From New Delhi to Nagpur, Salem to Sonepat, companies developing apps are mushrooming everywhere. There are about 9,000 of them in India at present, estimates Convergence Catalyst, a research firm, all seeking a slice of the $8.5 billion global app revenue pie. Another estimate puts the number of app developers in India at 250,000. A few have already won global recognition: Aadhar Bhalinge, for instance, won $20,000 in a World Banksponsored online apps contest with his 'Smart Rickshaw Network' app, which proposed employing rickshaw wallahs in developing countries to feed live traffic updates into a subscription service.
"It is very empowering," says Sharad Sharma, Chairman of the NASSCOM Product Forum, and a former CEO of Yahoo! India R&D. "Two or three people getting together can form an app development company. Most of the people consuming apps are young. They have a visceral feel for what their consumers will need. Many young people are transitioning from a service mindset - taking up jobs with big software companies - to doing products."
There are converts from the service mindset as well. Nikunj Jain joined PWC after graduating from IIT Delhi, in 2010. But he found his job boring and soon quit. He then started an app development company, inoXapps, initially setting up office in his own east Delhi apartment with Rs 2.5 lakh from his savings. Jain and his team developed a finger print security scanner app for Android phones - using the app, the owner can unlock his phone by simply pressing his finger to the screen. It has had over 12 million downloads so far. inoXapps has since developed over 100 apps.
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