16 Best Apps of 2019
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When was the last time you downloaded a new app? As we start the new year, there are already a crop of new apps that are well worth your time. So kick back, relax, and refresh your home screen. These are the apps we've enjoyed the most in 2019 so far.
Bookmark These Apps
Booklet: t was only right that Amrut Deshmukh launched Booklet on World Book Day in 2016. Deshmukh says that he is on a mission to make India read. Through his reading app, he is giving out 20-minute long book summaries of bestselling books in text and audio. “We are on a mission to cultivate the habit of reading amongst the youth of India. The audios are full of emotions, music and are more about storytelling than just plain reading,” he says.
Bookbhook: When he was working with a corporate, Gaurav Gupta used to thoughtfully select books as gifts for his team members whenever they did a job well. In 2013, a young team member walked up to him and told him about how the overpowering world of social media has taken over peoples’ time to read books. That got Gupta thinking. “By December 2015, I had rolled out a newsletter where I would share one book summary every week, just to understand if I really enjoy doing this and if people want to subscribe to such a free service. In Oct 2016, I quit my job to begin bookbhook,” he says. Bookbhook began as a nonfiction books summary service (3-4 new books every week). It has already published around 250 titles and recently rolled out yet another TLDR (Too Long; Didn’t Read) format, which has set their engagement and readership numbers on fire. INFOCHAT is a new offering where they help readers read stories as well as unravel and demystify themes across genre, in a WhatsApp chat format.
Pustakkosh: Walk into any college and you would find students buried under books. But ever wondered what happens to those books when all those students pass out? Well Ruchi and Shachindra Sharma did some brainstorming and came up with an innovative idea. “We started as a textbook rental solution and today, we are the leading book rentals provider and used book sales company,” Shachindra says. Their innovative rentals provide the most economical option to students and they save 60-75 percent of the cost, which has helped them gain a 65 percent return and loyal customer base. “We allow students to sell books to us, thereby, operating in all three modes rent/buy/sell,” he adds.
Apps Making The Democracy Dance
Neta: The intent to be able to hold politicians accountable throughout the span of five years, and not just before elections, inspired 27-year-old Pratham Mittal to launch Neta - an app enabling public to rate politicians everyday, which ultimately gives out the recent and an accurate picture of the mood of the electorate. He says, “We rate taxi drivers, restaurants and hotels; then why not our leaders? “The continuous rating shall force our leaders to consistently deliver on poll promises. If they don’t, the same would get reflected in their rating and the subsequent popularity, he explains. The app’s first prototype was launched for Karnataka Assembly polls in 2018. In the Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan Assembly polls, Pratham claims to have struck over 90 percent success rate.
India Elections 2019: In the increasing noise of social media, Gujarat-based Mahipalsinh Rana aims to bring all the information at one place to ensure maximum participation in the elections. He says, “The App encompasses every feature to help voters actively participate in the biggest Dance of Democracy and make an informed choice on the D-day.” Along with features for searching for voter ID and polling booth, the app gives information on every constituency. It allows users to rate their MPs on the basis of their work. The app has manifestos of all parties and poll news.
GovernEye: Started in late 2016, GovernEye is a platform for citizens and decision makers to communicate without any fear. At a time when discussions on social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp slide into mud-slinging duels, GovernEye is a welcome relief. A user does not have to share email address or phone number during registration on the platform. The use of foul language and making personal attacks in comments is prohibited. To ensure that the app remains issue-centric, one cannot follow anyone on the platform. The app is all-inclusive as it allows one to post audio and video posts in vernacular medium. It has a dedicated tab which gives fake news alerts powered by Alt News, SM Hoax Slayer and Boom. The app allows one to organize an online protest march.
Show Me the Money
Smallcase: IT-Kharagpur-minted Vasanth Kamath, Anugrah Shrivastava and Rohan Gupta started smallcase four years ago to offer the thematic stock basket consisting of Smart Cities, Rising Rural Demand, Incredible India, The GST Opportunity etc. Kamath says, “A middle class person can invest in a portfolio and doesn’t have to check each stock’s performance, unlike the case in mutual funds. It gives complete ownership of the stock.’’
Money Tap: If you have been rejected by the bank for the loan too, this app offers a solution. In 2016, Anuj Kacker, Kunal Verma and Bala Parthasarathy founded Money Tap. They designed a personal credit loaning app, focusing on middle income group, (people earning Rs 30,000–50,000 per month). Working as a digital credit card, the app allows you to pay interest and EMI only of the amount that you use instead of the total amount you loaned. Kacker says, ‘For loan capital, we have tied up with RBI, HDFC and a few others. Through this app we can balance expenses and earnings, avoid penalties and high rate of interest.” The app interacts through a chatbot interface, connecting system to banks and credit bureau to know the credit history of the customer and then sanctions the loan likewise. It is servicing clients in more than 30 cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai.
