Condombazaar : Habituating India to condoms …

Hindi movie PK shattered all box-office records and along with the Gyaan about religious (dis)beliefs, it also touched upon an interesting topic – SEX :) We laughed our hearts out during the scene where Aamir Khan asks ladies & gentleman about condoms but they felt embarrassed and showed lot of reluctance. Though the scene was funny, it did convey an important message “Indians are very much reluctant to talk about Sex and Protection”.

This “reluctance” has created an opportunity for startups to create a mark in the evolving “Sexual & Wellness” Market in India.

The Sexual Wellness Market

Sexual wellness is a term used to describe products that are related to the enhancement of sexual health and experience. It is a state of body/mind that enables you to enjoy and explore sex on your own terms & in your own time. Some of the products in this category include condoms, sex toys, costumes etc.

As per the reports from ResearchAndMarkets, the Sexual Wellness market in India to grow at a CAGR of 34.76% over the period 2014-2019. Though Horizontal e-commerce biggies like Amazon, Flipkart, Paytm, Snapdeal all having a dedicated section for “Sexual Wellness” , there has been a lot of Vertical e-commerce companies like imbesharam, angooor.com etc. that are trying to create a “niche” in the evolving Sexual Wellness Market [Google on keyword ‘sexual wellness India’ just gives an indication :)]

Niche in Sexual Wellness – Condoms

It is a very common scene – Person feels highly embarrassed to buy condoms from a medical store. Though condoms are available in plenty & in almost every next outlet that we come across, the stigma associated with buying condoms is still not vanished. For many men buying condoms from a shop is still a very uncomfortable affair, for few it is even a biggest nightmare. As the purpose of buying condoms is obvious, people fear getting branded as ‘bad’ or ‘immoral’.

It is identified that the embarrassment factor & lack of knowledge about condoms are to be immediately tackled to ensure Indian men get habituated to use condoms in future to enjoy safe and hassle free sex.

This is the “pain point” that Niche e-commerce companies into “Sexual Wellness” are trying to solve !! Condombazaar aims to be one stop-shop for buying condoms so that the customer no longer faces embarrassment.

CondomBazaar

Condombazaar : Solving the ‘Embarrassment’ pain-point

As mentioned earlier, there has been a Flurry of Vertical e-commerce companies even in the Sexual Wellness arena but Condombazaar wants to create Niche in that segment i.e. Condoms. Condombazaar is an online condom shop to buy almost all brands of condoms available in India including all the variants of each brand. Buyers can browse through various brands and choose his or her choice quite easily. It also intends to educate & create awareness about the usage of Condoms.

The taboo associated with “Talking about Sex” & embarrassment associated with “Buying condoms” is solved by Condombazaar by ensuring that privacy is not compromised. The anonymity is maintained even from the delivery person. Details are also not featured on the delivery slips so that contents of the box would be known to only one person – ‘The Buyer’.

Even when the buyer buys them online, the word Condom would never appear in the Credit/Debit Card statements. Condoms are delivered in a discreet packaging. No one other than the buyer will know that condoms are packed inside until the packaging is completely removed.

Condombazaar : The USP

Sex is a very-very private matter & so is the process of “Buying Condoms”. Customers can only trust a brand that brings in some USP :) This where Condombazaar has an upper hand over it’s competitors, It aims to be “One stop shop destination for Indian consumers for buying condoms online”.

It provides unique offering of Condoms ranging from Variants [Dotted, Ultra thin, Extra smooth etc.] & caters to both sections of the society [Him & Her]. The only site that displays widest range of condom brands and almost all of their variants. No where one can get such an exhaustive array of condoms.

Unlike scores of fly-by-night online condom platforms which came and gone quickly, condombazaar has been running and serving the needs of young Indian men and women since 2009. The company delivers fresh condoms with long expiry periods. An internal team verifies the pack before buying them from condom companies to ensure absolute customer satisfaction is guaranteed with every order.

Female condoms varieties are also sold at condombazaar. Those women desirous of trying it can use the site to buy female condoms instantly.

