Mumbai's lifeline provider
Every day, Sachin Teke goes to work like any other Mumbaikar — in a local train. But, unlike the others, who mostly sleep, Teke has a wide smile on his face. That’s because Teke is the creator of the immensely popular and must-have application, m-indicator.
“M is for Mumbai, and ‘mobile’. Indicator is something we all know,” says Teke, who is an IT engineer from Veermata Jijabai Technological Institute (VJTI) in Matunga. In 2006, after graduation, he worked for a software firm and developed mobile applications. “I travelled from Nerul to my office in Seepz, Andheri. I used all modes of transport — I took a train to Kurla, a bus and finally an auto to my office. Every day was a struggle, especially in the evenings, when we had no clue when the next train to Belapur was scheduled. There was simply no way to know,” he recalls.
The app as seen on a cell phone
He witnessed the problems of other commuters, too. It seems rather obvious that a city where a majority of people travel by train should have a robust schedule service. However, nobody actually got around to making it happen. Except Teke. Determined, he quit his job and set out to build an app that would do so. m-indicator, a free app, launched in 2010 and within a year, it had reached 5.5 lakh users.
People appreciated the app, and voluntarily gave feedback to improve it. Teke also employed freelancers who went to railway stations to note down train timings and update the database. Eventually, even the government authorities approached him to use the app to send alerts — for mega blocks, emergencies and so on.
m-indicator added bus timings, auto rickshaw and taxi fare charts, and other services. The app was launched on Android, iOS and Windows-enabled phones. “We grew purely through word-of-mouth publicity. I guess I was at the right place at the right time,” adds the 29-year-old, who also holds an MBA degree from Jamnalal Bajaj institute.
His company generates revenue through targeted ads, which, he feels, is something only m-indicator can provide. “If you are in Borivli, Thane, Nerul, you can see ads relevant to that area. m-indicator provides local targeting, and that’s why clients come to us,” he explains.
m-indicator packs in a wealth of information. There are contact numbers of emergency medical services (a doctor who used the app gave it to them); it shows you picnic spots around the city arranged by distance; it has movie listings, job postings among other information. The new update will add Monorail and Metro timings, along with BMC alerts.
m-indicator has helped many a passenger find forgotten belongings. “People forget their stuff on the luggage shelf. When they realise it, they use the app to see when the train will reach the last station, and call up the GRP number to tell them about the bag. I have personally received phone calls from people, thanking me for the app. That truly feels great.”
Teke wants to expand to other cities. But aren't there similar apps there already? “Competition fuels excellence. We grew because we wanted to be better. Now we have killed the competition,” he signs off .
Download m-indicator from Play Store, App Store and Windows