Your neighborhood Kirana store is not exactly a hotbed of high end tech. Yet, its business has been most affected by tech enabled retailers like Amazon and Flipkart. That is the reason why, HackerEarth, a Bangalore headquartered talent and innovation management company is looking at Kirana stores as its next big market.
“Today, we work with hardcore retail shops where we want to create tech solutions for a sector which has not seen much disruption apart from e-commerce. It’s about solving small problems with hackathons for retail shops that will enable growth for them against the online buying space,” Sachin Gupta, CEO of HackerEarth told TheBigScope.
Founded in late 2012, HackerEarth connects companies and coding talent by conduction hackathons and online tests. Gupta believes that Kirana stores are entirely disengaged with technology and sees this gap is an opportunity for the company.
For instance, Gupta says that if you had image recognition installed at retail shops, the shop owners can estimate what products are bought the most and thereby, predict buying patterns in a particular area accurately. Depending on this data, the retail owner can decide the inventory in his store accurately.
The market for organized grocery players in India is pegged at Rs 3.4 lakh crores but most of the grocery market is disorganized, according to a report by Kotak Institutional Equities.
Moreover, Gupta wants to extend HackerEarth’s platform to Tier-3 cities and help women and transgender coders come to the fore. According to Gupta, the number of women coders coming to their platform has increased from 400 during their first hackathon to 4000 registrations in 2014 and counting for the recent one in 2018.
“I feel there need to be more women, transgender coders because till now programming has been done majorly by men and if more women look at programming, new issues can be solved as their perspectives are going to be very different from men.”
Apart from focusing on women coders, HackerEarth also launched an initiative which will help enterprises showcase their business challenges on their platform. The platform will attract startups to come and solve the problem. “We will do match making and let the startups and enterprises take ti from there,” says Gupta.