Last week, the official funding announcement from the SocialCops team went out – we raised USD 320k to further our mission of powering the world’s decisions through data from the grassroots. We’d like to officially welcome our kickass investors – 500 Startups, Rajan Anandan (MD, Google India) and Manoj Menon (MD, Frost & Sullivan APAC) on board our quest to change the world.
For the past 6 months, the SocialCops team has been wrapping its head around a significant problem – how can we affect better decision making through data? How much data do we need? How do we collect this data? How do we create better tools and channels for data collection? How do we turn this data into insights that lead to better decision-making?
We got our hands dirty, carried out pilots, and understood what works and what doesn’t work. Some of the things we settled upon as our main streams of data collection are:
Crowdsourcing: Citizens face issues such as broken streetlights and potholes on a daily basis. We connect our citizen-facing mobile application to backend systems of governments to make grievance redressal simple. In the next year, we aim to make this the one citizen-government application in the entire country.
Surveying: We empower non-profit networks and field partners with low cost Android phones to collect data at scale. Our new tool for digitization is expected to reduce 50% of the time and more than 100% of the costs for data collection processes. We’re already reaching about 1.2 million people through our field partners in remote parts of India.
Conversations: People in remote parts of the country lack access to information. We send people information through voice calls – imagine a woman in a rural area getting a call from a doctor every week telling her about a new vaccine she needs to get. The doctor then asks the woman to help her out with some information. If she takes a 50 mg tablet – dial 1; if she takes a 100 mg tablet – dial 2. Powered with information at this granular level, we power important healthcare decisions regarding drug and resource allocation in the country!
Our data station is processing millions of data sets – pulling data from public sources, open data, social media and data from real-time SocialCops channels. Data means nothing until it drives better decisions, and that’s what the data station aims to do. For example, we’re working with the police to use open data to create a basic geo tagged layer of crime in the city. On top of this this, we’ll add on a layer of crowdsourced citizen data – broken streetlights, lack of security guards, and safety audits from nonprofits. We will process all this data to identify unsafe zones and to be able to tell the police things like, “Hey, you’re patrolling in Route A today. Instead you should be patrolling in Route B from 9-10 pm to increase safety in the city!”
We’re in the process of building the coolest data startups in the world – one that doesn’t tell you how to optimize clicks on your website, but instead helps solve the most pressing problems humanity is facing. We’re going to be using the current influx of funds to grow fast. That means we’re looking for awesome people to join us in our quest to change the work.
A huge thank you to everyone for all the support so far. Keep looking out for us and connecting us to awesome people and partners (governments, nonprofits and corporates), like you always have. The journey has just begun!