24 November 2017

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Raxit Sheth: The Mobile Maverick!

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Raxit Sheth, a sportive youngster from Mumbai as he says is “just enjoying bootstrapping time”. He loves a lot of things- Hacking, Helping, Tweaking, Tweeting and moreover being a Mumbaikar, he loves Mumbai!!

After graduation, he has been toying with several ideas including UGC driven poetry site and even, won the Y! hack day competition. He could not simply justify the thought that  India is providing IT/Software products and services to the whole world, but is lacking products which could make Indians’ life ‘easier’.

Thus  Mobile 4 Mumbai, a mobile application providing information of buses and routes in Mumbai, took birth in 2007 with a clear message-‘We Love Mumbai’. Mumbaikars are now commuting with greater ease than ever now, thanks to the efforts and entrepreneurial thinking of Raxit Girishbhai Sheth.

Raxit states how the demand for his products drives his business: “Daily more than 42 lakh people use bus for travelling in Mumbai and many times people are confused about the routes. This information is available in booklets, and on websites but not many people knew about it. He kept on asking people about this and eventually realised it would be great if this information could be made available on the Mobile phones. “Almost everyone has a mobile phone, and one can access this information any time, any where, and at bus stops (where it is most needed).

Mobile 4 Mumbai is today India's top city-bus search on mobile, without SMS or GPRS and as he claims that “search your bus in less than 10 seconds, less than 10 keystrokes and is simpler than google, yahoo and rediff maps. It is a static, fully offline app with database embedded inside”. The main attraction of the application is that it works on any mobile phone of any range and is j2me compatible! Also, the application just requires about 180KB to 200KB free memory space on mobile phones

Raxit is thankful to the technical help he received from Sun Microsystem and Samsung India and his colleague Deepa Kapadia who joined him in programming the application. 

His woes and challenges have been many, like the difficulties in procuring authentic information. “Even the ‘best’ data available cannot be called accurate. To become 100% accurate we went viral and took word of mouth info” he says. “It has become our great advantage to let people contribute. Many people are contributing data to us. Top-3 Contributors will get their name on the application” he continues.

The surprising part about M4Mum is that Raxit is still managing M4Mum as part time for which he justifies- “a regular job can never take me from this”. His nights and weekends are devoted for developing products and services.

After completing BE from Saurashtra University, he started as a trainee at Vaman Technologies. The company went off, but he says “learnt a lot in that 5-6 months project”. Later he joined Phonologies, worked on voice browser, speech record engine. Presently he is working as a consultant with Polaris Software Lab Ltd.
He also founded MyKavita – a poem blog, and parallely started Mobile 4 Mumbai.

Even though he started M4Mum as a hobby, he is planning to make it a full time dream. They would need funds for growth and nobody (apart from friends and family) will invest in a part time enterprise. “We have not raised any money so far. Our main marketing medium is viral (which is the most effective). Few PE guys pitched us with zero Marketing costs. During the first 4 weeks of our launch, we were getting daily 50+ calls/sms’/e-mails. Also members of many tech communities came forward with offers of creating website for us free. This is the biggest achievement for us” says Raxit.

Within 2 months they have got 20 times more end users than their expectations. “I am surprised to see the uptake. Many people have blogged and twittered about us” he adds. Essentially, they have solved a real life’s small problem and marketed it in such a way (with a ‘We Love Mumbai’ tag), that any common man would like to give the application a try.

About his future plans he says “We have yet not generated revenue, as for any startup the first few months are all about product tweaking and customer acquisition. We are planning to launch base product as free and some extra features as premium”. M4Mum have more innovative products in pipeline. The team is also solving another simpler simple problem- finding nearest ATMs.

His belief is that Indian entrepreneurs face the twin woes of “bad execution and bad cash flow.” Multiple startups which can help each other, cross selling, cross Marketing, co-branding will be great ideas and it will be win-win for all, adds Raxit.

 

 

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