GoodBox : Connect, Chat and Buy from your local businesses [App review]

Entire 2015 had revolved around startups in the Hyper-Local segment that aimed at bringing more convenience to the customers by delivering daily chores at the doorstep. This was all done at the click of a Button i.e. through an app. Be it Peppertap (that recently shut down it’s Grocery Business), Grofers etc., each one of them wanted a share of the pie.

With the Hyper-local segment getting over-crowded with many players & customer-acquisition costs rising, it gave rise to the next wave of commerce namely ‘Conversational Commerce‘. Here the consumer has the privilege to locate nearby businesses, chat with the business-owners and place order on the App. Once the order has been confirmed, logistics team delivers the order at your doorstep (free of cost). This is termed as O2O (Online to Offline) commerce. The startups that pre-dominantly operate in this market segment are GoodBoxLook UpMagicX etc. Some of them use AI to reduce manual intervention when answering questions from customer over the chat (thus resulting in reduction of overall operational costs).

The core of all these ‘Conversational Commerce’ startups is to leverage medium of chat so that customers can order anything (food, grocery etc.) on the app. For curiosity purpose, we happened to give a shot to GoodBox and the experience was overall satisfactory (right from Items Search-> Adding them to cart-> Placing the order and doing the payment). In this article, we review GoodBox App from features, reliability, UX, payment etc. point of view; so let’s get started.

[Image Credit* – GoodBox]

GoodBox : What’s in the Box

GoodBox is a conversational m-commerce startup that has is co-founded by Abey Zachariah [ex-RedBus core team], Anand Kelaginamani [IIM-B], Charan Raj [ex-Accenture], Mahesh Herle [ex-National Instruments], Mayank Bidawatka [ex-RedBus core team & co-founder The Media Ant], Mohit Maheshwari [IIM-B] and Nithin Chandra [NIT-K & IIM-B].

It aims to bring neighbourhood Kirana stores, saloons, spas, restaurants etc. online and helps them create a store-front [using the GoodBox Seller App] within minutes. Just like traditional e-commerce companies, there is a customer facing app and the other is Seller app [that seller can use to manage his inventory]. It provides the seller Seamless Discovery, Ordering and Payment. It was recently in news when they acquired SmartPocket for an un-disclosed amount. It had earlier raised $2.5 Million in Series-A funding from Nexus Venture Partners.

GoodBox : Key Features

As mentioned earlier, GoodBox wants customers to connect, chat and buy (the final transaction) from your local businesses without any compromise on the privacy. On launch of the app, it shows the registration page where user needs to enter his/her mobile number and email. An OTP is then received to complete the verification. We found the registration process very simple and less time-consuming (since un-necessary fields were not required to be filled at the registration time).

The App only requires access to GPS and the number is kept private (since the entire transaction occurs over chat)!! Some of the key features of GoodBox are:

Discover : Find businesses around you which might otherwise might take time to locate.

WhatsApp like easy chat interface : Since virtually every mobile user in India is present on WhatsApp, hence it was primarily important that their chat interface did not have many deviations in it’s UX. The customer facing GoodBox app is very well designed and is easy to use (since we are all familiar with WhatsApp)!!

No Middleman :  There is one to one chat between the customer and seller that results in lesser delay (in responding to chats).

Business Profile : You can check the Business Profile, Business Timings, Last online status of the seller, location etc. What we liked about this feature is that there was a specific mention about the seller’s average response time (on chat) and that coupled with Last Online might result in customer-stickiness i.e. if Seller response time is fast, than there are high chances that customer might not look for similar seller in his/her vicinity.

Payment : Payment can be done either via Card or Cash. Surely, the team at GoodBox would be working with the SmartPocket team for their in-house wallet integration that would result in better margins on every per-transaction.

Online Catalogue & Prompt Delivery : 100+ categories (Groceries, Restaurants, Chemists, Laundry etc) are present on the app. It has tied-up with major super-markets and local grocery stores in Bangalore (for the areas where GoodBox is currently operational). There are 10000+ grocery products and browsing (and comparing them with similar products) is very easy.

BESCOM Bill Payment : You can pay your BESCOM bill on GoodBox without any hassles. You need to just enter your Account ID to make the payment.

