[Startup Bharat] How these Indore entrepreneurs are solving India’s unstructured addressing system
Most addresses in India are often landmark-based. In the age of ecommerce, when people are ordering everything online – from grocery and food to medicines – they often end up being frustrated explaining their address multiple times to the delivery executive despite GPS trackers.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, have found that due to the unstructured addressing system, India loses nearly $10 billion to $14 billion every year, which amounts to 0.5 percent of the country’s GDP.
Brothers Rajat Jain and Mohit Jain experienced similar problems every time they travelled and had to locate addresses. With an aim to find a solution to this day-to-day problem, the duo decided to launchin May 2021.
The Indore-based startup is an app that offers users a seamless tool to share addresses and lead others to their location. It assigns a unique shortcode to every address, which makes it easy for users to share their location.
The startup claims to be having close to seven million downloads in just seven months, of which 98 percent are android users and one million Pataas are created/tagged in the app.
How it works?
The app shortens the address similar to the way bit.ly shortens bulky URLs to solve the problem of explaining complex addresses.
Pataa gives users the choice of a shortcode, which users can opt for or one can create their own shortcode with minimum seven and maximum 11 alphanumeric characters.
Having a unique shortcode gives a very personalised feel to the user. The process to generate the shortcode is very simple, states Rajat.
“You can create your personalised or customised short code like ^SINGH221 or ^KUMAR100 by dropping a pin on your doorstep precisely up to 3 meters. This is done with the help of a block-based coordinate system. The app allows you to save your complete address details by typing them for the first and last time, along with photos and recorded voice directions from your nearest landmark that suggests the best route to your visitors,” he adds.
The app runs on AWS architecture and is available for Android and iOS smartphones. It’s available in both Hindi and English and has a user-friendly interface.
“We aim to provide every Indian a unique digital address through Pataa. The app is absolutely free of cost because it is our vision that maximum Indians should benefit from it,” says Rajat.
The founders have also filed a novelty research patent on the execution of the digital address code, which is still pending.
Apart from creating shortcode, users can also create extensions for their family members, so that if a family member needs to share the address for some delivery on an ecommerce platform, only that family member will be receiving the notification and not every member of the family. Apart from that, users can also track the visitor in real time through the app.
The Covid-19 impact
Launched during the pandemic, the team also turned the COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity. People in Madhya Pradesh were not able to locate the vaccination centres. The team then volunteered to create Pataas for all the vaccine centres.
“We introduced the ‘Co-Win’ feature, which could inform users about all COVID-19 vaccination centres in Madhya Pradesh, across cities like Indore, Jabalpur, Bhopal, and Gwalior. When the user clicks on the ‘Co-Win’ button and enters a city’s name, he/she gets details like the name, location, the nearest landmark, route, and a photograph of the vaccination centre,” says Rajat Jain.
The feature helped people in these cities locate nearby vaccination centres and avoid missing their assigned time slot.
With a team of 70 members, Rajat emulates the organisation’s core values of leadership, development, and growth. He pioneers ideation and creates a blueprint of requirements, formulates strategy, and guides operations.
A proactive leader, Mohit, who has completed his Master’s in Marketing from the University of Birmingham (UK), looks after the product design, UI/UX, and innovative marketing strategies. He has been instrumental in increasing the organisation’s reach to customers worldwide and establishing value for the brand.
Before starting up, Rajat, who comes with a pharma background, was into his family-owned business, which is into the manufacturing of exotic bath and body products along with his brother.
The market and target audience
Rajat says, anyone who spends time and effort explaining their address is a potential customer.
“Our target audience is the consumer who owns a smartphone and is an avid shopper and calls for frequent deliveries to his doorstep,” adds Rajat.
YS Design Team
In November 2021, the startup raised $2.5 million in seed round from a consortium of HNI investors. It plans to raise another $10 million in Series A round early next year.
Competition and plans ahead
Currently in its pre-revenue stage, Pataa has a number of monetisation plans for next year. While the app will continue to be free for users, the startup aims to build revenue streams across B2B and business to government (B2G) segments.
“We are now launching a B2B solution called Pataa API in the market, which is essentially an auto fill option for addresses on any website. It’s aimed towards all ecommerce websites, ride hailing companies, logistics, food delivery companies, etc.,” says Mohit.
Instead of entering long address details, the customer simply has to enter the Pataa code (^KUMAR100) in the address section and the address will be auto filled.
Another vertical where the startup is making strides is the business to government (B2G) sector. “We aim to integrate Pataa with government departments and services. With the level of accuracy Pataa provides, users can also call for emergency services like ambulances, police, or the fire department without wasting time and save lives,” explains Mohit.
The startup also aims to launch new features mainly in the area of aerial technologies and drone deliveries.
While other players like What3words, Zippr, and e-loc are catering in the same segment, Pataa differentiates itself by having voice directions, landmark tagging with route directions, geotagging, address extensions, and additional instructions for the delivery guy or visitor.