'Mitron' the catchphrase of PM Narendra Modi was all over the headlines - at first for good reasons and then for bad ones. But the short video making app sailed through the tough times and is heading to calmer shores. The founders of the startup MitronTV, Shivank Agarwal and Anish Khandelwal, who also happen to be the only people behind the viral and controversial app Mitron, came forward for an interview with YourStory to address the bad press surrounding the app and also shared future plans.
Mitron enjoyed early success with over 5 million downloads within a month - a huge chunk of its popularity came from the anti-TikTok sentiment running high among Indians. But the success was short-lived as many controversies started surrounding Mitron. From being titled as a repackaged version of Pakistani app Tic Tic to getting suspended from Google Play Store for violating some of its policies and some experts deeming the app "too risky", Mitron app founders were on the receiving end of all the criticism.
The Pakistani connection
It was reported that Mitron's entire source code, its features and the interface were bought from a Pakistani software developing company called Qboxus. Since the app was claimed to be "made in India," the Pakistani element didn't sit too well with Indians, drawing serious flak.
Responding to this, Agarwal, an IIT-Roorkee alumnus, told YourStory that the template for Mitron was bought on Envato, an Australian online marketplace. "Buying a template [for an app] is not new to the software industry. Major e-commerce platforms and unicorns have been doing this for a long time."
Adding to the point, Khandelwal said that they have also been "consulting with top security experts in the industry to make sure that all our user-facing interface is secure."
Google suspending Mitron
Even though Mitron was removed from Google Play Store for violating the "spam and minimum functionality' policy," it wasn't something that couldn't be fixed. Mitron app, after getting necessary alterations, was allowed back in Play Store, where it is available for download once again.
What lies ahead for Mitron?
The co-founders have big plans for the Mitron app. Besides actively looking for investors to raise money and hire more people, the startup is focused to grow beyond offering entertainment to Mitron users and give some educational content as well. The app is focused on tapping the diverse nature of Indians to get more users on board.
"Our focus is to build that platform where you can see the true India. We want to be able to say, Dekho apna desh (see your country) from anywhere at any time on Mitron," Khandelwal told YourStory.