GoodBox : Detailed review

Once the user logs-in to GoodBox, it takes you to the home screen. You can now search for Businesses who are present on GoodBox (and available in your vicinity) via the ‘Explore’ button. What we really liked is that the Seller rating is also displayed along with the search, this results in making informed decisions since user does not have to go to ‘Seller Profile’ to check the rating!!

Once you have short-listed the seller, you can start chatting with them. In case if the seller does not respond in stipulated time (which is the average response time), the Reminder feature is turned ON. Once the user selects Remind, GoodBox would ping the seller once they are online. It is a very good approach so that the seller does not loose a prospective customer (which might result in customer retention).

The Seller Business Timings are also mentioned in the address bar that is necessary so that it is clear to customer whether any response from seller is expected (at that very moment).

For the review, we ordered cake from nearby Cake Shop (that is listed on GoodBox) and the entire process was seamless. Payment was done using Mobikwik and delivery was prompt (within 30 minutes) & was fulfilled by the Cake Shop itself. Similar to Hyper-local businesses, GoodBox relies on Seller’s logistics capabilities (if they have it) or might have tied-up with logistics providers that provide last-mile delivery (which is useful for sellers who do not want to own logistics).

GoodBox : Scope for improvement

Last online : When we searched for sellers, we noticed that there are many sellers who were ‘last online on GoodBox’ 2~3 months back. For the purpose of the review, we pinged them but there was no response from them (even after 30 minutes). On the other hand, some sellers did not respond even after having read the message!!

This might result in bad-customer experience and hence, it becomes primary for the GoodBox team to educate sellers about timely communication.

Pin Code suggestion : GoodBox is currently present in selected areas of Bengaluru. Hence, in order to target their next ‘area of expansion’; it would have been better if a text-box was provided where customer could enter his/her pin-code. Once GoodBox is present in that locality, customer can than be notified about it thereby resulting in better customer stickiness.

Bar Code support : Similar to Amazon Dash, where user scans bar-code of the product and is prompted to add the product to the cart;  GoodBox can add support for bar-code scanner (in it’s app) so that user can scan the bar-code and continue with the next step for completing the purchase.

Once product is searched, it can then list down the ‘Sellers in customer’s vicinity’ making the entire cycle of ‘Product Discovery and Purchase’ more friction-less !!

GoodBox : Closing Thoughts

We liked the overall look and feel of the GoodBox app. The customer-facing app is very well-designed (we could not look into the seller-side app). The entire concept of interacting directly with business owners is very unique and saves lot of time in communication (which might not have been the case if an agent was involved).

As mentioned in their mantra, GoodBox is definitely taking “Buying from local businesses” a notch higher!! GoodBox for Android is available here, GoodBox for iOS is available hereIf you have used the GoodBox App, please leave your experience in the comments section.

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Cheetah Mobile hosts summit for global app developers, announces data-driven content strategy along with $50M investment in robotics

Cheetah Mobile, the world’s leading mobile utility and security app developer, hosts Cheetah Connect Summit, a mobile industry conference that aims to form an open communication platform for app developers around the world, and revealed two new initiatives – A data-driven content strategy that will start with Toupai, a short video service designed for online influencers and fans, and a new Cheetah Robotics R&D and investment venture.

[Image Credit* – Cheetah Mobile]

Cheetah Mobile CEO Sheng Fu said

Our 2016 strategy is very clear. We will use our utility products as the entry point for mobile users, then add content products to build a platform, increasing the engagement of our users. At the same time, we’ll use Cheetah Mobile’s big data analytics to create a strategic high-ground advantage to better serve both our users and advertisers.

Cheetah Mobile’s new 3-year plan will capitalize on the global content opportunities that have arisen from the mobile internet. With a foundation of more than 635 million monthly active users, Cheetah Mobile’s big data platform will power new forms of intelligent content discovery.

The first of these is Toupai, a next-generation social video service which helps fans find their top idols and online celebrities find their #1 fans. Toupai, which you can preview today at http://v.cmcm.com, will focus first on the Chinese market with an official launch event on May 20th. Toupai is backed by PurpleCow Startup Fund, which will provide entrepreneurship advice to its communities of online influencers.

