About ChekMarc’s inception and journey so far
ChekMarc is an online global social platform that connects people 1:1 to enable people to make a positive impact on each other’s life in a safe, secure, private, positive and free way. It is very simple. It connects one person who is looking to achieve something in life with other people who are motivated to help people achieve their goals.
It has been a tremendous journey so far. It started less than a year ago with an idea to help connect people across the world who could help each other achieve things in life. We had a vision for bringing people together and uniting humanity. It was simple. Create a space for people to find each other based on a common interest to help someone advance toward a goal they have. Want to run a marathon and need guidance from someone? Want to self-publish a book and need to connect with someone who can share their experiences doing that? Need parenting guidance on an issue with your kids? Taking a vacation and need help planning something that is accessible for your mom who is in a wheelchair? We recognized that somewhere in the world there is someone out that who has the right experience to help you. So that is where we began. With an idea and a purpose.
Since that time, we have built our team, found the right strategic partners, launched our first version of ChekMarc a few weeks back, and learned a ton!
How are your products/services good for society?
ChekMarc was designed specifically to create good for society. We connect people to each other to enable someone to achieve something meaningful in their life. Even in its early stages it has already made many successful connections and people are bettering their lives through it. Ultimately, we hope to connect the world through it, break down barriers, and be a positive force in uniting humanity.
ChekMarc was also designed to minimize bias and prejudice as much as possible. Because people can remain anonymous up until two people decide to connect, you can learn a lot about the people you are interacting with without knowing their age, ethnicity, race, etc. In this regard we hope to break down the “birds of a feather flock together” reality that has been scientifically proven.
ChekMarc is also free to use, and community members are not allowed to raise money or charge for fees on the platform. So, it brings well-intentioned people together to do good for each other.
How has your journey been with ChekMarc? Also, shed some light on your professional journey.
Most of my career has been spent working in different management consulting organizations helping my clients drive substantial organizational transformation. I spent the latter part of my career turning around and leading fairly large business units for my firm. I enjoyed my time doing this but was never fully satisfied. I always felt there was a way for me to make a bigger impact and I had an itch to bring something new to the world. I left my role as a Partner at Deloitte to fulfill this passion. With my co-founder, Vrinda Johnson, and the great team we built, we brought ChekMarc to life.
What is great about ChekMarc for me is that the one part of my career that I always enjoyed the most was being able to grow and develop my colleagues and help people improve. ChekMarc does this at scale and that is fulfilling to see. It is still in its infancy, so I see us just at the starting line of the journey. But one thing I can assure you is that we will constantly evolve to meet the needs of our community. We are always asking for feedback from our community members, and we have already made a ton of improvements based on that feedback.
What is in the name – Chekmarc?
There is a very good story of how we evolved toward our name but that takes a lot of time to explain so I would encourage people seeing this to sign up for ChekMarc and go to our blog where we explain this in detail, including what our original name was going to be!
The busines was named ChekMarc for two reasons. First, it is what happens by contributing on the site. You help put a ChekMarc next to something you have wanted to achieve in life and/or you help others put a ChekMarc next to something they have wanted to achieve in their life. Second, my first name is Marc, so having it in the name gives us a bit more of a community feel. Think Craig’s List, Angie’s List, etc. I am an enormously private person,so it was not easy to accept my name in our company name, but it just made sense. The wife of one of my friends came up with it and it just worked. Trust me, it is much better than what we were originally going to name it.
Whom do you see as your potential competitors and what is your differentiating factor?
We really do see ourselves in a category of one. We often get compared to social media companies, but we do not consider ourselves social media. We consider ourselves an online knowledge management platform where people are connecting 1:1 for free to make an impact on each other.
It is a very different experience than people can have online in other places. And as such, it is a different experience from what people have in other online communities. So, in a way, our competition is really the expectations people have for their online experiences these days. In many ways this works to our advantage but change is hard for people so it will take time.
We have made major investments to keep the platform safe, secure, private, and positive. We don’t have “popularity” contests such as how many people are following me or “likes” of posts. And we don’t have algorithms that proactively let you know activity of others. We wanted to use very ethical technology and have people on ChekMarc to quench a thirst to do good for themselves AND do good for others, not to see how many followers you can get. Some people expect these features online. They are not difficult to create We just did not want these features in our community.
