India is increasingly becoming an app-first country. From providing content in vernacular languages to building for communities, local developers are driving meaningful impact in the lives of many and also building successful businesses. In 2021, Indian apps and games saw a 200% increase in active monthly users and a 150% increase in time spent by users outside India compared to 2019 on Google Play, a sign of the potential and opportunity Indian startups and developers today have to drive app and game innovations for the world.
“We’re seeing India evolve from a leading app consumption country to also an emerging app development hub, and it’s exciting to see India increasingly becoming the innovation hub of the world,” says Aditya Swamy, director, Play Partnerships, Google Play. The Mountain View, California-based internet giant and MeitY Startup Hub, an initiative of the ministry of electronics and IT (MeitY), earlier this year launched the ‘Appscale Academy’ – a growth and development programme to train enterprising startups and developers in India to build high-quality apps that serve people across the country, and the world.
The Appscale Academy recently graduated its first cohort. The programme saw apps improve their UI, UX, security, user base, engagement rates, and ratings, and receive funding offers from VCs as well. “A rewarding moment for us was to see 100 enterprising app-preneurs learn, scale, and thrive as they graduated from the Appscale Academy,” says Swamy. According to him, innovation today is no longer limited to select pockets of the country – it can emerge from any part of our nation. This emerging talent diversity mirrored the Appscale Academy cohort, with 35% coming from tier II and tier III cities, including Surat, Vadodara, Kanpur, Lucknow, Meerut, Morbi, and many others. Also, 58% of the cohort had a woman in a leadership role.
Let’s take a deep-dive into some of the Appscale developer stories:
This app aims to serve as a personalised wellness solution, offering lifestyle focused recommendations related to food, exercise, yoga, meditation, and more, focused on the principles of Ayurvedic pulse diagnosis. “Our vision is to make the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda and Nadi Pariksha (pulse analysis) easily accessible to a global audience,” says Abhilesh Gupta, co-founder and director, AyuRythm. “Through Google Play, we are helping users across 170-plus countries adopt a balanced Ayurvedic lifestyle. We recently re-envisioned our app with the help of Appscale Academy leading to a 70% increase in downloads, a 33% increase in conversion rate, and a 25% improvement in ratings,” he reveals.
A unique health-tech startup focused on the well-being of the LGBTQ+ community, the app offers interactive mental health interventions for members of the LGBTQ+ community, covering topics like embracing your sexuality and coming out to loved ones. Anshul Kamath, co-founder, Evolve, says, “It’s been really special for us to be part of the inaugural Appscale Academy cohort. Through the course of the programme, we were able to accelerate our progress on several fronts. Our crash rates on the app reduced from 4% to under 0.5%, our app rating went up from 4.6 to 4.8, and recognitions from Google Play played a key role in helping us close a round of funding from investors in July 2022.”
A self-care journal that interestingly started off as a personal gratitude journal during a difficult period of co-founder Pritesh Sankhe’s life, Gratitude aims to empower people across the world to focus on the positive by offering simple self-help tools and guided journaling exercises to help them in their transformation journey. “Tools by Google Play have helped us with insights to cater to our users’ needs, improve our app’s experience, create monetisation avenues, and build an engaged global user base,” Sankhe says. “Appscale Academy gave us an opportunity to share our growth problems and get expert feedback and suggestions from the community. Learnings from the Appscale Academy helped improve our store listing visitors by 100%, acquisitions by 125%, and grew our monthly revenue by 50%.”
This is an experiential learning platform focused on enabling the holistic development of children through a data-driven approach. The platform offers self-learning programmes incorporating extra-curricular, co-curricular, and life-skill activities, aiming to measure and develop the real-life skill levels of the learner. “As this is an Android-only app, Google Play is playing a critical role in our mission to help every child learn real-life skills for professional success,” says Amritanshu Kumar, co-founder, KidEx. “The platform has helped us with best practices to build new features, understand key policies for a good education or social app, and provided feedback on our product’s technical brilliance and key insights about our users.” The app witnessed exponential growth during the Appscale Academy programme with improvements in its store presence, app performance, and 50% reduction in acquisition costs, he claims.