Condombazaar : Habituating Indian youth to condom usage

As per the Sexual Wellness Market in India 2015~2019 report, one of the major challenges that the Sexual-Wellness market faces is the lack of social acceptance. Deep-rooted norms have attached social stigma to sexual wellness, inhibiting consumers from buying the related products. Condombazaar is an earnest attempt to habituate Indian youth to condom usage !! The per capita consumption of condoms in India is 0.5, way below the European average, which is 3 to 4. Logically Indian consumption should be higher as India has huge number of young brigades compared to ageing European population. But it is the inhibition and lack of knowledge that prevents Indians from trying condoms [Source – Condombazaar]

Closing Thoughts

With it’s currently offering, Condombazaar is trying to create a dent in the niche “Online condom segment” !! As it’s tag-line goes ‘Condombazaar wants ts sell privacy to you, not condoms”

It’s better Safe than Sorry, use Condoms :)

[Image Credit* – Condombazaar]

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Pune based Digital security startup – ‘Uniken’ selected for the 2015 FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific

Cyber-security solutions, block-chain technology & behavioral analytics applications are some of the innovative services being developed by the seven financial technology entrepreneurs selected to participate in the 2015 edition of FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific.

Launched by Accenture in Hong Kong in June 2014, the FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific is a collaboration between Accenture & a dozen leading financial institutions – Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, China Construction Bank (Asia), China Citi Bank International, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, J.P. Morgan, Maybank, Morgan Stanley, Standard CharteredUBS.

Its purpose is to nurture early-stage companies from around the world that are developing new technologies for the financial services sector with a particular focus on the Asia-Pacific region. The Lab is supported by Cyberport, which provides workspace for the entrepreneurs during the program.

Seven startups were chosen from a wide range of applicants by leading industry executives. The selected startups will receive senior-level mentoring to help them develop and commercialize their innovations and connect with potential customers at top institutions.

Speaking about the selection, Jon Allaway, senior managing director, Financial Services at Accenture said

We are extremely impressed with the energy and enthusiasm the startups have demonstrated for creating solutions that are intuitive for customers, secure for financial institutions and cost-effective for everyone. It’s exciting working with the entrepreneurs because, like Accenture, they envisage a future where technology solutions not only arm financial institutions with far-more-sophisticated, fine-tuned data but also make everyday transactions simpler for consumers.

The entrepreneurs chosen for the Lab will be mentored for 12 weeks by leading executives from financial services firms through a series of panel discussions, workshops, one-to-one coaching and networking opportunities. At the end of the program, the entrepreneurs will be given an opportunity to present their concepts to potential investors and financial industry executives.

Fintech_2015

FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific participants of 2015 program

Bitspark – This Hong Kong-based startup has a remittance platform that uses bitcoin and block-chain technology to send and receive payments in emerging markets. Its integrated cloud-based web platform enables money-transfer operators and financial institutions to manage payment information, customer due diligence and real-time business analytics.

Quick, cheap and requiring no bitcoin knowledge to use, Bitspark connects offline businesses [corner store remittance shops] and online businesses to un-banked customers via its on-the-ground network providers.  Benefits include easy access to mobile-first markets, increased profits for money-transfer businesses, and reduced costs for customers. Bitspark is currently expanding its platform to more money transfer operators and financial institutions throughout Asia. More about Bitspark here

BondIT – This Israel-based startup’s solution supports investment portfolio construction, optimization, re-balancing and monitoring.  BondIT’s intuitive software-as-a-service platform uses advanced machine-learning algorithms to easily construct yield/risk optimized portfolios that match a client’s risk profile and can be managed by ratings, duration, yield, country, bond type, seniority-level and more.

