Review : Zoutons – The Loot is On…

In the past, we have reviewed many couponing websites & one more player that we plan to review today is ZoutonsZoutons*, a Delhi based startup is a coupons and deal aggregation platform with the tagline “The Loot is on”, helping online shoppers and deal hunters to locate latest coupons and offers from a vast pool of online retailers, banks & brands. It is an online player in the deal aggregation space to offer coupons and deals of top 50 Indian banks & more than 500 pan-India brands.

Zoutons

Store Coverage

Like other deal aggregation websites, Zoutons lists deals from major e-commerce companies namely Flipkart, Jabong, SnapDeal etc. It covers all major categories namely Apparels, Electronics, Baby products, Food etc.

Design

The overall design of the website is very simple & “Suggestion”/AJAX based search worked very well. Each store had two sections – Deals & Coupons though, for most of the stores; Deals out-numbered the Coupons by a big-margin. We tried couple of Coupons & they worked fine !!

Zoutons_Filter

Popular & Latest Coupons

The home page of Zoutons lists the latest as well as popular coupons. It would have been interesting if there would have been another section named “Coupons Fast Expiring” so that it would help in the last minute sale of those coupons/deals.

Also, the “Most Popular Coupons” section covers only 3 Shops; Back & Forth navigation would have been an added advantage & would have ensured that user covers more coupons rather than spending time in searching for those coupons.

Zoutons_Popular_StoresBank Specific Offers

Another “unique” feature which we liked during the review is “Bank Specific Offers”.  The site lists deals that are not specific to any particular store but deals offered by different banks. You can find one of the deals here. Though the number of banks being listed were handful, but considering that Zoutons is a startup; we expect that it would be work under progress :)

Improvement Areas

 
Design : As mentioned above in some cases, searching for coupons/deals took bit of an effort. Also, since it is the festival of lights[Diwali]; it would have been an add-on if the Home Page would be customized according to it.

About Us : When we checked the “About Us” section, there was no mention on the founders, their mantra etc. Considering that there are tons of couponing websites, “About Us” would have added a great level of credibility. Read about importance of “About Us” for startups here

Mobile App : Though Zoutons covered deals spanning different categories there was no mention of mobile app on the website. We are sure that development of Zoutons App might be in progress but still a new section “Coming Soon” where such announcements can be listed can add a new metric to measure their customer growth [Page similar to "Coming Soon"  Page]

While doing the review, we came across this interesting presentation on how “Brick & Mortar retailers are embracing Digital Couponing” [A market that can be explored by Couponing websites]

Do give Zoutons a spin & share your feedback in the comments section…

* – Sponsored

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SAP Launches Student Entrepreneurship program in India at BMS College of Engineering

SAP-Logo.svg

Following the global launch of the Student Entrepreneurship Program of SAP University Alliances earlier this year, SAP introduced the initiative in India at the BMS College of Engineering [BMSCE] in Bangalore. The program encourages student entrepreneurs and early start-ups to use SAP’s technology platform to develop new applications and launch successful start-up ventures.

Under this program, it is expected that there will be development of new solutions across SAP’s platform technologies, leveraging on the company’s in-memory platform SAP HANA®, the SAP Mobile Platform & SAP Analytics capabilities. Through BMSCE and the Student Entrepreneurship Program, students of the institute will gain access to these technologies, SAP experts, mentors, and an entrepreneurship curriculum.”

As per Dr. Ravishankar, Dean, Placements, BMS College of Engineering

Blessed with smart students, a diligent and result oriented staff, the challenge for BMSCE is to nurture students to learn the art of delivering swift and accurate engineering solutions expected by the industry. With solutions and mentoring from SAP, our students are poised to learn and adapt themselves to the constantly changing scenarios posed by the industry

The SAP University Alliances program opens up the world of SAP to more than 1,800 universities in more than 80 countries worldwide, and aims to develop highly qualified graduates with critical skills for the 21st century workforce. Through a community of over 8,000 faculty members as well as engagement at over 750 events annually, SAP University Alliances has inspired students around the world about SAP.

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Collegedunia.com : College search made easy …

For most of us, searching for a right college & getting feedback about the “interested college(s)” was a herculean task. But now with more people getting online & users relying more on the “online reviews”, Collegedunia is trying to solve the pain-point of students & parents getting them “updated college information” online. As per their About Page, Collegedunia*, a wholly owned product of Collegedunia Web Pvt. Ltd. based in New Delhi has been created to fulfill a vision of empowering students with knowledge so that they make a wiser decision while choosing their career and alma-mater. In very simple words, it aims to be a Google for college search be it Managament Colleges, Engineering Colleges, Medical Colleges, Science Colleges etc.

