What’s the one thing that students want the most but somehow are always running short on? Money. They want money to go to movies, shop, eat at fancy (or not so fancy) eateries but most importantly to pay their canteen dues and pay up the tea-stall owner who has been crediting empty-pocketed students since birds have been chirping, lions have been roaring and Indian parents unanimously have been declining an increase in pocket money. And this older than the hills problem is exactly what Frapp is solving.
Founded in 2015, Frapp is a micro-job platform which is at the forefront of creating a gig economy, students can complete simple tasks on the app and make a quick buck. It also helps students navigate through their college giving them unprecedented access to student benefits, work opportunities, and internships.
Armaan Vanachal, Co-Founder, Frapp shares…
For Students by Students
“According to my family, when I was really young, I was obsessed with trucks and water tankers. If anyone asked me what I wanted to be, the answer used to be a Truck Driver! I can't corroborate this…maybe they're lying,” narrated Armaan Vanachal. “What I do remember, however, is that I have wanted to be an entrepreneur since before I could pronounce that word,” continued the co-founder of Frapp, a community of over a million students and counting.
In the final year of his Bachelor’s degree, Armaan was tasked with creating a business plan from scratch along with a bunch of classmates. And that’s how the idea for Frapp came about and led to the dormant entrepreneur in Armaan, take over the steering wheel. The young entrepreneur explained, “Since I created the business plan, I was itching to execute it and soon after graduating, I convinced a couple of people to become my co-founders and my journey began.”
Initially, the team of co-founders spent a considerable amount of their time learning the ropes, putting together the idea, and building the two most crucial aspects of any unripe business—the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and the team. And that set the base for what is a successful business with over a million downloads on their Android application.
“Currently we're focusing on growing the platform across India and providing more micro-jobs and projects for our users to earn money from. As the jobs become more complex, we are investing in training and empowering our users,” said the champion of student income.
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Entrepreneurs often say that entrepreneurship is nothing but a number of memories—-good and bad—strung together. An agreeing Armaan said, “The first special moment we had was just having our product live in hours and a few days later seeing someone randomly tweet about using it.”
That was just the start for Armaan and his team. They’ve had an accolade-filled business since then. They placed in the top 10 at BITS Pilani's conquest where they pitched to prominent VCs. And to their surprise, one of the VC funds ended up becoming their first investor. Today, they work with the best brands in the country but more importantly, they’re the reason all students can finally pay the money they owe to their designated tea-provider near their college. And that’s a big win.
Moving into their first office is something that was extremely moving for Armaan and Team Frapp. With the business flourishing, they’ve moved into a new office. Retelling the tale of the new office, he said, “I spent my Birthday dealing with Waqar our painter and Ramesh our electrician for the final touches of the new Frapp office, one day before we moved in. That memory was really special!
An interesting anecdote Armaan recounted was that he was recently contacted via Twitter by a group of volunteers working on spreading awareness and combating misinformation around COVID-19. Within 24 hours, Frapp created a project for them on their app where countless users spread the word in their peer circles leading to a large volume of volunteers applying to join the cause. “Moments like these make us really happy,” said the proud co-founder.
…and the Bad
“Challenges are a daily thing - we've accepted that part of our job is to be firefighters and extinguish new fires daily. The biggest challenges we faced initially were to build a solid team, especially around tech. Hiring as a start-up with capital restrictions was very difficult and took us time to get right,” said Vanachal about the challenges faced on their way to becoming India’s largest student community.
Advice for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Entrepreneurship is a long and challenging journey. Find the right people to enjoy it with.
A business is only as good as its plan for the future. And that makes Frapp a great business. “We've changed a lot since we started and we have some ambitious plans for our next chapter. We are creating more opportunities on our platform for people to enter the 'gig economy' and work with businesses across functions such as marketing, research, and operations in an on-demand way,” said the once and future entrepreneur about the way forward for the business.
Over the next few months, Frapp aims to help thousands of users across the country to sign up for projects from companies, get trained, and begin earning money. And it’s exactly how it sounds…FRAPPsolutely amazing!
Armaan’s Take on Life
Ideas, people and society might fail you but if you stay true to yourself, you will always emerge stronger.
About the 21 series:
On the 24th of March 2020, the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi announced a nation-wide lock-down for 21 days to fight the pandemic that is the Coronavirus. Citizens mustn’t leave their homes unless absolutely essential. This series aims to bring to the readers 21 positive stories through this lock-down. Something to inspire them to keep at it and come back out of this horrific tragedy stronger.
If you have an inspiring story or know someone whose story the world must know, get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org