Kaagaz: Redefining How India Works on Documents

Gaurav Shrishrimal , Co-founder, Kaagaz Scanner


Today, everyone is super busy in their lives juggling between family, work, friends, hobbies etc. In that hustle, very often, we would miss on some day-to-day tasks. We either forget a payment due date & pay a fine or struggle to locate an important document or forget an insurance renewal date etc. It is not because we don’t know how to manage these things, or we don’t know how important these are. It is primarily because these tasks are boring & don’t feel like the best use of our time.

Speaking to more people, Snehanshu Gandhi realized that it is a problem for others too. Unfortunately, a lot of people leave this till very late and end up in a situation where their family members end up suffering. For example, over USD 2 billion is stuck in India in unclaimed life insurance money! More in other categories of investments as well. The primary reason for that is that people never shared these important documents with their family members. And in case of a sudden demise, their families were left unaware & struggling. It is in fact a big problem for people across the globe.

Kaagaz is automating this process of organizing documents leveraging artificial intelligence, so that users don’t have to do anything to make sure all-important things are organized and shared with their family members. They should be able to find what they need, when they need it. Read along to know more about Kaagaz and its benefits in the interview mentioned below. 

Kindly mention in detail about your startup, its inception story.

We started Ordenado Labs Pvt. Ltd, with an initial idea of building an AI powered productivity app called Sorted AI, to help users become more organized & more productive. One of the core features of the app is that users can upload any kinds of documents to Sorted AI and it can auto-categorize them into categories such as Insurance, Vehicle, Medical, Personal IDs, etc. It also sets up reminders for important dates in those documents, automatically. While building the product, we realized that uploading the documents to Sorted AI is a high friction step for the users because they have to scan their physical documents using another app and then upload it to Sorted AI. To make it easy and make it an organic part of their current process, we decided to build a Scanner App that people will use for scanning documents to share or keep on their phone and the AI engine will start doing the magic on it and create more value for the users. Thus, was born, Kaagaz Scanner in June 2020.

We soon realized that over 500 Mn+ Indian users have come to the internet for the first time in the last few years using their Smartphones and they are Mobile only users. On researching further, we figured that these users (Bharta users) are looking for mobile first tools that will help them with Document Consumption (PDF Reader, Document Scanner), Storage (Cloud Storgae, DigiLocker), Editing (PDF Tools, Annotation Tools) & Creation (Templates & Creation Tools) on their phones easily. Hence, the idea further evolved into building a ‘Documents Super App’ for the Bharat user, Kaagaz! Bharat users can easily use these tools on their smartphones in their own choice of regional language, to do tasks for which they earlier had to depend on someone who has a Desktop/Laptop.

Brief us about the featured person and your journey towards starting your business.

Kaagaz is the brainchild of Snehanshu Gandhi, a graduate of IIT Bombay & ISB Hyderabad. Hailing from a Tier II city of Udaipur, Snehanshu did his undergraduate studies from IIT Bombay. He started his entrepreneurship journey with India Interns while he was still at college. Though he had to shut it down after graduating from college. After working for 2.5 years as a management consultant and 1.5 years as part of the early team at a horticulture startup, InI Farms Pvt. Ltd., he went on to ISB Hyderabad to pursue MBA. Post his MBA, he worked for 3 years at Goodhope Asia holdings Ltd in Jakarta. Though he worked in Indonesia, but he always wanted to give back to his society & his country, he left his cushy job to start his second venture Tapp Me with Gaurav Shrishrimal. At Tapp Me, Gaurav & Snehanshu were trying to organize the highly unorganized Home Maintenance Services sector in Tier 2 cities in India. While their stint at Tapp Me, they served more than 150,000 users across 4 Indian cities – Jaipur, Visakhapatnam, Patna & Gurgaon. Due to a funding crunch they had to shut down Tapp Me and then they started building Kaagaz & Kaagaz.

What is the current scenario of the industry that you are catering to?

Most of the Documents apps available today, were built for the desktop users & for the western world primarily. These have been adapted from desktop to mobile and have many challenges from the Bharat users’ perspective (language, workflows, iconography etc.), who have never worked on a desktop and have never seen these tools before. Other than this, there are a few apps available for Scanning, PDF Reading, PDF tools etc. but most of them serve only one purpose for the users and they have to download all of them for separate requirements. We are solving this by providing mobile-first tools that are packaged into one product while ensuring that it is very easy to use for the Bharat users.

Is your startup bootstrapped or are you looking for funding options?

At Kaagaz, we have raised Seed Funding of $575,000 from Pravega Ventures, Axilor Ventures, Better Capital and a few angels. Before Seed Funding we raised Angel Funding from First Cheque. 

How has the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic influenced your business operations?

Kaagaz was born in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic and since then there has been a surge in usage of tools like Kaagaz. As everyone is either working remotely or studying remotely, the demand to digitize & share documents has increased. With increase in social distancing & lockdowns being enforced by the government, all businesses have gone digital which has also led to a growth in demand for tools that help them in digitizing their businesses & Kaagaz has been one such tool that has become very important for our users. 

As a startup, what steps are you taking to acquire new customers or retain the existing ones in these challenging times of Covid-19?

Utility tools are more of a pull category of products, which means that people look for these tools on playstore or on the web when the need arises. This leads to high search volumes, hence to acquire new customers, we have focused on making sure that we are visible to our users when they are searching for tools like a scanner, pdf reader, pdf tools etc. Building a brand also plays an important role here.

With regards to retaining the customers, we have learnt that the more useful (more features) a utility app becomes the more its users have a reason to retain the app & come back to it often. Hence, our focus has been on offering them more and more tools that they would need in their day-to-day lives within the Kaagaz app. 

What kind of products or services your startup offers?

At Kaagaz we are building mobile-first productivity tools for the Bharat users, to help them become part of the mainstream digital economy. The first set of tools are focused on providing a ‘Documents Super App’ to the Bharat users that has document consumption (PDF reader, document scanner), document creation (templates, creation tools), document editing (PDF tools, annotation tools) & document storage (Cloud Storage, DigiLocker) capabilities. Bharat users can easily use these tools on their smartphones in their own choice of regional language, to do tasks for which they earlier had to depend on someone who has a Desktop/Laptop.

What kind of challenges have you faced while incorporating your company?

Incorporating our company was a very seamless experience and we didn’t face any major challenges.

Where do you envision yourself and your company to be in the long run and what are your future goals?

We want to build a suite of productivity tools for the Bharat users, so that they can do all the things that the first-generation internet users can do on their desktops, very easily. We believe that this is a huge opportunity for us to be able to empower our users with the right tools so that they can become part of the mainstream digital economy & grow with it.

Give your opinion on how to survive as a startup in these pandemic times amidst Covid-19.

Few things that I feel are important for any startup to survive in general and even more specifically during these pandemic times are:

Stay as lean as possible, always!

Stay focused on the few most important things and not get in a trap of doing many things because you have the financial resources today.

If you are in a difficult situation, seek help – from your customers, investors & team members. Most people are willing to help if you genuinely need it and you ask for it.

Empathy towards people is very important in such difficult times.


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