Addressing the first batch of NIT scholars, President Pranab Mukherjee urged the youth to march towards their goals with confidence. More so, in a young country like ours, it won’t be a surprise if more young minds come forth with some brilliant ideas. Two such young talents who dared to dream big are Nidhiya Raj and Mehar Moosa, both students of Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT). With the help of an incubator company that supports startups like these, they’ve succeeded and are excelling in managing their own companies.
Meet another young entrepreneur, Mehar Moosa, also a student at CUSAT. Founder of Anamega, he is in his last year of software engineering. Mehar started developing apps in his second year and ended up founding Anamega. His first eureka moment was “developing a secure browser.” The app has been lapped up by Blackberry, has had more than 50,000 downloads so far and an average rating of 4.5/5. “The browser operates on incognito mode and stores none of your personal data,” quips the 23-year old proudly. “It is also faster than the in-built browsers in most phones,” he adds.
Mehar, along with his friends Aamir Rahman, Eby Jose, Meril K Abraham, Saneem, Fayas Backer and Mohammed Wafiq, also developed a secure notes app that comes with the feature of a dummy pin code. “Usually when your friends or family want to take a look at what is in your phone, they ask for the access code. You can tell them a dummy code, which when entered will prompt a message, ‘please reset code’, which puts your friends off. The group of youngsters are also in the process of developing another app, that lets you tag pictures before storing them, so that you can find them with ease later, if needed.
Founding and running a firm of his own, feels like a dream come true for Mehar, who has been mentored by Zacharias Manuel, former tech head of Startup Village. “It all began when he attended an elite programme by Blackberry, that inspired him to create an App that was “built for Blackberry.” Mehar, who is originally from Calicut, has two younger brothers. His father is a government servant and mother, a homemaker. He was interested in computer science right from when he was in the fourth grade at GMUP school. When he was in Class 10 he helped his teachers by installing Linux systems on the school computers, when computer education became compulsory in schools. By 12th grade, he was fluent in programming languages like C and C++.
The enthusiastic achiever plans to move his company to the IT hub of the country, Bengaluru.
Meet Nidhiya Raj, a 20-year old in her fourth year of B Tech IT, the CEO of Webaccede. Webaccede provides various web-related solutions to companies including designing websites, allowing them to start e-retail, social media marketing and branding. They can also create Apps for your services/products. “I was inspired when I attended a workshop by Startup Village at Kinfra Infopark for a free T-shirt. This was in my 3rd year. I then attended a hackathon organised by them. Just attending these events got me thinking that maybe I too could do something on my own,” says Nidhiya who is interested in hardware as much as she is in software.
Initially the group of friends started designing websites for companies, making videos, teasers, doing online promotions etc. for pocket money. It eventually developed into a full-fledged company – Webaccede. “We started getting international clients right from the start because of my profile on Linkedin,” says the excited youngster. It then started getting ‘serious’ as they had targets to meet within deadlines. “We got more clients via word of mouth,” Raj says.
The team currently consists of Shabeer who takes care of the creative process, Mohammed Raees who looks after the backend and operations, Dinu Jacob and Alex Tom who are the developers. “We are all classmates,” she says. The team that worked out of a space provided by Startup Village, hopes to start an office of their own soon. Raj who finished schooling from Holy Ghost Convent, Aluva, says she is lucky that her parents are supportive of her aim to run a business. “Sure, they are worried, like all parents are, but they are supportive too. They do not think that I can’t do this just because I am a girl, which makes me happy,” she adds.
Coming from a middle class upbringing, she had to convince her father initially that this was a great idea and was feasible. “He owns a small business. So he understands the glory and pitfalls of doing something on your own. The only thing he told me was to never give up and follow what I believed in with conviction,” she says. Raj who has an older sister and a younger brother, considers Sudha Murthy and Steve Jobs to be her role models. She said she related to Murthy because, just like her, Raj was the only girl in her class.
Raj is almost done designing a safety gadget for women which she has temporarily named the Nirbhaya Bangle. The bangle that also acts as a pepper spray, not only sends out alert messages to your family and friends, but to those around you too, so that help is available immediately. She hopes to make this easily available to all women, very soon.