What Collegedunia offers

As mentioned above, the website aims to make “college search” easy. It has repository of more than 20,000 colleges and 6000 courses categorized in different streams like Management, Engineering, Medical, Arts and much more. It provides multi-page filter that sorts the data according to the situation, funds & cutoff. In case of confusion, the user can interact with career-counselors which is very interesting feature & gives a “Human touch” to the old college search process :)

Collegedunia

Salient Features of Collegedunia

User-Friendly UI

We tried couple of searches like IIT Mumbai, IIM Ahmedabad, VJTI etc. & the search gave us accurate results. Along with the details of the college, it also listed whether the college provides accommodation etc. Navigation between different results & pages was easy & smooth.

Placements & Job Information

For majority of the students & parents, most important question asked while taking admission in any college is “What about the placement & how many companies came for placement last year” ?. This question is very well catered on Collegedunia via “placement information of every college”. It also lists the top recruiters in that college & the range of package offered. This data brings in the “Trust Factor” & enhances the information available on the website.

CollegeDunia_PlacementsDetailed insights into college facilities

Along with the courses offered, it also details out the facilities offered by every college & insights into it’s infrastructure i.e. Gym, Building, Labs etc. College life is a fusion of studies & fun !!!

Scope of improvement

College rating

Every college has a rating associated with it, but there is no mention on the parameters on how it is calculated i.e. whether it is user-driven data or it is mix of parameters like user-feedback, placement offered, affiliation etc. At least a short description/tool-tip, on how the “College Rating” is calculated would make the “data” even more “worthy” !!!

Affiliations & tie-ups

Considering that many colleges might not be offering accommodation [& bachelors also find it difficult to find flats], it would be interesting for Collegedunia to fill-in that gap though tie-ups with websites like Flat.to that cater to those needs. This would also bring-in additional source of revenue for both the stake-holders :)

College Alumni

More & more students are taking up entrepreneurship as a “career option” and with the extensive support offered by the Modi government, the trend would only rise !!! Hence, along with the placements offered by the college; details on “Notable College Alumni” e.g. Sachin Bansal, Binny Bansal of Flipkart [IIT, Delhi] etc. would be “big catch” for students who want to start-up. This ensures that such students would get into the right college that has “culture suitable for entrepreneurship” !!!

If you are student, do give Collegedunia a spin & share across your feedback & comments.

* – Sponsored

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Review : Save more with coupons from Couponzdeal.in

If you are an avid “online” shopper, I am sure that like many of us [including myself]; you would have definitely checked if there are any further discounts available on any product available online. In one of our previous articles, we had mentioned about “Insights into Coupon Marketing” & how coupons is an effective way to get more discounts from e-commerce websites !!!

In this article, we review a startup named Couponzdeal that plans to create a dent in the online coupon space. With overall e-commerce market expected to reach US $24 billion by the year 2015 with both online travel and e-tailing contributing equally [Source: Wikipedia], coupon websites or to be more precise “Coupon Aggregators” have a very interesting future ahead…

Detailed Review

Couponzdeal is a “Deal & Coupon Website” that provides discount coupons available for major e-commerce websites namely Flipkart, Jabong, Myntra, ShopClues, Amazon etc. UI of the website is simple & the overall search experience is good. Once the user registers on Couponzdeal, it provides you with a very simple Dashboard that keeps a track of your activity i.e. coupons applied, failed coupons etc.

Dashboard

Last Mile Coupon Sale

Apart from the offers on the dashboard, another feature which we liked during the review is Coupons Expiring Soon section. This gives the user hat-tip of the offers that are about to expire which in-turn might result in “last mile coupon sale” !!! We tried out couple of coupons & they did work !!!

CouponsExpiring

Scope for improvement

Customized User Experience

We created 2~3 login-id’s & tested out with coupons in different categories namely Clothing, Appliances, Travel etc. Though the coupons worked fine, overall user experience was the same. May be using the “Past Purchases”, “User History” & “Data Analytics”; it would have been better to provide unique experience to each & every user.

Sharing over WhatsApp/SMS

Though we could find option to share the Coupons over various social media channels; we could not fine sharing via SMS/WhatsApp [if that could be possible]. It would also have been very effective considering the increasing penetration of smart phone in India [& declining cost of 2g/3G data].

Availability of mobile App

We are sure that there would be a definite plan to release a mobile app [Android & iOS] but it would have been better to have a “Coming Soon” section which keeps the users informed about the same.

Given that the coupons that we downloaded & used across different categories resulted in 100% success :) ; it provided a “Delightful experience” for us !!!

Do give Couponzdeal a spin & leave your feedback/suggestions in the comments section.

