Aditi Kamal is set to relaunch her old app, Bolo Messenger, just days after Patanjali’s ‘swadeshi’ version of WhatsApp hits the market.
New Delhi: Kimbho, the ‘swadeshi’ messaging app promoted by Baba Ramdev’s Patanjali Ayurved, is already mired in controversy and doubt. But it now faces competition from an older sibling, Bolo Messenger.
The brain behind Kimbho, Aditi Kamal, has quit Patanjali to launch her own company, which will be relaunching the Bolo app in the first week of September, just a few days after Kimbho is relaunched on 27 August.
Kamal told ThePrint: “I quit Patanjali in July as we couldn’t agree on some terms.”
Acharya Balakrishna, CEO of Patanjali Ayurved, confirmed: “There were differences in terms of our expectations from Aditi. Nonetheless, we wish her all the best.”
Bolo’s stop-start past
Bolo Messenger had been designed by Kamal and her techie husband Sumit Kumar for their erstwhile startup, Appdios Inc., during their decade-long stay in the United States.
“The startup was funded by our personal savings and never promoted in the United States,” she had said.
Soon after the app’s launch in 2013, Kamal was selected as a team leader at Google Hangouts, while Kumar started working for Apple. Consequently, they dissolved Appdios.
“We discontinued our startup considering the conflict-of-interest clause. I wasn’t able to give ‘Bolo’ the shape I wanted to,” Kamal added.
At the time, Bolo was a basic chatting platform, which registered only 5,000 downloads and was only in the market for about six months.
Later, after moving to India, Kamal met Baba Ramdev with a pitch for a chatting platform. A deal was struck, and she started working on developing Kimbho.
Soon after the launch of Kimbho in June, allegations followed that it was a rip-off of Bolo, but clarifications were soon issued that the similarities existed because the same person had developed both apps.
The future of Bolo
Without disclosing much about her reasons for leaving Patanjali within a year of joining, Kamal said she is excited about the official launch of her application, which is a mix of social network and messaging app.
“Bolo Messenger is already trending as the numero uno communication app. We have registered one lakh downloads in the first week of launch and four lakh downloads in the last one month of operation,” the 32-year-old Kamal said.
The app is now handled by Bolo Bharat Trust, of which Kamal is the founder and trustee. “The list of trustees includes businessmen and Bollywood celebrities. They will fund the company. However, I won’t be able to disclose the names before the official launch,” she said.
Working with a team of 12 people, including techies, marketing and brand experts, Kamal says she has already rolled out offer letters to another 15 candidates. “Promotion through text messages has already been started. We are starting marketing campaigns all over India by next month,” she said.
What happens to Kimbho?
Patanjali took Kimbho off the market soon after the launch of the beta version in June. While the company claimed the launch was just meant to be a trial and the app wasn’t ready for heavy traffic, a French ‘security researcher’ known by the pseudonym ‘Elliot Alderson’ alleged that it had a poor security framework which allowed access to all the conversations on the app.
The app was relaunched on Independence Day, but was pulled down from the Google Play Store just a day later, with Patanjali alleging that it was a conspiracy by multination companies against a ‘swadeshi’ firm.
However, it is now set for a relaunch on 27 August, with Balakrishna allaying the security fears.
“We have hired a team of app developers from Chennai who hold several patents on safety and privacy of data in the United States. Now, it is a much stronger application,” he said, while refusing to share the names of the team members.