myBantu’s leadership team in Bangalore this week: from left: Raman Suprajarama, Bhaskar Enaganti and Bharath Yadla ( INDIATECHONLINE photo)
US-based Indian start-up, creates ‘smart’ online personal assistant

MyBantu weds search to social media; offers up to 9 focussed personalised recommendations for free.

From Anand Parthasarathy in Bangalore, August 6 2010

A US Silicon Valley based start-up, fuelled by Indian enterprise has created a cool new tool that may emerge as the user’s most trusted online personal assistant, making up to 9 sharply focussed recommendations in answer to just about any question: What is a good place to eat nearby? How do I get a ticket to that sellout show? How can I repair my guitar – fast!

To do this, the tool myBantu*, trawls over 2000 search engines on the Web, uses its patented algorithm to fine tune the results, filtered by everything it knows about the user through social networking preferences – and displays the 9 most relevant results.

“We leverage “Social Intelligence” by understanding the user’s intent and leveraging their social profiles on Facebook, Twitter etc… getting opinions from the user’s friends, reviews and recommendations from third parties” explains Bhaskar Enaganti, co-founder and CEO of myBantu’s parent company, Sunnyvale California (US) -based GloMantra.

The free tool which is now in private beta and can be downloaded at  currently specializes in food & drink, movies & music, and online shopping, adds co-founder and Marketing Vice President Bharath Yadla.
In addition to this core service, myBantu also acts as a personal assistant who reminds you to make calls and notifies you when any meeting is imminent.
While the application currently works on PCs, the 35-strong development team in Bangalore is almost ready with a version for the iPhone and is also working on a myBantu release for all major mobile platforms: Nokia/Symbian, Windows Mobile and Android.

Within days of the beta release the application was picked up by and featured on its website. (  )
The strength and USP of myBantu may lie in the way it seamlessly works with flagship social networking sites: you can create an account and log in directly from Facebook. The application makes it a whizz to tap one’s Facebook friends almost on the fly to get their recommendations. It harnesses one’s social network data and comes up with some amazing iterations of its own: If you are looking for a birthday present for your spouse, it makes suggestions – from Amazon, say – but goes the extra mile by bringing up personalized suggestions, presents with the spouse’s name engraved on a piece of jewellery or printed on a T shirt.

Bhaskar has been with the Centre for Strategic Technology & Research (CSTaR) of Andersen Consulting at Chicago, primarily driving the development of the Knowledge-based Software Assistant (KBSA) and has founded two startups – Aalayance (acquired by HCL Technologies) and Enterprise Component Technologies (ECT). He holds a Masters in System Science & Automation from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, and BTech from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras.
Bharath brings over 12 years of experience in general management, professional services and product marketing in startups. As a Regional Manager at Cast Iron Systems Inc., (acquired by IBM, a Sequoia – Norwest funded startup), Bharath managed the Professional Services for Western Region, US. Prior to Cast Iron, Bharath co-founded two startups: Aalayance (acquired by HCL Technologies) and Enterprise Component Technology. Bharath holds an MBA from Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, and BTech from Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati, India.

*Bantu is trusted lieutenant or assistant in Telugu, the mother tongue of the creators and the language of their home state, Andhra Pradesh in India

Aug 6 2010