Humac Lab Presents Madviser: Here To Help You Cut Down Your Crazy Mobile Phone Bills
“The winner could well become the next NewsCred…!” This is how Humac Lab, winner of the Seedstars World Dhaka round, was described at the award ceremony, and the description hits the mark closely indeed. Madviser, the app that won Humac Lab tickets to Silicon Valley as well as the final round of Seedstars World in Switzerland, does indeed have the potential to make it big, much like NewsCred.
So what is Madviser?
To put it simply, it is an app that helps you save money by recommending the best mobile plan for you (both voice and data) based on your usage patterns.
“In Bangladesh, we have over 300 voice and data packs right now, and if you count bundle packs, then the number rises by thousands. Based on our usage behaviour, one of these packages might be best for you, while a different package might be most suitable for me. Naturally, it is difficult for regular users to keep track of all these factors and decide which package is the right one for them.”
As Abdul Muqit Ahmed, CEO of Humac Labs puts it:
“In Bangladesh, we have over 300 voice and data packs right now, and if you count bundle packs, then the number rises by thousands. Based on our usage behaviour, one of these packages might be best for you, while a different package might be most suitable for me. In fact, what is best for you right now may not be suitable anymore if your calling pattern changes. There are quite a lot of components- peak/off peak hours, 1second/10 second pulse, etc. that influence your mobile expenses at the end of the month. Naturally, it is difficult for regular users to keep track of all these factors and decide which package is the right one for them.”
And this is where Madviser comes into play.
Once you download and install the app, you’ll be asked to select your current mobile package. If you are not sure which plan you’re currently on, fret not- the app will find it out for you. Once the package has been determined, Madviser will then access your call log and compare your usage statistics with the call rates of all the current packages offered by your operator and recommend the package that most suits your calling habits. The app will also graphically show you how much you’ll be saving by switching to the new package.
If you want to know whether you can save more by switching to another operator, Madviser can also compare your usage data with bundles offered by other operators and tell you which one would help you save the most.
And the magic doesn’t end here- it can also suggest numbers you can add or remove from your FnF list to save you that extra buck by figuring out which phone numbers you call the most as opposed to the numbers you already have added as FnF. The app does the same thing with mobile data- it compares your browsing habits to the mobile data rates offered by your operator and recommend you the plan that’d let you save the most. With a few taps on the app, you can then easily change your data/voice plans as well as FnF numbers very easily.
To achieve such a feat, the developers have set up a billing engine within the app that functions much like the ones used by the mobile operators. It factors in all the parameters counted by the telcos for generating your bill and makes an estimate of your total expense. If the telcos make any changes to their existing rates- a change that can be very easy for subscribers to not notice, the app’s algorithm automatically updates these changes and compares your usage data with the new call/data rates. Then, it tells you how and where you can save the most.
Muqit Ahmed, as well as Md. Mubir M Chowdhury, (COO of Humac Lab Ltd.) were both employed in leading telecom operator Grameenphone for 13 and 10 years respectively. Both of them, along with quite a few of their co-workers, were given the opportunity for voluntary resignation combined with an attractive compensation project. Feeling that their work at Grameenphone was not as challenging as before, and they had ideas that they couldn’t execute while working there, Muqit and Mubir seized the opportunity to set up a venture of their own.
In Mubir Chowdhury’s words, “We only had a short time-10 days in fact, to decide whether to leave or not. While it isn’t really possible to figure out a business plan within this time, it is possible to communicate with similar minded people and take that risky leap of faith. To put it simply, the voluntary resignation scheme came as an opportunity for us to go ahead and start our own venture- something most of us had been planning for quite a few years.”
And thus, Humac Lab Ltd. began its journey. Apart from Madviser, the talented young team have also developed great apps such as a customized restaurant app for Bellagio- popular fine dining restaurant in town. Then, there's also Selliscope- a location based sales force monitoring application with real time sales team tracking and reporting. The Selliscope app also comes with order placement and merchandise tracking options, making it a great tool for optimizing sales force management and business development activities.
During their tenure at Grameenphone, neither of them had to worry about mobile bills, which is why it came as a big shock when they received their monthly bills after quitting. Feeling that the users were being overcharged, and that something should be done to shift at least some power to the users in an oligopolistic market, the duo envisioned an app that would help mobile subscribers optimize their phone bills.
“We only had a short time-10 days in fact, to decide whether to leave or not. While it isn’t really possible to figure out a business plan within this time, it is possible to communicate with similar minded people and take that risky leap of faith. To put it simply, the voluntary resignation scheme came as an opportunity for us to go ahead and start our own venture- something most of us had been planning for quite a few years.”
In the coming future, more features will be added to Madviser to make it even more comprehensive as well as useful to the subscribers. There are big plans with the app, including reaching out to at least 5 million subscribers within the next two years as well as venturing out into international markets. Given how useful the app is, there’s a real chance it could become hugely popular, particularly in price-sensitive markets such as the South Asian sub-continent and even Africa.
So far, response for Madviser has been quite favourable, Muqit reports. While telcos were initially apprehensive, once they grasped the concept and understood how they could actually improve customer satisfaction by offering better rates, they are warming up to the idea of collaborating with Humac Lab on Madviser.
It was a pretty gutsy move for two telecom veterans to quit their well-paying jobs and start a venture with little entrepreneurial experience- especially in our culture. But they believed in themselves, worked hard and tickets to Silicon Valley and Seedstars World final round are just a small testament of that. And that is the advice the dynamic duo has for budding entrepreneurs- ‘It is hard to come out of a structured and secure environment and enter the unknown, but if you believe in yourself and are willing to work for it, you should go ahead and take the leap.”
Who better to take such advice from than two people who took that leap of faith and are soon going to represent Bangladesh in a prestigious international startup competition!