Apping it: What the tech-preneurs are fiddling with

India's tech geeks and entrepreneurs talk to ForbesLife India about the apps they've come to rely on

Published: Nov 1, 2014

1.2 million is the number of applications software available on Apple’s App Store, which launched in 2008 with only 500 apps. These little software packages have revolutionised the way we think, function and live. In the Indian startup ecosystem, entrepreneurs rely on apps that streamline their day, both at work or at play. Here are their top picks.

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Image: Bmaximage
VIJAY ANAND, 32
Founder and chief executive, The Startup Centre, an accelerator for early stage technology startups
The entrepreneur insists that he’s not a “keen app user”, but, with some gentle prodding, he admits that there are a handful of apps that he relies on almost every day. They’ve quietly crept into his life, and are a part of his daily routine. His selection of top apps is driven by his love for music and his need to be productive at all times.

Aweditorium
Website: https://itunes.apple.com/en/app/aweditorium/id399946763?mt=8
Service: Free
Platform: iOS
It’s a new music discovery app for users of all things Mac. It locates music that users may not have otherwise come across. Aweditorium collates information and all the content available on an artist and brings them together on a multi-touch display for iPad.


Focus@will
Website: focusatwill.com
Service: Paid (30-day trial free)
Platform: iOS and Android
The developers of focus@will worked with researchers and neuroscientists to stream music that will not distract, but enhance productivity. The company claims that the music it streams can help users concentrate on a task for up to a hundred minutes. Anand relies on this app when he is at work. “It tunes out distractions and the music helps me focus.  It’s my productivity tool.”


Haiku Deck
Website: haikudeck.com
Service: Free
Platform: iOS
It’s rare for the words ‘haiku’ and ‘business presentations’ to be used in the same sentence, but Haiku Deck straddles both, creativity and business. The app’s features can be used to create and share beautiful presentations.

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SAKET MODI, 24
Chief executive of cyber security firm Lucideus Tech Saket Modi’s choice of apps is an extension of his career as a cyber security expert. “Not using apps on smart phones is like using Internet Explorer on a Mac. It will be disastrous. The speed will be slow and experience suboptimal,” he says.

Sleepbot
Website: mysleepbot.com
Service: Free
Platform: iOS and Android
This is an “intelligent alarm”, which does so much more than making loud sounds that can wake the dead. It can monitor sleeping habits, sense movements and sounds made during nap time. It tapes motion and sound graphs to play back sleep talk and snores. It allows users to make notes, identify sleep patterns, and so on. Most importantly, based on this information, the alarm can wake you up when you are not sleeping heavily. Its touted as the future of intelligent sleep management.


Wickr
Website: wickr.com
Service: Free
Platform: iOS and Android
Modi calls it “Snapchat’s daddy”, and with good reason, too. Messages sent on this instant messenger are not only encrypted but can also self destruct. Users can erase messages sent to recipients, but control the time of destruction. The app deletes geo-location and doesn’t allow any conversation to be tracked or monitored. It also allows chats with a group of upto 10 people.


Garageband
Website: https://www.apple.com/in/mac/garageband/
Service: Free
Platform: OS X and iOS
The new GarageBand is a complete music creation studio inside the Mac, comprising keyboard, synths, orchestral and percussion instruments and virtual session drummers. An intuitive interface makes it easy to learn, play, record and create great sounding songs. Modi uses this app to create music.

Apping it: What the tech-preneurs are fiddling with
Image: Bmaximage

Ravi Gururaj, 48
Chairman, NASSCOM Product Council and co-founder, HBS Alumni Angels

Gururaj leads the product council of the IT industry body, and it is his job to identify the next big technology products that are being built in India. The nature of his job keeps him on his toes, and he revels in discovering new apps. His selection of apps encompasses two passions: Music, and the need to keep abreast with local, national and international events. “I have three concentrated circles when it comes to apps—myself, a small community and the community at large,” he says.


