Sitting idle does more harm than good. So is it with cash. Accumulating cash in your savings account and watching it grow over the years can give you a sense of security. But that can be deceptive. On closer scrutiny, you’d realise that you may be losing money without even realising it?

Idle cash loses value

Inflation eats into idle cash.

Consider the following scenario: A cup of tea costs Rs 10 today. You have Rs 100 with you. With this amount, you can buy 10 cups of tea. But you decide to save the money with your bank for a year. Fast-forward a year, a cup of tea costs Rs 12. That means you can buy no more than eight cups of tea. You realise that the value of a hundred-rupee note has diminished. This is the impact of inflation.

You might argue that the money in your savings account earns regular interest. But, that can be negligible in the face of inflation. If your savings account earns an interest of 3.5% and retail inflation is at 4%, you are actually losing money. To put it simply, you are losing the potential to earn more by letting cash sit idle.

Investing money in mutual funds

Just like you work to earn money, your money should work to earn money for you. You can put your money to work by investing it. There are multiple avenues where your money can earn higher returns for you. Mutual funds, for instance, is a good place to start. This is a good option for people who are new to the world of investments.

Benefits of investing in mutual funds

The advantages of mutual funds are aplenty. The risk level is quite low – especially in options such as debt mutual funds – and the returns are pretty good. For example, the interest rate on a fixed deposit is around 6.5~7.5%; saving account interest rates range between 3 and 6%. In comparison, mutual funds offer anywhere between 10-15%.

They also have the potential to earn you more as they dabble in a variety of financial instruments such as stocks, bonds, and other money market instruments.

There are different types of mutual funds available such as debt funds, equity funds, balanced funds, sectoral funds and so on. You can invest in any of these funds based on your investment goal. For instance, if you are interested in long-term investment growth and high returns, equity funds are a suitable choice. Equity funds invest a major portion of the money in stocks.

Similarly, the core holdings in a debt fund are fixed-income investments. Since the main goal of debt funds is capital preservation and income generation, these funds are more suitable for those who are risk-averse.

Although some element of risk is involved in mutual funds, the threat of negative returns is not very high. That’s because fund managers invest in a range of stocks and bonds, rather than focus on just one. This enables fund houses to hedge its risks. Another upside is that the minimum investment in mutual fund is as little as Rs 500 per month.

To sum up

Cold cash is always important, but asset management is equally crucial. It is important to keep a chunk of money in your bank in case of emergencies. But, if you want to your money to expand, investing in financial instruments such as mutual funds are a good option.

With Diwali just around the corner, there has been a lot of questions raised about the air quality after the Diwali festivities. Some cities like Delhi where pollution is at an all-time high, the sale of firecrackers has been curbed in Delhi-NCR as per the verdict from Supreme Court. Though the firecrackers ban has not been imposed in other cities, citizens are becoming more and more vigilant about pollution, air quality and the implications of bursting crackers on the environment.

Many brands are coming up with very innovative concepts so that Diwali can be celebrated in a manner that there is less (or no) noise pollution! Adding to the festivities this Diwali, Vodafone India, in hallmark style, has come up with an innovative concept to delight its customers. Vodafone is encouraging customers to walk into any Vodafone stores across India on 18th and 19th October to get a unique & differentiated Diwali experience and create a personalized Diwali GIF with Augmented Reality to wish an eco-friendly Diwali to their loved ones.

All Vodafone stores are decked with Diwali accessories and each customer would be greeted by traditionally attired Vodafone personnel, with a custom created offer, an opportunity to send a unique, personalized Diwali greeting (GIF) to their loved ones and a chance to take home a gift hamper. There would be on-going promotions on the MyVodafone App where customers can choose personalized plans.

With the help of store employees, Vodafone customers can create eco-friendly Diwali ‘phuljaris’ greetings for their loved ones, through a twist of Augmented Reality. The personalized GIF can then be sent to friends & family, through social media by tagging them. Each customer will also receive a special Thank You card from Vodafone.

Kavita Nair, Associate Director – Commercial Operations, Vodafone India, said

We, at Vodafone, have always been customer obsessed and believe in delighting our customers. This festive season, we invite them to visit our stores for an innovative Augmented Reality [AR] experience and use it to create their own, unique Diwali greeting for wishing their family and friends.

We walked into their Whitefield store and tried out this simple, yet effective AR solution to wish the dear ones ‘Happy Diwali’. It is an interesting way to promote e-Diwali, create more customer engagement and customized offers ensures that customers can make their Diwali more eventful 🙂

If you are Vodafone customer, you should definitely give this a spin to wish your dear ones ‘Happy Diwali’ 🙂 If you have already tried the Vodafone AR experience, do leave your experience in the comments section…

Uber announced the launch of PREMIER,  a superior ride option at every day, affordable fares. Starting today, riders in Bangalore will be offered PREMIER as an in-app product option that serves as an upgrade to their current uberX experience. PREMIER is currently available in Mumbai and Pune.

