I love a good story, be it through advertisements, movies or an entrepreneur who dared to think differently. I believe in bringing in fresh perspectives -- to a corporate profile or a Facebook post -- like new wine in an even newer bottle. I graduated with a journalism degree from the Xavier Institute of Communications. My weekend rituals involve watching Bollywood movies and reading up on style trends.
Zippr CEO Aditya Vuchi says the idea to start the company came from personal experience
Image: Harsha Vadlamani for Forbes India
“Come till the flyover and I’ll guide you after that.”
“My building is three blocks away from the tower on your left.”
“Take the first right and third left after the signal.”
Sounds familiar? It would. After all, despite a four-line address, hardly any destination in India is reached without a phone call or two. This is a real pain point that Hyderabad-based Aditya Vuchi is trying to, well, address with his company Zippr.
“The idea came from personal experience,” says Vuchi, 36, sitting in his two-floor office in a corporate park in Hyderabad. “I saw a stark contrast between reaching a given address in the US, where I lived from 2002 to 2008, and in India. Here, if I have to leave for the airport at 4.30 am, the cab driver will begin calling me from 3.30 am for directions. I felt there has to be a better way of doing this.”
He began working on the idea in 2013, and by the end of that year, Zippr was launched as a free-to-use platform. It simplifies navigation to a destination using a smart address format—an eight-character alphanumerical code. Once created, the code can be easily shared. It has to be entered on the app or on Google to get the full address and navigation support. “It is an instant address that can be customised and is portable, i.e. even if a person changes homes, the same code can be used,” says Vuchi.
Success, however, wasn’t instant.
With just a few hundred downloads till 2014, the number of customers wasn’t large enough to encourage businesses to add this on their checkout page. The alternative was to first get businesses to adopt the technology, thereby prompting customers to create a Zippr code. This led to tie-ups with companies like Domino’s and GVK EMRI (Emergency Management and Research Institute), which operates the 108 ambulance in 18 Indian states, of which Zippr has integrated in three—Andhra Pradesh (AP), Karnataka and Telangana.
Domino’s began using Zippr two years ago to introduce map- and code-based store locators. “We use geo-location address detection solutions to enhance consumer experience and have partnered with many solutions providers, Zippr being one of them,” says a company spokesperson.
The inflection point came in 2014 when, with the change in government and its focus on smart cities, Vuchi realised that “like Aadhaar was the digital identity for people, Zippr could be the digital identity for addresses”.
Vuchi and his 45-member team spoke to bureaucrats to understand the challenges in ‘addressing’. “We realised that it is a municipality or city level subject. So each city has its own format—for Delhi it is roads, Noida sectors, Hyderabad sub-localities and localities. We felt we could bring a lot of standardisation to it,” he tells Forbes India.
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(This story appears in the 01 September, 2017 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)