Nepal may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of startups, but it is slowly making a name for itself in the entrepreneurial world. With a young population that is eager to innovate and a growing economy, Nepal has become a hotbed of startups in recent years.
One of the most prominent startup hubs in Nepal is Kathmandu, where a number of coworking spaces and incubators have opened up to support new businesses. These include the Innovation Hub Kathmandu, which offers events, workshops, and a library/makerspace, and Himalayan Climate Initiative, which focuses on businesses that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Many of the startups in Nepal are focused on social impact, addressing issues such as waste management, sustainable energy, and healthcare. For example, Nagar Mitra is a social enterprise that operates a collection center for PET bottles, which they purchase from local waste collectors for above-market prices. Another startup, Health At Home, provides healthcare services such as doctors, nurses, vaccinations, and pharmacy to people’s homes.
There are also startups in Nepal that focus on creative industries such as design and media. Smart Solutions is a software development and web design company, while Pixel IT and Graphics offers web design, web development, and graphics design services.
Despite the challenges faced by startups in Nepal, such as limited funding and infrastructure, the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well. With a supportive community and a growing ecosystem, the future looks bright for startups in Nepal.
List of Recent Startups in Nepal
Tootle. Two-wheeler ride-sharing platform “made in Nepal”.
Pathao A Bangladeshi two-wheeler ride sharing platform that now also operates in Nepal.
Best Mad Honey Another startup selling psychedelic rhododendron honey. See also their Facebook page 38. If psychedelic honey is what you’re looking for, have a look – this one has the more attractive prices, and their headquarters is in Kathmandu so you can probably visit if you are around the Valley.
Young Innovations Established and relatively large software development company that can provide all kinds of custom software solutions. Focuses on projects for government transparency and accountability.
Kathmandu Living Labs Non-profit civic technology company working mostly with mobile technology and geodata. They coordinate the OpenStreetMap initiatives in Nepal, and had a great website for incident mapping and crisis response after the 2015 earthquake. See also their Wikipedia article 9.
KhaltiA digital wallet and online payment service. They also have features to issue all kind of (digital) transportation tickets, entry tickets and coupons on behalf of their businesses customers (see here 12 and here 2).
Cake9 Bakery for celebratory cakes, with online ordering and delivery.
Anthropose Anthropose introduced line-up of eyewear as a means to solve the deep rooted problem of cataracts and high drop-out rate among students attending public schools in Nepal.
Local Women’s Handicrafts According to their website, “a fair trade textile and handicraft collective in Kathmandu, focused on empowering and educating disadvantaged women using sustainable methods. All our products are ethically produced, providing fair wages and working conditions for the women who make them.” Founded by Nasreen Sheikh.
Bright Star Society NGO that cares to enable disabled persons in Nepal to live independently. Not sure if they sell anything, but they bring innovative assistive technology to Nepal, for example (see 7). See also their Facebook page 5.
Safetyknot NGO that cares about work safety and accident prevention in Nepal. They can be contracted for education and trainings about this.
Khaalisisi. Recycling coordination platform in Kathmandu valley where you order a pickup online and they send a collector for the recyclables (who will pay for the material). See also their Facebook page 45.
Women for Human Right A NGO supporting single women in Nepal. Among other activities, they seem to have a product to sell: in collaboration with Khaalisisi, they collect used jeans fabric and women then sew that into school bags for sale (see 7).
Stories of Nepal A one-photographer journey to uncover the hidden stories of Nepal’s people. Not exactly selling anything (though the project sometimes does collaborations), but a worthy project to support. See also the Facebook page 15.
The Record A high quality journal with explanatory and investigatory pieces of journalism for Nepal. They don’t sell access, but are reader supported. See also their Facebook page 6.
Crafted in Kathmandu Platform that sells handmade items of multiple Nepali artisans and craftspeople. Great pieces in their collection. (Not too sure yet about what their revenue sharing model is, i.e. how much goes to the artists.)
Everything Organic Nursery A nursery in Kavre district (so not in Kathmandu) that provides trainings in bio-intensive organic agriculture and sells open-pollinated seeds and grafted seedlings of fruit and nut trees. See also their Facebook page 9.
Little Things A startup that designs creative greeting cards and merchandises with a touch of sarcasm related to Nepali society / culture.
Studio Sarcastic An art studio in Kathmandu, owned by sweet cat crazy girl named Sneha, specializing in witty humour-filled lifestyle products as well as designs that add their own splash of refreshingly original artistic twist.
Danfe by Saath Danfe is a Nepali clothing brand and social enterprise which produces and promotes Nepal made fashion. Each product of Danfe provides employment opportunity to young Nepali women. They also offer sewing classes. See this newspaper article 10 about them.
The Mint Studio A lifestyle brand in Nepal that loves creating Nepali clothing apparels as well as products.
Offering Happiness An award winning, unique “surprise event” planning company which is famous among Nepali young crowd.
Kayo Studio A startup that attempts to make Nepali handicrafts into a luxury brand by bringing various modern twists to traditional wood as well as jewellery work.