Alongside Cheetah Mobile’s new content efforts, the company also announced a major investment into the exciting field of robotics. Cheetah Robotics will invest $50 million into deep learning and artificial intelligence R&D. Cheetah Mobile CEO Sheng Fu, who is personally investing in the venture, views the field of robotics as the ultimate evolution of the mobile tools category that Cheetah Mobile leads.

This rapid growth of the mobile internet industry around the world sets the backdrop for Cheetah Connect Summit, taking place on April 27 in Beijing. Providing a top-down view of the mobile app industry, the summit will host more than 1,000 app developers and mobile industry executives, with more than 100 media in attendance, including 20+ overseas media from the United States, India, Korea and Taiwan. The event includes an impressive speaker roster including “Sapiens: A Brief History of Mankind” author Yuval Noah Harari; Oculus VR Co-founder and global virtual reality leader Jack McCauley, PurpleCow Startup Fund partner Quanling Zhang, Inke CEO Yousheng Feng, Cheetah Mobile CEO Sheng Fu and many others.

Also, at the summit, Cheetah Global Lab joined with App Insight to issue the “Global App Development Report”,examining global app industry trends across multiple dimensions, including countries, industries, and publishers. Cheetah Global Lab also combined Cheetah Mobile’s big data insights and editorial recommendations to award the top 50 fastest growing and most innovative apps so far in 2016.

Cheetah Mobile Senior Vice President and Cheetah Global Lab Dean Jie Xiao announced the company’s new App Insight product

The “Global App Development Report” provides extremely useful guidance for app developers looking to head overseas. For instance, which opportunities are left in developed markets like Japan, Korea, Europe and the US? How did China’s social video apps grow so quickly? Which types of apps do users from emerging markets like India and Russia use the most? The report answers each of these questions.

Throughout 2015, Cheetah Mobile made substantial progress in growing its international user base and monetizing its products. In the fourth quarter of 2015, Cheetah Mobile brought in $174.9 million in revenue, growing overseas revenue by over 343%. The company’s monthly active users topped 635 million in the fourth quarter, with over 78% coming from outside of China.

Cheetah Mobile President Ming Xu said

Setting an example for other mobile companies going overseas, Cheetah Mobile hopes that the Cheetah Connect Summit brings together the leading scholars, entrepreneurs, investors, and global app developers to share our experiences and observations from the global market.

About Cheetah Mobile Inc

Cheetah Mobile is a leading mobile internet company. The Company aims to provide the best apps for mobile users worldwide, while building a leading global mobile ad platform for advertisers. Cheetah Mobile had approximately 567 million global mobile monthly active users in September 2015. Its mission critical applications, including Clean Master, CM Security, Battery Doctor and Duba Anti-virus, help make the internet and mobile experience speedier, simpler, and safer for users worldwide. For more information, please visit Cheetah Mobile

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GITEX Technology Week to host ‘GITEX Startups’ – Cash prizes offered totaling USD 1 Million

The UAE’s economic record has been impressive and has outperformed all other MENA countries in most global rankings. The UAE is amongst the top 30 countries worldwide in global competitiveness, entrepreneurship, global opportunity and prosperity.

India and the UAE enjoy improving G2G [Government to Government] and B2B relations, resulting in bilateral trade of USD 59.16 billion during 2014-15. India is ranked as UAE’s largest trading partner, whereas the UAE is India’s 4th largest export destination.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the UAE during August 2015, where both the nations agreed to identify bottlenecks to boost trade by 60 per cent in five years. Giving impetus to build stronger trade relations, and to build a comprehensive strategic partnership between the UAE & India, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan’s visit to India in February 2016 resulted in four agreements covering cyber security, infrastructure investment, renewable energy and currency swap arrangements.

GITEX Technology Week 2016, now in its 36th edition is organized by Dubai World Trade Centre to promote the UAE as a Global ICT hub. The coming event will be held from 16-20 October 2016 at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre.

GITEX Technology Week is the world’s 3rd largest technology showcase, and the fastest growing industry focused expo. It is an excellent gateway to the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. This year there will be more than 4,000 ICT companies participating with 145,000+ trade visitors expected.

UAE’s entrepreneurship ecosystem has grown during the last five years. With new markets, new consumers and the rise of Internet technology, the UAE is recognized as a destination for global startups. For the first time, the 36th GITEX Technology Week 2016 brings together, the new tech companies from across the globe at Dubai. ‘Gitex Startups‘ is a worldwide movement that is set to redefine technology for businesses.

