Snehanshu Gandhi of Kaagaz tells us about a document scanning and storage app where users do not need to sign in or provide any information to use the app.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Snehanshu Gandhi: I am doing good. The times have been tough in general for everyone, but tough times also present opportunities for us to grow stronger. I have been trying to make the most of these tough times by innovating on our products. I have also got more time to spend with my family and pursue some long-lost hobbies. We’ve also started working completely remotely and hence am able to have a better work-life balance also.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Kaagaz.
Snehanshu Gandhi: I graduated from IIT Bombay in 2007 and worked for a few years in a boutique consulting firm in Mumbai. After that, I went on to do my MBA from ISB Hyderabad. After ISB, I went on to work in the Palm Oil sector in Jakarta. Being in Jakarta, I always wanted to come back to India and give back to my country, and hence I returned in 2015 to start a Home Services venture, Tapp Me.
At Tapp Me, our focus was to create 100s of micro-entrepreneurs in the form of Electricians, Plumbers, Carpenters, etc. At our peak, we did a yearly business of $1 Million, served 100k+ customers, and positively impacted life of 1000+ technicians. However, we had to shut down the business after running for 4 years because of a lack of funding.
While shutting down Tapp Me, I had a medical emergency at home where my wife needed our health insurance document but was not aware where it was, and I was not reachable. That was the push for me to build Sorted AI – a personal information management system. While talking to our users, we realized that the major issue is the high friction step around uploading documents in Sorted AI. Hence, we came out with Kaagaz Scanner – thinking that scanning is an organic part of the business.
Kaagaz Scanner took off, and currently, we have more than 39 Lakh downloads and more than 12 lakh Monthly Active Users.
How does Kaagaz innovate?
Snehanshu Gandhi: At Kaagaz, we are empowering the next billion users who are coming on the internet by providing them simple and easy-to-use Utility Tools. Our 1st tool is a document scanning & storage app where users do not need to sign in or provide any information to use the app. Based on our user requests, we are bringing in many features to make Kaagaz their go-to app for all their document needs.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Snehanshu Gandhi: With the coronavirus, pandemic dependency on products like us has increased as people are staying at home and working/studying out of their homes. Students use Kaagaz Scanner to scan & share assignments & tests, professionals use Kaagaz to scan official documents, and individuals use it to scan and share personal IDs, bills, etc.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Snehanshu Gandhi: When the pandemic started last year, we were still working on a different product called Sorted AI. We launched Kaagaz Scanner in the middle of the pandemic and started getting a lot more traction on Kaagaz compared to Sorted AI. As we were limited in resources, we decided to work actively on only one product out of the two and decided to pursue Kaagaz. One of the important lessons we learned was that as an early-stage startup, we need to be very agile and willing to quickly switch to something else, especially in a pandemic-like scenario, to strive & thrive.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Snehanshu Gandhi: Having decided to work completely remotely as a team, Video conferencing tools have been the most important ones for us. We have primarily been using Google Meet & Zoom. Other than this on a personal front, having a well-planned day has been important for me to strike the right balance between work & personal requirements. For this, I have used Sorted AI to plan my daily activities.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Snehanshu Gandhi: Currently, we are competing with Adobe Scanner, Microsoft Lens, Document Scanner App, and few other scanning apps on the play store. We intend to stay in the game by not being just a scanning app and provide our users with a simple to use, easy, and feature-rich product. We have just gotten cloud storage in the app and are looking to get many more interesting features in the upcoming weeks.
Your final thoughts?
Snehanshu Gandhi: COVID-19 has been an unexpected & unprecedented crisis that most of us have never faced so far and will never face again (hopefully!) in our lifetimes. These have been tough times for everyone, but every crisis also brings us opportunities to come out stronger. We sincerely hope that everyone comes out stronger on the other side & we become prepared to handle any such crisis in a better way.