Wanna know what is happening in your neighbourhood? Try YellO.pk!
I had met Samir and Sawant before but I had never had the opportunity to get to know them or to talk to them in detail about their background and the kind of activities they were involved in. Interviewing them on “In the Line of Wire” therefore gave me an insight into their lives. As you can see, we enjoyed the conversation thoroughly.
So first of all let me introduce you to the two guys I spoke with. Samir Feroze is the Managing Director of VeriQual which is an Outsourcing & Development Services company. He focuses on providing the vision, strategy and business development for VeriQual. Samir has a Computer Science degree from the University of Cambridge and has a B.E. in Engineering with Business Finance from University College London and The London School of Economics.
His expertise is in Software Development and Quality Assurance and he has worked and consulted with various companies in the manufacturing, foreign exchange, textile, retail and Information Technology sectors. He has extensive experience in Equity and Project financing, having worked for HSBC Investment Bank for three years in the UK and USA.
Sawant Shah is a CS graduate from Mehran University in Jamshoro and Szabist in Karachi. He has worked for various IT organisations before he saw the light and decided to work with Samir on his vision for Yello.pk.
So what is yello.pk? And why the strange spelling, I asked Samir and Sawant? Well, when Samir moved back to Pakistan, he felt that there was a gap. He didn’t know where he could find a mason, which restaurants were the best, was there a good doctor he could consult, or a carpenter or plumber that he could hire to do up his office. He didn’t know where to go for all this information so he decided he would create something – YellO is a combination of yelling out and the Yellow pages.
It is a hub of local information built on a map based social network. The rationale is simple. When you need a local florist or you are looking for a good restaurant, you generally ask your friends or family anyway. yellO makes this easier by linking a social network with a map of the city with listings of Businesses, Classified Ads, Events and local News.
The beta site was launched 3 months ago and Samir and Sawant are going to keep the site in beta until they are completely satisfied with the user experience. Meantime, you can log in and start putting in your content – events that are coming up in your city, classified ads, news that you want to share, pictures, videos, etc. They are starting off with Karachi and already have an office in Lahore so I guess they will move north once they come out of beta.
In addition to the website, they are also coming out with a monthly magazine. “The monthly magazine is written by people of Karachi who are opinionated, witty and passionate about the city they live in – these people make up our vibrant community of Yellers. On the web, yellO is visited by people daily who are looking for information or want to share it with their city dwellers.”says Samir Feroze.
Sawant worked in the area of ICT for Development and is therefore looking at YellO as a channel for social change. They have already started using the site to help with the Swat Relief campaign as well as the Rozgar Scheme. Go watch the interview at the CIO Web Studio, and then log into YellO.pk and become a part of the Karachi city information hub.