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The Year of the Start-Ups

Tuesday, November 17, 2015
By Priyanka Bhatt

Recently, start-ups in the country have gotten a new lease of hope, as more investors plan to venture in these new innovative companies, started and managed by young entrepreneurs. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promoted start-ups in the United States of America on his recent trip. He had announced a new campaign during Independence day to promote bank financing for start-ups. This not only boosts the economy and entrepreneurship, but will also give a massive push to youngsters dreaming big and wanting to start their own ventures.

Here are three apps, launched very recently, that are slowly picking up pace across the city and simultaneously expanding to various parts of the country. The fitness app, Fiticket was launched in July 2015 and has had many users within the first few months of its beginning. Another app based on teaching children and creating augmented reality called 'Blippar' was launched in 2011 in the UK, but is relatively new to India as it was launched here, in October 2014. Local Ustaad; an app that was launched four months ago, is a unique application that provides plumbers, electricians and other such assistance at the click of a button. Another initiative; the Prime Minister's project of making India digital is also catching up with the fast-paced technology, as young entrepreneurs take up challenges to seize more risks and make their business fruitful.

Sahil Kukreja, the founder of Fiticket, is an ex professional cricketer and always wanted to do something in the field of sports and fitness. “After I retired from the game, I was looking for something to make training easier for athletes as well as the general population. I came across a model in the west, which I thought could work very well if we Indianise it properly,” he said. Kukreja emphasises the need to stay fit  by saying, “it is the need of the hour.

India is the diabetic capital of the world and has high chances of risky illnesses such as cardiovascular problems, blood pressure etc. and situation is worsening because of sedentary life. Fiticket makes it easier for people to find and use these options,” Kukreja stated.

He says that the world has gone digital and therefore an app is a great way to draw people's attention to fitness, “we live in the smartphone generation and there is an app for everything today. Fiticket makes it convenient for people to access the database and find/book their classes easily with the tap of a button. It eliminates extra steps in manually booking a class which makes people come back to the Fiticket app for more,” he says. Kukreja elaborates that this is the biggest gym, “which is the USP of Fiticket. We offer fitness activities any time, any where with hassle-free membership.

Kukreja claims that Fiticket takes away boredom that people often experience in their fitness regime. He explains, “Fiticket offers 200+ activities to choose from, including yoga, zumba, gym, swimming, cardio, pilates, dancing and many more. A Fiticket member has easy access to schedules and details about an activity/studio. One can click a button to book a class, eliminating the hassle of searching, choosing, calling, booking or paying.” He plans on adding services and features from here on, for our customers every month for the next year.

Ever thought about booking an electrician on your phone when your light goes off? And nobody wants the pain of repeatedly calling for help and bargaining at the end, with no guarantee of service. Keeping this in mind, Yash Sheth, Ankit Jain, Santosh Jani and Dharmesh Jagadia, came up with an app that lets you book for domestic appliances with guarantee of good working quality and a reasonable price.

Yash Sheth thinks that every decade has a new innovation and inspiration. “In the 90s, we had computers and heavy cellphones, then comes a time of laptops, cell phones; lighter and better in performance. The next decade is all about apps, which are the most convenient. With 4G internet service, we are expecting the usage of apps to be three times more than the current usage, which inspired us to work on a digital platform,” Sheth told ADC.

Their prime audience is working class individuals who find it hard to find time to look for these services and want someone who can fix their household issues at their time and preference. “Localustaad is designed very simply for audience to understand, it is built in such a way that any service can be booked in less than ten seconds. A user needs to follow three simple steps 1. Select the service 2. Date is set. Input the time of your preference. 3. Click confirm,” Sheth said.

It has been close to four months since they launched the app. We have 500+ downloads and more than 50% are active users in the first few months. “We are operational only in Mumbai as of now and recently for Home cleaning services, we can provide these services in Pune, Bangalore and Delhi (NCR),” Sheth explained.

Sales and business development head, Santosh Jani explained the unique services of the app and said, “the app books any service in less than 10seconds. LocalUstaad already has more than 200 vendor tie-ups as of date to compete with the competition. We have a map-based model which gives our agents work, in and around the vicinity that makes on-demand model successful. We train every serviceman on basic English and etiquette,” Jani said. He elaborated by saying that they have a standardised rate card for all services which, “brings transparency and value. Pricing is also reasonable to make it more user-friendly. We incentivise our vendors and technicians with more work and business as they value organic work,”
Jani concluded.

A UK based app that has come to India only a year ago, has gained quite some popularity. CEO Arnav Ghosh explained the inspiration behind this app saying, “we are driven by a vision of making the world interactive, by making the physical world come to life. We are building Internet on things; creating a world where everything becomes interactive just by blipping at it”.

The app offers interactive games and augmented reality animations that make it more attractive for the younger audience. But, “Blippar’s target audience is not only children, but anyone and everyone who uses a smartphone today. The initial target audience might be the early adopters, ones who are tech-savvy, their whole life revolves around gadgets and those who are always willing to experience the unseen. But as things evolve, greater relevance and utility in the content and experiences delivered by Blippar will bring all kinds of audiences into the fold of its users,” Ghosh explained. Ghosh feels that children learn more by seeing things rather than just reading. “It is rather applicable to all of us. Hence making children’s books interative, will help them memorise by interacting with 2D and 3D objects made around their curriculum helping build a strong background,” Ghosh said. He also said that Blippar, in India was launched in October 2014 and “since then, we have more than 0.6Mn downloads,” he said. He explained the USP of Blippar being “the best technology in the world focusing on consumer-friendly with valuable content, making blipp as an everyday behaviour and connecting it to measurable data drawing insights mapped to the consumer purchase behaviour. It's built to optimise imagination which is fun and relevant. It will soon allow users to delve into a more vast array of real world objects,” Ghosh concludes.

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