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The Kumarans: The ‘kids’ on the app block
MUMBAI: One fine evening in Chennai, 12-year-old Shravan Kumaran and 10-year-old Sanjay Kumaran broke the news to their parents—the brothers wanted to be entrepreneurs. And they had a plan—they wanted to develop a gaming app.
Cut to the present and Shravan (now 16) and Sanjay (14) were among the panellists at FICCI Frames 2016, the youngest panellists at the conclave. So what earned them the spot? The Kumaran brothers have been identified as the youngest mobile application developers in India, having formed Go Dimensions, a company that develops apps.
Like most boys their age, the two brothers took an interest in console games. But their interest did not stop just there. “We wanted to look beyond just playing games. We were intrigued by how they are developed and wanted to create something of our own,” shares Go Dimensions co-founder and president Shravan Kumaran.
Their first gaming app, ‘Catch Me Cop’, where a con escapes prison was a huge success. Launched on the Apple Store and Google’s Play Store in 2012, the game received 2,000 downloads in the first week itself.
“We tested almost 125 apps before we released our first app. One of the major challenges we faced was the lack of resources to learn how to develop apps. It took many months of research to float our first product,” recalls Go Dimensions co-founder and CEO Sanjay Kumaran.
Over the years, Go Dimensions launched 10 more apps. The 11 apps together have about one lakh downloads. Keeping a check on the genre of apps launched was their mother Jyothi Lakshmi. She suggested they launch educational apps and that was when the sons developed ‘Alphabets Board’ and ‘Color Palette’, among other apps.
All ‘Go Dimensions’ apps are self-marketed and free. Studying in school helps, say the young entrepreneurs. When they launch a new app, they spread the word among schoolmates, which helps them get feedback as well. Each click earns them $0.07 and there is revenue coming in from ads on their gaming and lifestyle apps.
“We don’t have ads on our educational apps and we intend to keep it that way. We want to be able to reach a stage where users pay to download our future apps,” says Shravan.
For now, their father Surendran Kumaran is the bank. “Our dad is our VC. We even coined a term for the money he gives us—‘Dad fund’. Hopefully, we don’t have to pay him back,” jokes Sanjay.
Speaking on the advantages of brothers working together, Sanjay says, “It saves us the trouble of seeking permission from our parents. Here we are in the same home, discussing and debating ideas anytime of the day or night.”
Both the boys have different demeanours, complimenting each other. Shravan is calm and composed, while Sanjay is the happy, hyper-conversationalist as they discuss their business.
“Sanjay panics when he has an idea, he thinks we should develop. He likes to be guarded to avoid the idea being stolen by someone else,” laughs the elder brother Shravan.
Presently, the Kumarans are working on an IoT (Internet of Things) device. The device will allow working mothers to monitor who comes home in their absence. “Trusting someone with keys like a maid or babysitter can get a little risky. So, we thought of a device whereby when someone rings the doorbell, the homeowner receives a notification on his or her mobile. The owner can then choose to open the door remotely,” explains Shravan.
Shravan and Sanjay are working on this device for educational purposes only, they say. “We are not in this for money. We want to learn and take Go Dimensions to another level in the years to come,” says Sanjay.
For now, the two are happy when schoolmates and teachers cheer them on their new app launches.