HATTI HATTI HATTI HATTI works to empower people in marginalized communities. All of their products are environmentally sustainable as they recycle fabrics into beautiful, handmade garments and accessories. They also offer sewing classes.
Masala Beads One of the favourite Nepali handmade jewellery and handicraft brands.
Mechha Mheecha is a Nepali brand that originates from Kathmandu, Nepal. The word ‘mheecha’ is a Newa term which means ‘pouch’, also known as ‘thaili’ or ‘thailo’ in Nepali. Meecha are inspired by the traditional mheecha for its minimal, classy design and its strength and durability.
Dulla Nepali favourite luxury shoes that are made in limited editions, only 100 pairs for each design, which makes them exclusive. They also provide free life-time servicing, making Dulla a trusted and loved lifestyle brand.
Urban Nomad Urban Nomad is a creative branding agency which works with different companies, individuals or organizations to get their brand name recognized in the market. They have been providing their services through photography, videography, graphic design, animated videos, digital marketing and other kinds of creations to get their clients’ brands recognized.
Timro Kawadiwala Timro Kawadiwala draws a concept of making a relation of waste buyers with households / businesses so that a Green Community can be formed by recycling the non-decomposable materials.
Sagarmatha Pencil Udyog This startup carries a story of young man who quit his banking job in Kuwait to manufacture high quality environmentally friendly pencils from recycled paper instead of wood in Nepal.
Chronicles of Himalayas A commercial gaming venture, the first of its kind in Nepal. An epic story of a 15 year old Sherpa boy from a hidden village in the Everest area who sets out to find his missing father but destiny leads him to his origin. Chronicles Of The Himalayas is a adventure and mystery experience set in the Himalayan Wilderness. Hidden from the eyes of the common folks, peek in to the extra ordinary world where reality, folklore and magic come together.
WPall.club A Biology student who started an IT company at the age of 18 The club was started from 2 people, now WPAll has 7 people, working with one part time employee. Having a motive for enhancement of creative writing and affiliate marketing, the company has a good business going around from third-company products (themes, plugins) having both free and premium options.
Golden Peak Tea Golden Peak Tea promotes Nepali agricultural products from small villages of Nepal in urban cities areas Kathmandu and also exports these products to outside nations so as to show the world what these small villages of Nepal possess.
Taalo Taalo is a small step to modify the definition of entrepreneurship. Whether you design from the new fabrics or the idled rags, there is always the scope of entrepreneurship when you think out of the box and splurge the creativity. It aims to reuse and recycle the wasted fabrics for something more useful and creative.
Yatri Design Studio Yatri Design Studio was founded in 2017 to produce green urban mobility solutions. Their designs are completely based on aerospace technology and the team has taken an initiative to create sleek, elegant and environment friendly two-wheelers for comfortable urban mobility.
Bagels Kathmandu New York Style, hand rolled, water boiled bagels with house-made spreads right here in Kathmandu.
Sarathi Sarathi is a mobility solution, offering ride booking, leasing, car rental and car sharing. The company was established in 2016 and started its operations from 2017. The tech based company registered in Nepal creates opportunities for a range of service providers, by blending traditional providers with a modern market model to create a disruptive industry.
Tyre Treasures Tyre Treasure was initiated from the “Green Innovation Startup Challenge”. It was organized by WWF Nepal and the NE Hub organization. The company has planned and researched about the prospectus of using recycled tires to create various products, with an ambition of establishing a profitable business.
Farm to Finger. Farm to Finger is an online based venture that deals with bridging the gap between the rural farmers and the urban customers.
Artuido The Artudio Center for Visual Arts is “a contemporary art collective / platform of and for artists and art enthusiasts.” They organize art camps, exhibitions and art education.
Jamarko Women-powered small industry creating recycled paper and paper products. Around since 2001. They also showcase and sell Nepali handicrafts in their outlet to support local artists and artisans.
Metro Tarkari Online supermarket for vegetables, fruits, meat and dairy products, also including local organic products 5. Includes free delivery inside Kathmandu Valley. Not a big operation yet: some young people with a basement and a good website. But already they supply for 200 orders a day with a 100% year-on-year growth rate and 15 kg per order on average (source 9). Nice concept!
Cloud FactoryOne of the few internationally successful Nepali startups. This is an outsourcing provider for digital jobs around data entry / quality control / enhancement, with several hundred workers in Nepal and elsewhere. They have a self-developed management solution for remote work called WorkStreams 13. Their worker-facing website is cloudfactory.com.np 42.
Manjari CoffeeA well-loved coffee roaster in Kathmandu, selling their coffee via various outlets in shops and cafés in the Valley.
Nepal Innovation LabA makerspace, lab and business incubator for humanitarian innovation. They have various offers to mentor people with innovative ideas from idea stage to impact stage. See also their Facebook page 11.
Nepal in DataA very large collection of statistical data about Nepal, all licenced CC-BY 4.0. Not sure if they have a commercial product, but they could totally develop a business case from this given that they are unique in providing accessible datasets about Nepal.