To encourage the startup movement, ‘Gitex Startups’ has announced total prizes of US$ 1 million to the best innovative startups along with a 3 year mentorship program.

This expo invites the world’s most exciting startups to participate from various sectors namely Augmented, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence, Cyber Security, Drones and Robotics, Education, Energy, Fintech, Healthcare, IoT, Media & Marketing, Retail, Travel & Hospitality, Transport & Logistics, etc. to showcase their cutting-edge products and services.

To share the experiences and to answer queries, the expo will host Startup Talks and Mentor Clinic sessions. This 5-day long expo will feature an exciting and innovative series of competitions under the following categories such as, Startup Champion, Best Youth Startup, Best Women Startup and Best Category Champion.

Gitex Startups is the only international event in the world to network and build relationships with global Angel Investors, VCs, eminent industry leaders etc. These Startups will have an opportunity to be featured on a global platform to network with the audience to accelerate their business to the next level in the presence of 100 mentors, 50 incubators and accelerator clinics, 10 industry champions, 450+ tech startups and to meet over 200 investors and VCs to jump start their business.

For information on how to be a part of the Gitex Startups at the GITEX Technology Week 2016, please visit Gitex Startups 2016

About GITEX Technology Week
Launched in 1981, GITEX is the ICT business gateway to the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia Region. Focused on providing exhibitors with high ROI through direct business opportunities with decision makers, GITEX has maintained its position as the industry’s trend setting authority. For more information, visit Gitex

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National Instruments India launches NI India Business Incubator Program

National Instruments [NI] India has launched the NI India Business Incubator Program and announced the expansion of their R&D Center in India. Both these initiatives aim to support the government’s Make in India program and enable Indian engineers to become global knowledge partners in driving innovation and development across industries and domains.

The expansion of the India R&D Center ensures that NI has access to the top talent instrumental in building a platform that meets the needs of all engineers and scientists today. NI works with leading universities to hire the best and brightest talent within the region and provides world-class, formal and on-the-job training to create a long-term and sustained career progression.

Scott Rust, senior vice president of Global R&D at NI said

We strongly believe we can help the Indian startup ecosystem overcome technological hurdles and succeed faster. Our platform provides the fastest way for engineers and scientist to access new technology and accelerate productivity, innovation and discovery. By providing access to NI’s platform and technologies, we are investing in future innovators and contributing towards sustainable development in all markets that we serve.

Through NI India’s Business Incubator Program, NI will provide increased access to NI technology, technical training and support to shared local communities like domestic Small and Medium-sized Enterprises [SMEs], academic incubation centers and startups.

Jayaram Pillai, Managing Director, NI India added

For Make in India to succeed and sustain, manufacturing in India should bring more benefits to the table than just cost of labor. Companies can differentiate themselves by adopting smart technologies to reduce defects and improve quality. NI’s technology provides a flexible and powerful platform to build these intelligent systems that power the factory of the future. Startups are an integral part of building the future and we believe that the NI India Business Incubator Program will contribute to the Make in India initiative.

To extend its reach and maximize the impact of the Business Incubator Program, NI is partnering with mission-aligned local organizations, as well as experienced technology and business consultants, to provide world-class support and assistance to the applicants. It is also aligned with the flagship initiative of the Government of India, Start-up India, which strives to build a solid eco-system to support innovation, promote domestic startups and generate viable economic growth by generating large-scale employment opportunities.

These forward-looking actions of the Indian Government and the abundance of engineering talent will significantly contribute to Bangalore’s transformation into the home of some of the best technology companies in India and abroad.

For more information on the NI India Business Incubator Program, please visit NI India Business Incubator details page.

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Ideaspring Capital – Rs 125 crores venture fund uniquely targeting Product Innovation Startups launches in India

Ideaspring Capital, an early stage venture fund by entrepreneurs and for entrepreneurs have announced its official launch in Bangalore. The Rs. 125 crore fund will focus on early-stage product innovation startups and entrepreneurs in India. Ideaspring Capital aims to bring sustained partnerships to startups and entrepreneurs through a unique high-touch model to foster global scale product innovation companies from inception. Eminent investors and entrepreneurs including Naganand Doraswamy, Mohandas Pai, Arihant Patni, Amit Patni, Prashant Deshpande, Rajiv Mody lead the fund.

