Akanksha Sharma is one of those women who are scared of moving out of their hometown and living alone owing to security concerns. Understanding her concern, a friend suggested a family security mobile application that had been doing the rounds on Google playstore lately. Upon downloading the app, the 23-year-old sports enthusiast discovered that her near ones could get connected to her on the go, offline or online. Moreover, during an emergency situation, three of her confidants would get an SOS call automatically on tapping the power button of her phone five times. This action would send an SOS SMS with her exact location. Akanksha’s parents are now assured while she has moved to Delhi for further studies in sports.
The security-cum-tracking mobile application called Locate, which was recently re-launched with additional features, has had 1.5 lakh downloads (organically) in the last six months. The Indore-based startup that developed this application has been offered $ 1 million angel funding for the same. However, the founders are more excited by the current traction and plan to keep updating the application so that it becomes one of the best family security tools in the world.
Let there be Locate
Locate is a family connecting application available free on Google playstore (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mobibit.locate). Users can get registered through an authentic mobile number. In case of an emergency, they can press the power button (five to seven times) to send SMS and call to the registered numbers for receiving help. It works even when the application is not in active mode or offline. Users can create a cool SOS widget on their smartphone lock screen to activate SOS services on demand. Users have the option to choose who they wish to be tracked by, and family (or friends) can track each other and exchange their location on Google map.
Does that mean this application is only for smartphones? Surprisingly, it’s for every kind of phone. Even regular feature phone users can know the location of their loved ones. Such users can simply send an SMS with the text "WRU" to the people who have allowed the user to track their location on demand, and an SMS with the recipient's current address and the latitude-longitude will be messaged back to the feature phone users.
Locate is a brainchild of four founders, computer science engineering graduate Pramod Pandey; former CNBC-TV-18 professional Alok Vani; researcher and writer Jitendra Rajaram; and IIT-ISM Dhanbad dropout Shashank Mishra. Their startup Mobibit is a three-year-old mobile applications development company based out of Indore. Pramod founded it in 2012, along with Alok and Jitendra. Pramod is an expert in iOS, Android, WP, and J2Me and credited with developing more than 100 applications in almost all versions of feature and smartphones. Under his leadership, Mobibit has one clear objective – to excel in the field of mobile application and IoT devices for serving users’ pain points.
“Locate is our 20th product. Our products available on Android, iOS, and Opera, have had collective downloads of 20 million so far,” says Co-founder Jitendra Rajaram.
“More than 80% of the Indian apps on Google playstore struggle to reach 10,000 downloads. Only seven-10% of them are making money out of this. That way, Locate has far exceeded our expectations,” says Co-founder Pramod. In mobile app downloads, 30% retention is considered standard. “Currently, we have been able to have 18% retention across all of our products. We will soon reach 30%,” he adds.
However, when it comes to an application like Locate, there are as many as 20 other players globally offering similar services. How’s Locate different? “Our closest rival is, in fact, a US-based application called Life 360. But most of these rivals do not have the kind of detailed customization that Locate has, especially for Indian users. The offline features and the non-smartphone enabling with upcoming group chat in Indian languages, make it stand out as much as its several other unique features do. Moreover, our number of downloads make a strong case of easy user interface,” says Co-founder Alok.
“Locate is just the beginning. We wish to change the entire logistics industry through our mobile app. We will impact families, governments and businesses in India. As of now, we are targeting Kumbh Ujjain fair next year for using and selling the app,” adds Pramod.
“We actually want to focus on location-based products and create five strong products based on IoT in future, having vernacular chat at its core,” shares Alok. But why only five?
“Well, Steve Jobs had advised Larry Page, “Do not get carried away by many good ideas. Just pick five great ideas and make them big. We wish to do the same,” concludes Alok.
Locate has users in the US, India, Egypt, Brazil, and Pakistan as of now. However, it’s the emotional connectivity with a crowd of thankful users, which drives the team that goes by the motto, “Users First, Always.”