Want to avoid traffic and choose the fastest route? There is an app for that. Looking for a cab or just for a driver to chauffeur you around? There are apps for both. And then there are so many food apps that users are spoilt for choice. Want the best price for all the multiple apps, again there is an app. We are surrounded by apps and there is something for everything.
Often times, however, there is the problem of plenty. The number of decisions that a consumer needs to make can get confusing. It is all too much effort to compare rates and quality between apps and their services. Looking at this problem, IIIT-Hyderabad graduates Vennela Miryala, Ravneet Singh and Nikhar Agarwal decided to build Bucker.
Bucker acts as a smart-assisting layer for all the different services. Vennela says it helps the consumer reduce the time one spends in searching, comparing and jumping across multiple apps.
Jugaad as all college students know it
As college students, the trio were always short of cash. So naturally they were penny wise, and used referrals and fake email accounts to get first-time discounts and everything in between. But they found that it took them a long time to actually get the discount of a few rupees.
This is was the prime motivation to set up Bucker. Additionally, they noticed how the older generation always called them to get a recharge done for them, or help them book a bus or cab. It is then the trio realised that while they were savvy with apps, their parents weren’t so.
“There are multiple major players trying to solve the same problem, and it makes life complex. The user has to jump across multiple services to figure out where to finally avail what he needs in a cost-effective way. The problem gets much harder when the user has to do this on a tiny mobile screen. We are targeting this exact pain point,” says 21-year-old Vennela.
Working in the shadows
Bucker works in the background to identify the user’s need for a service, makes queries of all services that can fulfill the need, compares results and provides the best option for the user.
All of this is done pro-actively and intelligently so that the user doesn’t have to come to Bucker separately. Instead, assistance is provided to him with a simple pop-up. For instance, if the app recognises that the user is looking for a cab, it automatically compares cabs across all major cab service providers, taking into account their offers and surges to give the best possible option.
With the product and the model in place, the trio now had to get the partnerships right. With the help of their IIIT network they were able to pitch to the different app players in the field.
Bucker follows an affiliate commission revenue model. This means that while it is associated with multiple players in the field, whichever app or service the consumer chooses will pay Bucker.
“What the current app scenario in India lacks is enough understanding of the user behaviour or preference. There are people who only prefer travelling by Uber and wouldn’t travel by Ola or TaxiForSure, irrespective of the price. And then there are college students who need the cheapest possible option. There needs to be different results for such people based on their preferences. We learn the user’s patterns based on their app usage. We keep the user in the centre and knit the services around it,” adds Vennela.
The team claims to have 9,000 users within a span of two months. The app is integrated with over 15 apps, providing assistance across three verticals: cabs, food ordering, and mobile recharge.
Bucker recently closed its seed round of funding led by angels from Silicon Valley and 50k Ventures. Its other backers include Munish Jauhar of IAN, Pulkit Jain of Vedantu, Rohit Narang of Singapore-based 314 Capital.
On their investment in Bucker, Sanjay Enishetty of 50K Ventures says the passion and skill the founding team displayed got them interested.
It’s no surprise that there are startups focussed on aggregating the different aggregators in the market. As of 2015, the total number of apps on PlayStore was 1.6 million and in the app store was 1.5 million. According to Mobiforge, by 2017 the worldwide number of app users will approximately touch 4.4. billion, of which 47 per cent will be from Asia Pacific.
While Bucker aims to solve a relatively recent problem, its revenues are strongly reliant on other mobile platforms and apps, which have the choice to be part of the platform or not. Most of these players in the three segments that Bucker caters to have deep pockets, and can very easily get the consumer base without having to worry about the leaky bucket.
Also, there are players in a similar space: for cab aggregators there is ScootApp and for those looking for the best value there is MySmartPrice. The team says it will restricting itself to segments where the number of players are high, but again only those players that show sustainability will survive the cold winters. So only time will tell how Bucker will evolve and expand its business model.