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Abstract

As entrepreneurship education in India is catching fire, faculty members are trying to find indigenous case studies which connect with the next generation entrepreneurs. While there are many successful entrepreneurs, finding them and connecting their story to educational objectives of the entrepreneurship courses is not done. The paper attempts to fill this gap by providing the case study of "NaPanta "app and its founder. Through the case study, one can understand how to create a successful product by uniquely addressing customer pain points.
http://www.iaeme.com/IJMET/index.asp 2306 editor@iaeme.com
International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Technology (IJMET)
Volume 9, Issue 11, November 2018, pp. 2306–2314, Article ID: IJMET_09_11_244
Available online at http://www.iaeme.com/ijmet/issues.asp?JType=IJMET&VType=9&IType=11
ISSN Print: 0976-6340 and ISSN Online: 0976-6359
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IAEME
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Scopus Indexed
UNIQUELY ADDRESSING CUSTOMER PAIN
POINTS - THE CASE STUDY OF AGRITECH APP
Dr. Suman Kumar Naredla
Dept. of Business Management, NEST for Entrepreneurship in Science & Technology
SR Engineering College, Anathasagar (v), Hasanparthy (M), Warangal (Dist),
Telangana, INDIA – 506 371
Dr. P.V. Raja Shekar
Center for Creative Cognition, SR Engineering College, Anathasagar (v), Hasanparthy (M),
Warangal (Dist), Telangana, INDIA – 506 371
Mr. D Ramesh Babu
Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, SR Engineering College, Warangal
Anathasagar (v), Hasanparthy (M), Warangal (Dist), Telangana, INDIA – 506 371
Prof. Sridhar Condoor
Dept. of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering, Saint Louis University, USA
ABSTRACT
As entrepreneurship education in India is catching fire, faculty members are trying to
find indigenous case studies which connect with the next generation entrepreneurs. While
there are many successful entrepreneurs, finding them and connecting their story to
educational objectives of the entrepreneurship courses is not done. The paper attempts to
fill this gap by providing the case study of “NaPanta “app and its founder. Through the
case study, one can understand how to create a successful product by uniquely addressing
customer pain points.
Keywords: Pain points, unique selling proposition, market opportunities, unique
solution, entrepreneurship, startup, innovation
Cite this Article: Dr. Suman Kumar Naredla, Dr. P.V. Raja Shekar, Mr. D Ramesh Babu
and Prof. Sridhar Condoor, Uniquely Addressing Customer Pain Points - the Case Study of
Agritech App, International Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Technology, 9(11),
2018, pp. 2306–2314.
http://www.iaeme.com/IJMET/issues.asp?JType=IJMET&VType=9&IType=11
1. INTRODUCTION
Entrepreneurial activity in terms of new startups, small businesses and innovation are critical to
the economical vibrancy of India. To realize the impact of a multitude of the Government of India
schemes such as Startup India and Make in India, this paper focuses on a key topic in
Dr. Suman Kumar Naredla, Dr. P.V. Raja Shekar, Mr. D Ramesh Babu and Prof. Sridhar Condoor
http://www.iaeme.com/IJMET/index.asp 2307 editor@iaeme.com
entrepreneurship – identifying customer pain points and creation of a unique solution. The
success of any new venture depends on its uniqueness – how it differentiates from competitors
and value proposition – what utility customers drive for the price that they pay. An effective value
proposition helps customers to realize the value of the product and results in the success of the
product.
While most entrepreneurial knowledge such as accounting can easily be codified and learned,
identifying customer pain points is both an art and science. Creating a unique product that
effectively addresses customer pain points can be effectively learned through a mix of theory,
case studies, and interactive experiences. This case study provides insights into a part of the value
proposition dealing with customer pain points and how it helps to craft the product design.
2. LITERATURE OVERVIEW:
Aker (2011) [1] studied and stated that mobile phones significantly reduced information and
communiction costs to rural people. Rural farmers benefitted from this technology to get
knowledge and agriculture related information. Similarly, use of ICTs in agricultural extension
services especially mobile phone services in the agricultural sector has provided information on
market, weather, transport and agricultural techniques to contact with concern agencies and
department.
Mittal S and Mehar M (2015) studied on assessment of farmer’s information networks in
India. They highlighted the role of modern ICT on the betterment of information networks to
farmers.
Menale Kassie (2011) [3] estimated the causal effect on crop income and poverty status from
adoption of improved groundnut varieties (technology) in rural Uganda. Based on farm size and
educational status and using Propensity score matching estimations were made to calculate the
gains from adoption and to examine how those gains vary. While this method does not require
ad hoc assumptions about the functional form of impacts and exclusion restrictions, it only
eliminates selection bias on observable differences between adopters and non-adopters.
