This is the story of a Made-in-India app that gained more than a million downloads thanks to the ban on Chinese apps including camscanner by the Indian government. The Kaagaz scanner, the app that was praised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his speech to Mann Ki Baat, fills the void created by the departure of a popular rival camscanner after it was banned from the Indian market.
Updates from Mann Ki Baat (@mannkibaat) 22 Aug 2020
How it all began?
About a year ago, three friends got together and started building a product in a productivity space called Sorted AI, an AI-powered reminders and tasks app. Snehanshu Gandhi (alumni of IIT Bombay and ISB Hyderabad), Tamanjit Singh Bindra (alumni of AIT Pune) and Gaurav Shrishrimal (alumni of IIT Kanpur), when they heard the call from the PM Modis for Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan and Vocal For Local, they noticed that there was no decent document scanning app available on the App Store. They named it Kaagaz scanner, because an Indian name seemed more appropriate.
Kaagaz unexpectedly grows after camscanners ban
When the Indian government announced the ban on Chinese apps, including canscanner, users started looking for alternative apps, and Kaagaz saw incredible growth within days. In the first three days, the app recorded 200,000 downloads out of almost zero. As of now, the app accounts for 1.2 million downloads on Google Play Store. 70% of downloads come from word of mouth via WhatsApp transfers and social media. Kaagaz became # 2 in productivity on PlayStore within two days of the ban and # 11 overall. As of now, the app sees over 70,000 unique users on the app every day. It has been used to scan over 18 million pages so far in just 2.5 months.
Plans for the application
The developers plan to bring more organizational features to the app to make it more useful. The plan is to include an AI-powered document organizer, a feature lacking in the majority of competing apps. They also plan to add a custom watermark and regional language options to make it more accessible to the masses.
As of now, Kaagaz is the primary focus of Sorted AIs, but they plan to bring more futuristic products to the market soon. They create a suite of AI-based utility tools to manage their daily tasks to make life easier for users.
Recognition by PM Modi, Minister of Education and government entities
Congratulations Snehanshu Gandhi, Gaurav Shrishrimal and Tamanjit Bindra-@IITKanpuralumni for the development of “Kaagaz Scanner” – an application that allows iOS / Android devices to be used as image scanners.#VocalForLocal #AatmanirbharBharathttps://t.co/JSvxuRnO5q pic.twitter.com/V1aXDg002M
Dr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (@DrRPNishank) 22 Aug 2020
#VocalForLocalTech | the # Made in India ‘Kaagaz Scanner App’ recently received special mention in #AatmaNirbharBharatApp Innovation challenge. The app can be used to scan documents like IDs, invoices, etc. Besides English, the app also supports Hindi language. pic.twitter.com/fqci6VZ7TE
Digital India (@_DigitalIndia) August 29, 2020
The PM mentioned that “ India is known as a land of innovators ” and further urged citizens to learn and connect with the award winning apps #AatmaNirbharApp challenge carried out on https://t.co/jaa2zuIvWk. Here are the winning apps in categories like Office, Health, and more. #MannKiBaat pic.twitter.com/czrBvO2Gbo
MyGovIndia (@mygovindia) August 30, 2020
Lack of healthy competition and sad attitude of Indian customers towards native applications
In an interview with OpIndia, Shrishrimal said that there are some big players in the app market and most of the time it becomes more difficult for start-ups to compete with them in terms of marketing. As small start-ups lack the financial means to market their product, most of the time their applications go unrecognized by the masses, even though they are better than the applications developed by the big players. With this situation in mind, the ban definitely helped Sorted AI get noticed by the masses. Still, the team behind Kaagaz believes there should be an opportunity for healthy competition in the market.
The other problem that developers face is the sad attitude of users to trying new native apps from Indian start-ups. Even though app developers claim to have better options, it’s not easy to convince users to at least try it and then decide which app is the best in terms of features and ease of use. Shrishrimal said it is fortunate for the tech industry that the Indian internet market is growing exponentially. Investors are showcasing the internet in tech products made in India, and with better infrastructure and sharp young minds, India’s tech industry is catching up with the rest of the world. Now it is up to the users to show their support for these India made apps so that they can do better than their global counterparts not only in India but also in the international market.
You can download the app from here.
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