16 Incredibly Successful Apps Created By Indians - Homegrown

16 Incredibly Successful Apps Created By Indians

The evolving needs of the urban dweller have expanded the concept of basic needs to include the smartphone, at least in parenthesis, with mobile technology tearing up the virtual world with its lightning-speed reach. The post-PC era has heralded the microcomputer's growing presence, populated by applications; today, an unmistakeable part of our lives, highlighted recently by the massive role that social media played in the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections. With the number of app downloads in India expected to grow to 9 billion by 2015, we decided to take a breather from the 'smartphones/dumb users' rhetoric to scout the vast scope of mobile technology and zero in on apps designed right here in India, that have gone on to create massive buzz globally.
Here are 16 such indigenously-designed apps, that have sky-rocketed in reach and gone on to create waves internationally:

I. Linkedin Pulse

Developed By: Alphonso Labs, founded by Stanford University graduate students Ankit Gupta and Akshay Kothari.'Launch Pad', a course for aspiring entrepreneurs that challenged students to create a product in the course of 11 weeks, is where the idea for the app originated, stemming from self-proclaimed news junkie Akshay Kothari’s dislike of how he had to view several different apps to get the news he wanted to read. He started wondering whether they could collate content from different news sites and – using RSS feeds – create a clean, functional and aesthetic-looking app. "The first week of class, we decided we're going to do something for our iPads, and we released our app in six weeks," Kothari, co-founder and CEO of Alphonso Labs, said. "It's been a truly exciting ride, and we hope it stays like that."
The app got the ‘biggest stamp of approval’ it could have unexpectedly when Steve Jobs mentioned it onstage at Apples developers conference in the year of its development, in 2010 and early last year, Linkedin acquired Pulse for a whopping $90 million, post-which it has become Linkedin Pulse, a news app that highlights how ‘news and information can make every professional moment’ count. Although this initially upset everyone – especially due to the removal social plugins – the customisable feed allows you to pick from hundreds of sources including Linkedin Influencers and check out what’re trending from professionals across the world. In the age of information explosion and mobile technology, this is an app that’s managed to truly grow into its name, and keep track of what really takes in the market.
Get it here: Android & Apple

II. 360 Panorama

Developed By: Occipital

You've got to admire the swag in a tagline like, 'The future called. It wants its panorama app back.' Multiple still shots which are later stitched together are a thing of the past because real-time is what 360 Panorama is all about. Thanks to an advanced vision-based system that analyses images as they are pushed through, 360 degree panoramic photography is a reality thanks to Indian-based Occipital. All you have to do is tap the screen and pan your device in any direction, and watch as your panorama is built with every constituent incoming frame as it gets processed. Once you've turned a tight circle, you can instantly save your panorama or share via email, Twitter, or Facebook.

Some useful tips to make your panorama the prettiest it can be include making as tight of a circle as possible, in one pass, and choosing good light. If you are stuck with low light - move, pause, move, pause; because ain't nobody got time to stitch.



Developed By: Bangalore-based Dextera, one of the biggest names on the Indian App market today. Dextera was co-founded by classmates Narayan Babu (CEO), Nithin John (CIO), Binil Antony (CMO) and Aibin Varghese, all of whom studied in KMEA engineering college in Kochi.

Imaginary friends have acquired a renewed importance in the age of mobile technology, with Apple's Siri followed by 'Iris' for Android, a cheeky voice-recognition device in answer to Siri, developed by Dextera within a jaw-dropping 8 hours of the former's release.

"It started out as a lazy Friday with half our team missing, the influx of tweets and posts on the ‘Awesome Siri’ were flying everywhere,” read the company blog on October 14, 2011. “Suddenly, I got the urge to do something similar for Android. Since we have been working on NLP and Machine learning for over an year now, I had a crazy belief that I could pull this off. Somehow I managed to write a tiny engine that could answer your questions, digging the results from the web.”