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Book Review – “Private India” by Ashwin Sanghi & James Patterson

What happens when two authors from different genre’s & from different parts of the world team-up & come up with a book ? Well, the result would be an interesting mix of their individual strengths, story-telling would definitely be a “treat to the readers” !!!

“Private India” by Ashwin Sanghi and James Patterson is one such book. James Patterson is the best-selling author behind the critically acclaimed & best selling “Private” Series [Private L.A, Private Berlin etc. to name a few].

PrivateIndia

About the Author

Ashwin Sanghi is counted among India’s highest-selling English fiction authors. He is best known for this bestsellers – The Rozabal Line, Chanakya’s Rant & The Krishna KeyAll his books have been based on historical, theological and mythological themes.[1] He is one of India’s best-selling conspiracy fiction writers and is an author of the new era of retelling Indian history or mythology in a contemporary context [More about Ashwin Sanghi here]

James Patterson is an American author who is largely known for his novels about fictional psychologist Alex Cross, the protagonist of the Alex Cross series. He has written many other number one bestsellers including romance novels & stand-alone thrillers [More about James Patterson here]

Detailed Review

The story starts off with a sequence of murders in Mumbai [none of them are related to each other] with unfortunate local bombings. A murder happens in a resort which is managed by a private agency named “Private India”. Private India is headed by an ex-cop, Santosh Wagh who is the director of the private agency.

Santosh Wagh’s team comprises of a bunch of “officers” who have the capability to crack any case; no matter how complex that case may be !!! There are a series of murders & in each murder, an evidence is left at the crime scene [whether it help's Santosh Wagh and this team to crack the case is revealed in due course.... mystery is definitely kept intact :)] 

The number of murder’s keep increasing & there are other issues like God-men, Politics, Corruption etc. are also coupled with the murders [doesn't this remind us of Singham Returns :)]. Some aspects of Indian mythology have also been clubbed with the murder scenes; especially sacred feminine. Just like any other Bollywood masala movie, this book packs all of it. At every point, the reader can visualize the murder & this is the main plus of the story since, it keep’s the reader thinking.

Closing Thoughts

The book provides an “Edge Of the Seat” thriller experience & the “Plot” creates this experience !!! This is the first time we reviewed a book of this genre on our blog & we really enjoyed the “murderous” journey :) At around 450 pages, “Private India” is a breezy read, the credit goes to the big font-size used in the book &  “effective story-telling”.

Final Verdict : 3/5

Buy “Private India” from Flipkart by clicking the below link

Thanks to Blogadda for sending us the review copy of this book :) This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books !!!

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Blast Your Messages via Bhash SMS’ Bulk SMS Service

India has more than 400 Million Mobile subscribers. These mobile subscribers are growing at a high rate of about 10 million new subscribers every month. To meet all the business & individual’s marketing needs as well as the personal demand, Bhash SMS has created many Bulk SMS packages that are ranging in different affordable price ranges.

BashSMS

All the cheap bulk SMS packs are given on the Bhash SMS website. They are available for everyone & there is absolutely no restriction on the availability that is depending on the customer status. All these packs have been categorized according to the general usage pattern of most clients that has been noticed in last few years.

The solution of the Bhash SMS bulk SMS reseller in India is unique. This is because unlike the other Bulk SMS service providers in the market who provide you with very cheap SMS, the Bhash SMS bulk SMS service also provides you with instant delivery reports for all the Bulk SMS that you have sent at any time. Bhash SMS gateway reseller also provides you with bulk SMS software that you can use for your desktop as well as excel which you can use for sending all the Bulk SMS directly from your excel sheet. Bhash SMS bulk SMS online also helps you to integrate the SMS service with any of your business software to send bulk SMS.

The cheap Bulk SMS packs from Bhash SMS service is also 100% compliant with all the regulations of TRAI’s NDNC & NCCP. The reason for this is because Bhash SMS bulk SMS packages filter 100% of all the numbers that are listed on the “Do Not Disturb” Services before sending your Bulk SMS. This further ensures that none of the parties have to face the consequences of the bulk SMS Marketing.

The Bhash SMS reseller in India also provides guaranteed delivery on all the valid numbers without cheating the customers which most of the other cheap bulk SMS providers do whereby they only provide delivery to just 20% of the messages out of the total. Now you can also easily send bulk SMS to all of the numbers that are stored in your phone book directly from your mobile phone with the help of the unique SMS gateway reseller Bhash SMS.

The API code feature of Bhash SMS bulk SMS online also helps you to send all the messages to your phone book numbers without even the slightest need to visit the Bhash SMS website. This is extremely useful for all the people or the businesses that are always on the move but who also need to send out all the business SMS to their clients or their customers by using the bulk SMS gateway medium. You can now also save on all the costs of sending bulk SMS that you send from your mobile phone by just using the Bhash SMS cheap bulk SMS pack.