We moderate content unapologetically. As you know that is a huge debate these days but is not a difficult decision for us. We are focused on keeping our site safe and keeping the interactions positive. It does not mean you have to be a perfect person to be on our site, but we want you to do your good on ChekMarc.
We also provide Identity Verification on ChekMarc. We think this is important. It is a feature people are not used to for online social platforms so it will take time to gain wide adoption. We do it in an incredibly safe and secure manner and believe that being verified helps improve trust and safety and avoids a lot of the problems on many other platforms. It is optional for now but highly recommended.
We also do not have advertising and have no interest in selling your data to anyone. We just want you do to good and get good on ChekMarc.
ChekMarc also focuses heavily on being accessible to those with disabilities.
What is your targeted customer segment?
It is for anyone 18-years of age or older who wants to improve their life and/or the life of others. There is absolutely no limit on what you can achieve on ChekMarc, so long as it is conforms to our community guidelines. We are in more than 35 languages as well.
There are a ton of use cases for how people use ChekMarc, but we do not want to limit your thinking of the art of the possible by sharing those.
How is your customer experience so far?
The feedback we have gotten so far has been great. People can post Success Stories on the site so you can actually go there and learn from the positive experience of others.
How far do you rely on technologies like AI, ML and the likes for your offerings?
We definitely rely on AI and ML. Right now, it is used for our content moderation, Identity Verification, and for access for those with disabilities. Over time, we will be expanding its use to other areas.
Where do you see Chekmarc in 5 years from now?
Our focus right now is on creating something of enduring global value that improves the lives of others. ChekMarc does well as a business when it does good for others. We expect ChekMarc to do a lot of good for others! We are going to remain very agile. Let’s see where the community takes things!
The reasons for bringing a platform like Chekmarc to India.
The Indian market is important for us and we have many reasons for bringing ChekMarc to the country. On a personal note,our COO, Vrinda Johnson grew up in Mumbai, and our lead engineer also grew up there. However, more than that, we see this as an opportunity to bring access to people. Our hope is to create a community that shares information, guidance, and help with a large population of people that may have never had it before. Our goal is to bring access around the world. We want to continue to build the platform based on what our community tells us, which is why over time there may be ways that we adjust our features and specifications by geography, but for now, we are excited to bring access to the Indian market.
Any technological integrations planned to boost the user experience on your website and the app?
We have a lot planned for the future but our policy is to keep our future plans confidential.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in starting the platform?
The biggest challenge we have faced so far is pacing our Vision so that we start somewhere that makes sense and grow in the right way.
Let’s talk numbers, in terms of traction, userbase, traffic, how do numbers look like for Chekmarc, and what are your plans in terms of scalability?
Our site is built to be able to scale to extremely high usage. At the moment we are focused on learning from our community members and that is more important to us than growth. We want to create something of enduring value. As we build and learn, we have limits on how many new people we let on our site daily. We are focused on scaling to very high numbers globally long-term.
If you go to chekmarc.com and can’t sign up because we reached our daily limit, just leave your email and we will get back to you when we are able to admit you. We are admitting in order of when we get the emails so the sooner you enter your email the sooner you will be admitted.
What according to you are some of the unique features which are or would attract users to use your platform and what are some of the new features that are in the pipeline which we can see in the coming months (If you can elaborate on them along with the timeline)?
The combination of the “what” (connecting people 1:1 to help each other) and the “how” (safe, secure, private, positive, free, focus on preventing bias, and ethical technology) is quite a unique offering. We have discussed those above.
As for the new features in the pipeline, ChekMarc holds those confidential until we are ready to push them out to the website and our iOS and Android apps. There is a lot more to come and it is not that far away. We are constantly getting feedback from the community. We are very proud of what we have released so far. We also push out improvements and additions every couple weeks. There will be a rather substantial update in the not-too-distant future that we believe will be provide several important new features that the community will value. Join ChekMarc and be one of the first to see the site evolve!