Treetle launches its location based Interest network to 3,400 cities

What sets it apart from its competitors like Facebook or Google+ is that it does not allow status updates, online chat site, etc. Basically it gets people online so they can get offline. Also simply because of its virtue of being neighbourhood and locality-specific, they are unlikely to get unwieldy in terms of number of members.

Moved to a new place and missing old friends? Or probably joined a new company and searching for like minded people. You might know your next door neighbor or peer formally but you are unaware of their interests. Treetle is a freshly launched location-based interest network that allows people to find others in their neighborhood or city who share similar interests and helps them come together to carry activities based on these interests.

These activities may include creating or joining clubs, attending events etc based on common interests. On Treetle, you can search for clubs or events in your locality/ office and be a part of them, or create one. For example one can create an event calendar for upcoming Independence day and invite all members within the locality via Treetle with a daily event schedule. New members can be added in and one can get to know their peers and neighbours’ well. clip_image002

Not only for individuals but merchants around a specific locality can also use Treetle to grow their business. They can use the platform to build trust and loyalty among their targeted customer base by having a more meaningful interaction with their members…like taking feedback, getting to know their regular customers better etc.

Formally launched in April 2012 in private beta mode in Bangalore, Treetle has now launched the fully functional version of the website across 3,400+ cities in India and is now ready to reach out to a much wider audience.  At present it has 80 clubs but is growing in digits every day. What started as a personal predicament for its founder Pankaj Dugar, turned into an opportunity to help many others who face similar dilemma every time they move places or are very busy to catch up with notice boards within the society. treetle_events

A free to use service for non commercial users Treetle has partnered with some of India’s leading online merchants and display their e-Vouchers on the website. Users who organise events and are rewarded by attendees can use their credits to buy these e-Vouchers (Treetle gets a commission on it). Also they will be releasing a subscription based merchant module which will provide merchants the ability to have a more meaningful interaction with a very targeted audience around their physical stores.

The site is pretty easy to use and has a simple but attractive UI. It uses the open source LAMP stack once you create your profile you will be able to join or create events /clubs and connect with people in your locality. It also shows a calendar that marks events you’ve marked to attend. Treetle has an interesting concept of ‘Appreciation’ and ‘Credits’. Appreciations are a way to recognise the efforts of an event organiser on Treetle and increase their credibility. The good thing is that not everyone can appreciate an event organiser. It is only open to those who attended the event. Credits is similar to online wallet, like Flipkart has, wherein you keep certain amount deposited with Treetle that can be used to attend or join paid clubs or events.

While most websites operate with a single purpose of getting people online and trying to keep them there thankfully, Treetle sets a niche for itself. What sets it apart from its competitors like Facebook or Google+ is that it does not allow status updates, online chat site, etc. Basically it gets people online so they can get offline. Also simply because of its virtue of being neighbourhood and locality-specific, they are unlikely to get unwieldy in terms of number of members. This allows for a much more personal experience unlike other networking sites and is also a differentiator. Also the site prevents bogus users to join Treetle by way of asking for their mobile numbers and then verifying it with a corresponding SMS.

With so many positive points around it what the site misses on though is city and locality wise handling of data in a better format. All information is thrown together at one place. The need is to have specific filters that make it easier for users to search for their locality and then the interest group.

As of now, they are promoting themselves only through word of mouth but it will be interesting to see how they acquire new users as they do not plan to make any grand marketing efforts. All they have done is tied up with a few companies like Flipkart, Allschoolstuff for their vouchers that can be used by Treetle members. Founder, Pankaj believes that happy users and clubs will lead to more users / clubs, and that’s how primarily the Treetle community will grow.

How is Treetle going to differentiate itself from Facebook groups? Pankaj mentions that “Facebook groups are mostly for online discussions (yes there is capability to post an event, but it’s almost an afterthought from Facebook perspective). Facebook has no recommendation feature (they don’t tell you that if you like chess, you might also like scrabble because 70% people in your neighborhood who are members of the chess club are also members of the scrabble club) , which is our strong point and USP. Importantly, discovering a local group on FB is near impossible (please do give it a try and see for yourself!). Treetle’s sole focus is engendering an ecosystem where we connect people near each other based on shared interests.  To achieve this, we have appreciations and reward points, which create healthy incentives.”

The company has launched its Facebook app and will soon launch mobile apps and also plans to expand internationally soon.

Do give Treetle a spin and share your opinion. What are your thoughts on Treetle’s concept of mixing location and interest? Watch this intro video of Treetle:

[This startup coverage is part of Pluggd.in’s 65 startup special series, which is supported by Nexus Venture Partners. If you are a product startup, submit your details here.]

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