Technology data company Social Cops on Wednesday said it has raised $320k in seed funding from 500 Startups, Rajan Anandan (MD, Google India) and Manoj Menon (MD, Frost & Sullivan APAC). Social Cops is a startup that aims to power decision making through high quality data sourced from the grassroots.
Social Cops uses mobile phones – ranging from simple feature phones to high-end smart phones to source ground level data from citizens and non- profits, says a statement. Says co- founder, Prukalpa Sankar, “Even today, important national level decisions about issues like vaccinations and 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?”
Social Cops crowd directly sources data regarding public infrastructure and access to services via mobile from citizens. They also empower field workers via partner non- profit organizations to collect data via low cost, Internet enabled smart phones, removing the reliance on traditional paper data collection and middlemen. They aim to track parameters such as teacher attendance in public schools, quality of public infrastructure, adherence and access to medical care on a continuous basis. Tracking data that provides insight and helps to solve problems facing humanity is the mission Social Cops 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“The census in many developing countries occurs only once in 10 years and often the data is outdated before it can be used.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 non- profit partners who reach the remotest parts of the world,” says Varun Banka, co-founder of Social Cops.
Their revenues mainly come from corporates and funding agencies through their marketing & CSR budgets while they leverage non- pro?t networks and governments to increase distribution and the scale of data collection. The startup already has the likes of companies such as Unilever and Michelin as its clients.
“Social Cops 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, one of the most active institutional investor in the country.
In the past 8 months, Social Cops 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 and adherence to medication in pregnant women to aid resource allocation in healthcare.
With the increasing shift towards data based intervention in journalism and 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 and police patrolling routes are mashed to identify better solutions.” says Anurag Banerjee, GM, Asia Paci?c, MobileWalla who also sits on the Board of the Startup.
“We are limited only by our imagination in terms of how technology can address the challenges facing humanity. Social Cops is well poised to play an important role in helping shape a better future,” says Manoj Menon, Managing Director, Frost & Sullivan APAC in the statement.
Source: Economic Times