App Kosh: The story that depicts the reality of Nepali App market

  • 9351e0a9a0f1a804620cce1bae04a53b.jpg
App Kosh: The story that depicts the reality of Nepali App market

 

There is an app for almost everything in this modern age of technology. But more importantly, there are apps that are localized to target Nepali market that most people are unaware of. If you are craving for banana pancakes in Kathmandu and want to find restaurants that serve it, there is an app for that. If you are an adventurer and want to go for a trek with your friends to the mountains in Nepal, but don’t know the routes and details like food and lodging in and around the route, there is an app that can help you. If you’re lost in Kathmandu finding something, there is an app that helps you find everything from ATMs to banks to hospitals in Nepal. And the list goes on. However, these apps aren’t getting the acknowledgement they deserve.

 

The story of AppKosh describes such struggle as a sole entity itself while also revealing the reality of Nepali app market.

 

 

Ncell App Camp – the root of all the idea

In Ncell App Camp (November 2014), four people from Semantic Creations – Bobby Basnet, Saurav Bajracharya, Kushal Vaidya and Sajesh Khadgi – participated with an app “Source My Work”. The event became a neurotic hub where these four people got associated with hundreds of other Nepali app developers with their own creative app ideas that catered to the needs of Nepali society. During one of the talks in the App Camp, there was a short discussion by one of the employees of Ncell on why Ncell outsourced its own app to be developed by a foreign company and not by Nepali developers. The crux reason that was raised by him was the complexity of the app that Ncell found Nepali app-developers incapable of developing. With sundry of developers in the audience, the statement exposed the harsh reality of Nepali App market – the reality where visibility and credibility of Nepali developers were assigned a big question mark.

 

Considering such statement and observation of such gap, there was a need of local platform where these Nepali apps and app-developers gained their deserved recognitions. Saurav, Bobby, Kushal and Sajesh decided to provide the platform through AppKosh and the app was out in Google Play Store by March, 2015. 

During one of the talks in the App Camp, there was a short discussion by one of the employees of Ncell on why Ncell outsourced its own app to be developed by a foreign company and not by Nepali developers. The crux reason that was raised by him was the complexity of the app that Ncell found Nepali app-developers incapable of developing.

 

So What is AppKosh?

AppKosh is not just a directory for Nepali apps, it is also a search engine. As they express on their website, AppKosh is “a mobile and web application that aims at bringing smart phone users in Nepal and tech developers at a common junction by providing information in a directory about apps that have been developed by Nepali developers.”

 

Initial Financing

Like most of the other tech-startups in Nepal, the initial funding all came from bootstrapping. From putting the app to Play Store and hosting the app and website to operating the app, these four core-members share the responsibility for financing AppKosh.

 

 

Startup Problems

Developing and designing the app were not a big issue since the members’ skills and expertise complement each other. Bobby Basnet, Sajesh Khadgi and Saurav Bajracharya have seasoned experience in app development. This development team worked on Website, Server Side Scripting and Android app. Kushal Vaidya took care of the business side and Brihat Pahari is the designer.

However, Bobby claims the foremost problem they had was to find Nepali apps in the market. One of the reasons, Saurav explains, was that it was hard to distinguish Nepali apps from Indian apps as the names are very similar. Further, many of the developers were hesitant to reply the emails which just questioned about putting their app in AppKosh. “Even if they didn’t reply, we put their app and designed banners of their app to place it in our app without getting consent since we are not selling it. We are just creating directory,” says Saurav.

Technically, the problem that keeps recurring for them is that the web-hosting service, taken from the States, denies the access at times since the major routing is done through Nepal. But, the problem can be overcome with a phone call to the company in U.S. and is a common problem in the industry according to them. But, when asked about why they are not utilizing web-hosting services of Nepali companies, the direct answer was “they are expensive.” “For services we can get free on GoDaddy.com, we need to pay Rs. 3000/4000 to use services provided by Nepali companies,” explains Saurav.

 

AppKosh in numbers

There are already 600 apps that have been developed by 200 different developers in the directory. AppKosh is encouraged more by the fact that they are getting new submissions by the developers themselves. They get three to four new app submissions per week on an average. The redirection for download from the website is more than 46,500 and from the app is more than 5000, which is a good number considering the size of the Nepali android app market.

 

The talk about generating money

AppKosh is focused on developing user-base and expanding more local apps in the directory at the moment because the developers community though is growing steadily, is still very small to apply an effective revenue model. Saurav emphasizes on how they don’t want to be desperately commercial and compromise on user experience by placing paid advertisement in the app. Nevertheless, for generating revenue, there is a visible banner area within the app and the website where developers and companies can pay to use for. But the monetary value of AppKosh lies elsewhere – the data. It is rich with data about end users, trends and individual apps that can be processed in various way for the benefit of both users and developers. Businesses have not realized the value of data yet in Nepal. When they do – which would not be long – the value of AppKosh will rise.

 

Future Plan

Next step for AppKosh is to include apps from (iOS) App Store and Windows Store.  They are working on other methods to promote the apps and their next move would always be making the local Nepali apps more visible. Besides, they are attempting to implement “social” factor to AppKosh, where the users can share and recommend app to their friends. They will be making more of video reviews of app as part of their marketing campaign as well.

 

Final Words

AppKosh is not just about AppKosh itself, it is about all the app developers in Nepal who are contributing to it. In order for AppKosh to grow, the community of local app users and developers need to grow concurrently. While the startup may look very small at the beginning, there are signs that it could be the next big thing because data is extremely valuable in the internet age and will be in Nepal.

 

 AppKosh is not just about AppKosh itself, it is about all the app developers in Nepal who are contributing to it.

 

 

 

 

Comments

  • No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

Leave your comment

Guest
Guest Thursday, 26 May 2022