Z. Chunhua and Z. Bo, (2010) [4] while studying about approaches of Electronic agriculture
(E-Agr) discussed the benefits of promoting agricultural informationalization and development
of agricultural modernization. E-agriculture is the platform which provides sharing of
information to farmers. Science and technology could enhanced agricultural information became
more authoritative, timely, accurate, and in particular take advantage of convenience, timeliness,
etc. The modern information technology infrastructure facilitate the integration all types of
information and resources through technical facilities of communication tools, modern networks.
Electronic farmers, rural electronics, and agricultural electronics together comprise E-Agri. More
Ecommerce applications were discussed by several researchers [5-7].
Ahl H (2006) [8] presented their research on needs of new directions for women
entrepreneurs. They pointed out the research results which are inconclusive regarding treating
women being secondary to men, which a tendency to recreate this ides. They used discourse
analysis to suggest new research directions which doesn’t reproduce women’s subordination and
captures richer and more women’s entrepreneuship aspects.
Birley, S. (1987) [9] discussed on Female entrepreneurs, whether they are really any
different?. They have studied literature on female entrepreneurs to find significant differences of
data of male and female entrepreneurs. They concluded that choices of market-entry made, is
significant. They stressed on the point of strategy of economic recovery giving example of United
Kingdom’s Government Department of Trade and Industry was re-named as the Department of
Enterprise.
Uniquely Addressing Customer Pain Points - the Case Study of Agritech App
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Bruni A etal (2004) [10] studied on description of the processes that position people as ‘men’
and ‘women’ within entrepreneurial practices and as ‘entrepreneurs’ within gender practices,
relying on an ethnographic study carried out in small enterprises in Italy. Their analysis shows
enactment of gender and entrepreneurship as situated practices and how gendered identity codes
are kept, transgressed changed by constantly and sliding between different symbolic spaces. They
highlighted processes of footing and gender commodification, doing ceremonial and remedial
work managing the dual presence, boundarykeeping the symbolic construction of gender and
entrepreneurship:,. We then propose a final metaphor which conveys a summary image of these
processes. They concluded with how possible forms of entrepreneurship exist, the same way as
different forms of gender.
Das M (2000)[11] studied on the problems of women entrepreneurs in India.They studied
small and medium enterprises owned and managed by women entrepreneurs in Tamilnadu and
Kerala, two southern Indian states. They also discussed about the work-family conflicts faced by
the women entrepreneurs during settingup and operation of businesses owned by the
entrepreneurs. Found that problems faced Indian woman entrepreneurs are similar to western
countries women entrepreneurs. Also found that Indian women had lower work-family conflicts.
Nayyar et al (2007) [12] studied about the causes and constraints faced by women entrepreurs
in the entrepreneurial process. They studied hundred women entrepreneurs in four zines of
Himachal Pradesh through snowball sampling technique. The units were General stores, Carper
manufacturing units, boutiques, nursing homes, boutiques, handlooms and beauty parlours. They
found transport facility issues, tough competition from larger units, non-availability of raw
material, lack of sleep and rest, poor location of their units etc are the few important issues faced
by the women entrepreneurs. They suggested for selfhelp mutually aided groups can support
mutually.
Ramesh Babu et al (2016) [13] discussed about the entrepreneurial opportunities in rural areas
like fruit and vegetable preservation and women contributions in these areas.
Several technical, financial, commercial, family support issues are studied in detail by Chaudhary
R (2012), Coleman S (2002), Goyal Meenu (2011), Anitha Mehta (2011), Singh Surinder pal
(2008), Hanuman prasad and BL Varma (2006)[14-19]. They have highlighted about the
constraints to women in entrepreneurial activities.Several other technological issues were studied
and reported [20-23]
3. BACKGROUND OF THE ENTREPRENEUR
Naveen V Kumar hails from a rural background. He comes from Shyampet, a small village in
Warangal district, Telangana. His father and mother raised Naveen and his two siblings in a
comfortable affluent environment. The family succumbed by sudden demise of his father in 1997
when Kumar was 13 years old. Their living style was significantly altered as there were no family
members who could work and earn an income. Family savings lasted for couple of years. Kumar
managed to complete his degree and start post-graduation (MBA). During his post-graduation
studies, Naveen spent eight months with a single meal a day. By the age of 20 years, he has seen
the easy and difficult sides of life. Situations made him more vigilant and better forecaster.
