Indian media executive and business professional Tarun Katial is embarking on a journey to make social media safer for women with his latest venture Eve World.
Katial, who has previously led Zee5 and Big FM as founder chief executive, has been working on the concept of Eve World, with Aparna Acharekar and Rajneel Kumar, since last year following an up-close experience of the harassment women face on the internet and traditional social media networks. The women-only platform offers expression, creation, and community enablement and aims to build a positive and valuable digital experience for women.
The 46-year-old's wife and media veteran Monisha Singh Katial is the reason why Katial started the venture. Being an accomplished media personality, she started getting trolled on WhatsApp by an unknown number.
"Me and my other friend recommended that we should go to the police station. But my wife told me that 'even if I report, what real action would be taken even if they find the accused person?" he said, according to Business Insider India.
The business professional has been in the media and entertainment industry for more than 20 years. He has retained top executive positions in brands like Sony Entertainment, Reliance Broadcast Network and Star India.
Empowers Women To Express Their Opinion
In June this year, Eve World became a reality as a first-of-its-kind women-only platform that aims to empower females to express their opinion, create content, and form communities without caring much about the consequences.
According to the National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Rekha Sharma, the online harassment cases grew about five times last year. "Earlier, we would record 300 complaints of online harassment, the cases surged to 1,500 post the COVID-19 pandemic," she had said in January this year.
As per a report published by Pew Research Center in January 2021, four in ten women are reportedly subjected to online harassment in the USA. However, it does raise questions about whether creating a separate platform for women would further isolate them from the general public.
Commenting on the topic, Katial highlighted that this is why they went ahead with the tagline "We can't change the world for you, but we can create a better one for you."
"However, in the larger context, isolation will not be the lens through which women will be viewed. Here, we have the freedom to form exclusive groups in the marketplace of platforms and each will serve its own purpose and constituency," Pritam Baruah, Dean of School of Law at BML Munjal University, told Business Insider.
Platform To Be Launched In January-March Quarter 2022
Eve World will use this capital to launch the platform in the January-March quarter next year. The company aims to establish globally, including developed countries like the US and UK, where female participation in the digital space is higher. But it will start with countries like India, Middle East and Indonesia, where there is a larger population and the company believes it can add certain value by giving women their space.
On the face of it, the platform has been built on a creator partnership, similar to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where people on the platform run the show. However, there is an additional layer of blockchain technology, which will allow Eve World's users to get rewards for each action on the platform.
The reward can either be points or virtual tokens and can be used for a range of use cases like consulting doctors and mental health experts on the platform, shopping or even buying non-fungible tokens (NFTs) at a reasonable price. It will help in generating revenue by charging micro-entrepreneurs to promote their businesses.
Eve World will set up a two-way authentication to ensure only females are using the platform. Katial claimed that 70 per cent of its workforce at Eve World will be women as they understand such issues much better.
The company has raised capital from Singapore-based Jungle Ventures, one of Southeast Asia's largest independent early and growth stage venture capital firms. The details of these transactions are, however, undisclosed.
"What used to happen on the street till ten years ago, in urban India, has now went to digital way, under the shadow of anonymity. Women were losing their freedom to express themselves because of the gender bias, trolling, and abuse. Women on the internet now face much more consequences than any man would on the same comment that gets posted," Katial said.