Namah Chawla

“We're not competing with Google Maps; we're ahead of pure navigation apps”: Mohit Jain, Pataa App

Recently, funny ads for a maps-and-locations app did the rounds. Co-founder Mohit Jain says the idea is to solve India’s "addressing issues".

Trying to explain the exact home or office address to delivery executives, is something most, if not all, of us have experienced. These delivery executives are sometimes unable to get to the exact location, despite their GPS devices. So, they end up calling you multiple times just to get directions.

Pataa Navigation App, an Indore-based start-up, seems to have found a solution. It has managed to reach over 45 lakh downloads in just 100 days of its launch.

According to co-founder Mohit Jain, their research indicated that India loses about Rs 75,000 crore every year because of the issues related to finding an address. Speaking to afaqs!, he says, “The average pin code in India covers an area of about 179 square kilometres. Finding the exact location, or address with just the pin code, is not easy.”

“We also realised that most people have to explain their address with the help of landmarks, which is another complex thing to do. So, we thought of working on a solution to this problem.”

The problem of finding the exact address came to the forefront during the COVID pandemic last year. The online delivery ecosystem started booming, with more people relying on platforms like Zomato, Swiggy, Amazon, Myntra, etc. While these platforms saw good growth, there was a problem. The delivery guys used to call a customer multiple times to get his/her exact address. Then there was the issue of the customer’s number being unreachable, among other things.

This is where Pataa app comes in handy, as it enables one to search, communicate and share addresses in a simpler and more structured way. The insight behind launching the app was based on the trouble one faces when it comes to coordinating with delivery executives. However, Jain mentions that the app is not just for delivery executives but also for any individual who gets lost while trying to reach the correct location.

How does it work?

Pataa creates a unique digital shortcode for a user’s long address. To create the shortcode, users need to ‘drop a pin’ on the precise 3x3 square metre block at the entrance of their home or office. You then need to type your detailed address in the application and then convert it into a short personalised code - for example, ^KUMAR100, or ^JAIN005. This shortcode is the user’s new digital address that can be shared over an SMS or WhatsApp.

“We're not competing with Google Maps; we're ahead of pure navigation apps”: Mohit Jain, Pataa App

According to Jain, Pataa is the first company to introduce a landmark tagging system that helps one to reach the exact location in the simplest way with the help of the nearest known landmark.

The application also provides an audio guide option. You can use it to record directions in your own voice to guide a person, who has reached the landmark, to your address.

At the same time, users of the app can also send pictures of their home and office, with the unique address code. It is available in both English and Hindi.

“We're not competing with Google Maps; we're ahead of pure navigation apps”: Mohit Jain, Pataa App

Jain points out that it is more difficult to find an address in villages, than cities, as there are no specific lanes and house numbers. “Villagers find it even more difficult to explain where they live. Due to this, they tend to miss out on a lot of things, in terms of having access to bank loans or even e-commerce deliveries.” He adds that about 15 per cent of the app’s users come from rural India.

Pataa is not a substitute for Google Maps. While the latter allows one to use navigation services like Google or Apple Maps, the former coordinates, in order to reach the exact location. Jain opines, “We are not its (Google Maps’) competition, but are a step ahead from these pure navigation platforms.”

Collaborating with apps like Zomato, Swiggy, Amazon, Myntra, etc., is a part of the bigger plan for Jain. He adds that the users have done their part, by creating their unique Pataa. And while this can be shared with all these apps, what will make the entire process seamless is when the users can directly enter their unique addresses in these apps. For this, Pataa has already designed its VPIs, and will be offering this service to e-commerce and food delivery companies in future, at a minimal cost.

The biggest challenge for the app, as per Jain, was to convey to the masses its utility and show them how it can make their lives easier. “For this, Pataa recently released witty and relatable ad films. These ads helped the app to go viral and increase user engagement many times.”

Pataa is also working on a technology with which every place on Earth (not just offices and homes) will have a block code that can be used on the app. Instead of sharing the longitude and latitude of the place, this will enable users to share the unique shortcode of their current location.

Sharing his vision for the app, Jain says that it aims to convert India into a ‘digital address country’ and reduce the loss that the country faces because people can’t be reached on time.

“We aim to replace the word address with Pataa. After we have achieved this, we want the app to go beyond India, to other parts of the world, especially the South Asian countries, where this problem is equally evident,” he signs off.