Flipboard

Website: flipboard.com
Service: Free
Platform: Android, Windows 8, Blackberry 10 and iOS
It’s like a personal magazine delivered to your doorstep. It sources news in 20 languages, and is used by more than 90 million people world over. Apart from keeping themselves up to date on world events, subscribers can interact with each other on the app’s social networking platform. It allows them to keep abreast with articles, videos and photos that their friends are going through.


Jango
Website: jango.com
Service: Free
Platform: Android, iOS 5.0 or later
A personalised radio service, its technology compiles a music list suited to your likes and mood. Users have to type in the name of an artiste and enjoy a steady stream of recommendations. It accesses genre radio stations such as Top 100, Hot in Hip-Hop and Indie Dance Hits.


Reflector

Website: www.airsquirrels.com/reflector/
Service: Paid (Free trial)
Platform: iOS, Windows and Android
“This is my geeky app ... it mirrors my iPhone onto my laptop,” says Gururaj.  Reflector wirelessly mirrors an iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch screen to any Mac, PC or Android device. You can play games, watch movies, demo apps, or present on the big screen from their iPhone or iPad. Reflector enables iOS mirroring to OS X, Windows and Android.

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Vivek Gaur, 44
Co-founder, Yepme, an online fashion retailer

“Apps are becoming a second nature,” says Gaur, who is constantly scouring the net for new and unique apps. He prefers apps that help streamline his work-life and monitor his health.

Argus
Website: azumio.com
Service: Free
Platform: Android, iOS
Argus turns your iPhone into a fitness device and monitors and manages a person’s physical activities, food intake, workouts and sleep cycles. It collates the information and generates bio-feedback data that helps users monitor their health. It functions like a pedometer, and as long as a person is carrying his or her phone, it will automatically track the number of steps taken every day. “It’s a useful tool for people who are health conscious and are trying to be active,” says Gaur. 

Newshunt
Website: newshunt.com
Service: Free
Platform: J2ME, Symbian, Blackberry, Android and iOS
It provides a platform for more than 85 regional newspapers in 11 languages. NewsHunt has been developed on the premise that people enjoy reading news in their regional language. It supports Hindi, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati, Marathi, Kannada, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu and English.

File Manager
Website: tapmedia.co.uk
Service: Free
Platform: iOS
As the name suggests, this app helps users manage the files that are being downloaded on their iPhones and iPads. It organises and displays downloads on a built-in viewer. “I often download a file only to realise that I don’t know where it’s saved. File Manager makes it very easy to retrieve them,” says Gaur.

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Deepinder Goyal, 31

Founder and chief executive, Zomato, an online restaurant discovery site

For Goyal, apps are a way to make social and work life easier. Going by the apps that he prefers, it seems that his iPhone is as important as his computer.



Tweetbot
Website: tapbots.com/software/tweetbot/
Service: Paid
Platform: iOS, OS X
This app, with its intuitive interface, makes it easy for people to manage their activities on Twitter. Tweetbot has an army of fans who swear by it. Besides facilitating a user’s Twitter activity, it creates and stores drafts, pushes inline notifications so that one will miss a mention or a direct message, has a ‘mute’ option, and even allows people to manage and categorise Twitter users. 


Dropbox
Website: dropbox.com
Service: Free
Platform: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, iOS, Android, BlackBerry OS, others
Dropbox is a free service that allows people to upload photos, documents and videos and share them online easily. An avid user of Dropbox, Goyal says the most important feature is its app. “Someone rightly said, ‘Dropbox is winning the storage wars’. The beauty of it being how simple it is to use,” he says.


Evernote
Website: evernote.com
Service: Free, and souped-up paid model
Platform: iOS, Android, Windows, others
“The best ideas often hit at the strangest times. It’s nice to be able to jot them down somewhere,” says Goyal on why he finds the Evernote app handy. If you have this app installed on your handset, you cannot forget things as it allows you to create notes anywhere, make to-do lists, access web pages, and so on.

(This story appears in the Sept-Oct 2014 issue of ForbesLife India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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