What are different startups in the Kathmandu Valley

Visiting the shark tank of the Himalayas: the startup city of Kathmandu

And that in itself is a great success. Nepal's society is rigid, and a fatalistic attitude is widespread. The caste still determines professional fate in the 30 million-strong country: Brahmins tend to go into administration, Kshatriyas to the police or the military. Otherwise, the circumstances for startups are not exactly rosy either: From 1996 to 2006, a civil war raged in Nepal between the royal family and Maoist rebels, which killed 12,000 people and finally sealed the end of the monarchy.

The Nepalese economic output per capita is therefore not even half that of India. In the Human Development Index, which also measures life expectancy and level of education, the country only ranks 149th, behind Angola and just ahead of Pakistan. This is one of the reasons why Shrestha founded the Idea Studio five years ago with colleagues: “We wanted to bring about social change through more entrepreneurship. We have to go new ways. Otherwise nothing will change. ”In any case, the startup scene has grown rapidly over the past five years. There are over 30 incubators across the country, a handful of private equity firms and impact investment funds, as well as a number of blogs and events that network the scene. But even more important: there are first visible successes.

They met Sujeet Regmi and Pukar Acharya while studying for an MBA at the University of Kathmandu. They have been on the market with their Sajilo Marmat Sewa - SMS for short - platform for two years. There they find plumbers, electrical installers and computer technicians, and an app is to follow in the summer. "Our craftsmen are professional, punctual and get the job done as quickly as possible - that is extremely unusual in Kathmandu," explains Regmi. The demand is correspondingly high. Over 4,000 orders have already been placed, and a small profit has been made since the third month. The craftsmen work freelance, SMS collects a commission. "As with Uber," says Acharya.

The founders had started working in a large company after completing their technical studies, but quickly despaired of the traditional business culture. "I worked twelve hours six days a week, but received zero credit for it," says Regmi. “There is a feudal mindset in Nepal, good performance is not valued. A few years ago, even large companies didn't even have HR departments. ”The prospect of such a frustrating professional life, say the founders, was the impetus for founding the company.

Regmi and Acharya found strategic and conceptual support in the Idea Studio. It was much more difficult to raise capital. Local investors often do not understand how startups work and usually demand total control over the entire company, the founders report. Others are skeptical of service companies and prefer visible investments such as factories or roads. “There is a blatant lack of know-how,” says Acharya. “It seems as if many Nepalese speak a different language than we do. I often feel like a stranger in my own country. "

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