The fund will work with entrepreneurs having deep technical and domain expertise, developing early stage enterprise products in major cities across India. Intellectual property in the form of algorithms and deep technology will be a key differentiator. Key areas that the fund will cover include Machine Learning & Deep Learning, Computer Vision & Image Processing, Big Data Analytics, Internet of Things, Augmented & Virtual Reality, HealthTech, FinTech amongst others.

Through its ‘Startup Assist‘ program, Ideaspring Capital will help startups to build scale in product management, customer management and building products for a global footprint. Ideaspring Capital will provide key interventions in aspects that include Business Market fit, Product management, Customer connects and connect to next level of investors. Ideaspring Capital is planning to invest in only 4-6 startups a year and provide high touch Startup Assist program.

Start-ups across sectors are attracting early and growth capital. In 2015 alone, the total amount of investment in the start-up ecosystem stood at $5.4 billion according to data from VCCEdge, a financial research platform of VCCircle Network, which highlights the dependence on foreign capital for Indian start-ups.

The Minister of State for Finance, Jayant Sinha mentioned that 90-95% of the venture capital money pumped into Indian start-ups comes from outside India. The government is now looking at ways to boost domestic funding to start-ups. Ideaspring Capital is one such venture fund that aims to fuel tech entrepreneurship in the country. Ideaspring Capital has raised majority of its investment from Indian investors with Aarin Capital as the anchor investor.

Naganand Doraswamy, Managing Director & CEO, Ideaspring Capital commented

We see immense growth potential for enterprise product innovation from India and are confident that India’s next wave of innovation will come from this space. Ideaspring Capital is a coming together of entrepreneurs and investors with rich experience to partner with entrepreneurs who are re-imagining technology to enable a better world. 

About Ideaspring Capital

Ideaspring Capital is an early stage venture fund focused on investing in technology startups in India. We take a hands-on approach, to nurture high-potential ideas, and transform vision into reality. They usher entrepreneurs and help transform their value proposition into sustainable businesses through their experience and business acumen. For more information, please visit Ideaspring Capital

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The customers are the best advisers for any business : Sudarshan Purohit, Co-Founder & CEO – Zenify.in

As migrants to the city, we  face lot of issues while trying to find a place on rent. In fact, when I landed in Bangalore (in 2004), there were language barriers that I regularly faced when boarding bus, speaking to local people (though now things are far-better and Bengaluru is truly a cosmopolitan city) to name a few.

Similar issues were faced by Sudarshan PurohitAnkur Agarwal and Kailash Rathi when they were trying to find a place on rent. This motivated them to startup Zenify, complete rental solution for tenants and owners

Today, we have a chat with Sudarshan Purohit, Co-founder & CEO of the startup where we dig deep into their entrepreneurial journey, Zenify, views on startup ecosystem etc.

Can you give a small background about you, your start-up and it’s founders ?

While there are enough and more property listing portals, Zenify is India’s only complete rental solution for tenants and owners. A Bangalore-based technology start-up, Zenify has simplified rentals to such an extent that tenant’s just needs to book the home of their choice online and move in, with Zenify handling the rest.

For owners again, Zenify is the only player to promise end-to-end property management. A quick look at Zenify will show how analytics and design can come together to create a fair, hassle-free experience in what used to be a chaotic business.

Prior to starting up Zenify:

Sudarshan Purohit [Co- founder & CEO of Zenify]

  • Electrical Engineering from IIT Madras
  • Prior to starting up, Sudarshan was working with Insilica Semiconductors as a Design Engineers on the project ‘Digital picture Frame’

Ankur Agarwal [Co Founder & Head of data analytics at Zenify]

  • Electrical Engineering from IIT Madras
  • Was working as a Business Analyst with Global Analytics in Chennai. He worked on SEO project and analytical model on credit worthiness for short term loans

Kailash Rathi [Co Founder & Director- Finance & Strategy at Zenify]

  • Aerospace Engineering from IIT Madras
  • Worked as a Strategic marketing Analyst [Go-to-Market strategy, studied the trends for marketing NetApp products] with Net-App in Chennai.

