Soham Mazumdar at his Ranchi residence on Saturday. Picture by M Ganguly
For Ranchi-born Soham Mazumdar, the journey from Google to Facebook has been rather eventful.
If Facebook changes its face shortly as expected, the San Francisco-based techie and his friend Aveek Anand — the founders of Tagtile, a loyalty and customer management solution — will bask in the glory of promoting business globally.
The social networking site, which has officially been a medium of communication between friends, will now be used by the business community to build better relationship with customers. This will be made possible by Tagtile, a customer loyalty mobile application developed by the two IITians in their early thirties.
Facebook acquired Tagtile some 10 days ago for “an undisclosed sum”, drawing the attention of the international media. Soham and Aveek are also joining the networking site’s talent pool as engineer and product manager with millions in their bank accounts and coveted Facebook stock options ahead of its IPO.
“Our aim was to help businesses grow and Tagtile was born at a restaurant in San Francisco last year. We are now bigger (through Facebook) and better,” said 31-year-old Soham. He is currently visiting his parents — Sibnath Mazumdar, a metallurgist and former general manager of RDCIS, SAIL, and Rita Mazumdar, a professor of mathematics at Ranchi Women’s College — at their Shukla Colony residence in Ranchi.
Soham and Aveek (32) left coveted jobs to form their own company and created a system that enables customers to use their iPhone or Android smartphone to check in at shops. A Tagtile application can be downloaded on any Android or Apple phone. To merchants, Tagtile offers a white, cube-shaped device that can be plugged near the cashier’s desk.
“All customers need to do is tap their handset on the small white Tagtile cube that sends information by using a sensor. In return, they get rewards such as discounts, coupons and loyalty points,” Soham explained. Unlike printed coupons or vouchers, it is easy for a smartphone user to keep track of these transactions, he added.
Facebook has reportedly announced that businesses can send coupons that customers can redeem by using mobile phones. In order to widen its user base, it is said to be building its own mobile service. Tagtile was bought by Facebook the same week the social networking company acquired mobile photo-sharing service Instagram for a billion dollars.
So, everything is hunky-dory for Soham now. But wasn’t there a sense of insecurity among family members when a married man from an academic background quit a plum job to venture into an intriguing business? “Well, I believe there was…” the youth, sporty in jeans and a striped T-shirt, paused to grin and then added: “But then, all is well that ends well.”
Soham had been a promising youngster since his school days in Ranchi. As a twelfth grader in 1998, he had bagged a silver medal at the International Mathematics Olympiad in Taipei. He was also awarded Kishore Vigyani (young scientist) scholarship by the Union government the same year.
After graduating in computer science from IIT-Kanpur, he did his masters from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, US. He then worked for Google’s infrastructure and data mining division in California for over six years before finding Tagtile with Aveek. The latter is an alumnus of IIT-Delhi who later did his masters from Maryland University and MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, and worked for US software firm Vmware among others before he teamed up with Soham.
“We will start working for Facebook on April 30. Enjoying a hard-earned vacation till then,” Soham, who leaves for the US in a couple of days, signed off.