Building a Utopian community
Utopia, an application by Arjun Chopra and his team, is a unique platform exclusively for people aged 40 or above to meet, connect, share experiences and have intellectual conversations.
Arjun Chopra never really intended to be an entrepreneur, but when an interesting idea presented itself, he couldn't help but pursue that project. Utopia is a global platform for grown-ups to meet, share and connect. One of the founders and director of the application, Arjun says, "This app is basically for people above 40 to connect through high-quality experiences and in-depth discussions." Utopia has been conceptualised and designed for mature adults from the ground up and provides a meticulously designed online interface where members can enjoy thought-provoking discussions initiated by thought leaders and eminent experiences organised by experience partners.
In a generation which barely has time for themselves let alone elders, who would have thought that a 25-year-old would think about 40-year-olds and actually do something to make their lives even slightly better. So what prompted him to go ahead with this app? He says, "We saw a lot of people sitting in coffee shops like Starbucks. A lot of people above 40, talking about travel or going for a drink somewhere or playing golf. So we thought that there are a lot of apps for young people but there is nothing really out there that's connecting and catering to this audience exclusively. So we wanted to make a platform for this audience to feel secure and comfortable."
"We wanted to do something different. A lot of startups, especially in India, take ideas from outside and they just bring them here. We have done a thorough market research and the closest thing there is to our concept is a dating app for people above 50. So, in terms of what we are doing, there is nothing really out there," added Arjun.
A person who joins the Utopia community can have a conversation centred on any aspect. "We have a few thought leaders, for example, there is a person called Muraad Ali who is a very famous historian. We have him on board to initiate discussions on history. Similarly, we have people for fashion, food, and wine, travel.
A student of DPS RK Puram, Arjun then went to Berkley University in California to pursue his higher studies in computer science. During those four years, he also did some courses in economics and psychology. And after working in a research lab for a year, he came back to India to do his masters but plans changed and now, he is successfully running this app.
Utopia is available on Google Playstore and can be downloaded for free. But as Arjun said, this is an exclusive application for 40-year-olds and above and needs extensive authentication to prove one's age in order to ensure a secure and pleasant environment for its users.
With a simple, sophisticated design, this app is easy to use. Even for someone who is new to a smartphone and its intricacies, Utopia does not confuse. All the buttons and options are clearly written and not buried inside other options; with elegant colour schematics, one can effortlessly read and scroll through the insights for the day. "We have paid a lot of attention towards our design. There's a section of the app called 'Experiences' so everything is really easy to use. Apart from that a lot of people are shifting to smartphones these days. I believe at this age you don't really have an option but to be a little tech savvy, especially if you are working. You have to get used to online navigation," suggested Arjun, who is working his fingers to the bone to better his app along with his cousin, the co-founder, and a team of six.
The utopian team, on October 28, organized a whiskey tasting event in collaboration with Whiskey Works – one of the few brands in India who deal in luxury whiskey. The motive was to bring together all the Utopians i.e. the people using this app, to connect them and start a conversation. Similarly, the team is planning to hold a coffee tasting event next month, this time, in collaboration with Blue Tokai.
"These brands are looking for the right kind of people to come for the experiences and some things are pretty expensive. And they can't really go to facebook and advertise there because no one is going to pay. But what they know with us is that we already have the right audience. This audience has the time and they have the spending power to afford these kinds of experiences," explained Arjun.
It has only been a few months since Arjun and his team launched this app and without any marketing, the Utopia page on facebook already have more than 1000 members. They plan to expand to other cities soon. "We are planning to go city by city since we want to grow this organically. We don't want to have this all over the place. We will be starting with Delhi and our third co-founder in the US will be starting parallelly in New York," said the brainchild behind Utopia.
"We plan to scale up by going to every metro. We have a target of 10000 people, once we hit that, we can move on to any other metro like Bombay, Bangalore and follow the exact same procedure there," he further added. Currently, the team is bootstrapped but with the systematic way they are going, this small business might turn out to be a huge community where people are having meaningful conversations instead of just randomly chatting.