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frapp: College buddies’ idea becomes a business

We belong to the generation that believes in ideas and innovation and is not afraid to go after what we believe in. This is one such story, the story of a young company. They are fearless and bold and they believe in making a difference. Read their story, in their own words.

First of all, thank you for taking time out from your schedule and giving us this interview .

Armaan : Hey! IÔÇÖm┬á┬áreally happy to be doing this.

So, when was Frapp started and how?

Armaan: (frapp is always spelt in small case!)

frapp was started early in 2014, when the 3 of us decided to throw caution to the┬áwinds┬áand chase our entrepreneurial dreams. We quit our jobs overnight ÔÇô with no capital, no office space, no mentors, and threw ourselves right into the deep end.

JAM: What inspired you to start this company? What led to its origin?

Armaan; I met my co-founders at NMIMS University, where we were pursuing a BBA degree.

Our first rendezvous with the idea was when the three of us were having lunch at ÔÇÿHorn OK PleaseÔÇÖ – a Dhaba close to college that offered us a student discount. I was a year senior to the two, and the placement season was approaching. We sat there, pondering over life and whatÔÇÖs in store for us once we graduate.

In the final term, my entrepreneurship project was to work on a business plan from scratch. Our group argued for days on what the idea should be (We considered everything ÔÇô from a restaurant, marketing agency, beauty parlour website to a food delivery service) and finally settled on working on a student discount concept.

We scored well on the project, graduated, and scattered away in different directions to begin our careers.

I┬á┬ácontinued to flirt with the idea┬áand I brought it to Niranjan and Karan ÔÇô together we began to fit pieces of the jigsaw.

So, did you always wanted to be an Entrepreneur?

Armaan: As far as I can remember, I was always fascinated with entrepreneurship.

I remember spending hours on end, playing ÔÇÿtycoonÔÇÖ video games like ÔÇÿRoller Coaster TycoonÔÇÖ Religiously building my empire, avoiding using cheat codes and intently studying my incomes and expenses.

I was lucky to study in an IGCSE school and got exposure to subjects like business studies and economics at the school level.

JAM; Tell us more about frapp and how it works?

Armaan: frapp is IndiaÔÇÖs first student discount platform. ItÔÇÖs a simple app that helps college students find student friendly businesses┬áaround them. The youth is a very important demographic in India and increasing amounts of businessses┬áare realising the potential of this target audience.

We want to build a simple and engaging platform that helps brands target these students and helps add value to a studentÔÇÖs life.

From the first laptop a student buys ÔÇô to the suit for his graduation, frapp wants to enrich a studentÔÇÖs life wherever possible.

frapp is simple to use ÔÇô currently, we operate via our website┬áfrapp.in┬áand our android mobile app (bit.ly/thefrappapp)

Students can simple register on the site or download the app, pick any offer they like and tap to get the discount code.

The product stresses on simplicity and ease of use.

We are planning to add many features overtime, based on feedback from brands and students.

JAM; Do you find this ÔÇ£startup lifeÔÇØ better than a big shot job( Google/ Microsoft/GM etc)? Why?

Armaan:┬áBefore starting frapp, I worked for a year with the company that brought the Playboy brand to India. We launched a beach club called Sunset Ashram at the shores of Goa and subsequently launched IndiaÔÇÖs first Playboy Club in Hyderabad.

Transitioning into a startup from there was a very unique experience!

The startup life is pretty close to what people say ÔÇô unpredictable, demanding, unstructured and chaotic. With this, itÔÇÖs also immensely rewarding. The learnings are incredible. You learn a lot not only about the business and industry, but also about yourself.

To be fair, IÔÇÖve never worked with a top of the line, big shot company, but as of now, I find it very difficult to imagine myself doing that.

How important do you consider networking when one is aspiring to take the path of Entrepreneurship? How do you develop your network?

IÔÇÖll let Niranjan take this one!

N: Everyone wants to stay tight-lipped about their product when they get started. Over time you realize that there are people who have gone through the same hurdles that you are currently going through. Once we realized that weÔÇÖd rather learn from other peopleÔÇÖs mistakes, we started networking a lot. Whether it was other entrepreneurs, investors, advisors, students, vendors, we reached out to everyone in our circle and asked them to connect us with people who could help us. Moreover, we also got feedback about our product. We were incubated with the TiE Bootcamp, where we met a bunch of other founders. The start up space is filled with helpful people who are more than willing to share their expertise.

Firstly, I feel, linkedin is a highly underutilised platform in India. We have gotten in touch with brands, prospective employees via linked in. Whenever we met someone or got connected via e-mail, the first thing we did is add them on LinkedIn.

Secondly, we reached out to authors whose articles we found interesting to understand that subject better. To get in touch with one of our current advisers, I just wrote to him on twitter. He was good enough to give us time.

Lastly, carry your business card everywhere. Pass on the card to everyone you meet, give people two cards if they say they will put you in touch with someone.

What are the difficulties you face in day to day life as an entrepreneur, at home or at workplace ?

Armaan: Working with friends has its advantages and disadvantages! WeÔÇÖve learnt to be more cooperative, supportive and even diplomatic.

ItÔÇÖs also difficult matching work styles with each otherÔÇÖs.

Our parents are quite supportive but we know they want us to study more. ItÔÇÖs tough to balance out all aspects ÔÇô social, family and work life.

Also, our friends assume we have unlimited offs and can do as we please. Correct in theory but far from true!

JAM: Any anecdote you would like to share ?

Armaan: When ÔÇÿfrappÔÇÖ was an idea for the college project, we started with the name ÔÇÿStudent SantaÔÇÖ, then moved on to ÔÇÿStudent SplurgeÔÇÖ and finally ÔÇÿfrappÔÇÖ. We spent hours and came up with a bunch of names, some interesting, some not worth mentioning.

Everyone pushes us to find out what it means but for now, this continues to be a closely guarded secret!

JAM: Your vision for Frapp? Where do u see Frapp in next 5 years?

Armaan: We see frapp operating at the pan India level, enriching student lives across the country.

We also have a whole bunch of ideas that we plan to work on ÔÇô some within frapp itself and some outside the realm of students.

JAM: Any advice for the young aspiring entrepreneurs reading this article?

Armaan: Take the plunge! WeÔÇÖve realised that a first draft is of utmost importance. Put thoughts down and discuss it with whoever is ready to listen.

IÔÇÖve also begun to get more organized and realize the importance of planning and scheduling.

Reading up is always helpful, the internet is full of resources that are precious to entrepreneurs.

We fail at a lot of things we try ÔÇô the important part is to get yourself to do something!

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