Let’s say you like the content on a certain web page, and want to share it with others. You can share its URL, but that wouldn’t allow you to annotate or comment on it. Enter Webklipper.
Webklipper is an interesting web annotation tool that lets you extract the content from an existing web page into a new one called a ‘klip’ that allows you to add highlights and comments, and generating a unique URL for easy sharing with others (you can also create a brand-new page to do the same).
Necessity Is The Mother of Invention
Mumbai-based Webklipper is founded by Avlesh Singh, an engineering graduate of Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad who’s worked at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi-incubated Indian online search engine startup Onyomo as well as burrp!, India’s equivalent of Yelp!. After burrp!‘s acquisition by Infomedia18, Avlesh went on to work at Askme, one of the India’s largest online local search portals.
People say necessity is the mother of invention. It’s never more true for Webklipper. Some months back burrp! founder Deap Ubhi wanted to share a section of a lengthy blog article with Avlesh Singh, and the only way to do that was to copy-and-paste in email. So they brainstormed and envisioned ‘a tool which lets you highlight a section of any webpage and gives you a permanent URL to the highlighted page which you can share with your friends’. The idea for Webklipper was thus born, and Avlesh started work on the service in January 2010.
Sorting out the technology for Webklipper to get it working across different browsers and platforms have been challenging, painful and time consuming, Avlesh reveals. Persistence pays, he says. Thankfully he’s helped by some 2,500 beta testers trying out Webklipper.
Like most online applications, the key challenge for Webklipper is distribution – ‘making sure that users who need Webklipper know about it’. Surprisingly, there was a use for Webklipper Avlesh didn’t quite expect – as a collaboration tool. Avlesh noticed that designers ‘would create an HTML layout, go to Webklipper and invite his colleagues to comment on the design’. Their colleagues would then visit the klip and give their feedback, or highlights on specific sections i.e. “the logo isn’t looking good”, “lot of whitespace here” etc. You can imagine that micro-blogging tools such as Twitter (or even better, an enterprise one like Yammer), will make Webklipper‘s collaborative features infinitely more powerful.
Added features and functionality should also help – Webklipper has released browser plugins which makes it convenient for users to use the tool without going to the Webklipper home page. Site owners can also install a widget that let site visitors annotate and comment on on their sites and track them.
Now, he says, he’s finally comfortable to go live.
Entrepreneurship Is Not About Having Your Own Company
Webklipper has pretty much been a solo effort, but Avlesh recently quit his day job to try and formalize Webklipper into a company. He admits the decision to leave a paying job was a difficult one, but he ‘has immense faith and belief in the idea behind Webklipper‘.
He is in the process of putting together his core team and is currently trying to raise money. He has had a few meetings with various VC firms to date, but declines to reveal details till a deal goes through.
Avlesh, who’s never had a company of his own until founding Webklipper, says most people have wrong misconceptions about the concept of entrepreneurship. “(The) word is generally confused with ‘having your own company’. I don’t essentially agree with that. I have been entrepreneurial while working for someone else too.”
“It’s not a buzzword,” he adds. “It’s in you, built-in. Find and explore (it).”