The system automatically monitors portfolios, reports performance and risk levels, and alerts users to market changes and constraint deviation, while allowing the portfolio manager to optimize investments using periodic re-balancing.  BondIT seeks Asian expansion and looks forward to the banks mentoring them on regional client needs. More about BondIT here

Ironfly Technologies  Founded by two bio-medical engineers, this Hong Kong startup offers a platform that provides instant insight into real-time data, applying the latest research in neuroscience and cognitive psychology to make data fast, intuitive and visual.  Geared to professionals working in constantly changing environments such as capital markets, Ironfly’s platform delivers instant information leads to capture valuable opportunities previously missed. It hopes participating in the FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific will help expand its potential customer base. More about Ironfly Technologies here

Moroku A Sydney-based startup that wants to make banking fun, Moroku offers a mobile app for gathering, connecting and engaging people as part of its mission to close the gap on financial literacy and retirement planning through the gamification of banking. Deriving its name from a combination of “mobile” and “Puroko” — the Maori phrase for “gathering” — Moroku has developed pre-built mobile libraries coupled with cloud-based player management, analytics and integration capabilities to help banks develop rapid prototyping and deployment of digital banking experiences that are wired directly into their transaction systems.

By doing so, Moroku enables banks to provide customers with timely, sensible solutions. By participating in the FinTech Lab Asia-Pacific Moroku seeks exposure to banks in Asia to expand its offerings in the region. More about Moroku here

Sparro  The goal of this simple, fast and secure payment network from Australia is to make a cross-border payment as easy as a domestic payment.  Built on the Ripple protocol, it is designed to support low-value, high-volume cross-border payments and reduce bank processing costs.  Sparro’s products are quickly deployable, cloud-hosted and provided to banks as a payment option for their customers.

Customers can use the Sparro payment network for their cross-border payments from within their existing banking platform with no change to their current workflow. Sparro executives hope the Fintech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific will help them focus their product on the needs of bank customers and help Sparro understand the current customer pain points in more detail. More about Sparro here

Sybenetix This enterprise behavioral analytics company that helps hedge funds, asset managers and banks systematically improve investment performance and conduct management at the individual, team and company level.  Its multi-award winning team of behavioral scientists, mathematicians and technologists work with leading financial organizations in the US, Europe and Asia. Sybenetix is headquartered in London with a New York office.

The Sybenetix team visited Hong Kong recently as part of its Asia-Pacific expansion strategy and wishes to expand its client base, and operating network while making Hong Kong its Asia-Pacific base. More about Sybenetix here

Uniken This digital security firm with an innovation center in India has developed a patented on-demand, software-based scale-able digital connectivity and access platform called REL-ID.  The plug-and-play platform enables enterprises to create their own private digital network of things — REL-ID Dome — where digital assets are visible only to authorized users, apps and devices.

Protecting digital interactions and data from unauthorized sources, REL-ID is an easy-to-use solution for end users and easy-to-implement platform for enterprises that have already been deployed at financial institutions and businesses in India and Israel. Uniken is looking to expand in Asia-Pacific, and so the FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific is an opportunity to gain access to established mentors in the region. More about Uniken here

The FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific is modeled on a similar program that was co-founded by Accenture and the Partnership Fund for New York City in 2010. The Partnership Fund for New York City is the $115 million investment arm of the Partnership for New York City

The New York FinTech Innovation Lab’s 24 alumni companies have raised a total of $176 million in financing after participating in the program, and one alumni company was acquired last year for $175 million. The 14 companies that passed through the London program in the first two years raised more than US$35 million in new investment, signed nearly 50 contracts to do business with banks, and increased revenues by 170 percent. Participants in the Asia-Pacific Lab have thus far raised more than US$26.5 million.

More about FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific here

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E-Billing Solutions [EBS] integrates the education sector to the e-payment world

E-Billing Solutions Pvt. Ltd [EBS], a leading pan-India online payment aggregator, has achieved a significant penetration into the education segment. Over the last 2 years, EBS has doubled the number of education institutes in its portfolio with almost 6 times surge in the number of transactions and around 150% increase in payment volume through its payment gateway in the same period.

EBS

This remarkable achievement is a result of EBS’s unparalleled pioneering approach that provides a technical platform between online sellers & service providers [merchants] and banks via a secure payment gateway solution.