Kumar joined ICICI Bank as a Trainee Executive and spent most of his time Medium, Small and
Micro Enterprises (MSME) business segments. During this time he understood the working of
the MSME sector. In his five years at ICICI Bank, he evaluated 800+enterprises, analyzed their
balance sheets, and learned from their experiences. He identified their key challenges are less
return on field produce and high investment. Out of his interest and expertise in banking sector,
he founded ‘Apna Loan Bazaar’, a Fintech startup works as Retail Loan Aggregator in India and
registered his firm ALB (Aspiration-Loyal – Brave) Private Limited. Naveen fell in love with his
Startup, but he was advised by TiE Hyderabad.
Dr. Suman Kumar Naredla, Dr. P.V. Raja Shekar, Mr. D Ramesh Babu and Prof. Sridhar Condoor
http://www.iaeme.com/IJMET/index.asp 2309 editor@iaeme.com
The motivation for the current case study came when Kumar was visiting his village and
witnessed a famer’s suicide. The reason for the suicide is too agnostic; a dealers old a concocted
pesticide to the farmer that literally killed the crop. This incident was Kumar’s entrepreneurial
call for action. Kumar spent a lot of time thinking about how to best address farmers’ problems.
These thoughts manifested in the form of an app for Farmers. He continuously worked with
farmers to co-design the app and worked from December 2016 to March 2017 to implement the
app. On June 2
nd
2017, he launched the app “NaPanta” which means My Crop.
“Effective communication is the need of the hour in Indian agriculture as it can fill the gaps in
the entire system. The expertise and solutions to the problems in farming upheld with the
agricultural officer/scientists hardly reaches to the farmer. There is huge gap between the actual
on-field situations and government supported activities! To fill in these gaps we developed the
app and offered it to the farmers for free! Also it is designed primarily to serve small and marginal
farmers,” says Mr. Naveen Kumar V.
4. IDENTIFYING CUSTOMER PAIN POINTS
Pain points are difficulties either real or perceived experienced by the customer during the use
[24]. In the case of the farmer, these pain points include the problems faced by him/her including
uncertainties, fertilizer and pesticide application difficulties. By identifying pain points, an
entrepreneur can craft an appropriate value proposition which attracts the customer to buy the
product [25]. These pain points are often identified based on ethnographic studies [26] – where
the designer spends time to understand the customer problems by observing the customer’s life.
Based on the insights on the customer’s needs and perceived values, entrepreneurs can develop
effective solutions. As it solves a pain point and has a clear value proposition, the market more
likely to adopt the product/service.
Farmer is spending 20% of his valuable time on
Seed identification and procuring
Fertilizer dealer identification and procurement
Pesticide dealer identification and procurement
Identification of cold storages
Insurance schemes offered by Government
Farm equipment arrangement
More important, the farmer often doesn’t get the right price.
The difficulties faced by the farmer are due to several gaps between farmer, middlemen,
agriculture research institutes or universities and Government. These gaps manifest in the form
of pain points for the farmer leaving him with:
1.
A lack of awareness about critical farming know-how – Farmers are often unawareof
major issues like nature of soil and weather conditions. A proper fertilizer usage for a
specific crop and timely diagnosis of pest and disease can increase the productivity
up to 30 percent.
2.
A lack of actionable intelligence–In some cases, farmers are aware of the problems,
but don’t know how to solve. For instance, they may get information from the soil
analysis from the government lab, but are not sure what fertilizer to apply. The
government agencies can’t recommend the name of any fertilizer or pesticide trade
name as it can viewed as promoting a particular brand but it can only give the
chemical names. This information while totally correct, however, a farmer has to
depend on the dealer for trade product for the chemical suggested by the Govt
Uniquely Addressing Customer Pain Points - the Case Study of Agritech App
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agencies. Hence there is a chance of mis-selling the wrong product to farmer by a
dealer.
3.
A lack of awareness of market opportunities: The critical problem faced by farmers is
not getting the right price for the crop. Other issue related to the opportunities include
market prices for produce, insurance costs, available cold storage facilities, and dealer
networks for fertilizers, pesticides
Figure.1.a Figure.1.b Figure.1.c
5. CREATING A UNIQUE SOLUTION
App shows on its opening screen, a clear value proposition –
15% more farm produce with 20% less investment.
“Farmer is no more interested in theory and verbal comprehension! He is interested in facts
and factual attained by other farmers on their field. Give him the information, guidance and
service he requires, and then, there will be boom in Indian agriculture for sure.