Commenting on the launch, an Uber Spokesperson, said

At Uber, we strive to make every ride a great experience. With a focus on building products that will go further in replacing the need for personal mobility options, we are launching PREMIER in Bangalore. We are constantly listening to our riders’ and work towards enhancing their Uber experiences. PREMIER has been devised to deliver on rider expectations for in-city rides that takes the core experience further.

Whether its mid-day meetings or shopping sprees, outings with friends and family, hosting business partners or taking rides to the airport, the PREMIER experience has been crafted to better serve rider needs on-trip and continue to iterate via enhanced post-trip feedback and support. Riders have indicated the need and helped shape the product by sharing feedback through features such as Driver Compliments and Driver Ratings.

  • On average, these best-in-class driver-partners have completed 1000+ lifetime trips & acknowledged by riders via the Driver Compliments feature and Driver Ratings.
  • Riders themselves have consistently rated these driver-partners for their 5-star service, making them the top-rated driver-partners on Uber.

In Bengaluru, PREMIER will complement the current product range of POOL, GO & XL to serve unmet needs in the economy-plus and premium segments where there is immense scope to match a personal car experience.

When booking a PREMIER ride, one can expect

  • Rides in select, high-comfort, economy-range sedans every time
  • To be driven by best-in-class driver partners endorsed by riders
  • Enhanced customer support for a superior post-ride experience
  • Affordable, everyday fares

National Instruments is hosting NIDays Conference and Exhibition, the ultimate learning experience that unites the brightest minds in engineering and science. This year, NIDays India will take place at ITC Gardenia on 26th October 2017.

Image Source – NI Days

At NIDays, scientists and engineers will learn about the latest technology to accelerate productivity for software defined systems in test, measurement and control, in a full day of interactive, technical and networking sessions from industry leaders and NI experts.

Hosted by National Instruments, NIDays is an event ideal for engineers, scientists and academicians, supplying the tools and knowledge to develop applications faster and smarter. This years Thought Leadership Keynotes aim to inspire, giving those in attendance a glimpse at the latest, cutting-edge innovations that demonstrate how engineers and scientists use NI technology to change and improve the world we live in.

The morning keynote Impacting Today’s Business, demonstrates how the NI platform is accelerating innovation in applications ranging from transportation safety, wireless communication, automated test and the IIoT. In the afternoon, see how NI continues the LabVIEW legacy with the evolution of the world’s most productive and efficient engineering software, in the keynote A Glimpse into The Future.

Attendees can tailor the event to their specific industry, application or interest and can choose from a vast array of Targeted Application Area Tracks including IIoT, Test & Measurement, Automotive, Academics and Software advancements. Test engineers and managers can take advantage of unique opportunity in form of a test leadership panel which will have leaders in test and measurement come and share their experiences and best practices for improving the impact of test.

To register for NIDays, please visit NIDays Registration Page

Leading health and fitness start-up, HealthifyMe have unveiled the world’s first-ever conversational AI-enabled nutritionist Ria. The advanced AI coach, which has been under works for a while, will be launched in the coming months in BETA, and is expected to transform the way people manage their nutrition and fitness plans.

The unveiling was done at HealthifyMe’s annual event Ignite, where the company also announced that it has achieved a 4.6-star rating on Google Play Store, becoming one of the few Indian apps over 1 million downloads to have ever reached the landmark rating.

Developed under the code-name ‘Project Amadeus’, Ria uses key learnings obtained from HealthifyMe’s 150 million tracked meals [20 billion+ macro/micro nutrients] and 10 million message exchanges [1 billion+ words] between coaches and clients. Amadeus is the next step to ‘Jarvis’, the AI that has been assisting coaches to become more efficient by learning from their interactions with clients. Like fellow ‘intelligent assistants’ Siri and Assistant, Ria can answer questions around nutrition and fitness via both audio and text. It can do so in more than 10 languages and provides personalised responses based on the users’ lifestyle habits.

Speaking at HealthifyMe’s annual event, Ignite, Tushar Vashisht, CEO HealthifyMe said

Our vision is to make healthy living accessible for all. As a first step, we used mobile and cloud to cater to Tier 2/3 cities. Now with AI capabilities, we intend to refine Ria and Jarvis to the point where they can allow us to serve beyond India using qualified nutritionists working from their homes in India but catering to the world.

HealthifyMe has been talking about its data insights on HealthifyMeter and has run several campaigns in 2017 focused on improving public awareness around nutrition. Tushar also recently presented to Prime Minister Modi on behalf of Health & Nutrition group at an event organised by Niti Aayog.