Serving over 11,000 merchants presently, EBS is one of the most trusted names in the payment aggregation industry. It has been providing online payment solutions to merchants since 2005, and was the first Indian online payment aggregator to achieve the PCI DSS compliance. This, along with ISO 27001- 2013 standard certification, has been instrumental in cementing its position as one of the most secure online service providers in India.

Speaking on the achievement, Bhavin Mody, Director, E-Billing Solutions Pvt. Ltd, said

EBS was launched with an aim to provide a secure and robust interface between merchants and banks. Completing a significant penetration into the education segment while empanelling leading education & learning institutions such as Bharati Vidyapeeth, ISM Dhanbad, and Shankar Mahadevan Academy demonstrates the trust online merchants have in our services. With our reputation for seamless transaction processing, we are expecting acquisition of larger accounts in our ever-growing merchant base.

Offering one of the widest range of payment options available in India, EBS is continuously expanding its network to successfully cater to the ever-increasing tech savvy population.

About E-Billing Solutions Private Limited

E-Billing Solutions [EBS] established in the year 2005 is head quartered in Mumbai. It pioneers in providing a technical interface/ platform between merchants and banks by providing software that connects a merchant’s website to multiple participating banks. It facilitates online purchases from a merchant’s website and helps them to collect payment from the end customers through net banking, credit and debit cards. It is an intermediary that assembles the online payment options offered by various banks, cash card brands and many other payment processors onto a single platform in the context of the merchant website.

In the year 2011, EBS was acquired by Europe’s leading payment service provider OGONE, thus enabling European vendors’ access to the Indian market and adding capabilities to the EBS portfolio. EBS is the first Indian merchant account provider to achieve the PCI DSS 3.0 Standards of Compliance. For more information, please visit EBS

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WeChat users wish Eid Mubarak through Animated ‘Eid’ stickers on WeChat

Eid al-Fitr is just around the corner and everyone is gearing up to the happiness, delicacies, festivities, shopping and prayers. To add to the festivities, WeChat has introduced special Eid stickers this season to express and share the excitement of this glorious festival.

WeChat_Eid

WeChat users can express their feelings through these innovative stickers which capture expressions such as ‘Eid Mubarak’, ‘Happy Eid’, ‘Alvida Ramzan’ to name a few.  These stickers imbibe the emotions of the present mood in an animated style.

On adding another sticker collection to the WeChat gallery, Nilay Arora, Country Head & Vice President – Marketing and Business Development for WeChat India said

We are extremely delighted to add these animated stickers to grace the auspicious occasion of Eid. Through these stickers our endeavor is to manifest the spirit of community and harmony of India. WeChat has constantly introduced innovative animated localized stickers to make social interactions for users more fun and exciting. User can share these with their friends and family during the festivals.

These stickers help users communicate more effectively by capturing the emotions and expressions better than simple text messages.

About WeChat

WeChat envisions and innovates new ways for people to connect, communicate and share. A mobile social communication app designed for smartphone users, WeChat is one of the world’s fastest growing social apps with hundreds of millions of users internationally. WeChat empowers users in fun and dynamic ways, by bringing together messaging, social communication and games in one seamless, interactive experience, with comprehensive privacy and security settings that can be tailored as needed. WeChat provides a central point of control for users to share voice, photos, videos, and text messages across their entire social eco-system.

Learn more about WeChat and download the app at http://www.wechat.com
Check out WeChat India Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/wechatindia

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IndusInd Bank launches QuickPay – an Instant money transfer service via SMS, E-mail & Social Media Platforms

Few weeks back, HDFC released PayZapp, India’s first 1-click mobile-pay solution & now, IndusInd Bank has joined the foray of integrating banking services with Social Media Platforms. IndusInd Bank has launched yet another Customer Responsive service called QuickPay, wherein IndusInd Bank customers can send money instantly to their personal contacts and/or business parties through SMS, E-mail and social media platforms, without having the beneficiary Bank Account details.