Do give Bhash SMS a spin and let us know your feedback :)

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Pitney Bowes Accelerator Program names eight Startups to incubate in India

Pitney Bowes has named eight start-up companies in India who will join Pitney Bowes Accelerator program in India. The program is a part of the NASSCOM’s 10,000 Start-ups initiative.

The eight start-ups selected for the program are:

  1. RetailNav : Solution for retail shopping with unique in-store location-based analytics.
  2. Audianz : Location-based advertising platform.
  3. Heuristics : GPS-based vehicle tracking system [VTS] and mobile-based personnel tracking solutions.
  4. Yo-app : App that integrates social circles with a discovery platform.
  5. Ideata Analytics : Integrated data intelligence platform to help users perform information discovery.
  6. Teritree  : Customer experience management platform.
  7. BrownTape : Single-click multi-platform solution for e-commerce management.
  8. Tagalys :  Solution that provides intelligent heuristic search.

More about the program

The program focuses on start-ups that leverage software for mobile, data analytics, location-based services, and e-commerce management.

Selected start-ups will have access to Pitney Bowes’ software, Application Programming Interfaces (API’s) & data for the duration of the program. Training, technical and business guidance and mentoring will be provided to the start-ups from Pitney Bowes engineering and innovation leaders & from software industry experts.

In addition to these strategic connections, start-ups in the Pitney Bowes Accelerator program will also be networking with prospective investors.

You can find more about Pitney Bowes & their accelerator program here & here.

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Deshpande Foundation and Microsoft Ventures partner to launch Sandbox Startups

Deshpande Foundation and Microsoft Ventures,India announced a partnership to launch Sandbox Startups, an incubator focused on nurturing startups in tier-II & tier-III cities of India. The three-year collaboration was formalized with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding [MOU] on August 23, in the presence of Dr Gururaj ‘Desh’ Deshpande [Founder, Deshpande Foundation], Mr Jairam Ramesh [Former Minister, Government of India], Mr Rajinish Menon [Director, Microsoft Ventures in India], Mr Naveen Jha [CEO, Deshpande Foundation] & other industry leaders.

As per their Press Release, the main reason for co-launching this initiative as per Naveen Jha [CEO, Deshpande Foundation] is below:

Unlike tier-I cities, most small cities lack adequate support system to nurture startups. Consequently, startups and startup potentials in these regions do not have access to requisite training, mentoring and a sandbag to try out their entrepreneurial stints. Sandbox Startups is aimed at providing a launch pad for aspiring entrepreneurs in tier-II & tier-III cities so that they can validate their business ideas, sharpen business acumen, develop products & launch solutions to the market.

 

Innovations by startups groomed under the program will add vibrancy to the ecosystem from those at the bottom of the pyramid.

 

The objective of this partnership is to work in an inclusive manner to ensure that all relevant stakeholders, such as early stage entrepreneurs, academia, students, venture capital community, mentors, advisors, HNI’s & corporates, are active participants in the innovation ecosystem.

Support for entrepreneurs in Tier-II & Tier-II cities

Rajinish Menon [Director, Microsoft Ventures in India] mentions that such an initiative was the need of the hour.

As the culture of innovation spreads, it’s fascinating to see the kind of problems that startups from smaller towns are trying to solve. Microsoft Venture’s partnership with Deshpande Foundation aims to engage with entrepreneurs from smaller towns at every stage of their journey from ideation to maturity.

 

At Microsoft, we are extremely excited to help incubators roll out products and raise capital to fund their growth, eventually benefiting India’s budding entrepreneurial ecosystem. And this specific endeavor is aimed at entrepreneurs from smaller towns which have a less mature ecosystem to nurture them.

 

Startups can call Microsoft’s Jumpstart hotline on 1800 200 2114 to know more about the program and how to be a part of this program.

About the Partnership

Deshpande Foundation in India actively nurtures innovation and entrepreneurship through various programs in its three sandbox regions – North Karnataka, Nizamabad in Telangana & Uttar Pradesh.

Partnering with Microsoft Ventures is a key step to support and nurture incubators, moving them to the next level by providing them an opportunity to get exposed to high end technology, get trained & mentored by professionals.

Both Microsoft Ventures and Deshpande Foundation will play a significant role to mentor the startups under this incubator.

Please visit Microsoft Ventures, India & Deshpande Foundation for any further information or leave a comment and we would get it clarified from the Microsoft Ventures team.

Image Credit : Deshpande Foundation & Microsoft

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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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