Every idea is born out of a problem, what was the trigger for starting Zenify ?

As migrants to the city, we  faced a multitude of issues while trying to find a place on rent. The language barrier and an unpleasant broker experience motivated use to come up with a solution to address the problems that migrants face in a new city. Having had a history of family business back in our home-towns, we had a strong urge to start our own business.

We had ideas, we were willing to take risks and had an undying entrepreneurial spirit. After a thorough market research,  Zenify was started in the year 2012 with an aim to help young migrants adjust easily in the city.  Our intention was to create a niche model for house rentals which is beneficial for both tenants and owners.

What are the core differentiating factors of Zenify from other real-estate startups ?

There are fewer players in the market who have tried to solve the property discovery problem, apartment finding problem, finding a Shared apartment, but nobody provides an end to end comprehensive rental solutions for the owner and the tenants which is only done by Zenify.

Zenify solves five basic problems in the realty industry which have been the biggest hassles so far for the owners and the tenants. Zenify stepped into the problem and simplifies the entire process of online residential property management.

Zenify helps to do away with the property visit for the owners and the tenants. Tenants can view the property online without making a property visit and book their property with a market rent.

  1. Zenify does the tenants screening and reports will be shared with the owner before allowing the tenants to occupy the property.
  2. Zenify drafts a standard rental agreement between owner and tenants.
  3. Zenify manages the end to end property management-From repair, painting etc.
  4. Zenify collects the monthly rent and hands it over to the owner.

What is the TAM of the ‘Renting/Leasing commercial property’ ?

Current market size is about $15 Billion based on 2011 statistics and increasing 15% YOY in India from urban cities. We expected to grow 35 % on quarter.

What is your revenue model of Zenify ?

Once an owner registers with Zenify, we review the property and if it is suitable Zenify becomes the tenants and are given the sublet rights. For a property owner, Zenify becomes the tenant and to a new tenant Zenify becomes the owner.

Zenify charges a month’s rent for every year as a service fee from the owners. For tenants, it’s completely free without any brokerage. If the tenant discontinues the agreement, Zenify continues to pay the rent to the owner even when the flat is vacant. A tenant registered on Zenify gets a broker free experience with standardized pricing and agreement terms.

Which are the cities where Zenify is currently operational ?

We are exclusively present in Banglore alone and managing 1800 properties. We are planning to extend our services to India’s top nine cities in near future.

One of the major concerns about Buying/Renting is that property is not as shown in the listing website. How does Zenify fix this problem ?

The owners whoever wants to rent out their property can share their property details to Zenify and one of our employees does the physical verification on the property, collecting property photos and will be uploaded in our website with all the property specifications along with fixed rent.

The tenant can view the property details on our website which provides the tenant 360 degree view of the property.If the tenant were to find his desired home from the list, the tenant can book the property by paying a token in advance and then, he can directly move to the property on his desired day

Can your throw some light on funding, whether Zenify is bootstrapped or seed-funded or angel-funded ?

We have received angel funding from Manthan Systems, Gana Yantrika Systems and K12 Techno service. Atul Jalan is the CEO and Founder of Manthan systems, Anant Pandit director of Gana Yantrika Systems Pvt Ltd, which is a privately held company which invests in companies with unique business models and use technology to advance market access and MSC Srikanth & M Bharath are the directors of K12 Technology Hyderabad.

We have set a few ambitious goals for our organization for which we will require more funds. We are currently in talks with a few investors who can bring in financial support as well as technology expertise to the table.

Does Zenify plan to provide End-To-End services (right from Estimating Valuation, Listing Property, Getting Buyers, Getting Legal Work done etc.) since that would be a great USP for Zenify ?

The below listed are our core USP and we are focusing this.

  • Fair price to owners and tenants
  • Tenant verification
  • End to end paperwork management
  • Assured occupancy
  • A to Z flat maintenance and repairs
  • Regular inspection
  • A dedicated team of maintenance personnel
  • Assured rent for the owners

What are the major changes that you experienced when you became an entrepreneur?

