The story of Muqaabla A mobile quiz game that lets you win cash prizes

Avi Sengupta

It is an alarming sign when a life-long, banker decides to be an entrepreneur in an area in which he knows nothing off, which in this case is online entertainment and decides to build a company in a country that he left more than two decades back.
Well, that’s me, Avi Sengupta, founder of a small software company, Zivanta Analytics based out of Kolkata, India. And my full time job is being a banker at one of largest banks in USA managing a very complex financial portfolio. I am aware that with my full time job and family commitments in US, managing such an online media venture in India remotely, that too part time has a greater likelihood of failure than success. But as an entrepreneur, I am the eternal optimist, and I believe I can execute it with the right support and the right team. So far, I have self-funded the venture and depleted nearly my entire savings and my near and dear ones have questioned my judgement. Maybe it is a mix of hubris, over confidence, blinded vision regarding reality that is pushing me.
After years of experimentation, struggles and numerous challenges, I have still not given up hope on making a transition from a “wannabe” entrepreneur to a “successful” entrepreneur.
Zivanta Analytics: Initial focus of Zivanta was to develop analytical software for the US Financial Services industry, parlaying my experience in the industry. We achieved middling success and late last year, I was evaluating whether my entrepreneurial dream has finally seen the end. One of the key reasons for lack of growth was that I was not able to commit myself fully to the business, as I had to continue to maintain my full- time job to manage my family commitments as well as fund the entity. Being a “part-time entrepreneur” turned out to be a double edge sword, it allowed me to keep my entrepreneurial dreams alive for years, but I could not scale it to a sustainable level.
The first few years at Zivanta Analytics however, have taught me some invaluable lessons in terms of how to build a start-up, hire and retain talents, understand web and programming frameworks, develop creative ways to continue funding Zivanta, develop strategies to market to consumers and businesses, deal with regulations and compliance and so much more. In summary, I received a very practical although expensive education on “how to do business”. The end result was that I have built a good, functional team and infrastructure, which I can leverage.
The mobile and internet transformation in India: Having arrived in the US in the mid-nineties, I had a first-hand view of the how Internet was shaping up, but I did not have the astuteness to understand its long-term implications. I worked in a large consulting organization in the online supply change management area, but with the bust in 2000 -2001, I went back to traditional banking.
However, I continued to stay involved with the sector. The mobile and internet transformation in India occurring now reminds me of the late nineties in US, but happening at a much greater speed and scale. With the experience under my belt and the team that I have built with much pain and passion, I decided that I am not going to miss this second opportunity.
Muqaabla: The quiz app that lets you win prize money: This is when I decided to go ahead with my vision of creating a quiz game app that would reach out to practically everyone across the country- Muqaabla.
Muqaabla, an exciting quiz app that lets you win real prize money will be launched on 8 October 2018 and will run for 12 consecutive weeks ending of Dec 28, 2018. Anyone can download the app from the Google Play Store for free, register and start playing.
Muqaabla can be played in English and Hindi, five times a week from Monday to Friday. Everyday there will be two sessions, one in Hindi and one in English. You can win up to Rs. 10,000 daily by answering 10 simple questions correctly.
A player will start each session with 10,000 points. Each session consists of 10 questions split into 3 rounds. The 1st and 2nd round consists of 4 questions each. If the player answers the question correctly, he or she gets 2,000 points and if answered incorrectly, loses 1,000 points. The 3rd round, also known as the “Bouncer” round, will have 2 challenging questions. If the player answers correctly, he or she wins 4,000 point and if answered incorrectly, loses 1,000 points. At the end of the 3rd round, the player with the highest score will receive the prize money. If there are multiple players with the highest score, the prize money will be split equally among all such players.
As mentioned above, the total prize money for each session will be Rs.10,000. The rewards will be paid quickly through a mobile wallet so there will not be any long waiting.
After the regular season ends on Dec 28, 2018, the top scorers for both Hindi and English will be eligible to participate in a Mega Finale, scheduled for January, 2019 and where they have an opportunity to win an additional Rs 50,000.
The game will have picture-based questions.  First, a hint will appear on the screen after which the question and the picture will be displayed. Then the player will get four options out of which he or she has to choose the correct answer within a given time. Once the player has selected the answer, the correct answer will be displayed with an explanation.
The idea is to create something that brands would like to connect with to reach out to their potential customers across India. (Author is the Founder & CEO, Zivanta Analytics)

Friday, 5 October, 2018