The start-up is committed to democratizing non-fiction by bringing lost and forgotten history to the forefront. It hopes to make culture and heritage-led storytelling mainstream through a combination of design, gamification, and creator-led content. The platform boasts of over 15 million users, with over a hundred storytellers sharing more than 4,000 stories.
In this exclusive interview, India Currents speaks to the app’s founders, Summit Nayak and Chetan Rexwal, about the idea and inspiration behind their culture start-up, the response they have received so far, and their plans for the future.
IC: Tell our readers the idea and inspiration behind your culture startup.
SN & CR: Ekank Technologies is a full-stack culture company (a full-stack company is built on the premise of offering a seamless end-to-end product to customers). Our first product is ThisDay, a storytelling platform with a focus on Indian history, art, and culture. We know history is entrancing and has a lot of fascinating stories, but unfortunately, these stories have been forced through lessons and lectures. The idea behind our platform is to tell these stories in a captivating and appealing manner while empowering people to become brand ambassadors of their culture.
IC: Give us some examples of how it is bringing lost and forgotten history to the forefront.
SN & CR: Our history and cultural stories are lost because they are taught as lessons, not tales. These exciting stories from our past are locked inside libraries and research papers. We are going all the way, looking for these lost bits and pieces and making them accessible to people by making all of them digitally available.
Now availability cannot simply solve the problem. With accessibility, we are making them entertaining. We’re turning these stories into something people would enjoy and have fun with while learning something new about Indian culture. This is being ensured using illustrations by visual storytellers and gamification on the platform.
Creators are our topmost priority. The entire platform is engineered in a way that brings these creators and their stories to the forefront. Furthermore, collaboration among creators is something that will ensure that one story—no matter how big or small—gets its due recognition across different languages and media formats.
IC: Tell us more about ThisDay.
SN & CR: ThisDay is a storyteller-led cultural and vernacular storytelling platform. It lets audiences from all over the world access stories from different areas of the country. It connects with different cultures with just a few clicks.
India’s history, art, culture, and heritage are as diverse as they can get. These are one of the best stories, but there isn’t a single platform targeting these domains as a whole, and we wanted to change its dynamics.
From a demand perspective, these niches command a loyal audience that would love to transact as well, but because of the lack of a centralized platform, these niches have stunted growth. So we are changing the whole scenario, opening up new avenues for the cultural community, and providing them with unheard of opportunities.
IC: What is the response you have received since it started in 2020? Where are most of your users from?
SN & CR: We launched our MVP (minimum viable product) in February 2021. Since then, we have grown to a loyal base of over 14 million MAUs (monthly active users). We have over 44% of the users returning monthly to consume more and more stories.
Our M4 (month 4) retention is over 80%, something that is extremely difficult to achieve in this era of low attention spans. Our storytellers love this attention. They are excited to tell even more tales that resonate with audiences from all over the country.
These numbers are bound to grow exponentially once we expand into the vernacular space with stories in various local languages. The current base is majorly from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities where people take culture extremely seriously and are proud of their origins.
IC: What are the app’s plans for the future?
SN & CR: We see ThisDay as a market leader in the non-fiction storytelling space. So we will be venturing into different products and mediums, making ThisDay a full-stack culture platform.
Audios, videos, and visuals, all the mediums will be made accessible for the audience to create stunning stories. Stories from all corners of the country will be reachable in just a few clicks. Once we reach a certain scale in the Indian context, the platform will open up to global storytellers and their tales.
We are introducing multiple gamification-led features that will make the app even more fun for people to use and share. Culture is something that we are all proud of, ThisDay will let users share this pride with the world.