And answer our questions it does - right from what you should eat for dinner today, to the meaning of life. Although you will spend a lot of time narrowing down your question to get the correct answer, you can't deny how much fun it generally is, at least at the beginning - not to mention how much time it saves. Although a lot of Siri clones have cropped up now, this was the first retort to Apple that let Android users climb onto the bandwagon that made virtual personal assistants commonplace, and made you vaguely uncomfortable as you watched 'Her'. US-based Quixey, an app discovery service, acquired the Bangalore-based start-up Dextera recently this year, which is also responsible for the app Friday.

Dextera has currently unpublished the app from Google Play because they are working on an updated version, slated to be back with improved features soon.

IV. Magzter

Founded By: Girish Ramdas and Vijayakumar Radhakrishnan

Digital newstands have become a norm today, with information accessible at the tips of your perpetually-tapping fingers and Magzter is spearheading the digital movement, having revolutionised the reading experience. Initially a Chennai-based venture launched in June 2011, it is today headquartered in New York with a business model that makes it easy for publishers to distribute digital editions of their magazines globally with no upfront cost. Over 1500+ leading publishers upload their content on Magzter and the stand offers you a staggering 3,500+ magazines from 50 countries in electronic form to choose from. Publication houses have thus been able to shift from print to digital with one click, making Magzter a path-breaking app providing a world-class reading experience, on an international level. Readers can take their time and browse, preview and purchase magazines and books of their choice with a single touch and read them on upto five of their chosen smart devices.

"I want to make it the YouTube for reading," says Ramdas of Magzter, explaining that the shift in headquarters from Chennai to New York was due to all the major global publishers being located there. Today, they also have offices in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Cape Town, Hamburg, Paris and Singapore, with a whopping 25% of magazines on Apple's newsstand today are populated by Magzter. Magzter operates with 80 employees, made possible by the high level of automation. An idea that gained momentum has snowballed into what is today, the world's largest and fastest-growing digital magazine, bookstore and newstand.

Get it here: Android & Apple

V. Zomato

Founded By: Deepinder Goyal, CEO and Founder of Zomato Media Pvt Ltd

A brainchild of Deepinder Goyal, Zomato was originally called Foodiebay. A post-graduate from IIT-Delhi, Goyal was joined by his juniors from college, Pankaj Chaddah and Gunjan Patidar, both of which serve Zomato as the Chief Operating Officer and the Chief Technology Officer respectively. Zomato actually saw rather modest beginnings though its gargantuan status today would be quick to fool you otherwise. It has to be said that their release of the app to coincide with the wave of smartphones in the country was impeccable - not to mention hitting our weakness with the onslaught of menus. While working with Bain and Company, Goyal put all his office menu cards on the internet, which ultimately gave him the idea for Foodiebay. And once his juniors joined him, they quickly set up database. Foodiebay was launched in July 2008, and by 2009, they covered over 2,000 restaurants in three major cities: Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. In 2011, the app was launched for iOS, Windows, Android and Blackberry devices with the objective of providing detailed information about the restaurants: the prices, what they serve, the delivery services and its timings. They also succeeded in occasionally making us cry with the sheer extent of their database.
In 2012, they expanded to all major cities across India and their first overseas location in Dubai, followed by Sri Lanka, Qatar, the United Kingdom and South Africa. It was then that they decided to change their name, as they wanted to avoid legal hassles with Ebay (as Foodiebay had “Ebay” in it). Soon, it was changed to Zomato. Today, Zomato is an online and mobile restaurant search and discovery service, providing in-depth information for ~300,000 restaurants across 19 countries. Zomato is present in over 100 cities across India, the UK, Ireland, Canada, Lebanon, UAE, Turkey, New Zealand, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, South Africa, the Philippines, Portugal, Brazil, Chile, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Qatar; a constant resource that is every rumbling stomach's reflexive refuge.
Get It Here: Apple & Android

VI. Foursquare

Developed By: Foursquare was co-developed by Naveen Selvadurai and Dennis Crowley. Born in Chennai, Naveen went on to graduate from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and worked with huge companies like Lucent, Sony, Nokia and Sun Microsystems before developing Foursquare.

