Bengaluru-based HatupQ helps consumers with applying for documents like driving licences, passport, and PAN card.
When 23-year-old Nikhil Kumar wanted a passport quickly, he approached a broker, who then asked him for Rs 5,000 to get everything done. Deciding that the fee was exorbitant, the Bengaluru-based engineer decided to do it himself, but his application was rejected as the documentation was improper.
Stuck between the devil and the deep blue sea, Nikhil identified a common enough problem that begged a solution. And that’s how the citizen services platform HatupQ was born.
The platform allows you to upload necessary documents and takes care of the rest, so you get your documents right at home. Currently, HatupQ helps get driving licence, passport and PAN cards. It also helps with the renewal of these documents.
Nikhil took the idea to Jiwan Pradhan, a friend, colleague and Co-founder of their erstwhile travel startup, and they were back in business. (The travel startup had shut shop two months into operations for lack of resources and conversion rate.)
Explaining how HatupQ works, Nikhil says, “Users can select the desired service, add it to the cart and complete the checkout. We have made it as easy as shopping online. We focus on government sector services. Keeping Digital India in mind, we felt that there was a need to accelerate these services.”
Customers can either place an order directly by adding a service to their cart, or fill a contact form so someone from HatupQ can reach them. An online payment – for the basic government fee and HatupQ’s fee that averages at Rs 1,500 for a document – and one can upload required documents, and their application is taken to the government office by HatupQ.
“Each application is well tracked right from creation till doorstep delivery of the final product. We also keep our customers updated of their application status,” says Nikhil. There are no hidden charges, claims Nikhil, and in case an application is rejected, HatupQ takes no resolution fees either.
Challenges aplenty and the resolution
Like most stepping into government offices, the team faced red tape in the initial days. “When you go out to create something new, especially in the government sector, it takes a great amount of time to build trust. While our structured way of working made us stand out, it bothered government officials and brokers as they couldn’t seek personal benefits from us. As a result, a lot of our applications were held up,” says Nikhil.
Government authorisations helped with understanding the processes and helping the team with getting the right processes. Also, the company is registered with the Startup India initiative.
“Unlike offline agents, we believe in keeping it simple and user-friendly from a customer’s point of view with minimal charges. Our platform is automated, which drives the attention of working professionals. We provide the right information, nothing unnecessary. And people don’t have to face any hassle at government offices.”
Good idea, but does it pay?
The team claims to have a revenue of Rs 12 lakh over nine months, having serviced over 709 customers. It claims it is expanding its customer base by 20 percent each month.
Digital marketing cost comes up to Rs 200 to acquire a customer. The team is looking to incorporate more technology and new services in its process.
There is a growing need for services that work and help with citizen services. Delhi-based ItzEasy offers government-related services and globally, VFS works on similar lines. MyGov and biggies like Dell EMC are also building infrastructure to aid citizen services.
Currently bootstrapped, the HatupQ team is open to investments.
“We’ve lately been getting a good response from cities such as Mumbai, Hyderabad, Pune and Chennai. Hopefully, we will spread our services across these major cities in the upcoming time,” says Nikhil.