Interview of Srihari Karanth Founder of TrackMyPhones
Interviewer - How did you get started in this business? Srihari Karanth - We, Me and my twin brother: Shrinidhi Karanth, started working on android Apps and Websites in our free time as garage developers in 2014. One of our early app was Thief Tracker. Many had sent us images of thief who they got in their mail after losing mobile in bus. This was encouraging enough for us to develop similar Apps which provide security to mobile when lost/stolen. We then developed 'Track My Phone' which has more than 400,000 active users world-wide and ‘Cell Tracker’ which has 1.5 Million users till date. Later we went on to develop other similar Android application on Anti-Theft, Remote Monitoring, Fleet Tracking, and Parental Control and now exploring more on how to make phone recoverable even after its stolen and 'factory re-set' by thief. Interviewer - Can you provide me with as description of your business?
Srihari Karanth - TrackMyPhones, having expertise in remote tracking, has 40+ applications on Anti-Theft, Remote Monitoring, Fleet Tracking, Parental Control and Women Safety with a total user base of over 9 million and with more than 2 million page views every month. We were the first to have an app to take picture from front camera and mail it to user when someone tried to unlock device and fail multiple times. While many women safety app just sends location of the device to dear ones our app sends an audio and video of 20 sec, picture from front and back camera along with location and a loud siren. TrackMyPhones has been in the industry long enough to understand how to be in compliance with app store policies and give proper features for users to remote track their device.
Interviewer- Why do your customers select you over your competitors? Srihari Karanth - Ken Blanchard once said "Feedback is the breakfast of Champions", We might not be champions, but great feedbacks from customers is why we have all our 40+ useful Apps provided to users for free, no one-time payment no in-app purchases and has helped our users from locating their lost/misplaced/stolen phone, alerting them about intruder to keeping them updated about their dear one's location and we love it when we receive feedbacks like "Brilliant. Lost my phone whilst walking my dog in the woods. The location it gave for my phone was nearly spot on. it was within 20 feet." by Matt Gibson one of our App user. "This is really Great. Someone stole my phone and I track it down with this app and recovered it within 2 hours. Person sold my phone to eco-atm and called cop and they opened the machine there was my phone." by Harish Pithadia, or by Dana as "I love this app!! My daughters phone has been taken multiple times at school and been missing for days before it shows up. Happened again today, but we found it within 10 minutes!". Or even people catching their dear ones trying to intrude, "Busted my 11 year old nicking my phone. Love it! I haven’t laughed this much in ages. Brilliant app, works perfectly." - Audrey Riches. All the above reviews are for 'Track My Phone' app on Google Play. Almost all tracker apps in market will charge around $10 to $40 per month, since our operating cost is low we are able to provide it for free allowing customers to test it and use it for free as long as they want. Interviewer- What are the biggest issues for running this business? Srihari Karanth - Anti theft apps are useful till the thief factory-resets the device. We are in talks with smart phone vendors like Micromax to have our app as default stock app so that it can identity theft and alert its rightful owner even after its factory reset. The app allows users to track elder parents or younger kids at home and this could be misused to spy on someone as well. We have to put checks to prevent misuse and have to be thorough with disclaimers and terms of service/policies. Even for this reason OS vendors make it hard to use some features like calling for help in 'Women Safety' app without unlocking the phone. The Google Play developer policies also keeps getting updated regularly and we have to keep modifying our apps, often remove some of the functionality, to avoid getting suspended.
Interviewer- What suggestions would you like to give to the young budding entrepreneurs?
Srihari Karanth - I would advice them to start working on the idea they have no matter how silly or useless it might sound to others. I have seen many waiting for the right idea or the perfect release and give up in-between. Someone had said, 'If you're not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late'. Once you release and start getting feedback then you can improvise or move to a completely different product if you see that fit. You get wise by jumping in and making mistakes not by sitting idle and over thinking.