The impact of the digital revolution is being felt across all industries, and has certainly made its mark. The rise of digital technologies, and growing customer expectations in the service space are driving the need for greater digital capabilities and a more seamless digital experience. Friday talked to the digital leaders of Nepal, to find out more about the ongoing digital movement in Nepal.
Arun Kumar Raut, Founder, Third Wheel
In a city crowded with two-wheeler, like Kathmandu, bikes are the representation of one of the hottest innovations in urban transportation in Nepal. However, keeping your bikes in top shape and running smooth, can be challenging, especially for those who aren’t keen for bike repair, and for those who are too busy to be waiting on line for the same. “The concept of Third Wheel came from a general experience of the hassle of having to take a leave in the office hours, make a trip to the workshops and wait in lines for hours to repair the bikes.” says Arun Kumar Raut, founder of Third Wheel, who aims to provide a full ecosystem of best servicing to the riders and build more professional and flexible workshop solutions. Arun Kumar Raut added, “ To make bike repairs and servicing more convenient, and quick, Third Wheel further plans to add six more service centers in the upcoming years.”
Niket Agrawal, Co-founder, BHOJ
Established in 2015, by two enthusiastic entrepreneurs, Rahul Bajaj and Niket Agrawal, BHOJ initially was all about making restaurants meet their customers directly, a platform where restaurants can offer their discounts and deals. “The rise of popularity among the foodies led BHOJ to add our own delivery service, which was launched in mid 2018.”, says Niket Agrawal. With no minimum order value, free delivery for orders above Rs.1000, and quick delivery around Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur, the convenience for the customers, through Nepal’s largest foodie app, BHOJ is highly commendable. BHOJ also has a BHOJ wallet that gives you credits with every order. You are getting cashback, which you can use to pay for your next order. Another thing that sets BHOJ apart from the others is that there are in-dining offers on their app that you can present while dining at their partner restaurants to get exclusive discounts. Other interesting features of the app includes app notifications and Live Rider Tracker that keeps you updated of your order through constant notifications and also track the Bhoj Rider at real time. The newest addition to the app is the ‘Scan & Pay using Bhoj Wallet’ at restaurants where you can pay for your bill using the Bhoj Wallet. With all these services that constantly make it easier for the customers to enjoy their favorite foods at their own convenience, it’s no surprise Bhoj is climbing up the ladders fast.
Nikita Acharya, Co-Founder, UG Bazaar
Nikita Acharya with her co-founder, Kiran Timalsina thought of coming up with an e-commerce platform as it was a booming industry then, though not that developed in the Nepali market. Both of them being students had a zeal to start-up with a revolutionary idea and this was how Urban Girl came up with just a small investment, and dealing the products like jewelries and accessories. Today, UG has grown to a family with 45+ employees and deals with many products like fashion accessories, shoes, bags and cakes. By 2017, she also came up with customization where UG started dealing with customized cups, t-shirts and other items which also got quite famous among the youths. Nikita considers the expansion itself as her biggest achievement and the team that got built with ugbazaar.com. She says, “Many challenges came but each of them was taken as an opportunity where we eventually kept growing and expanding.Nikita aims to expand outside Kathmandu as well and is looked upon as one of the successful women entrepreneurs in the nation. She strongly believes that age doesn’t matter when it comes to doing something great. Its always the zeal to do that matters.
Minesh Rajbhandari, General Manager, Cheers
Cheers is the first Nepali venture that makes use of online platforms to sell alcoholic beverages and other similar products. “We came up with the idea for Cheers as we realised that necessity and engagement of Nepali people in digital platforms. Cheers was an attempt to capitalise on this trend and to offer something different to the users.”, says Minesh Rajbhandari. Established in 2016, Cheers now, has over 500 products ranging from beverages, mixes, and tobacco along with different types of liquor such as vodka, gin, wine, and whiskey along with many others. Minesh added, “With an aim to provide a quick and convenient solution to all liquor needs of its customers, Cheers gets its products directly from the manufacturers, so the price is often cheaper than retail stores, and are delivered in approx. 37 minutes to your doorstep.” For now, he says, Cheers is working on their trail app, which is available at the Google Play Store, to facilitate their customers even more.
Adhip Poudyal, Founder and Executive Director, KULLABS
Actively imparting education for the last five years, Kul Techno Lab And Research Center (KULLABS) has successfully brought a digital revolution in the education sector of Nepal. “KULLABS was brought to existence solely to replace bulky books and heavy bags with light digital devices, and provide a trust worthy learning source to the Nepalese students.” explains Adhip Poudyal. For students of classes 6 to 12, KULLABS has made it easier to study with inclusion of digitized components of the Nepali school curriculum as designed by the government. The education materials available on KULLABS is actually finalized through years of research and hard work by experienced, and certified teachers. Now, KULLABS has over 300 employees and its platform is one of the most visited educational website in Nepal, which imparts a learning platform for students of any level and any subject. Adhip says, “ The KULLABS team envisions to make an impact by providing the best education materials through the digital platform, and expand the use of e-learning in Nepal.” KULLABS further plans to expand their content to Bachelors and Masters level, and also host online training for teachers, with an intent to save both time and money over traditional training methods.
