How many times have you bickered over expenses and struggled to settle dues with friends, flatmates and even strangers? Things get especially cumbersome when there are multiple expenses involving multiple people, and you scout around for ways to scribble these on back of notes, brochures and tissue papers. Not to mention the slightly socially-complicated stigma attached with talking money with friends, and the associated hope that expenses can be accurately remembered much after the event and fairly split without needing to resort to constant reminders and note-making.
If the app KnoDues has its way, the problem of recording, tracking and collaborating on shared expenses between contacts will soon be a thing of the past.
KnoDues is the brainchild of Saket Bagda and Sahil Sethi, two young individuals who have been close friends for a long time. The two studied together at Christ University, Bangalore and while Saket went on to secure his MBA from IBS Hyderabad, Sahil earned his MBA from TAPMI, Manipal. Saket has worked with Ernst & Young (India) in the Risk Advisory practice, while Sahil has worked with CRISIL in the Credit Ratings division.
The idea of creating KnoDues germinated in Saket’s mind when he was sharing an apartment with Sahil while working in Gurgaon. “Constant hassles faced while tracking shared expenses for their apartment & also for regular hangouts with a common bunch of friends, led to a conviction that this was an actual pain. And so, KnoDues has been built by people who had faced the problem of managing shared expenses and truly understood it.”, says Saket. Formal work on KnoDues began in March 2015.
But how did two business and commerce graduates go on to become tech entrepreneurs with zero knowledge of the tech side of things, we wonder.
“If you hear a voice within you saying ‘you are not a painter’ then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”, Sahil quoes a motivational line by Vincent Van Gogh.
The duo reveals that idea validation and getting to know the right people was the key to venturing into an unknown territory and making this app a reality. They went all out for an in-depth idea validation exercise amongst their target users through market research and comprehensive interviews. Positive responses received from the activity reinstated their faith and confidence in their idea.
On the other hand, recruiting the right tech talent was crucial for the duo who admittedly lacked the technical chops to turn their idea into a product. “Having a zero-knowledge of the tech end of things and yet deciding to go ahead with a venture which is completely based on technology is most definitely a risky move.”, says Sahil. “We took the risk and during the journey, we were lucky enough to meet the right set of people. These were the people who belonged to the industry, had experience, and most importantly were ready to support & guide us. It was the mutual trust & faith with these people which helped us of being sure that everything is going to be okay!”
Soon, they contracted a tech team person to develop the app, and with constant inputs and testing between the co-founders, the app was ready for the market.
As of now, KnoDues is available for download for free on the Google Play Store. While, like most apps, it’s not a profitable product as yet, the co-founders are studying various ways of monetizing it.
As the company is in bootstrapped mode as of now, the only full-time employees of KnoDues are the co-founders. However, there are two teams on a contractual basis, one being tech which is working full-time on product development & enhancement and the other being the design team, which is working on all communication and marketing material for the company.
What do the co-founders feel about the intense competition in the field of expense tracking and sharing apps in the market today? “There are no Indian product offerings in this market currently.”, says Saket. “We do face competition from a couple of international products, however we at KnoDues are confident that we offer a much easier and comprehensive solution to the problem of shared expense management for our users. “
The future plans for the startup involve enabling Knodues on iOS, and making KnoDues an end-to-end solution for its users in terms of managing shared expenses. “We intend to incorporate various new exciting features & functionality to the app, which we have received in terms of feedback from our current users”, beams Saket.