Money View: In 2014, Puneet Agarwal and Sanjay Aggarwal conceptualized Money View in Bengaluru to provide fast and easy loans upto Rs 5 lakh. The app gives access to multiple loans and allows customizing of payback period based on income and ability. Sanjay says, “We do a 360-degree financial view of the customer, noting liabilities, cashflow, payment behavior and post-dated bills.” For repayment, they use Paytm, UPI or IMPS. The app is available in over thousand cities in eight regional languages such as Kannada, Gujarati, Hindi, apart from English. The app gives a view of customer’s bank accounts, credit card accounts, and loan accounts in the first phase; it auto-categorises spending into fuel, rent, food etc in the second phase. And the third phase lets the user to set a monthly budget. In partnership with ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund they offer Savings+ and Tax Saver+ features to save liquid money and tax under the Green Account platform.
Hit The Grounds
GW Sport: As a sports enthusiast, Ankur Singh, Founder, GW Sport, revived his passion after working for eight years in the banking sector. He sensed the common problem of waiting too long for a turn to play or struggle to find an opponent to play with. In 2015, GW Sports was launched to provide information on the nearest academy, venue, time slot, sport and coach available. The app, currently operational in Hyderabad and Delhi/NCR, recorded a revenue of Rs 2 crore in FY2018-19. Singh shares, “Technology is our primary challenge. As users are used to a seamless experience of using certain apps, it’s difficult for us to invest in a niche market such as this to deliver a similar user experience. Going forward, we would also like to expand in the recreational activity space.”
Playo: Former investment banker Gauravjeet Singh, Founder, Playo, created a value proposition in the sports field. Launched in 2015, Playo raised Rs 6.5 crore through angel funding and by commission-per booking. It touched Rs 35 crore in the annual sales of FY 2019 through ad sales. The app helps in identifying local communities to make new playpals, organize playgroups, share information and discover sporting venues and activities. The app functions across Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kochi, Chennai, Pune, NCR as well as in the UAE. Singh mentions, “Growing geographically without complicating the app was a hurdle. We will soon introduce a feature of ‘spitting money’ where each member can pay individually while booking for group activity.”
Sportobuddy: Sportobuddy organises its own cricket IPs, of which the most popular ones include ‘My Child My Anchor’ and ‘Anchor City Championship’. This sports management app is equipped with features such as player management, player’s records, league management, team management, live match scores, run and net run-rate graph, wagon wheel and predicto meter. The scoring app can be easily connected to the live video feed too for the tournaments. Rahul Mehta, Chief Strategy Officer, Sportobuddy, says, “We are ready to expand across the country and overseas where it will be used as SaaS and revenue generating stream for us.”
Tap on Tracks
Rail Yatri: Catering to the modern-day budget traveller has always been essential for Manish Rathi, Co-founder and CEO, Rail Yatri. The integrated mobile app provides train-related information such as PNR status, live train status, train between stations, seat availability, meal-on-train services and confirmation predictability. It has recently expanded its fleet of ‘IntrCity SmartBus’ to 15 cities across north and south India. Says Rathi, “We included intercity bus travel sector two years ago and recently launched our own fleet of buses running across Delhi, Lucknow, Kanpur, Amritsar, Manali, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and more.” With a funding of near to Rs 89 crore, the app has 20 million monthly active users.
Trainman: IIT Roorkee alumnus Vineet Chirania, Co-founder and CEO, Trainman, found it difficult to get confirmed tickets during the festive season. Launched in 2014, Trainman is a handy app for checking PNR status and prediction after booking on IRCTC. The app highlights confirmation chances for waiting list tickets based on PNR status history for past tickets booked on Indian Railways. Chirania says, “In times to come, we will be modifying our app as a crowdsourcing platform where the user generated content will be our hero and the user can share details on condition of the train, station, eateries or any issue they faced.”
Confirm TKT: While working at IBM in Bengaluru, Sripad Vaidya, Co-founder and Chief Operating Officer, Confirm TKT, often struggled to get a confirmed ticket to his hometown in Hyderabad. Taking the matter in hand, the app was launched in 2014 that discovers all the possible alternative travel options by utilizing unused quotas on the train and helps one get a confirmed ticket to travel. Vaidya mentions, “We noticed 40 per cent of the daily train bookings go directly into a wait list. Using our prediction algorithm, we use PNR numbers that users submit to us for tracking and send out details based on chances of ticket confirmation.” The app has 3.5 monthly active users.
Click & Heal Naturally
Predictive Homoeopathy: With an earnest desire for budding homeopaths to revel in the knowledge of the teachings of Dr Prafull Vijayakar, also known as Einstein of Homeopathy, Dr Akshata Mallya, Founder and CEO, Predictive Homeopathy, founded the app in 2017. Dr Vijayakar is also the chairman of Predictive Homeopathy. “It was important to connect with the youth. Our app is majorly used in India, followed by European doctors as well as USA and Dubai practitioners.” One can book appointments with doctors and buy medicines online globally.