However, we had zeal to be unorthodox from the existing systems and to be visionary in order to be a change maker in the society; we also had faced the trepidations during our venture. Because being just 22 old ,the society demanded a regular job to have a proper sustainable life than going for a risk which could be a paradox. Nevertheless, we decided to quit the job and started our venture. Initial days, the market did not accept our concept since it was very much unique and gradually people were able to adopt the concept and began to endorse the concept as well.

First, I had to adopt a strong mind set since Entrepreneurship  is not going to be a cake walk rather lot of bucks will stop at me, therefore I had to prepare mentally to encounter the challenges whatever is going to hit me.

I did not have a normal office hours 9 AM – 6 PM, instead the entire day was my office hours. The startup became our life. The startup taught me about leadership How to run the entire show being a leader, moreover the situations created a thirst in me to read and understand the concept of leadership in depth which led me to read many books on leadership.

In brief startup made me to master in every aspect of business.

What are your key advice(s) to people who want to start-up ?

Those who want to start  their own venture, they must do a proper market research whether the idea can bring a change in the market or will it be a scalable business idea. If they receive the positive result, they can confidently launch their venture. The focus should be on customer satisfaction and always try to learn from customer experience which will teach us where are we after its launch. The customers are the best advisers for any business.

After a certain period of time, the founders should look for funding at the early stages itself. Another difficult task to identify the right investors who would really understand your business model and willing to stay with you in any circumstances of the company, which will give more confidence to run the business in a better way.

Can you give some pointers on Scaling Up & Customer Acquisition [some take-away for entrepreneurs]

Primarily, you need to understand the biggest problem in the market and analyze whether it is possible to tap through technology? Secondly, one needs to understand the customer’s problem. Thirdly, you need to communicate the solutions that you have for the customer’s problems. If  this has been set ,then the customer acquisitions will be possible through various social media platforms, PR & marketing campaigns.

Bootstrapping or external Funding, what are your views on the same ?

Once the product or services has been  launched, entrepreneurs should look for seed funding which will provide them an adequate knowledge about the market behavior and will give enough space to create a better investment strategy. Such initiative also will give them how their product behaves in the market and helps to understand the demand of the market as well. Every initial launch will be a trial and error method, during the course of the journey everybody understands the real need of the market and spin their ideas.

Your views on the current start-up eco-system & valuation bubble in India ?

There are startups that have a substantial growth in the market and could capture a good  amount of the market share. They could achieve this far because they had a strong vision and better strategy.

Partially, the industry has faced a few setbacks because of few of the better performed startups happened to get shut down, because of the unforced errors of burning the investments quickly. The investments should have been handled better.

Funding for early stage & growth stage startups has dried up in 2016, what are your tips for entrepreneurs who are pitching in this tough period ?

In fact, the funds are flowing, but slightly in a slow pace because of the unexpected shut-downs of a few  good startups which forced the investor to take back seat in terms of investments.

Entrepreneur needs to create a scalable business model and present a realistic business forecasting which will indeed attract the investors and create the confidence so that they can invest in the product.

Some hiring tips for entrepreneurs [especially the core team] ?

Few basic elements need to be taken into account while hiring a core a team in any organizations .

  • Expertise
  • Attitude
  • Chemistry between Employee and Employer
  • Confident level
  • Team player

These are the core elements we need to keep in the consideration while hiring the core team in the startup.

Hope you liked the Q&A and there were many take-aways from it for aspiring entrepreneurs!! If you have any questions for the Zenify team, please leave them in the comments section.

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Ritesh Handa joins Wooqer as President – Operations, Finance & Corporate Development

Wooqer have announced that Ritesh Handa has joined the company as President – Operations, Finance & Corporate Development, reporting to Wooqer Founder & CEO, Vishal Purohit. Ritesh comes to Wooqer from a leading Indian publisher Pearson Education India. With a proven track record of over 15 years, he has worked with Microsoft, GE and Rockwell Automation.

[Image Credit – Wooqer]

Vishal Purohit, Wooqer Founder & CEO said

He is a passionate finance and operations senior executive with diversified business and management experience. He will be responsible for thought leadership by executing business strategies and operating plans.

We are fortunate to have incredible depth and breadth of talent across Wooqer’s executive team. Ritesh is hands-down the best operations executive I’ve ever worked with.