Smart SolutionsA bit larger (>40 people) software development and web design company.
MetalwoodArchitecture, interior design and custom furniture making company with their own “metal and wood” style for furniture. See also their Facebook page 1.
Maker KTAn initiative started by one woman to introduce other women to making, hacking and repairing in diverse fields (electronics, bicycles, scooters and whatever their next workshop brings). See also their Facebook page 4.
EduLift AcademyInnovative educational space for school children, focused around experiential learning. They offer various programs both for children and teachers.
Himalayan Climate InitiativeA business incubator for enterprises that aim to reduce Nepal’s greenhouse gas emissions. So far this resulted in 12 startups emerging from their program.
Nagar MitraA social enterprise operating a collection center for PET bottles, which they purchase from local waste collectors for above-market prices. The bottles are then sorted and baled for exporting to India. (However, if you need PET for 3D printing or other plastic work, you can probably buy it from them as well.)
Health At HomeHealthcare platform that organized to provide doctors, nurses, vaccinations and pharmacy to people’s homes. They even have a lab on call 1 service where they collect samples at home and deliver the report.
SunFarmer NepalA household solar installation company launced in January 2014 that completed over 200 installations since then. They also operate SunFarmer 4, an incubator that wants to launch similar companies worldwide.
StoryCycleAn organization that holds regular story collection events and events for mapping local businesses etc., to help understand Nepal through stories. All their stories are online.
Portal PrefabThey sell prefabricated kits to create the scaffolding and roof for a one-story house or warehouse, in various lengths. Walls are then added with local materials. (Also, after the 2015 earthquake they designed and provided the ubiquitous shelter homes, and they still share the instructions how to make one 1.)
Himali SamayMade-in-Nepal wrist watches made from walnut wood (!), about 3600 NPR each.
Kaagmandu Magazine Young and fresh magazine made in Kathmandu. It’s free to read, but they sell advertisements. (Their associated giftshop 1 is still in the making and seemingly the online outlet of Nepol 1, an existing brick-and-mortar gift shop.)
BrewshalaA coffee roasting, brewing and cupping lab that offers courses about everything coffee and can also roast beans for customers. They started in late 2018 and will have a proper webpage soon at brewshala.com 14.
Elance Digital MediaA service provider for everything around SEO and website marketing. Also, they are well-known in Kathmandu for their SEO courses.
Laptop Nepal A repair workshop for computers. They say they repaired over 8700 notebook computers by now and you can track the status of your repair online. They say they can even do reflow work for loose chips on the mainboard.
DADA CorpBunch of creative photographers who envisions to deliver perfect click to refresh your moment.
Her Farm Films They offer video and audio recording for events, video editing, radio shows and courses for all that. Not inside Kathmandu Valley but in Mankhu. Dhading – so, not too far either, well within reach when wanting to go to a multi-day course.
Aji’sA really lovely startup: they present and sell products made by the elderly, like knitted clothing and traditional rice stools. Their products are available both in Kathmandu and in the U.S.A. There’s also a nice portrait story 4 about them in Glocal Khabar.
Himalayan Allo UdhyogA company established in 2009 by Mala Thapa Magar, now employing 1-15 people and producing fabric items from the Himalayan stinging nettle plant, which is a traditional technique found in Nepal. There is also a good interview with the founder 3.
Calligraphy CenterTrue to their name, they promote beautiful handwriting. With courses and such.
Yoban ProductionA film and photo studio. Among other things, they offer photography and videography for weddings.
e-Sewa PasalAn online supermarket for every food, household and personal care item, including home appliances. Basically the relaunch of the former “Bhatbhateni Online” site.
KiranaAn online supermarket for food (not for fresh fruits and vegetables, though) and for personal care items. Said to process 8,200 orders per day as of 2019-03 (source 9), though that seems a very high number.
Cozy CupA small initiative selling the mooncup (a re-usable menstrual product) in Nepal, imported from the U.S… It’s not exactly cheap in Nepal but pays off by being long-term re-usable. And of course it’s ecologically meaningful and a good long-term solution for those many women in Nepal who can’t reliably buy sanitary pads in local stores.
Latido LeathersThe first leather fashion brand in Nepal. They actually manufacture in Nepal. A good part of their product range is motorcycle clothing.
Disaster HackA community using technology and art in disaster recovery. Somehow affiliated with the Burning Man festival. They have a great new space in Jhamsikhel, Kathmandu that is “free for public use, a decommodified zone with nothing for sale or advertised, a co-working space, hackerspace with shared technology resources, and a place to create and foster sustainable businesses and projects” (source 2). See also their Facebook page 10.
Sama PencilsA brand new startup. They produce made-in-Nepal pencils from recycled newspaper. As it’s a bio-degradable product, it’s a very ecological way of writing. See also their Instagram page 39 and their introduction in this thread below.
Samsara CreationA company started by six graduate students in 2019, creating clothing accessories and clothing items from end-of-life textiles. With a nice artsy touch. See also their website.