fun

New Kid on the block

In this startup age, presently residing in Bangalore, I’ve come across quite a lot of tech startups. I myself work at a Unicorn startup, and believe that the average 23 year old youth is the best target audience for these startups. Take my room mate for instance, who uses Ola to commute, Swiggy to order dinner everyday, Doormint to wash his clothes, Amazon to get his latest electronic gadget on time and Paytm to recharge his phone. You get the idea. So in this age, it is no surprise when someone around you decides to come up with a new idea, implements it and even gets funded in the blink of an eye.

One such startup is Genie. I was acquainted with it way before it hit the market because it was started up by a few college mates of mine. Initially, I was a little sceptical as to how they would function and how they would make any money at all. There was this play by our college theatre group Theatron around the same time last year. We were all planning to go and it was a ticketed show. That’s when this guy came up to me and said, “Macha buy tickets via Genie”. I was like, “Huh?”. He said, “We’ve partnered with Theatron to do free home delivery of tickets, and payment can be done online”. I decided to give it a shot. It did take a lot of time and a couple of goof ups to get my tickets then, but I didn’t mind as I was trying to encourage a friend. I was surprised as well, as they didn’t charge anything extra, but realised later that that was part of the ‘customer acquisition’ phase.

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This Genie started to slowly evolve, and became a logistics cum personal assistant shortly. ‘Ask us anything and we shall deliver’ is what they claimed. Shortly after that, I moved to Gurgaon and saw something very similar – Yana. I was wondering, “Okay, so these guys aren’t doing anything special; there seems to be one such startup in every big city”. I then forgot about it, until my mom called me and said the AC in our home wasn’t working and she had a lot of trouble finding a Hitachi service person. I texted Genie then. It had a WhatsApp contact where you chat with it to help get things done. I didn’t even know if Genie would help me there, but it did. The AC was fixed in three days and my mom was impressed.

Out of goodwill, I liked their Facebook page. But didn’t keep track of it that much. But last week, I saw their app on the iOS App Store and was surprised. I decided to check it out and since I was in Chennai, decided to order something. Top of their list was Sathyam butter popcorn plus flavouring and for someone getting sick of the shitty and overpriced PVR popcorn in Bangalore, this was a potential treat. I ordered it and it came reasonably quickly.

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I asked them how they’re different from Swiggy and the likes, and they said they deliver anything from anywhere to anywhere. Not just from restaurants, but even from person to person. They’re a chat based service in which people actually respond to you. Also, they don’t have a location limit.

So the next time I go to Guduvanchery and feel like having chat from Sowcarpet, looks like I can have it. If I want my grandma to send me a box of curd rice from her house, it can be done apparently. Seems exciting enough.

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