businesses. Baba Ramdev’s business is worth about Rs 1100 crore. Sri Sathya Sai baba’s trust dwarfs Baba Ramdev’s taking by conservative estimates. Sabarimala temple makes over Rs 100 crore just by selling prasadam and through donations in one season.
In this new age even god has decided to go digital all the way.
Recommended read: Great Marketing Lessons from the Spiritual World