With 2.5 lakhs of automobiles getting registered every year only in Kathmandu, global warming is a challenge that calls for citizen action. Suyam Vaidya, Ashik Subedi, Sushant Chalise and Sandeep Maharjan recognized this problem created by the extensive use of vehicles all over the world and came up with a fun and easy solution.
WalkMan offers its users discount coupons from renowned businesses in Nepal through the use of green coins that can be earned by walking instead of taking rides for short distances.
In conversation with the team behind the app, we learned about this creative way of reducing your carbon prints. Read further to learn more.
What is WalkMan?
Walkman is a free app which has an integrated GPS and foot tracking mechanism. When a user walks or cycles from one place to another, they get virtual currency which is called as green coins. The user can redeem the coins to get discount coupons for Nepal Made products.
What is the social change you are trying to bring with WalkMan?
One fifth of the carbon emission in the atmosphere is caused by vehicles. If a person walks or cycles instead of using vehicles for short distances, then our app can help to drastically decrease the amount of carbon emitted by personal vehicles. And since walking comes with its own health benefit, we are promoting healthy living with the use of our application.
What is the legal status of WalkMan?
WalkMan is a brand under Pixel Labs which is registered as a private limited since 2017.
What is the stage of your business?
We have already launched our beta app in Google Play Store and so far our users have already covered more than 6000 kilometers using our beta app which is equivalent of reducing at least 700 kilograms of carbon into the atmosphere. We will be launching our final release after approximately one month.
How has been your journey of developing this application? Did you face any challenges?
Our startup did not require any capital, the only investment was our time but we did face challenges in our personal life. There was a time when I did not even have the money to pump air in my tires. If you have a job there is a sense of security. But since we were working on our startup even though we didn’t have to invest anything, we were not getting any income and managing personal expenses got very difficult.
In our initial plan we had planned to run Walkman as a non-profit however, we soon realized it would be very difficult to sustain without making profits. So, we started looking for ways to generate revenue and came up with the idea of selling discounts. We slowly started adding features and ideas from other successful business models similar to ours. Finally, we reached the current iteration of our business model for WalkMan in which we are bringing social change while generating income for ourselves. So, coming up with a sustainable business plan was a challenge but we have finally figured it out.
Besides this, we always face security issues with our app as there are a lot of hackers who can breach the system. However, we are working on creating a strong security system. We know that there would more unforeseen challenges that we would have to face once the app is launched.
Who are your target customers?
In the initial phase, our target customers are people who are already habitually walking like students and working-class people who regularly walk short distances to reach their college or place of work. But our vision is to get everyone on the app as we want to promote walking or cycling over using vehicles.
What are your future plans?
Our immediate future plan is to onboard 100 businesses partners for WalkMan. However, in the long run we want to focus on leveraging green coins. We want Green Coins to become a cryptocurrency and be used for all green initiatives. We have started speaking with initiatives like Doko recyclers and offering them the use of green coins as a currency for waste management. We want to elevate the green economy with green coins. Our desire is to make green coins powerful by integrating the use of the currency in other ecommerce websites and also offer it as an investment option.
Do you consider yourselves as social entrepreneurs?
Definitely yes! There is no doubt in that because we are a free app trying to encourage people to decrease their carbon footprints and make real footprint of change in Nepal.
Will you be able to measure the social impact of your app?
We have a carbon emission matrix that measures the amount of carbon our users will help to decrease. This can be measured by the data of the distance they covered by walking, running or cycling instead of using carbon emitting vehicles.
You can reach Walkman to firstname.lastname@example.org