Do you get the uneasy feeling of leaving your elderly parents unaccompanied when they are out to attend some function or perhaps you are the worried kin of a working woman who has to fight the anxiety of walking through dark office corridors on days when she has to work late.
Founders of TrackMyPhones, Srihari Karanth and Shrinidhi Karanth
Maybe you’re the concerned parent of a teenage daughter engaged in long commutes to attend her coaching classes; or you could face a less threatening, but a troubling issue nevertheless of misplacing your phone or worse – having it snatched by a robber.
Incidents related to crimes and accidents in India have seen a significant spike and therefore in an effort to make this world a safer place for the vulnerable to reside in, a Bangalore-based start-up TrackMyPhones (TrackMyPhones.com), founded in 2016, has come up with 20+ tracker apps loaded with many features that would help recover lost phones, keep a tab on your kins' location to monitor their activity.
It all started as a hobby in 2014, when Srihari Karanth and Shrinidhi, both engineers and coders by professions, developed an anti-theft intruder detection app called Thief Tracker, which takes a picture from the front camera, mails it to the user when someone tries to unlock the device and fails multiple times. Soon they noticed that the app was getting 15,000-20,000 installs every day. That's when the two decided to leave other ideas and concentrate just on Remote Monitoring Apps for anti-theft, Parental Control and Women Safety. TrackMyPhones has over 9 Million Users as of date with more than 2 million pageviews every month.
Founders of TrackMyPhones:
Srihari Karanth and Shrinidhi Karanth, Founders of TrackMyPhones, mention the need for a special tracker app, "Users of 'Thief Tracker' app started sending feedbacks and pictures of thieves that the app has captured and keen on knowing what else the app can do to get their mobile back. That's when we decided to make anti-theft apps. Even keeping track of your loved ones when they are out is an age-old problem. Elders will not know how to use smart phone effectively and send location to their dependants and continuous sharing of location will drain out the already limited battery. Our remote monitoring apps helped solve both problems at the same time."
Features of the product:
'Track My Phone' is one app which helps keep track of location, take picture when one fails to unlock multiple times or whenever there is a SIM change on mobile, Get picture from front/back camera and even enable GPS and Internet if it is disabled on device, all remotely. Women Safety is another app that helps women scare others with loud siren and alert their family with a 20-second video and picture from front and back camera along with sending location as SMS. 'Chat Message Tracker' allows user to track WhatsApp, Messenger, Hangout, Line messages from TrackMyPhones.com website. Tracking Smartphone is another app which has all remote monitoring features built into one.
What makes the product unique?
There are companies that have developed similar apps. On what separates TrackMyPhones with the competitor, Srihari says, "Most companies which develop similar apps have a large team and huge resources (like office space, servers, etc.) and they have to charge customer in one way or another to keep the company going. Since our apps are free the only challenge will be to make users aware of these apps and they will be happy to use it. And our past experiences in similar field help us develop new apps or add new features in a very short duration."
Revenue for the company:
Since all our apps are free the revenue is only via ads. "The expense is around 30k to 35k every month on AWS and hosting. The revenue from ads has seen great growth after the release of new apps since last year. It has grown over 300% since last year." adds Srihari.
Challenges faced by the team:
It’s not that everything was smooth they had their fair share of troubles with security apps. "Anti-theft apps are useful till the thief factory resets the device." Srihari adds, "We are in talks with smartphone vendors to have our app as default stock app so that it can identity theft and alert its rightful owner even after its factory reset." The app allows users to track elder parents or younger kids at home and this could be misused to spy on someone as well. "We have to put checks to prevent misuse and have to be thorough with disclaimers and terms of service/policies. Even for this reason OS vendors make it hard to use some features like calling for help in 'Women Safety' app without unlocking the phone, which many users want us to provide. The Google Play developer policies also keep getting updated regularly and we have to keep modifying our apps, often remove some of the functionality, to avoid getting suspended."
What motivates them:
Srihari quotes marketing genius Ken Blanchard "Feedback is the breakfast of Champions" and shares customer feedback for some of his apps that motivates them to build app for free. "We might not be champions, but great feedbacks from customers is why we have all our 40 useful Apps provided to users for free with no one-time payment or in-app purchases and we have helped our users from locating their lost/misplaced/stolen phone, alerting them about intruder to keeping them updated about their dear one's location. We love when we receive feedbacks of how people lost phones and our app helped them get it back. One user, Matt Gibson, had reviewed, 'Brilliant. Lost my phone whilst walking my dog in the woods. The location it gave for my phone was nearly spot on. it was within 20 feet.'. 'This is really Great. Someone stole my phone and I track it down with this app and recovered it within 2 hours. Person sold my phone to eco-atm, so I called cops and they opened the machine and there was my phone.' says Harish Pithadia for 'Track My Phone' app, Dana, another user of our app says "I love this app!! My daughter's phone has been taken multiple times at school and been missing for days before it shows up. Happened again today, but we found it within 10 minutes!". Or even people catching their dear ones trying to intrude, "Busted my 11-year-old nicking my phone. Love it! I haven’t laughed this much in ages. Brilliant app, works perfectly.".
Srihari adds that many have even asked for address to send gifts and few wanted to talk and thank personally as the apps have helped them in one way or another.
Until six months ago, the twins were running TrackMyPhones, and holding on to their respective jobs. Now, however, they devote all their time on developing new apps and on business development.
“Our aim is to reach 100 million users for existing apps while we continue to make innovative apps for end users and will also look to move to the B2B space to get a stable revenue,” says Srihari.
TrackMyPhones apps are available on TrackMyPhones.com