Foursquare is a location-based app that lets users interact with their environment. With over 45 million registered users, the app uses the phone’s GPS system to track the locations and has bestowed the status of 'mayor' on anyone who has frequented a particular spot often enough, an inside joke (which is coveted with an intense seriousness) amongst Foursquare users. The app is not restricted to a particular country either, and serves Worldwide. It is available in English, German, French, Indonesian, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai, Japanese and Turkish.
Get It Here: Apple & Android

VII. World Newspapers

Developed by: Abhishek Kumar

Reading will truly never be the same again, if this shift from print to digital fully goes through - but you have to admit, however grudgingly, that it does have its advantages. World Newspapers gives users easy access to thousands of newspapers in over 105 countries. Your excuses for not keeping up with the news will quickly start running out with an app with a reach like this - you can browse by categories, country, most popular, web news magazines and videos, and you can even read offline once you charge the web version online and click on "Menu" and then "Save article".  This is an app that has basked in the number one spot within the News category, and even includes some well-known blogs, also supporting video news and including a RSS reader. Social media plugins are key in today's day and age, so sharing news is just a click away with the app's integration with Facebook, Picasa, Dropbox and Twitter.

Abhishek Kumar, the man behind the app, is an individual developer who's focused on the creation of some apps related with news and puzzle games as well.

Get it here: Android & Apple

VIII. Trip38 

Developed by: Sesh (ex-head, travel & retail vertical at Sapient Europe), Niranjan Gupta (co-founder of Via.com) and Markish R (ex-CTO of MagicRooms).

For every traveller hassled over their itinerary, and sorting out the mundane details of being in transit - Trip38 landed on the scene (and your application store) to make your life easier. All you have to do is put in your flight information/hotel confirmation emails to them, and they will remind you with timely updates with the travel chores so that you can focus on the real thing! Trip38 sees huge potential in the post-booking stage of a trip by using social, mobile and location based services to help travellers find destination information; the app creates an itinerary also finding destination-specific details like attractions, places to see, restaurants, local events, weather, taxi booking details, local embassy etc. The best part is, it even works completely off-line. The best of travel, consulting and technology combine to make your trip the best possible that it could be, with real-tome local content coming to you irrespective of how and where the booking has been done. Trip38 has a presence in the UK, with product development being done in Bangalore.

Get it here: Android & Apple

IX. Hike Messenger

Developed by: Bharti Softbank(BSB)

With the advent of instant messengers on phones like Whatsapp, Wechat and Viber, text messaging is definitely an anomaly that requires specific mention today. Developed through a venture between SoftBank Corp. and New Delhi-based Bharti Enterprises Pvt. Ltd, the Hike app was launched in December 2012 within two months of which the company raced to #1 on the Android Playstore. By Feb 2014, the app had hit the 15M user mark and 5 months later, it had reached the 20 million users - a phenomenon success many attribute to the privacy the app offers, along with other features that cater specifically - culturally and infrastructure-wise - to a local demographic. Overtaking brands the likes of WhatsApp and Facebook, Hike has really made an impact in the industry, clocking in over 20 Million users and is now adding over 300K users per day.

Kavin Bharti Mittal, Head of Product and Strategy, says, "We’ve made a tremendous amount of improvement to the product over the last year especially for our users on 2G networks and low-end smartphones which now accounts for a majority of user base. It’s also become quite clear to us that in India, one size doesn’t fit all given the diverse nature of the market. We’ve built unique features, keeping in mind the diverse market. The uptake of our new features and innovations prove that the market wants more than what has trickled down from the West."

It is their ability to have been able to capitalise on this, that has resulted in the maddening popularity of the app.

Get it here: Android & Apple

X. Friday

Developed By: Dextera, the Bangalore-based company that also developed IRIS. This was the first app they developed, an endeavour that was kicked off when they were broke. Such is entrepreneurship.

