afaqs! news bureau

Encouraging women to come together; the story of coto

Tarun Katial’s women-only social community app is building itself as a safe space and one that lets them earn too.

When Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour movie hit Indian theatre screens, an unexpected yet welcome phenomenon occurred – young girls and women rushing to the walking area in front of the first row and dancing with abandon singing Taylor’s songs without missing a single beat. 

“I wish there were a lot more such communal bonding experience opportunities for young women in India where they can come together over some shared interest, let their hair down without inhibitions, and have a great time,” wrote communications specialist Karthik Srinivasan on X reflecting his experience.

The need for spaces that allow women to come together and express themselves without any worry has always been alarming and unfortunately still is, be it on the ground or the web.

The latter, however, has at least one safe space for women to ‘come together’ or coto. Built by Tarun Katial, it is a Web3 women-only social community app.

There are various communities one can join on the app to talk, discuss, and share what is on their mind without any prejudice. “We are up to 7,000 communities on the platform,” reveals Katial, and further adds that the communities are now becoming collectives where there is more than a single woman founder.

Adding to this, there are many brand-led communities too. Some of them come from the menstrual hygiene and financial independence categories.

When asked about the categories that are faring the best, he lists “health, wellness, financial independence, and relationships.”

Now, coto despite being a social community app is not under pressure to recommend stuff once a user opens the app.

The communities one has joined are all one sees when one uses the app. “… content that is not from my joint community comes much later,” he exclaims. coto updates a user’s interest graph on an hourly basis as they consume, interact, engage and join communities.

One of the most recent updates to the communities of coto was to power members to post questions, and also post stuff anonymously because “people are still not comfortable talking about wellness, relationships, sexual wellness, menstrual health until they are anonymous.”

Now, the next phase, Katial says, is to build mission journeys, and it starts with the communities. For instance, imagine women sharing their mammogram reports to encourage others to go ahead and get themselves checked for breast cancer.

coto has users from across the length and breadth of India and from countries in the Middle East. It supports various languages on the app and is in the process of adding 16 more languages.

“When it gets down to the smaller towns and cities, the local communities tend to become big,” he remarks adding light to the diverse nature of users. Women from these regions, Katial says, consume more than they participate. “They ask questions more than they answer them.”

These users are also more likely to search for remote work or do small businesses on the platform which is selling products and goods.

An interesting aspect of these communities is that many are creator-led, and that often brings in a lot of users to the app, and brands too.

Encouraging women to come together; the story of coto

Another creator-led offering is coto’s Spotlight program which mentors potential creators from scratch to the point where they can start monetising.

Members, Katial tells us, can use their coto Gains for discounts from what creators are selling on the app; they could be services, consultations or goods.

Sellers, as they reach more tiers regarding the services, earn coto Gains as well. Think of them as your own currency on the app. 

coto is not open to advertising as of now. “We do not want to spam the communities right now. We just want to build good quality communities, and good quality conversations… advertising will follow.”

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