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All about YouAtMail and its young founder

By Gargi Gupta in New Delhi
August 16, 2006 13:31 IST
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Students in the US, or anywhere in the First World for that matter, can be instantly placed by their email IDs. For example, if you have a mail from, you know it is from someone who studies at Churchill College, Cambridge University.

But most Indian students and educational institutions do not have a similar signature in their email IDs - with  the exception of which links a number of universities and research institutes in the country.

Sumit Shah, 21, is aiming to fill just this gap with YouAtMail. A personal e-mail service (50 MB capacity) for students, institutions can also use it to upload examination schedules and other notices.

Registration with YouAtMail also gives students entry to Schoolscrool, an online society where people can network, create study groups and even exchange information about career opportunities, scholarships and so on.

YouAtMail is on offer at the moment in one school in Kolkata - La Martiniere for Boys, under the ID, But three others - La Martiniere for Girls, St James and Bhowanipore Gujarati Society - have signed on, and will have their ids by the month-end. Shah plans to rope in around 15-16 of the reputed schools in the city in the coming months.

By year end, by Shah's projections, he'll have 50-60 schools, or 1,00,000-1,20,000 students, in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad - cities with high Internet penetration - on the network. By October, vernacular medium schools too will be able to come on board with the help of a local-language software.

Shah, a third-year student of computer engineering and science at the University of Southern California, has put in an investment of $18,000 until now to acquire a server, hire marketing and back-end teams, and buy the relevant domain names.

There are also filters to screen out abuse and pornographic material, as also to keep the service spam-free. To Shah's mind, another  $100,000 will be needed this year for expansion, most of which will come from his family's export business.

As for revenues, what YouAtMail charges schools for the service - Rs 8,000 for up to 2,000 students - will not be enough to cover costs. Shah's earnings will come from advertisements or sponsored groups and chat-rooms, which he plans to start placing on the site next year.

So confident is he of the service catching on that Shah has set himself a breakeven target of 8-9 months. Possible? Well, the young entrepreneur might have an idea, but it takes more than that to get a business off the ground.

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Gargi Gupta in New Delhi
Source: source