The sender can simply go to the bank website and transfer money to the recipient instantly, by just filling the E-mail Id or Mobile Number of the receiver. Moreover, customers can choose to send E-Gift Cards through the QuickPay platform to anyone, anywhere, anytime.

IndusInd_Pay

How Quickpay works

An IndusInd Bank customer can initiate a Quickpay transfer from the bank’s website or using the Net Banking instantly with a personalized message and with the choice of greeting. The sender gets a ‘Quick code’ that is shared with the recipient for completing the transfer. Quickpay happens via NPCI’s Immediate Payment Service [IMPS Person to Account] that is instant and 24*7.

While launching the service Ritesh Raj Saxena, Head – Savings, Digital & Payments Business, IndusInd Bank said

IndusInd Bank’s QuickPay service is aimed at delighting the customers in the digital age. Today’s young & digitally savvy customers expect payments to happen instantly & seamlessly. This service empowers IndusInd Bank consumers to send money to anybody, anywhere on a real time basis via social platforms. Bank will also soon launch its Wallet based payment App.

To experience QuickPay,please visit this link. For more information on QuickPay, please visit the following link.

About IndusInd Bank

IndusInd Bank, which commenced operations in 1994, caters to the needs of both consumer and corporate customers. Its technology platform supports multi-channel distribution network. For more information, please visit IndusInd.com

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Akosha rebrands as Helpchat : A Personal Assistant App

Akosha, an online complaints redressal company, is now Helpchat, a messenger based personal assistant platform which will help people get things done. Helpchat is available as an app on the Android store.

Sensing a much larger play, Akosha entered into an elaborate re-positioning exercise with the Mumbai based agencies Ogilvy & Mather and Open Design. To pin down the ‘big itch’ around which the service would revolve, the team mapped the customers’ needs and queries, which in turn revealed a major theme of our world today: People are drowning in tasks and are constantly looking for help.

HelpChat

Speaking about the re-branding, Ankur Singla, CEO & Founder, Helpchat said

We are here to end the biggest battle of our daily lives—the one against tasks. We started as a complaint platform, but as more people started using our service, the nature of queries changed and we realized that people were seeking all kinds of help.

We are providing a helping hand to make every day easier. Imagine if you can message your personal assistant to get all kinds of things done. From deciding your next purchase, ordering a laundry service to booking a restaurant table, from tech support to locating a medical specialist – everything that is part of our everyday task list. Being a mobile app, we are fighting for precious real estate. We want to become a default behavior. Have to get something done? Put Helpchat in action.

Kali Charan Shukla, who heads brand strategy at Helpchat, says

We live in a world complicated by information and choice, where every little task demands time and attention. We wanted to position Helpchat as a power tool in the hands of the people – one that amplifies their ability to get things done. Our promise: Do more, by doing less.

Vishal Chaudhry, CTO,Helpchat adds

We are also using NLP/AI to automate the answering of these queries. Currently, more than 25% of the 30,000 daily requests are handled by a chat-bot.

Based on the realization that businesses play an important role in getting things done for consumers, Helpchat provides priority access to large brands, including major players like Aircel, Voltas, Eureka Forbes, Spice Mobiles, Rediff Shopping & more.

More than 100 local businesses in Bangalore [Kormangala & Indiranagar] across categories like grocery, fitness, laundry and beauty are using this app to help their customers. Helpchat [then Akosha] had raised Rs.100 crores from Sequoia Capital two months ago.

About Helpchat

Helpchat is a chat-based personal assistant app that helps people to get more things done. Previously known as Akosha, Helpchat goes a step further by being a true power tool in the hands of consumers. It amplifies their ability to get things done easily with its brand promise: “Do more by doing less”.

Be it anything, from recharging your phone to tech support, travel booking to holiday guidance, grocery to food ordering, shopping assistance to finding deals and coupons, web check-in to getting your laundry done, Helpchat can get all of this done over chat. In a world where one’s ability to do more things finally defines success, Helpchat can be every smart consumer’s little trump card.