Binil says, “We started working on basic prototypes for Friday App for the Android and BlackBerry platform, but we soon had to disown the BlackBerry version, as the Canadian manufacturer was yet to get their act together.”
Possibly derived from the term “Man Friday”, Friday is your very own personal assistant on your phone. It keeps track of, and provides information about, your phone activities throughout the day. Dextera, which also created IRIS, a rival for SIRI, have gone a step further by creating a masterpiece in Friday. The app keeps a track on everything you do on your phone and helps you retrieve anything with a single command. With close to 7 million users already, the app is growing quickly and gaining popularity by the minute.
Get It Here: Android 

XI. Shifu

Developed By: Prashant Singh (Product & Partnerships), Michael Massey ( Server & Analytics ), and Deepansh Jain ( Client Side Development ). 
Like Friday, Shifu is the Alfred to your Batman. A to-do and task management app, it observes your phone usage and reminds you of tasks that need to be undertaken. Say hello to productivity! Or goodbye to your excuses for procrastination, anyway. This is kind of like an evolved version of your old Microsoft Help Assistant from the 90's. This app has various features that are location and WiFi based: for eg, if you note down that you need new Adidas shoes, Shifu uses GPS and alerts you when you’re close to an Adidas store. The app, which has over 50,000 downloads already, is destined to be one of the best in the near future.
Get It Here: Android

XII. Signeasy

Developed By: Sunil Patro, who is an IIT graduate and ex-Microsoft employee. He also boasts a Master’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Purdue university in USA. Signeasy is an app that lets you sign documents digitally from anywhere in the World. A pioneer in mobile signatures since 2010, it saves time and energy and provides professionals worldwide a secure solution, which maximises their productivity. The idea came about when Patro lost precious vacation time looking for a printer for documents that required his signature over an e-mail. It was then that he realised the need for a document-signing app, and thus, he came up with Signeasy, which has since gone on to cross over 2 million downloads.
Get It Here: Apple & Android

XIII. Game Your Video

Developed By: Global Delight, an app making company based in Upupi, Karnataka.
Game your video is a real-time video recording and editing app for your iPhones and iPads. The multiple award-winning app (which is free for download, by the way) lets users make alterations on the videos on the go with a simple touch of the button. Still don’t get how it works? Seeing is believing.
Take a look here:

Get It Here: Apple

XIV. Night Stand HD 2

Developed By: Spoonjuice, created by Sourcebits, a company that is the brainchild of Rohit Singal.Singal, weirdly enough, is an MBBS and MD, but his love for technology led him to create Sourcebits soon after his graduation in 2006. It all started during his MD course, when his institute was looking to create a communication software. While major companies quoted as much as $1 Million, Singal created the same software for his institute for just $100,000. After a few months of struggle, his first creation that took off was “FunBooth”, something that every Macbook user is well-versed with, and he hasn’t looked back since.
Known as the best alarm clock for the iPad, Night Stand HD 2 is a ‘gamified’ clock that tracks your sleeping patterns. It has various features like Aggresive Alarms, increase snooze volume, and customisable snooze. Perhaps, the most addictive feature of the app is the fact that each time the user wakes up early, they gain points, which they can cash in to unlock various themes. In addition to that, one can also use songs as alarm tunes as well as receive information about the weather too.
Get It Here: Apple

XV. VuClip

Developed By: VuClip was cofounded by Nickhil Jakatdar and Zhigang Chen.
A university of Pune graduate, Jakatdar got his master’s degree from the University of California and it was in college itself that he started working on his company as it was a part of his thesis for a Ph.D. Although he merely invested in the company during its inception in 2006, he joined full time in 2007 and has enjoyed tremendous success with it since. 
Imagine something like YouTube – only without the buffering. That’s exactly what VuClip is. It allows the user to watch any kind of video on any network on any platform. However, unlike YouTube, it reduces loading time and cuts out the buffering. It also lets online publishers and content owners make their video content available on mobile devices through a white-label API program. The app is widely used throughout the world on various devices and has as many as 120 million users per month.
Get It Here: Android

XVI. Newshunt

A winner of numerous awards, Newshunt is probably the fastest growing app in India today.It recognises that a lot of people like reading in their regional languages, and today offers 87 papers in 11 languages for your leisurely perusal, including Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati, Marathi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and English. In addition to that, it also provides one with ebooks in over 50 languages. With over 40 million downloads and a billion views to its name, Newshunt is definitely the next big thing on the Indian app market.
Get It Here: Apple & Android


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