Also the winner of category ‘Agriculture’
With their app idea to connect farmers to agro-based information and bring value chain players together to respond to farmers with their products and services, the team ICT for Agriculture outstood other competitors and won the grand title of Ncell App Camp with a prize money of NRs. 7,50,000 and an opportunity to participate in an international app event.
“It was a great learning experience!” says Sibjan Chaulagain, team leader of ICT for Agriculture. The capacity building seminars on respective categories and on different relevant subjects were enriching. It helped us analyse our idea and transform it into a suitable business model. "We realized world-class applications have origin to simple idea, but those have become great only with appropriate business model. With the periodic lectures and workshops at the Camp, we also became clear on our value proposition, revenue model and customers," Chaulagain adds.
The application today has attracted attention of many development organizations to see possibility of collaborative actions towards establishing it within revenue framework. The team has partnered with USAID Nepal, iDE Nepal, CEAPRED and ICIMOD until now. In terms of target groups' penetration (farmers) the app is yet to reach to a larger audience, but the team is confident they would have a progressive score within a year or two.
The app, IFA Krishi has features that help farmers get regular updates on news/announcements from various stakeholders working in the field of agriculture. It also informs farmers about cultivation methodology, disease prevention information for crops and livestocks, provides information on weather, and information on nearby market prices of various products. People who have used the app have highly appreciated the team’s innovation and have provided the team with numerous feedback. The team look into those feedback seriously and is always working to improve accordingly. The team idea has now been transformed into a new Company called ASK Foundation with teammates Avinash Jha leading Research and Development, Kanchan Kharel leading the management and Sibjan Chaulagain as the Executive Director.
Sentinep considers utter passion and teamwork as the secret of their win in Ncell App Camp 2014 under Corporate Solutions Category. Their app, Opinio, analyzes sentiments and opinions of the people and categorizes them into positive, negative and neutral comments. It gathers sentiment related to a product/service or business from around the web (social media, blogs and news portals), thereby enabling any corporate/business house to know how their customers perceive them and react to the brand. This is one of those solutions which professional companies across the globe would love to take, Tomi T Ahonen, author of 12 bestsellers on mobile and top rated business consultant and expert by Forbes magazine had said about their product during the awards ceremony.
And the team thank Ncell App Camp for supporting them translate the idea into a mobile app. “We had very little knowledge about business and app industry when we registered the idea for the competition. But during the five months long journey, the local and international mentors and speakers guided us through the competition, and shared their experiences and knowledge. That helped us come up with the entire product and eventually win the competition," says Chandan Goopta, team leader of Sentinep.
The team has not yet made the app public. “We were improving it further and have added new features too,” says Goopta, adding that the product is at present in beta phase and will be released soon for testing. Following the testing, the team will take their app further to generate revenue.
“When you have a product on hand you start thinking business. If it hadn’t been for Ncell App Camp, i doubt we would have had product by now. It (Ncell App Camp) is an exciting platform. All young mobile enthusiast should take part in it,” Goopta adds.
RitiRiwaj credits passion, teamwork and advice from mentors as their secret of win. They created the virtual place to learn about the Nepali traditions, curated by deeply researching and consulting with experts; thus helping people avoid the embarrassment of not knowing own traditions! It is also a one-stop e-shop to buy everything needed to perform a ritual. People can place orders by clicking the items they need and they would ship the items to people’s doorsteps.
“Planning our own start up, we were facing obstacles on some fronts. Inputs from national and international mentors during Ncell App Camp helped us to solve them. The competition helped us to sharpen our focus,” says Manish Shrestha, leader of team RitiRiwaj.
The app is in beta phase and the team is building more content by consulting heritage experts and concerned professionals. “Ncell App Camp has made this task much easier. Due to the publicity provided by Ncell App Camp, we are being approached by experts eager to provide relevant information and data,” adds Shrestha.
After winning the competition, RitiRiwaj has worked on additional features like offline access and crowdsourcing. They are also conducting market study and improving the features by taking feedback from the public. “Before Ncell App Camp, it was just an idea. Now we have a business case on hand,” says Shrestha, adding that the competition changed their lives for good in many ways. The prize money has given them the cushion to move ahead a few more years. The team has worked out a business model of more than three years, and are planning to launch it in near future.
Team Lipi (the script), the title winner of category Tourism won Ncell App Camp 2014 with an innovative mobile app that helps international tourist visiting Nepal to translate texts in Devanagri script into language of her/his choice. All that tourists need to do is click a picture of a signboard with Nepali words (texts) and the app converts the text in desired language. The product could make travel easier and convenient for tourists, who otherwise can find language as a barrier to travel and explore the country. The team was clear on the concept, but was facing difficulty in building an app on this, says Rohit Man Amatya, leader of the team.
The team was gathering some insights on how to proceed for building the app; Ncell App Camp gave their work a push and motivated them to achieve their dream. “The competition was like a dream come true for us. Before the competition, we weren't familiar with the features and techniques of mobile application. Lack of knowledge in business and marketing made it more difficult. But the competition showed us the light of hope,” adds Amatya.
Initially, the team was skeptical on their capabilities to make the app, but Ncell App Camp not only inspired them, but also helped them come up with a business plan, marketing proposal, revenue model and everything that was required. Eventually, their hard work paid off and they went on to won the competition.
Winning the country's biggest app competition has changed their lives in many ways. They used to focus on smaller projects, but the experiences they gained through Ncell App Camp have opened doors to explore big projects in future. At present, the team is pursuing different ideas. They are planning to make an image recognition app to help the tourists get information about popular travel destinations. The app will allow the users to take a photo of the location and get all the information about the place. They are also working on English to Nepali Glossary.