SocialCops, a technology data company that aims to power decision making through high quality data sourced from the grassroots has announced USD 320k in seed funding from investors including 500 Startups, Rajan Anandan (MD, Google India) and Manoj Menon (MD, Frost & Sullivan APAC).
The startup uses mobile phones–ranging from simple feature phones to high-end smartphones to source ground level data from citizens & non-profits. Says co-founder, Prukalpa Sankar –
“Even today, important national level decisions about issues like vaccinations & medication affecting millions of people are made based on sample surveys of 100 people. Google Maps tells you the quickest route home, but what about the safest route home for a girl?”
SocialCops crowd sources data from citizens directly regarding public infrastructure & access to services via mobile. They also empower field workers via partner non-profit organizations to collect data via low cost, Internet enabled smartphones, removing the reliance on traditional paper data collection & middlemen. They aim to track parameters such as teacher attendance in public schools, quality of public infrastructure, adherence & access to medical care–on a continuous basis. Tracking data that provides insight and helps to solve problems facing humanity is the mission SocialCops is on.
“The census in many developing countries occurs only once in 10 years and often the data is outdated before it can be used. We want to power even the census on a real-time basis by leveraging our nonprofit partners who reach the remotest parts of the world,” says Varun Banka, co-founder of SocialCops.
Their revenues mainly come from corporates & funding agencies through their marketing & CSR budgets while they leverage non-profit networks & governments to increase distribution and the scale of data collection. The young startup already boasts an impressive clientele including companies such as Unilever and Michelin.
“SocialCops is taking big data in a direction that very few companies have been able to do: providing data and insights that can help solve real problems for most of the planet”, says Pankaj Jain, Venture Partner at 500 Startups.
In the past 8 months, they have already put mobiles to work on various intractable issues in India such as getting citizens to rate cleanliness on streets all the way to creating public worker reward systems. They have even tracked patient misconceptions regarding cervical cancer & adherence to medication in pregnant women to aid resource allocation in healthcare.
With the increasing shift towards data based intervention in journalism & policy –there is a need for data sources that can collect data from the ground up. “The magic starts when we begin to layer data –when a crime, dark streets & police patrolling routes are mashed to identify better solutions.”says Anurag Banerjee, GM, Asia Pacific, MobileWalla who also sits on the Board of the Startup.
“I am thrilled with the pioneering work that SocialCops is doing. We are limited only by our imagination in terms of how technology can address the challenges facing humanity. SocialCops is well poised to play an important role in helping shape a better future and humbled to be part of it” Says Manoj Menon, Managing Director, Frost & Sullivan APAC.
Case Studies: http://www.socialcops.org/our-work/