Get Mumbai Bus Information on your Mobile – M4Mum [26K Downloads and growing..]

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If you are a mobile app developer, the first cause of worry is how do I get people to download my apps. Monetization comes a little late in the process, as first you need captive audience to get the ball rolling.

M4Mum is a mobile app developed by Raxit (hacker/contributor @Pluggd.in), who has been toying with several other ideas in the past (including UGC driven poetry site) and earlier, won the Y! hack day competition.

M4Mum does one thing and does it right – the app has put local bus information for Mumbai bus travellers (approximately 42 Lakh people travel in Mumbai buses everyday). You do not need GPRS/SMS to access the data, just download the app and you are all set (works with phones that support Java).

The app takes Source/Destination details from you and suggests the optimum bus information pertaining to your query.

App Download Statistics

First and foremost, the app so far has received ~26,000 downloads just from Airtel app store. The app’s success is primarily driven by mainstream media and a lot of smart things Raxit has done (unintenationally).

  • Nowhere does the app mentions it’s a ‘find bus info’. The app starts with a clear message ‘We Love Mumbai’. Given all the political debate over Mumbai (and lovers of Mumbai), I think it struck a deep relationship with a *normal* user. M4Mum even has a Google group called ‘We love Mumbai’, though any other startup would have started the google group using the brand name.
  • Simplicity of usage. There are Rediff/Yahoo/Goog maps that lets you search for the same info using GPRS. How many *normal users* have activated their GPRS connection? M4Mum solves the same problem in a much simplified fashion – using a simple app that works on pretty much all the phone.
  • Solving Real life problem : Way back in 2009,Raxit asked me if we (i.e. PI) would be interested in a co-branded app.
    I had no idea about the Mumbai’s real life challenge (very few white collar people travel by bus in Bangalore, so difficult to relate to that), but I am surprised to see the uptake. People have forwarded the apps to their friends using Bluetooth etc. The quality of suggestion/requests that M4Mum team has received, speaks of the consumer segment they have reached out to.
    Essentially, they have solved a real life *small* problem and marketed in such a way {I love the ‘We Love Mumbai’ tag} that a common man would like to give the app a try.

The Way Forward

The team is now solving another simpler simple problem, i.e. of finding nearest ATMs. In less than 5 key stroke, you will be able to search for nearest ATM (Mumbai only). If you want to give that app (still under beta) a spin, do leave a comment here and Raxit will send out the app to you.

Surprising part about M4Mum is that Raxit is still managing M4Mum part time!

In my humble opinion, this can’t go for too long. They would need funds for growth and nobody (apart from friends and family) will invest in a part time entrepreneur. More so, part time businesses to a certain extent remains as a hobby thing and magic really happens when you crash full time into your dream.

What has started as just another hack has gathered momentum, and the team now needs to put business brains to figure out the monetization strategy for M4Mum.

The good news about M4Mum is that the team has created value and demonstrated that to a decent extent (so far, 24,000 installation) – the real deal for him would be to go beyond the honeymoon period. The app has seen tremendous success (in terms of downloads), but the real challenge lies in monetization.

Maybe premium services will work? Maybe custom apps for corporate (like banks)?

What’s your opinion?

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