It has been 25 years since Hotmail was launched by Sabeer Bhatia, one of India's earliest Internet poster boys. The web-based e-mail service was later bought by software giant Microsoft for an estimated $400 million in 1997, its largest acquisition at the time.
Since then, Bhatia dabbled with e-commerce through Arzoo.com and voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services through Sabse Technologies, both of which were eventually shut down.
Bhatia is now back with a new venture called ShowReel that aims to latch onto the growing popularity of short videos and bring it to people's professional life, by enabling job seekers to market themselves and land new jobs.
"The idea came to me when I watched my eight year old daughter effortlessly make TikTok videos," Bhatia told Moneycontrol.
The app, cofounded by Bhatia and Aji Abraham, aims to match job seekers with companies scouting for talent. The venture is currently self-funded but Bhatia said they plan to raise financing in the future.
"We initially launched an app that helped people create a professional video resume, wherein the app asked certain questions and encouraged people to respond to it by use of video. But it didn't get a great response because people are not actors, they are not used to speaking on camera, when they are asked questions in text" Bhatia said.
In its current beta form, ShowReel lets users make short video profiles by responding to a set of 8-9 recorded questions, posed by Bhatia himself in a conversation format. Think of it like TikTok meets video calls.
ShowReel plans to eventually bring more mentors and hiring companies in the future who can ask their own set of questions to which job seekers can respond through video. The questions are currently in English but Bhatia said they intend to make it available across all languages in the country.
To be sure, Microsoft-owned LinkedIn also introduced a video cover story feature earlier this year, that lets users add short 30-second intro videos to their profiles.
Apart from job seekers, ShowReel also helps startup founders to create a short video pitch that showcases their ideas and professional managers to help them understand their leadership style. People can also create these short videos about their personal life, talking about their interests and preferences. They can also choose to make these videos public or private on their profile page.
"In its next phase, ShowReel will leverage AI to analyze collected data and drive actionable insights for the audience. As we grow, we will empower people with conversations and opportunities that go beyond employment and upskilling" Bhatia said.
In the future, ShowReel also plans to expand to other areas such as healthcare, wherein doctors can ask people health related questions and give them a basic assessment of their health, Bhatia said.
ShowReel currently has around 15 employees across the United States and India, with the development team in Kochi.