Millions of students and office-goers in India have one common day-to-day concern – “where to eat lunch?” While mostly there are restaurants nearby every institution these days, it is still not a viable option for most Indians. Most people, especially students, want a more affordable option for lunch, therefore, head for street vendors’ stalls.
But the sector is so disorganized that it is hard for new people in any given area to find these street vendors who offer hygienic food at affordable prices. That’s where Harsh Shah’s ekPlate enters to address this pain-point for people. A hyper-local street food finder app, ekPlate helps people find the right street vendor as per their choice. On one hand, ekPlate provides students & office-goers a viable option for lunch; on the other hand it is also bringing business to street vendors who can’t promote themselves.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
Ekplate is a hyper local street food finder app that directs people to their favorite street food.
We use the power of crowdsourcing by giving the ability to our users to add their favorite street food vendor.
Few interesting features include – Veg Only mode – With a flip of a switch all non-vegetarian food items get hidden from the app!
This was done with all vegetarians in mind.
Hygiene Rating – We have a two-pronged rating system one for the taste of the food items, and the other for the hygiene of the food itself. As we knew very early on that is the concern people have about street food.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
During my final year of college there always used to be one problem my friends and I faced. The lunch break used to be very short. The college canteen as well as the street food vendors near the college used to be completely packed. Being a college student on a tight budget didn’t give me the luxury to eat at a restaurant every day.
One day when I was walking towards college, I noticed a street vendor who was located 5 minutes away from my campus. I didn’t even know his stall existed and after a small chat I realized he was running the stall for the past 20 years. That’s when it hit me, these vendors have amazing food as well as life stories to tell and years of experience but somehow they are completely unnoticed. They are not well educated or have the money to promote themselves. That’s when the Idea of ekplate came to my mind.
What is your life mantra?
You have achieved success if you have lived well, laughed often and eaten a lot of street food – by a foodie at ekPlate.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
Realizing that there are many people love your idea but only a few who put their money where their mouth is.
How did you overcome those challenges?
Spend a lot of time to develop a great product to get like-minded people interested to back your vision.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
Confidential – through family and friends
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain? (Brain drain with regard to employees leaving the organization)
Firstly, get only people who are truly passionate about the product. Everyone working with ekPlate is a foodies and love street food.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
There are two apps that I absolutely have to use on a daily basis .
- Podcasts – Usually business or motivation (Recommend – The School of Greatness )
- Blinkist – Amazing app that gives you an audio summary of 1000s books on an average of 10 minutes.
Highly urge everyone to download this! Listen to it on your daily commute to work or before bed.
Share any one habit, which you think, makes you more productive.
Break down bigger goals to smaller bite sized tasks.
Once you finish a task, let it be as simple as writing an email, acknowledge that you have achieved a small goal of yours. This simple trick keeps you happy and motivated.
Black coffee also helps…
Share any one habit, which you wish to change in yourself.
As a child I was never really inclined towards sports I wish to change that about myself.
Answer in less than 50 words
For me, it might be too early to comment about success yet as I am still on my journey to finding it. But I will get back to you on this one in the follow up interview.
- One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
Never stop the feedback loop. Don’t ignore the mistakes you make, learn and move on and be receptive to get feedback and criticism.
- One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
You can never stop learning keep learning new things everyday.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
Our ultimate goal is to be the No 1 street food finder in the world.
We plan only for the next 3 months so we can stay focused on task in hand.
If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
This is in-fact one of the toughest questions! I have so many to quotes I love, but two really hit home.
- No man’s your friend, no man’s you enemy every man is a teacher.
- Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.