The app also provides case studies to doctors of rare diseases.
Homeopathic Quick Reference: Rising from a very personal need to make information on homoeopathy accessible to all, Dr AVS Prasad founded Homeopathic Quick Reference (HQR) in 2014 with the help of a friend who coded for him for free. Prasad shares, “HQR is like Google for homeopaths all over the world. All our material is copyright free as we aim to make information accessible among homoeopaths all over the world.” The app is a quick reference of keynotes for the homeopathic physician with a pocket repertory, children’s materia medica, keynotes for study and useful medical information.
Wellness Cure: Funded by Bollywood couple Genelia and Reitesh Deshmukh, Wellness Cure is an online homoeopathic teleconsultation platform that claims to treat over 80 common and 20 uncommon clinical conditions on live chat and Skype. Mumbai-based Punit Desai launched Wellness Cure in 2014 with a mission to spread quality healthcare to people across the globe who seek natural treatment solutions. He shares, “There is a lack of quality alternative medicine treatment providers and we wanted to take the lead to become pioneers in the field.”
Digital India’s Digital Khata
OkCredit: IIT Kanpur alumni Harsh Pokarna, Gaurav Kumar and Aditya Prasad were experimenting with ideas to solve real-life problems. “We noticed that we would buy things on credit from our grocery store and the shopkeeper would take a long time finding entries and filling in details,” shares Kumar. They launched OkCredit in 2017. It has 6.5 million registered merchants. OkCredit is an online ledger which simplifies credit account management for shop owners and their customers. The company has raised a funding of $82.5 million and aims to come up with other utility services.
KhataBook: “Demonetization, push for digitization and rapid increase in internet usage triggered us to launch the app,” reveals Dhanesh Kumar, CEO, Khatabook. He along with Ravish Naresh, Ashish Sonone, Jaideep Poonia and Dhanesh Kumar founded the app in December 2018. KhataBook helps small businesses keep track of their daily transactions by digitizing ledger account book. “Kirana stores, mobile recharge shops and travel agents are some of our clients. We plan to launch products for MSMEs and digitize shopkeepers’ accounting process,” declares Kumar.
Vyapar: Keen on making accounting and book-keeping easy, Sumit Agarwal launched Vyapar in 2016 who, after extensive research, found out that there is no app for a layman to help him in accounting his business finances. “The available options were complex and designed for professional accountants,” he shares. Vyapar is an accounting app that helps shopkeepers calculate GST, manage stock inventory, check expense reports and track business expenses, update payables and receivables automatically, send reminders and collect payments directly online.
App Your Health Game
HealthifyMe: Tushar Vashisht, Co-founder & CEO, HealthifyMe, was obese when he returned to India after completing his education in the USA. He recalls, “I wanted to reduce weight but there was a lack of database for the calorie counts present in Indian food.” Founded by Vashisht and Sachin Shenoy, HealthifyMe provides fitness and weight loss services virtually. Vashisht was also conducting an experiment, a part of which focused on creating a database of nutritional values in Indian foods. He later went on to create an exhaustive list of nutrient value with the National Institute of Nutrition. “This was the stepping-stone to my entrepreneurial journey and HealthifyMe was created in 2012 to help users track their daily food and work-out routines in their quest for a healthy lifestyle,” shares the founder. The app provides calorie tracking, water tracking and on-the-cloud fitness coaching.
FITTR: Hailing from a small town of Polaha in Madhya Pradesh, Jitendra Chouksey has always been keen on body-building. “India leads in diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, all of which are easily preventable with proper nutrition,” declares Choksey. He started a WhatsApp group in 2016 where he helped his friends and family get fit. After receiving positive feedback, he launched Fittr in 2018. The app offers features like automated diet charts, quantified food details, BMR analysis, weekly diet chart planner, along with healthy food recipes. Chouksey shares, “It began with a simple idea – to help people – and that continues to be the driving force behind our organization. With FITTR, we’ve shown that even first-generation entrepreneurs can create a world-class organization from scratch.”
Tweak and Eat: Just upload a photo of the meal you’re about to eat and Tweak and Eat will tell you how to eat the meal to help you achieve your health goals. The app uses AI to analyse the food items and the nutritional make-up of the user meal, and helps nutritionists in making real-time ‘Tweaks’ to it. Co-founded by Narayanan Ram and Anand Subra in 2017, the app now ranks fourth on Google Playstore in the health and wellness category. “The journey of starting Tweak and Eat is truly serendipitous,” claims Ram. His interest was sparked in the fitness and wellness industry when his aunt was diagnosed with stomach cancer. “During this time, I discussed a lot about health and wellness with Anand, who has a solid background in the health sector. Our discussions led to the formation of Tweak and Eat,” recalls Ram.