Manish Modi, Managing Director, Khalti
A year ago, Janaki Tech launched Khalti as a “one stop payment gateway” to let users seamlessly conduct numerous transactions including paying bills or buying tickets. we were tempted to introduce a digital payment system in Nepal. “Though payment industry was taking a huge leap across the world, digital payment ecosystem was yet to be explored in Nepal. We felt it was high time to bring a digital movement in the payment industry.”, states Manish Modi. Among hundreds of companies, Khalti was among the four winners at Google Business Group Stroytelling Contest, which proved that the start-up indeed was ready to make an everlasting impact. Through Khalti, the team worked to bring a solution for instant, secure and hassle-free online payments in Nepal, from recharging your mobiles, paying bills,to booking tickets wherever you are and whenever you want. Manish further added, “In the near future, we want to provide the convenience to Nepalese people of using their Khalti wallet for every single payments, and become the best payment gateway of Nepal.”
Aalok Subedi, CEO, VZeal Technologies
The idea of Buy Raksi, an online alcohol delivery came from the fondness of craft beers, which then, were not available in Nepal. Buy Raksi, under VZeal Technologies came into existence to cater liquor, especially craft beer to a niche market of expats and alcohol lovers, with a sense of security, and ease. Making varieties of Craft beers, wines, vodka, whiskey, and many more easily available
is what sets Buy Raksi apart from others. “ We try our best to bring liquors that are not available in the general market, and deliver it to your doorsteps, within a time period of 30 minutes within Ring Road, Kathmandu.”, says Alok Subedi. Along with liquor, Buy Raksi also delivers sitan, that includes snacks, and carbonated soft drinks.
Roshan Lamichhane, COO, eSewa
Ruling the online payment industry since its inception in 2010, e-Sewa has been able to gain a huge audience in its early years of operation throughout Nepal as the rate of internet usage surged drastically in the past decade. Using the miraculous online platform, Biswas Dhakal, Asgar Ali, and Subash Sharma came up with the idea of making payments from the comfort of one’s home or office without having to visit the physical cash counters where queuing up still takes a long time. eSewa, the first online payment gateway in Nepal has been able to extend its reach to almost all kinds of consumer payments like the internet or mobile top-ups and recharges, utility bills, travel and tour bookings, cinema tickets, school and college fees, and such, and is now used by many. The digital movement in Nepal made through eSewa is a commendable one, seeing how the beneficial services of eSewa has now become an absolute necessity. “The fact that we got to witness the impact that we made in the Nepalese society through eSewa always makes me proud, and drives our team to make more progress in the upcoming days.”, adds Roshan Lamichhane
Sixit Bhatta, Co-Founder, Tootle
“Tootle came out of boredom, we were doing some other projects, which didn’t work, so we were
bored and wanted to create some location based services to track Sajha buses, and created an app
‘sabaiko sajha’ as a prototype, and later, thought we could use the same foundation to create a
ride sharing platform, and hence we worked several months to create Tootle.”, explains Sixit Bhatta.
The main objective of tootle is to create a platform that can enable everyone with the ‘freedom to
move’ which is also their brand promise, this is important because our city lacks mobility infrastructure, and many are restricted in their freedom to movement, particularly the people living with disabilities, women are the most vulnerable, and hence, Tootle offers accessibility features in the app that allows even the visually impaired to move using tootle. On the other hand, the biggest objective also is to create jobs for thousands of people who are leaving the country, creating a platform where they could easily make a sizable income and hence, do not have to go out is our objective too. Tootle has indeed proved to be a go-to-app that has helped people in terms of both employment, and service immensely.
Lino Alhering, Managing Director, Daraz
One of the largest shopping sites across Nepal, Daraz has proved to be a successful e-commerce venture in Nepal. “Daraz started with a man, and today it has grown to almost 300 people that we are now. After getting together with Alibaba, I feel we have grown much more professional, within a very short but meaningful time period.”, says Lino Alhering. Now, with the best technologies from Alibaba, Daraz has really upgraded its level in the e-commerce industry. Daraz now operates with AI system to make sure that their users see the product they are interested in. There’s also personalization for sellers for them to participate in most of campaigns. Marketing is all streamlined right away from when sellers decide to participate to the customer experience. In upcoming Nepali New Year, Daraz is coming up with a big campaign of the year. Throughout the year, Daraz is looking forward to make sure it never gets boring and there will always be new and exciting deals coming up.
Ankit Raj Khatri, Sr. Marketing Executive, Foodmandu
Established in 2010, the concept of Foodmandu came into existence, when Founder and CEO of Foodmandu, Manohar Adhikari felt the need of quick, and convenient online delivery service, when it comes to food. “Foodmandu aims to provide people with their favorite cuisines, from their favorite restaurants, while advancing the booming digital platform of Nepal.” says Ankit Raj Khatri. With 280 plus restaurants as their partners, Foodmandu undeniably is catering the foodies, in the best way possible. Foodmandu’s growth, and success in the past nine years, have set an example for aspiring entrepreneurs, and further plans to expand their range to the major cities of Nepal, in the future days.