The HealthifyMe app is available to download for free and enables users to keep a track of their calories, set personal fitness goals and measure progress. It boasts of the world’s largest database of Indian foods and syncs with all leading wearables including Fitbit, YuFit, MiBand amongst others besides its own fitness band RIST. As part of its subscription services, HealthifyMe connects users with elite nutritionists and trainers who review their progress, provide diet and exercise plans and work with the users to help them achieve their fitness goals.

The current HealthifyMe subscription plans cost from INR 999 ~ INR 1699 per month, depending on the number of coaches needed and other special packages for targeted programmes like weight loss, muscle gain, diabetes prevention.

HealthifyMe AI solutions team comprises of data scientists, ML & NLP experts with relevant degrees from IITs, Stanford, Georgia Tech, IIMs and experience of working with companies like Google, ZS Associates, McKinsey, Mu Sigma.

About HealthifyMe

HealthifyMe is a mobile health and fitness app that combines the power of technology with real human services to deliver measurable impact. Co-founded in 2012 by Tushar Vashisht and Sachin Shenoy, and incubated by Microsoft Accelerator, it today is India’s largest digital wellness platform catering to 3 million users with over 200 coaches. For more information, please visit HealthifyMe

Visa, the global leader in digital payments technology, announced an independent study, conducted by Roubini ThoughtLab and commissioned by Visa, examining the economic impact of increasing the use of digital payments in major cities around the world, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai could help these cities realize, USD 7.2 billion annual net benefits.

Image Source – Digital Payments

The study estimates that relying more on electronic payments, such as cards and mobile payments, could yield a net benefit of up to US$D 470 billion per year across the 100 cities studied ~ roughly the equivalent to 3% of the average GDP for these cities. For instance

  • Mumbai, with a population of 19,547,000 and GDP 0f US$104.1bn, could gain USD 2.9 billion annual net benefits. Estimated catalytic impacts for the city over the next 15 years include 4.4 basis point increase in GDP growth rate and 1.3% increase in employment.
  • Delhi, with a population of 17,266,000 and GDP of USD 74.4bn, could gain annual net benefits of USD 2.2 billion. Estimated catalytic impacts for the city over the next 15 years reflect 8.4 basis point increase in GDP growth rate and 1.5% increase in employment.
  • Bangalore, which has a population of 9,394,000 and GDP of USD 44.7bn, could realize USD 1.3 billion annual net benefits experienced by consumers, businesses and governments in the city. Estimated catalytic impacts for the city over the next 15 years translate into 7.7 basis point increase in GDP growth rate and 1.4% increase in employment.
  • Chennai, with a population of 959,4000 and GDP of USD 30.9bn, could save an estimated annual net benefit of US$0.8 billion through the cashless transition in the city. Estimated catalytic impacts for the city over the next 15 years include 9.8 basis point increase in GDP growth rate and 1.7% increase in employment.

Cashless Cities: Realizing the Benefits of Digital Payments, is a unique study that quantifies the potential net benefits experienced by cities which move to an ‘achievable level of cashlessness’ – defined as the entire population of a city moving to digital payment usage equal to the top 10% of users in that city today.  The study does not look at eliminating cash. Rather, it seeks to quantify the potential benefits and costs of significantly increasing the use of digital payments.

By reducing reliance on cash, the study estimates the immediate and long-term benefits for three main groups—consumers, businesses and governments. According to the study, these benefits could add up to combined direct net benefits of approximately U.S. USD 470 billion across the 100 cities that were analyzed:

  • Consumers across the 100 cities could achieve nearly USD 28 billion per year in estimated direct net benefits. This impact would be derived from factors including up to 3.2 billion hours in time savings conducting banking, retail and transit transactions, in addition to a reduction in cash-related crime.
  • Businesses across the 100 cities could achieve more than US$D 312 billion per year in estimated direct benefits. This impact would be derived from factors including up to 3.1 billion hours in time savings processing incoming and outgoing payments and increased sales revenues stemming from extended online and in-store customer bases. The study also found that accepting cash and checks costs businesses 7.1 cents of every dollar received compared to 5 cents of every dollar collected from digital sources.
  • Governments across the 100 cities could achieve nearly USD 130 billion per year in estimated direct benefits. This impact would be derived from factors including increased tax revenues, increased economic growth, cost savings from administrative efficiencies and lower criminal justice costs due to reduced cash-related crime.

TR Ramachandran, Group Country Manager, Visa, India & South Asia, said

Cities are the new engines of economic growth. To unlock their true economic potential, and become globally competitive, cities must embrace digital payments. This global study shows how becoming more cashless delivers real benefits to governments, businesses and consumers, stimulating long-term economic growth. Each of the surveyed cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Chennai could achieve, on average, USD 7.2 billion in annual net benefits – roughly the equivalent to 3 percent of each city’s average GDP.

