Yangyel Lhaden 

Phuntsho Wangdi returned home during the pandemic. While in quarantine, he explored how he could commute between his home, Yusipang and Thimphu with City Bus Services (CBS). He found an old application with CBS, Happy Ride, but it was not functional. He thought he could develop an application which would show bus schedule.

With this simple concept, application called Gakyid Ride for CBS was developed by Phuntsho, which not only shows bus schedule but real-time location of buses with GPS. One can enter any place of origin to destination and the app would generate all the possible routes with distance and time.

Phuntsho said, “ In the initial stage my app looked like Pokémon.”

CBS, with financial support from UNDP, bought the application for Nu 700,000.

What happens when an entrepreneur and a programmer meet?

Phuntsho, however, would not have made it this far had he not met Tandin Dorji, an entrepreneur. Together, under Druk Infinity Technology, Phuntsho and Tandin developed the application. They find this union critically important to succeed.

Tandin said that in Phuntsho’s venture, two types of people are needed. “ One who know about it and other who can market it.”

In meetings Phuntsho confuses the audience with technical terms and has difficulty in conveying his message. That’s when Tandin translates Phuntsho’s message to the audience. Tandin is a bridge between Phuntsho’s idea on how things are done to practical application.

“People are not interested to know how things are done but only interested in what a thing can do,” Tandin said.

How did they meet?

A mutual friend introduced them to each other. Tandin said: “A mutual friend recommended me to meet a friend of his who is an ‘IT geek’”. Phuntsho shared his idea with Tandin. They proposed their idea to UNDP’s accelerator lab which was calling out for proposals and got selected.

 They then approached the CBS for data.

Tandin said all things fell into place when they started venturing out. “But it is not easy to convince, but we need to be persuasive enough to bring them on board.”

Finding a market is not easy, Tandin said. “ If your product can solve a pain there’s a market.”

Tandin has been providing actuarial evaluation services to companies since 2019 through his Druk Infinity Consulting. He also started E-laYog.  He was a civil servant at Nation Pension and Provident Fund. But he wanted to do something different and left the job.

Phuntsho was not always into programming. He fell in love with embedded system, a module in university course which brought him closer to how computers work. Curiosity drove him to learn more about programming. “ I was fascinated and wondered about the genius who could create such amazing things.”

His professor once said you would have done enough programming when you start to dream about it. “ I felt that.”

Both of them share a similar interest which is to make people’s life better and add value to the society.

Phuntsho described himself as an average student. “ I barely passed Class 10 and studied Commerce in high school.”

His father, though, has always been supportive and encouraged him to give 100 percent in things that interest him. So, he went to Germany to study mechatronics but ended up hating it so much that he left Germany and pursued computer engineering in Thailand. “I was introduced to embedded system and that’s where I could give my 100 percent.”

Tandin says Phuntsho has given more than 100 percent in developing the application.

What is coming more from Druk Infinity Technology?

The two-men team does not have a future plan and wants to focus on the application for now. Before doing something big they want to upgrade their qualification level and be competent enough to start a new venture.

But Phuntsho hates studying. He learns more from doing things. “ I am willing to take the pain as I need more knowledge to meet the technology-driven world. In future there would be more cyber wars than civil wars.”