App Chronicles: The untold stories of the dark horses of India’s app ecosystem


Born in a small Mumbai suburb, Vaibhav Chavan has always been passionate about mobile gaming. Coming from a modest middle-class family meant he had to put his responsibilities ahead of his dreams and take up a job in the IT sector. Vaibhav lost his job not once but twice, due to volatile market conditions.

However, this setback only rekindled his passion for mobile gaming and strengthened his resolve to pursue his dream. Vaibhav founded a mobile game studio in 2011, focused on making Flash-based games. Aptly called underDOGS, the game studio struck a deal with Spil Games, an international game publisher, in 2015, to publish the startup’s game, Skatelander, globally. Today, underDOGS can boast of a milestone of making 100 games in total, which include self-published as well as client projects.

Not so far away in Bengaluru, Pavan and Vijay Doddavala quit their high paying jobs in the US to put India on the map of successful utility apps. Specialising in image and video processing apps, the duo’s app startup, Outthinking Pvt. Ltd, has developed over 200 photo and video editing applications such as Insta Pic Frames and VideoCollage. The company has seen close to 170 million downloads and 200,000 daily downloads for their apps.

There are many such untold stories of these app entrepreneurs. At the age of 16, Nikhil Malankar had a strong inclination towards a career in game development. Dreams turned to reality in 2013 when at the age of 20, Nikhil along with his batchmate Prasad Kajarekar founded GameEON, a game development company in Mumbai. Today, GameEON has over 70 games with 5 million downloads and a 20-member team.

While the world was busy playing Farmville on their phones, a farmer's son, Narasimha Reddy, started Dumadu Games in 2010. Headquartered in Bangalore, the startup has an art development centre in Philippines and is considered one of the fastest growing cross-platform game development companies, creating top-notch games for iOS and Android.

Then there is Vijayaprakash Rangappa, with a decade of experience in the mobile game industry, and working with key industry players like Disney Mobile and a terrific technical understanding of handsets and platforms, decided to take the entrepreneurial route to follow his passion. He co-founded Mobi2Fun Mobile Entertainment Studios in Bangalore, which is today counted among the top 10 mobile game content providers in India. The startup is known for providing localised games, movie and reality show-based games and traditional games.

It is hundreds of Indian startups such as underDOGS, Outthinking, Mobi2Fun, Dumadu, GameEon, that are today playing an instrumental role in the growth of the country’s app ecosystem. If today, India has become the third-largest market in the world when it comes to Google Play Store downloads, it is not just because of a few chosen big names, but also because of these enterprising, ambitious, yet lesser known, independent app entrepreneurs.

However, their stories of achievements, tribulations, often get drowned in the cacophony of the startup and business world. Bringing to these stories to the fore, is VMAX’s App Chronicles. This short film series narrates the stories of the faces behind India’s rapidly growing app ecosystem. Written and directed by award-winning screenwriter and dialogue writer, Ramendra Vasishth of the 2014 Hindi movie ‘Mary Kom’ fame, the series celebrates the journey of these successful app entrepreneurs.

“App Chronicles are the stories of emerging app entrepreneurs. These are people with sheer raw talent and infinite hunger to make meaningful apps for Indian consumers. India is at a point where soon there will be thousands of such app entrepreneurs. We hope that through these untold stories of battling against all odds, we can inspire the next generation of app entrepreneurs. With App Chronicles, VMAX in its own small way aims to catalyse the growth of the country’s app ecosystem,” said Dippak Khurana, Co-Founder & CEO, VMAX.

VMAX, is a simple yet comprehensive solution for app publishers looking to boost their ad revenue. VMAX is one of leading app monetisation platform in India Southeast Asia.

VMAX hopes that App Chronicles will encourage budding entrepreneurs and young Indians to explore the world of app development and fuel the Make in India movement in the country’s app ecosystem. Season 1 of App Chronicles features five stories which will be released on a daily basis, starting September 20.

You can watch the videos here:

App Entrepreneurs who have a similar story to share can write to and get a chance to be featured in Season 2 of App Chronicles.


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