The pain points and how the app addresses these pain points are provided in the table below.
Dr. Suman Kumar Naredla, Dr. P.V. Raja Shekar, Mr. D Ramesh Babu and Prof. Sridhar Condoor
http://www.iaeme.com/IJMET/index.asp 2311 editor@iaeme.com
Table 1. Customer pain points and solution strategies employed in NaPanta App
Category Pain Point Solution Strategy
Weather information A lack of awareness about the weather
leading to wasted resources.
The app provides five-day forecast at crop
location. Using this feature, the farmer can plan
his activity and save money.
Sharing of information
A discussion of common problems within
and across the villages helps to identify
best practices.
Agri Forum feature in the app help farmers to
connect and discuss best practices.
Crop management A lack of detailed knowledge on how to
manage crops.
Provides a step-by-step guidance for more than
100 crops on how to protect against numerous
ailments.
Accounting The estimated expenses and actual
incurred during farming is hard to track.
The app enables the farmer to manage his/her
financial resources by keeping track of expenses
while keeping an eye on the big picture.
Soil information
The type of crop to be planted, and type
and quantity of fertilizer to be used by
any farmer depends on the soil
conditions. But, unfortunately many
times farmers are not aware of soil
conditions and/or nearest test facilities.
The App provides soil testing laboratories
Information in farmer location. Also educate the
farmer, how to select the soil sample in their
crop land for soil testing.
Pesticide information
A lack of know-how on the appropriate
type and quantity of pesticide to use for
a particular insect, disease, weeds, etc.
The app provides information on pesticide
formulations and usage. It helps farmer to
protect his produce and at the same time
prevents overdosing.
Fertilizer calculator
A lack of actionable intelligence on what
fertilizer and how much to apply for the
optimal results.
Right mix of fertilizer is crucial for a better farm
produce. The app suggests scientifically proven
mixes of fertilizers based on the soil condition,
crop and budget.
Crop insurance
knowledge
A lack of crop insurance programs from
the government.
The app educates the farmer on importance of
insurance. It provides details about Central and
State Government insurance schemes.
Fertilizer dealers
Obtaining reliable, safe, potent
pesticides. Often, farmers get cheated
by inferior pesticide, which can lead to
crop loss.
The app helps locate nearby Government
approved dealers. Using this feature, farmers
can get reliable, safe, potent pesticides from
approved dealers.
Market prices
One major lacuna in farming
administration across nation is
uncertainty of prices and lack of
information on market prices prevailing
on that day for any type of farm
produce.
This app caters to 3800 plus market prices
updates on daily basis, makes the farmer more
knowledgeable and empowered. Further, the
historical trends help farmers to make informed
decision on whether to sell or wait. Thus, the
app helps farmers realize better prices and
results.
Cold storage
A lack of awareness of storage facilities
and cost to store the produce to sell at a
time when the price is right.
The app lists cold storage facilities information
including storage capacity and contact
information.
Thus, NaPanta app provides a one-Stop solution for farmers to reduce expenses, manage
crop, increase yield and get the best prices.
Uniquely Addressing Customer Pain Points - the Case Study of Agritech App
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Figure.2.a Figure.2.b Figure.2.c
Further, the App is developed in two languages (Telugu and English) to allow farmers with
little education to read in the local dialect. Also, the app doesn’t need internet connection for most
functions (crop management and pest control).
6. CONCLUSIONS
The paper provided all the key details in the entrepreneur’s life from early difficulties to the call
for action. The call for action manifested in the form an App. The App reached 50,000+ farmers
within its first three months. Its early success is based on the usefulness of information, ease of
use and value provided to the farmer. As one farmer said “the App brings high-level scientific
knowledge of researchers to easily actionable-information for the betterment of farmers.”
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:
Acknowledgement for Project's Paper is:
The authors acknowledge Department of Science and Technology, Government of India for
financial support vide Reference No: DST/NSTMIS/05/230/2016-17 under NSTMIS to carry out
this work. The authors also acknowledge the Management and Principal of S R Engineering
College, Warangal Urban for their continuous support by providing all the necessary facilities.
Mr. Naveen Kumar V for sharing his Startup story. ABI–ICRISAT and CIE@IIIT-H for
Incubating the NaPanta Startup. TiE Hyderabad for Mentoring and Networking NaPanta Startup
Dr. Suman Kumar Naredla, Dr. P.V. Raja Shekar, Mr. D Ramesh Babu and Prof. Sridhar Condoor
http://www.iaeme.com/IJMET/index.asp 2313 editor@iaeme.com
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