Prior to joining Pearson Education, Ritesh was associated with Core Objects in the capacity of VP & Director Finance. He was responsible for preparing monthly forecasts, annual and long-range financial plans at a country level resulting in financial plans that aligns with business/corporate objectives.

He holds Master in Business Administration from Faculty of Management Studies – Delhi and is also a Chartered Accountant from Deloitte.

About Wooqer
Wooqer is pioneering “end user computing” with an easy-to-use, do-It-yourself cloud based tool-set that enables faster, cheaper and smarter execution. Wooqer leads the space between the core systems for a business [dominated by software, hardware and services vendors] and consumer platforms [like Google, Facebook & others].

Founded by Vishal Purohit and backed by Indian business veterans like Harsh Mariwala, Chairman-Marico & BS Nagesh, Founder-TRRAIN as well as Silicon Valley legends like Michael Marks and Jim Davidson. Wooqer is among the most valuable B2B software companies in India by iSpirit Index for two consecutive years. Harvard Business Review has developed a business case on Wooqer now being taught in over 10 universities globally. For more information, please visit Wooqer

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Times Internet launches SPOTLIGHT, it’s one stop creative powerhouse for marketers to cater to branded content needs

Times Internet, India’s leading digital products company have launched SpotLight@TimesInternet, India’s first all-encompassing content studio, providing marketers with content strategy, development and marketing solutions for their brands. This powerhouse has been created with a vision to be an end-to-end solution provider for marketers, giving them a chance to own a full scale content hub with Times Internet through SPOTLIGHT. What makes SPOTLIGHT stand out will be its ability to create branded content not only in English, but 9 other Indian regional languages across 150 million users.

[Image Source – Business2Community]

SPOTLIGHT aims to be a strategic partner for brands – from strategic recommendations to reviewing and editing existing content of brands and creating new branded content. To ensure the success of its latest venture, Times Internet is also pleased to announce that Neha Gupta has joined as Head, SPOTLIGHT with the mandate of working with marketers to create compelling branded content that meets their goals. Neha, was formerly VP Brand Solutions and Sales Strategy at NDTV convergence.

Speaking on the launch, Neha Gupta said

I’m extremely excited to be a part of creating SPOTLIGHT. This content studio will create new, best in class branded content.  Along with Times Internet’s unique reach and scale, it will provide a strong differentiator to brands and will help them increase their digital presence by showcasing their branded content. We will partner with brands to create stories, info-graphics, galleries, videos and new exciting native content solutions in English and multiple regional languages.

The SPOTLIGHT advantage

  • Reach and Scale – Through SPOTLIGHT not only do brands get a chance to create great content, but also populate it across the Times Internet Network that caters to 150 million users every month across genres, and languages.
  • Access to content creators – SPOTLIGHT will give marketers access to the largest editorial talent pool in the India – people who are experts in multiple genres to create and curate their content.
  • Mobile, Social and Search Discovery – Content created through SPOTLIGHT will give brands a chance to let their audience discover content in-stream in similar format as the Times Internet sites as well as third party publishers online.
  • Audience Analytics & Insights – As a part of the Times Internet group Spotlight has been created to know both – brands and their audiences. Spotlight will provide marketers with detailed report and insights.

Gulshan Verma, Chief Revenue Officer, Times Internet said

We are ushering in an era, where everything around us is content. With some of the best minds in the business across genres and languages with us, this was the right time to create a studio that unites all our capabilities. For marketers, SPOTLIGHT-India’s first all-encompassing content studio, will not only develop branded content, but will also give them access to India’s largest digital network – Times Internet and beyond.

Interested marketers can visit SPOTLIGHT and can send in their queries to spotlight@timesinternet.in

About Times Internet Limited
Times Internet, India’s leading digital products company and the digital venture of Times of India, India’s largest media and entertainment group. Reaching over 150 million visitors each month, with businesses across content, entertainment, classifieds and transactions. Times Internet Limited websites are among the fastest growing Web / Mobile based networks worldwide. A powerful portfolio of world class product brands that are market leaders in the country which reaches, engages and ultimately transacts with customers in their preferred medium.  For more information, please visit Times Internet

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About the author

Hey, Welcome to Himanshu's blog. Himanshu is a engineer, blogger, startupper & an aspiring entrepreneur from Bangalore, India. To know more about him, please visit this page.

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