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Symantec & Frost Data Capital partner to incubate Cyber Security Startups

SymantecFrost Data Capital has announced a partnership to fuel innovation in cyber security analytics, big data and Internet of Things [IoT] security. Symantec and Frost Data Capital will create and seed early-stage startups with funding, resources and expertise. These startup companies will receive access to Frost Data Capital’s data analytics ecosystem and deep knowledge and will have the opportunity to collaborate with Symantec to solve the most complex challenges shaping tomorrow’s threat landscape.

Frost_Synamtec

Talking about the plan, Jeff Scheel, SVP, Strategy, Alliances and Corporate Development at Symantec said

We’re taking a fresh look at driving innovation in the market and this partnership will enable Symantec to transform raw ideas and concepts into meaningful security companies. By collaborating with Frost Data Capital, we create an environment primed to incubate new, innovative and disruptive startups in cyber security – especially in the realm of IoT technologies where verticals like process control, automotive, health care and energy require specialized skills.

The partners will take non-traditional steps to confront the next generation of threats targeting emerging technologies by incubating up to 10 companies per year that will deliver advanced cyber security analytics. Frost Data Capital underpins the incubator with seasoned entrepreneurs, proven innovation methodology and process, & deep expertise in big data analytics, IoT, industrials and healthcare.

John Vigouroux, Managing Partner & President, Frost Data Capital commented

We’re seeing a huge opportunity in the IoT security market. We’re excited to work with Symantec to bring cutting-edge, relevant security analytics solutions to market rapidly, in order to prevent next generation cyber-attacks on corporate infrastructures. Symantec brings to the table world-class security technology, global presence and strategic relationships that will be instrumental to launching these startups.

Recent Symantec research shows cyber attackers are leap-frogging defences in ways companies lack insight to anticipate. Further complicating security efforts, criminals are increasingly leveraging legitimate technology like enterprise software and corporate management tools, as well as emerging technology, such as connected devices to carry out attacks.

About Frost Data Capital

Frost Data Capital is a combined incubator and venture capital firm with a unique approach, designed specifically to capture some of the enormous value that will be created as the “Big Data” revolution unfolds. Based out of Southern California, Frost Data Capital has built an eco-system of innovative startups, with deep expertise in big data, entrepreneurialism, advanced technology, analytics, and the Industrial Internet. For more information, please visit Frost Data Capital

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Yuvraj Singh funded YouWeCan Ventures becomes limited partner in media-focused venture capital fund

YouWeCan Ventures, the investment company founded by cricketer Yuvraj Singh, has become a Limited Partner [LP] in a film and media-focused venture capital fund following investment of an undisclosed amount in the new investment vehicle.

The investment company, which started operations in April, will be an anchor investor in the Securities and Exchange Board of India-approved Media Fund, promoted by Mumbai-based DAR Media Private Limited, which has produced a number of critically and commercially acclaimed films such as The Lunchbox

YouWeCan

This will be the early-stage investor’s first investment in a fund, a departure from its strategy of making direct investments in ventures.

Speaking about the association, Nishant Singhal, co-founder of YouWeCan Ventures said

We are fascinated with work done by DAR Group in Indian cinema space. We will be working with the fund to develop sports and youth-oriented genre for both domestic and international audience over the next five years.

The Rs 100-crore Media Fund, which has a green-shoe option of an additional Rs 100 crore, has already received commitments of Rs 60 crore, and will co-invest in projects. Yuvraj Singh will come on board as a director of the asset management firm.

Arun Rangachari, chairman, DAR Capital Group said

The Media Fund will not have an exposure to more than 25% of the total project. The fund will invest in 11 projects in its first round, and has already identified projects for its pipeline of investments.

Till date, YouWeCan Ventures has announced four investments in startups, including in Moovo, a Delhi-based on-demand logistics booking platform, Gurgaon-based online healthcare marketplace Healthians.com, education services marketplace EduKart and mobile app platform Vyomo

About YouWeCan Ventures

YouWeCan is a 50 CR seed fund that is created to empower young entrepreneurs on their journey to build brands and successful business ventures and improve the life standard of society. More information at their website.

Image Creditpixr8

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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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