My life as a student was always a case of trying (and often failing) to make ends meet. Life was an endless struggle between choosing to travel by auto-rickshaw or grabbing a drink at the local pub with the best Happy Hour deals. There were so many times when I wished brands would have an alternate pricing method purely for college-going students – we had so much to buy, so much to consume, and such meager resources to fulfill that consumption with.
Fortunately for the next batch of young college men & women, some of my good friends have been working terribly hard over the past year or so in trying to alleviate your plight a little bit; they have been busy creating an interesting little social tool – a mobile application that will facilitate students to avail great exclusive discounts at some of their favorite brands. I’m fortunate enough to have been friends with Armaan Vananchal, Karan Karnik & Niranjan Nakhate
– co-founders of frapp
, who were happy to share some quirky facts about what could easily go on to become the most ground-breaking mobile application for college students.
Q. Describe frapp and what it will mean to the student community
A student’s life is full of tough decisions, choosing between dinner at that premium restaurant and the pair of shoes you just saw online? If this wasn’t enough to stress you out, your exams and submissions means you need a smiley ball or you can just slap your best friend.
Things, though, are about to change. We are altering the way the universe functions, by simply making the world student-friendly. We are giving you ‘frapp’!
‘frapp’ is a social and convenient tool for students to get discounts across the city on their favorite brand. These discounts are not the same one’s which your mom, working cousins and annoying neighbor will get; these are exclusively for the student-community. That college ID with a terrible photograph, which remained in the corner pocket of your bag, will now be put to better use.
We know from experience, how tough our student life was, but as Anne Hathaway said in The Dark Knight Rises, “a storm is coming”, and students, hold your ID cards tight, because your life is about to get simpler, more affordable and surely, better.
‘frapp’ also helps partner brands connect with students in novel, out of the box and engaging ways and helps to generate and leverage brand loyalty.
We are frapp and we are making the world student-friendly.
Q. How’d it all begin?
frapp began to take form as a college project for the final term of the BBA degree at NMIMS University. One of us introduced the other two to the idea and in typical youth fashion, we decided it’d be great to implement it but allowed it to fizzle out momentarily.
After much deliberation and exposing several pitfalls, all 3 of us moved on to taking up our first jobs after graduation. The idea though, as deeply rooted and fascinating as it was, would hardly let us sleep at nights and plague our minds through ceaseless toil at our corporate desks. Eventually we decided to break-up with our jobs and toss the security of a steady income out of the equation to embrace the thrill of entrepreneurship. What originally began as a simple student discount card called ‘student-santa’ went through lot of transformations to eventually become a full fledged application with some really cool features.
Q. Describe some of the challenges the three of you faced while building this product – I understand none of you comes from a tech background and are all fresh management graduates. I’m guessing it must have been uphill all along!
Skills we picked up at college, through the course or extra curricular activities, definitely helped to some degree.
However, when it came to technology, we were as clueless as Amisha Patel looks in her movies. One major problem was the sheer lack of quality resources and sources of information. Most engineering students we’ve spoken to couldn’t really be of much help either – a stark indicator that the stuff we’re being taught at the classroom level is just not good enough.
What’s helped the most is the shared vision we have for the concept and what we want to do with it. Typically, one expects a lot of friction in start-ups, specially in terms of arriving at a consensus. However, our skills compliment each other very well and even though we have heated debates more often that not, the result is usually positive.
One of the major challenges we are facing at the implementation level is the quality of staff we are dealing with at the outlet level.
While the concept of discounts has been around for ages, many outlets have never engaged with a 3rd party discount service before. It is very challenging to ensure they are well trained and informed about the association.
Q. Every Tom, Dick & harry with an ambitious edge wants to make an app these days. What’s your take on this headlong rush?
Honestly, I don’t see necessarily see this as a bad thing. While it does sort of makes brands averse from collaborating with new entrants due to this surge, I think in hindsight it’s great that young people are experimenting with new ideas and innovate ways to do business. We learn a lot from other apps and digital platforms and I think it’s important to always push these boundaries.
That being said, patience and a long term approach are very important. A lot of people ask us what’s different about our product or what’s our USP, a quick google search of ‘student discount’ will show you what an unclaimed space this is. We think our timing is perfect to carve out this niche for us.
Q. What brands are already on board and what can students expect in the near future?
We are just getting started, there’s lots to expect!
We’re currently a beta website that sticks to providing utility – the discounts. The (yet to be launched) app has a whole bunch of features planned which we don’t want to reveal just yet. 😉
Currently, there’re about 20 brands on the website; We’ve tried to approach strategic relationships with brands only after aligning their popularity, utility and relevance to the target market.
Brands are continuously being added to the portfolio – we’d love to hear what brands students want!
Q. Do you guys have any foreseeable plans for hiring, expansion and diversification? Where does frapp go from this solid start?
It’s too early to comment but we’d definitely like to scale-up and go to different cities very soon after the app is launched.
We’re gonna be getting our first batch of interns soon, that should be great! Interns bring along a lot of enthusiasm for the product and since they are from our TG we expect them to bring great insight.
The real hiring process should begin once the application is set up completely on the back-end – from there, there will be no looking back!
Phew! Well, who ever said you can never have too much of a good thing? I’m already lamenting having passed out of college after discovering what frapp is about to bring to the table. That the oldest of these guys is barely 22 years of age, is a remarkable indicator of where the urban youth of this country is going – we are not overwhelmed by the uncertainties of entrepreneurship, we are not fazed by the challenges of an unknown field; if we see an opportunity, we like to dive in head first, and I’m proudly awaiting the launch of this amazing app – who knows, maybe this is just the first of many to come from this talented trio?!
If you’re a student, don’t forget to visit frapp and register yourself for some amazing discounts, exclusively for the pocket-money brigade!
Register Now for Exclusive Student Discounts