As cities increase use of digital payments, the positive impacts can extend beyond financial benefits to consumers, businesses, and government. The shift to digital payments also may have a catalytic effect on the city’s overall economic performance, including GDP, employment, wage, and productivity growth.

Lou Celi, Head of Roubini ThoughtLab, said

The use of digital technologies – from smart phones and wearables to artificial intelligence and driverless cars – is rapidly transforming how city dwellers shop, travel, and live. Without a firm foundation in electronic payments, cities will not be able to fully capture their digital future, according to our analysis.

Cashless Cities: Realizing the Benefits of Digital Payments offers 61 recommendations for policymakers to help their cities become more efficient through greater adoption of digital payments. Recommendations include undertaking financial literacy programs to help move the unbanked into the banking system, implementing incentives to stimulate innovation focused on scaling new payment technologies, implementing secure open-loop payment systems across all transportation networks and more.

Visa and Roubini ThoughtLab created an online data visualization tool as a companion to ‘Cashless Cities: Realizing the Benefits of Digital Payments’. Using the data visualization tool, individuals can increase or decrease the level of digital usage in each of the 100 cities included in the study to better explore the benefits of a world, less dependent on cash. Visit the online data visualization tool and download the report from here.

Each one of us come up with ideas, be it whether you are working in a corporate environment or you already have a business. However, it all depends on how well the idea is executed, the team, timing, funding, etc.

Wrike, a project management information systems software company that has various products in the project management software area has come up with a very precise and handy infographic titled – ‘Top 10 reasons startups fail

Top 10 Reasons Startups Fail

Infographic brought to you by Wrike project management information systems software

What according to you are some of the reasons, startups fail? Do leave your thoughts in the comments section…

Bengaluru based home maintenance services start-up, Gapoon Online Consumer Services Pvt. Ltd, has raised USD 250,000 in a Pre-Series-A round. The investment is led by Vida Ventures and other independent and seasoned investors including Snehal Mantri, Anshu Bahadur, Partner at Cognizant and angel investors from their previous round Pankaj Kapoor, Director at one of the leading investment banks and Chandrasekhar BV, a veteran in the telecom industry.

Founded in 2015 by IIT Kanpur graduates Apoorva Mishra, Ankita Asai, Ankit Bindal and Nikhil Gupta from IIT Delhi, Gapoon is a one-stop shop for maintenance services. The company has pioneered subscription packages offering annual maintenance cover for homes & businesses resulting in long term partnerships with house owners, developers, property management aggregators, restaurants & retail outlets. It also operates on an on-demand basis for handymen services like plumbing, electrical, deep cleaning, pest control, mason/civil work, etc.

Founders of Gapoon

Apoorva Mishra, Co-founder and CEO, Gapoon, said,

This investment comes at a crucial point; Gapoon is very close to becoming the first start-up in the industry to achieve net profitability while maintaining the growth targets. The in-house developed, intelligent mapping algorithm and fully automated system has helped us achieve the favourable unit economics and offer superior service quality to our customers. This investment will be used for new initiatives towards product and technology enhancements. In the coming months, we are focused on penetrating deeper into market segments and replicate the success in other cities as well.

While customers [both homes and businesses] avail the benefits of our subscription product, the vendors earn up to 40% higher compared to other aggregators. This model drives a favourable unit economics which is easier to replicate in multiple cities. I believe this win-win-win model for customers, service providers and aggregators in the only way towards sustainable organisation of this market.

Lead investor, Ankit Solanki, Advisor at Vida Ventures, said,

We have always believed in the opportunity in the on-demand and subscription-based services for property maintenance. It was a question of finding the right balance. Gapoon’s technology optimizes all elements of the equation, which are cost of acquiring supply, clients and the cost of servicing clients. This round of investment will enable them to expand their lead in Bengaluru and replicate their model in other demand hotspots across the country.

Apart from the convenience of offering a wide range of services under one umbrella, Gapoon’s key features include its year-long warranty on all services, exceptional service quality owing to proprietary attribute mapping algorithm for vendor allocation, and the exceptional vendor training and loyalty program that drives vendors to give their best.

About Gapoon

Gapoon is a Bengaluru-based startup that operates an on-demand as well as subscription-based model for services such as deep cleaning, electricians, appliances maintenance, plumbing, civil, painting, pest control and carpentry. Gapoon has pioneered maintenance subscription packages in India – Gapoon Maintenance Cover [GMC]. It offers a comprehensive solution to any property with unlimited scope of services, trusted professionals, cashless transactions and yearlong convenience.