2014: A popular app in Nepal acquired by a technology company
By NLRC Staff, July 2014Contents
An app developed by two individuals in Nepal got acquired by a technology company. According to an article published in Kantipur, the acquisition included an upfront payment of USD 20,000 and a payment of 10% of the revenue generated by the app over the next ten years, to which the article estimated that the total price tag of the acquisition, including the cut of the revenue, would be about USD 100,000 (1 crore Nepali rupees.)
While there have been other similar success stories in the app development sector in Nepal, we have picked this story as a representative story that highlights the new opportunities and achievements in the field.
This symbolic acquisition signals a new frontier in the field of technological advancement that can be achieved in Nepal and provides a source of inspiration to many technology enthusiasts in Nepal to follow their passion in technology and make them believe that sustainable endeavors can be pursued by providing technical solutions to local Nepali needs.
About the app
Chandra and Eliza Shrestha developed the Android app, Nepal Loadshedding Schedule, to provide an easy way to find details about the schedule of the frequent power cuts in Nepal. The article mentioned that, in terms of metrics, the app was downloaded over 500,000 times in less than two years after its initial release and the Institute of Engineering (Kathmandu) graduates were making USD 500 every month (a good side income when compared to living costs in Nepal) from this free app from advertisements. The article noted that when Chandra brought a smartphone while he returned from the US, Eliza suggested developing an app to help them navigate the details of the power cuts, and that they developed the app in two days.
Popular apps getting acquired by companies is common these days, but a niche app, that provides solutions to a local need and that is developed by individuals in Nepal, getting bought by a technology company is an encouraging news.
Except for the major cities, the majority of Nepal has skipped the entire landline generation and now the mobile network is widespread even in remote parts of the country that do not have access to roads or power. Smartphone penetration and access to Internet has proliferated as the mobile network has improved. Ability to use Nepali directly on their phones has brought another group of Nepali, who do not know English, into the ever-expanding circle of mobile phone users. This has presented tremendous opportunities to deliver solutions to their local needs via phones at a low cost, from delivering basic information to conducting business.
The benefits are two folds. When the article quoted one of the developers as saying, "It is a matter of pride for us to see the app downloaded over 500,000 times in less than two years," it echoed the first benefit such innovations provide. With such solutions, the solution providers have found reasons to take a pride in their work while helping people and solving their own local problems. In addition, as more and more such products, that can solve local problems, have reached the people, more people, especially the young, have gotten inspired to pursue the field. The news of this acquisition and other similar stories have also meant that, even in Nepali's context, such endeavors can be pursued in a financially sustainable manner.
These are exciting times to be in technology, which is no more limited to technical fields. We have seen the penetration of technology in non-technical fields. In Nepal's context, this has even more meaning because the traditional obstacles, like the roads, which stood in the way of delivering benefits to the underdeveloped rural areas, now are not as big of a hindrance in delivering the benefits of access to information and ability to connect and transact with a wider circle. In Nepal, access to information and proliferation of mobile technology has promoted an environment of innovations and newer ideas.
Shresthas' success in innovating a user friendly solution to a local need and the news about their app getting acquired by a technology company has also become a source of inspiration to the Nepali community in the technical field, especially to those who are in the app development sector. We hope that their success will encourage the development of better infrastructure to support such innovations. One of the challenges the current Nepali community in the field face is the lack of smooth processes to make or receive online payments internationally, which has put the Nepali community at a disadvantage while competing globally. We hope that the success stores like Shresthas' will facilitate in addressing such challenges and making the field more attractive to the younger generation.
Congratulations Mr. Shrestha and Ms. Shrestha on your achievement and thank you for being a role model to many. Your success story will inspire many others in the community to craft their own success stories.
 Ghimire, Lilanath. "Bikyo loadshedding app" [Load shedding app sold]. Kantipur [Kathmandu] 20 Jul. 2014. Web. 25 Jul. 2014.
About Success Stories
The Success Stories series features achievements by individuals or groups from or with ties to Nepal. In addition to highlighting the contributions to the society, the Success Stories series hopes to promote the inspiration these achievements provide among the community.