IT alumni unlock Internet growth with

One Consequence of the digitalisation of everything from bank accounts to mail is that forgotten passwords and denied access are increasingly common nightmares., a new start-up company launched by two graduates of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, hopes to provide the master key so those on the Internet won’t need to remember dozens of passwords to access their various e-commerce accounts and secure websites.

Privately-held, was co-founded in January 1999 by Samir Palnitkar, who also co-founded the semiconductor design company Integrated Intellectual Property, and Jai Rawat, formerly an executive at TIBCO and LSI. Sequoia Capital invested in the company just 11 days after it was incorporated and one of the main backers is Ashish Gupta, a co-founder of Junglee, an Internet company that was acquired by

Palnitkar, CEO of Chabi and the architect of three Net-related patents pending approval, said the new service “will reduce the friction between users and sites”.

With Santa Clara-based Chabi-com’s service, users can store their information in one operation and then register on the web-sites with just a click of the mouse. After a user has a Chabi login ID and a Chabi password, a Chabi Bar appears on the user’s computer with buttons for adding an account, picking credit cards for payment and choosing the address where a product can be shipped. Chabi has researched all the biographical and financial questions that usually need to be answered when users log on to websites and the data is stored on Chabi’s website. — IANS

Users don’t have to type the same information over and over again when opening new accounts. Chabi says there are “eight levels of security” protecting the data on its site. “We don’t compete with users of other sites or portals,” said Palnitkar, who holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from IIT Kanpur, Chabi automatically fills in all the forms, including billing and shipping information.

He said 3-commerce sites are co-operating fully with Chabi because industry research has shown that more than two-thirds of on-line shoppers abandon sites they visit because they get frustrated by the information they have to provide.

Rawat, Chabi’s chief executive officer and chief technical officer, said e-commerce companies know that even when they get a person to fill out all the information, they may never return because they have forgotten the password or they just don’t have site information handy. By doing things efficiently, Chabi is making repeated visits likely.

The new service is available without any downloading and Chabi also provides an e-mail forwarding service, Palnitkar said. Another advantage of Chabi is “flexibility on the server side, our scalability,” he said. Users can access the site from any computer from any location. “We are so scalable, we could incorporate the shoe size” of users in their database,” he said. The revenue sources for Chabi include advertising on the Chabi bar, user referral fees from sites, shopping and transaction commission and e-mail promotions. But the real attraction for Chabi is avoiding that proliferation of passwords. - IANS

Source : Richard Springer The Economic Times. August 31, 1999.