Long before the pandemic struck (so essentially a lifetime ago), our founding team met while attending many conferences held by TiE Delhi-NCR.
Out of a conference room filled with a couple of hundred people, our team just levitated (sideways) together. For a bunch of team-building activities, we started thinking of ideas that could change the world. But alas, we found none. But as time progressed, the COVID-19 pandemic came up. And while discussing our problems (who doesn’t like complaining...?), we stumbled across the idea of WhyQ.
WhyQ, a simple to use, WhatsApp chatbot which helped provide local Kirana stores and Residents Welfare Associations with the required technological infrastructure to make social distancing happen. Our product, essentially a phone number you message, helps by providing 4 main functions.
1. We assign individuals a time slot to come to these local Kirana stores.
2. We pre-collate an individuals order before they step outside their house. This helped us reduce the waiting time outside a store from 11 minutes to 12 seconds reducing the possibility of infection 92%
3. We charged the users for using this bot. But then we paid almost all of it to the Kirana stores. This helped them become financially stable and get their bread.
4. Finally, we worked with Kirana stores for inventory management and financial planning so that they can run in the long term, with or without us.
We are currently testing our product out in a few localities of India working with a few hundred happy customers and a few dozen shopkeepers.
We want to change the way developing countries shop, not by competing with the Kirana stores, but instead working with them. Simply put, our goal is to become THE Ne Plus Ultra for local Kirana store shopping.
From being featured in Business Insider, Dainik Bhaskar, Business Standard, Deccan Herald, Daily Hunt, Business Fast (UK), Daily Advent and Rediff News, it's been quite a ride. But we ain't ready to leave the roller-coaster just yet.
One of our co-founders, Jai Relan, got the chance to give a TEDx talk about teenage entrepreneurship and WhyQ. There was one line which he would like to leave you with today - when you come across a solution to which people say “I didn’t think of that”, you stick on to that feeling. Because if the passion of solving a problem in a unique way remains inside you, you’re unstoppable. That is what forms the basis of WhyQ and hopefully will form the basis of your life too.
From a young age, Jai has enjoyed solving problems. Most people ask him to narrow down which problems he likes to solve, but for Jai, he achieves a thrill out of battling with a problem, regardless of whether it be a coding problem, a mathematics or physics problem, a social issue…
At the age of 15, Jai Relan has worked with multiple companies from different countries all across the world. He's taken on a variety of roles from product management/development to marketing and data analysis. He lives by the ideology of Occam’s Razor and Malum consilium quod mutari non-potest and enjoys working on disrupting ideas. He's often described as "an out-of-the-box thinker and invigorating team-lead whose exceptional expertise has allowed him to handle projects well, juggling between different tasks". He's known to be a leader who raises the bar high for the whole team and being a highly detail oriented perfectionist, he's got an aptitude for understanding what customers need and how to create a product tailored just for them.
Jai is currently attending Vasant Valley to gain his high school diploma and is expected to graduate in 2023. He considers himself extremely lucky to have found a love for startups so early on and in order to help share this love, he judges college level entrepreneurship competitions, mentors student-led startups and talks to budding entrepreneurs to learn from and share with them.
He's also given a TEDx talk on Why GenZ Decodes Entrepreneurship Better
A self motivated enthusiastic, innovative, entrepreneurial and curious teenager. Tejas considers himself to have an intellectually curious brain always looking for ways to learn and apply knowledge.
Tejas has an inherent interest in entrepreneurship, marketing, finance, economics and a lot of other things and he is always looking for ways to solve problems and trying to grow/upgrade/sell existing solutions.
Tejas is an avid golfer and a fitness enthusiast both of which have been instrumental in teaching him patience,resilience, accountability and endurance (both physical and mental). To sum it up Tejas understood 'we are never too far down to come back'.
Tejas is currently a high school junior at Modern School Barakhamba Rd.
Tejas strongly believe that success is a feature of hard-work, passion and an unending quest to learn and that relative success is pseudo-success. He is working to be the best version of himself both professionally and personally.
Jasraaj Puri is a professional drummer who currently serves as the CTO of the company. As a coder, he loves to break down problems into smaller pieces which he aims to execute perfectly.
Jasraaj is currently in grade 12 at the Springdales School where he serves on the prefect committee.
While Jai & Sâra's are responsible for strategising, Jasraaj specialises in bringing it all together based on lousily made wireframes from the rest of the team. Over the course of WhyQ, Jasraaj has become the comedy hub of the company and is often tasked with keeping people awake during all of our night-time calls.
Jasraaj has a secret obsession with football and spends all of his free time on Twitter posting tweets which absolutely nobody understands but everyone laughts at anyway.
Jasraaj is responsible for the leading of the technical execution team of WhyQ. He's known in the team as one of quickest de-buggers seen to mankind and is extremely efficient in translating ideas into reality. He hopes to use WhyQ to change the way Indians see Kirana store shopping.
Sâra Kothari is a 15 year old pianist, student, entrepreneur and science geek. She was originally nominated for the position of the CFO however, as time progressed, she also picked up various strategy and planning related roles. Sâra lives in Excel where she handles the number crunching for all financial projections and projects. During a team bonding session, she was voted as the most likely person to marry a calculator.
Sâra currently studies at Step By Step in Noida. She has also been involved in Columbia Business School's Venture For All programme as a participant. She was later invited to participate as a teaching assistant in the global program where she led and mentored a team of High Schoolers from Turkey who went on to win the overall first prize and ‘Best Branding’ award for their venture idea.
She greatly enjoys playing the piano and is the youngest girl to become a Licentiate of Trinity College London (LTCL Piano).
At WhyQ, her main role is to help scrutinize all the ideas that are run past her and she's known to be one of the straightest shooters while judging a pitch-deck. She would approach every topic whith a very methodical and scientific approach looking at everything through a magnifying glass.
Sâra has also been invited to participate as a judge in the ‘Nebula’ inter-college entrepreneurship competition organised by Symbiosis Centre of Management Studies, Pune. In her free time she likes reading encyclopaedias, participating in debates and MUNs and listening to Western Classical music.