Beyond the Buzzwords

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Beyond the Buzzwords

In the business world, there are some business and management principles that have become buzzwords that startups swear by. That’s because they have helped countless startups find a firm foothold in the markets around the world




In the business world, there are some business and management principles that have become buzzwords that startups swear by. That’s because they have helped countless startups find a firm foothold in the markets around the world. In the context of Nepal too, we have seen some of these principles at work, with many companies using them in the hopes of finding similar success in the domestic market. Here, we present some of the companies that have made use of these principles and tweaked them to fit local market particulars.

Business based on a sharing economy

Tootle

Sharing economy or collaborative consumption is no longer a strange concept for entrepreneurs or big business houses. Uber, the largest global commuting service, doesn’t own vehicles of its own. Similarly, AirBnB is one of the biggest hospitality services in the world, even without owning hotels of its own. And yet, they’ve been able to become successful companies by capitalising on sharing economies. In Nepal, Tootle represents a startup that has made a name for itself in the local sharing economy niche. It has only been a year since Tootle’s launch, but many Kathmanduites now consider Tootle their preferred option when it comes to commuting.

The reason behind Tootle’s success has a lot to do with its ability to strike the perfect balance between convenience and affordability. It offers the convenience of a taxi-service paired with the affordable appeal of public transportation. And as with Uber, Tootle is bringing quite a bit of change in the transportation industry. Tootle started out as a means for daily bike commuters to make a few extra bucks while going to school or work, but because of the demand for their services, some people have started working at Tootle fulltime. As for customers, by opting for the collaborative-consumption business model, Tootle has been saving its ride-sharers invaluable time and money.

Tweaking the freemium model

Sroth Code Games

Sroth Code Games (SCG) became the talk of the town back in 2016, when Haku Run, their first mobile phone-based game, garnered more than 10,000 downloads within just three days of its release. The game, which was based on the Nepali movie Loot, went on to become the most popular Nepali game on Playstore. Sroth Code Games was able to garner such immense popularity largely because the game immersed the players in a completely Nepali reality.
Most people anticipated that Sroth Code would be a one-hit wonder. But the creators at SCG have repeatedly proven naysayers wrong by coming up with truly captivating games, one after another. Much of Sroth Code’s revenue comes through in-app advertisements and sponsorship deals. The company opted for this revenue model because the government has a policy of limiting the country’s dollar outflow (meaning, the company would not be able to pay the cut on in-app purchases that Android’s Play Store demands). Soon, though, Sroth Code hopes to closely work with Nepali electronic payment systems and digital wallet companies to accommodate the growing demand for in-app upgrades.

Starting lean, staying lean

BitterSweet

Smriti Tuladhar’s idea, BitterSweet, essentially has to do with producing chocolates locally, in a small-scale setup. Currently, BitterSweet makes premium homemade chocolates that are crafted to customers’ preferences and packaged in boxes containing personalised messages. Tuladhar came up with the concept for homemade chocolates at the Kathmandu University’s incubator, Idea Studio. When she started out, Tuladhar had minimal financial resources at her disposal, and she thus needed to come up with an extremely efficient business model that wouldn’t break her bank. From sourcing raw materials to developing recipes to handling sales and ensuring customer satisfaction, Tuladhar looked after everything, with some help from her family. Even today, much of the daily operations of BitterSweet is carried out by Tuladhar herself and her small team.

Tuladhar understands that she would face an uphill battle if she were to face off against confectionery giants like Cadbury and Nestle. This is the reason she resorted to using something akin to a lean startup model and finding the right niche segment where she could succeed on the basis of her inherent strengths. Tuladhar’s skill in preparing and crafting chocolates make it rather easy for her to customise chocolate shells and fillings and come up with new recipes. BitterSweet checks the boxes of agility and frugality, making it one of the better examples of how lean startups can succeed in Nepal.

Riding on technology

PageVamp

PageVamp is an easy and extremely quick way for users without the requisite technical skills to develop websites. The website-building company began in a dorm room belonging to three young college students: Atulya Pandey, Fred Wang and Vincent Sanchez-Gomez. Since then, the company has become an established on-the-go website builder for users in the West.

Today, drag-and-drop interfaces—made available by companies like Wordpress and Squarespace—have made it pretty easy for users to create websites. But PageVamp has come up with a way to make this process even faster. Using PageVamp’s cutting-edge technology, users can produce websites within three minutes by sourcing user-details from Facebook. 
PageVamp knows that there are numerous small businesses in Nepal who need help designing their website. Since most business personnel are not well-versed in the basics of website management and development, small businesses have to utilise the services of external providers. PageVamp fills this gap by allowing users to build websites by using nothing but Facebook details.

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Guest Saturday, 20 October 2018