Wondering what your second cousin’s daughter looks like, now that she must be 11? Or on the verge of hiring a secretary to make sure you remember the birthdays and anniversaries of all your uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews and nieces? Whew! Sounds like a full-time job. Or maybe, you need to create a family tree with all the data stored there! That’s exactly what imlee.com aims to do.
Founded by entrepreneur Aatish Dedhia (who also owns the software infrastructure firm Zycus), imlee.com is a one-stop shop for Indians to set up their family tree, add names and invite other members to join and finally build a huge tree with all relatives growing on it.
Based somewhat on the concept of successful American social sites such as FamilyLeaf, imlee.com however, is refreshingly different and easy to use.
As imlee’s vice president Yogesh Ugale explains, “Log in, register your name and start creating a family tree. It’s really that simple.” All that you need are the email ids or mobile phone numbers of half a dozen family members (now that is not tough is that?). Add their names on your tree with the details and they will get an automated invite. From here on, it will depend on how excited the rest of your family is about nurturing their tree. “If each family member who joins the tree, invites just three others in turn, your tree would be 200-member strong in a week! And with marriages linking one tree to another, you would soon have access to related-trees too,” says Ugale.
It all started for Dedhia at a family gathering in Hyderabad. “There were so many relatives who were meeting each other after years or for the first time.
Stories were exchanged, as were birthdays and numbers. Soon, a relative’s son seeking admission to a college abroad, connected with a long-lost uncle to ask for advice as he had gone to the same college. All this set me thinking: why couldn’t we make this simpler and put all date in one place,” says Dedhia.
An entrepreneur with a flair for taking risks, he set up imlee.com in February this year. “We went to Facebook, advertised ourselves there and got the first few customers hooked,” he smiles. Five months down the line, imlee.com has over 40,000 subscribers and close to four million family members. The largest family tree has an astounding 3000 members. “In the next three years, we want to reach a critical mass of five million subscribers. Once we do that, funding shouldn’t be a problem. But right now our focus is to bring millions of Indian families together again,” he says.
It’s the various apps on the site that has really got families hooked. “In case you want only some members of the family tree to see a bunch of photographs, say a close family dinner, you can make it visible only to those tagged. We have created that option,” says Ugale.
Perhaps the best recommendation for imlee came recently from a user, who wrote back to say: “I would like to share a small story and also thank imlee.com for this. I have been invited to a family get together of a goldsmith, where six families of his relatives are meeting after years. The relations in the goldsmith’s family were strained due to misunderstandings. I took the opportunity to introduce Imlee to his son and the kids created their family trees and invited relatives on the site. Looking at the wonderful relations they shared in the past, the families sorted their differences and are having a get together.”
Now if that doesn’t inspire you to head to your computer. What will?