aditya bhatia

Aditya Bhatia, a teenager from Houston, Texas, has launched his new app, “MeriPheri,” which was recently praised in Maharashtra’s State Legislature Assembly. (photo provided)

An Indian American 10th grader in Houston, Texas, Aditya Bhatia, recently launched his mobile app, “MeriPheri,” for street vendors in Mumbai, India.

City lawmakers and the mayor immediately took notice and mentioned the new app in India’s Maharashtra’s State Legislature Assembly, a news release noted.

Bhatia, 16, and his co-inventors were recommended for felicitation and all government support, the news release said.

The local public responded immediately by downloading the app to the tune of more than 2,000 downloads. More than 10 regional newspapers and the Times of India wrote about it in their pubications.

This is Bhatia’s second mobile app launch in the last two years, with the first one being “SportsConnect,” launched by him when he was just 13 years old, the news release said.

With several million handcart vendors and hundreds of millions of buyers in India, this app is the need of the hour, noted the release. It is perhaps India’s first ever app that connects street vendors (called Pheriwalas or Thelawalas) to nearby buyers in real time, and introduces the new term “P-Commerce” or “Pheri Commerce,” the release said.

Bhatia believes this is the next big wave after eCommerce which is almost at its saturation point now. He teamed up with his 13-year-old cousin Aryan, who is an 8th grader living in Mumbai, it said.

The boys meticulously designed the app to make it super simple and easily operable by non-tech savvy street cart vendors, homemakers and elderly people, who need this app the most.

The two teenagers were aware of the mobile phone revolution in India, brought in recently by local cell phone service providers, the release said.

Recent entrant Jio Communications introduced phones and calling/data plans at super economical prices, making it affordable for everyone. The teenagers thought this was a terrific business opportunity to bring untapped people onto the tech world, it said.

“There are more than 10 million street vendors in India, and hundreds of millions of people purchase from them every day. If we provide a platform to connect the two, it can simplify things and generate millions of dollars’ worth of business. It benefits both the sellers and buyers immensely,” Bhatia said. 

Added Aryan: “We realized most of street vendors can’t write or read English and hence made the app available in seven regional languages – English, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu.”

The teenagers, inspired by tech entrepreneurs Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg, are now seeking venture capital or angel investment funds to promote the app and get maximum downloads/usage.

Bhatia has written many research articles on Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and eCommerce which have been published in prestigious computer magazines like Computer Society of India as cover page stories, the release said.

He recently secured a place in the top three Texas for his school, Thompkins High School, in an English language competition and also competed at the national level in Oklahoma.

(Aditya Bhatia can be reached at: adityabhatia78@gmail.com

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