Aafter the advent of the Digital Economy, ‘Data’ has become more important than ever before. There is a common saying – Data is the new Oil and a very valuable asset and hence it becomes primarily important for enterprises to ensure that customers’ data is safe and is periodically backed up. From an end consumer’s point of view, utmost care has to be taken to ensure that the data on their laptops, mobiles, etc. is safe so that chances of compromising data are very slim! Quantum, a US-based storage company is a leading expert in scale-out tiered storage, archive, and data protection, providing solutions for capturing, sharing and preserving digital assets over the entire data life-cycle have come.

Image Source – Data Storage

From small businesses to major enterprises, more than 100,000 customers have trusted Quantum to address their most demanding data workflow challenges. Quantum’s end-to-end, tiered storage foundation enables customers to maximize the value of their data by making it accessible whenever and wherever needed, retaining it indefinitely and reducing total cost and complexity. We had a detailed interaction with Mr. Jim Simon, Senior Director of Asia-Pacific Marketing at Quantum Corporation where we discussed about the storage solutions from Quantum, their offerings for SME’s, best practices w.r.t data security, Quantum in India, etc.

Off late there has been a lot of ransomware attacks, can you please stress upon on how solutions from Quantum can help companies facing such outages and how safe is it for a company which is into Fintech, e-commerce, etc. to move to the cloud only approach?

Quantum recommends a ‘3-2-1 backup best practice‘: 3 copies of your data, 2 different types of media & 1 copy offline/offsite.

Offsite could include cloud. However, for maximum protection, having an offsite copy in a non-connected location will ensure that if a virus infects a network, the offline copy will be immune.

Quantum’s solutions include one or more media such as flash, disk, object storage, and tape.  Tape is particularly suited for keeping an offsite copy of one’s data, out of reach of ransomware viruses.

Which are some of the industries/verticals that currently use Quantum Storage solutions, please give some insights into Indian customers?

Quantum’s solutions are used by all types of customers since these customers have IT departments who rely on Quantum for backup, recovery, and archive.

In addition, Quantum’s workflow storage solutions are especially well-known in vertical markets such as media/entertainment, surveillance/security, oil/gas, high-performance computing, etc.  Each of these markets has a common workflow such as ingest, edit/use, share, and preserve.  Each has large streams of data that require high performance ingest and data access while needing sharing [such as via cloud] and low-cost preservation.

How can SME’s and startups leverage the capabilities of solutions from Quantum, Q-Cloud in order to scale their operations and reduce the overall Time to market

For SMEs, Quantum’s DXi family has built-in replication to Q-Cloud which is built on Amazon Web Services.  In other words, we take care of all the hard work so our customers just need to select Q-Cloud as a secondary offsite copy for their data and we bill them on a consumption basis. In the meantime, for day to day recovery, it is fast and simple as local copies of backup data reside on the local DXi appliance(s) or on a customer’s own server employing our DXi software-only approach.

Many Indian corporations and growth stage companies are setting up their own Data Center [citing security and scalability reasons], can you share some thoughts on the same and how overall solutions from Quantum can help the Indian unicorns/growth stage companies

Most of our customers have their own data centers.  The key questions to ask include:

  • How is their primary data backed up for quick, local restores?
  • How is their primary data backed up offsite for recovery in case of a disaster?
  • Is there less valuable primary data residing on expensive primary storage?

Quantum and DataFrameworks can highlight data that would be better suited for storage on low-cost disk, object storage, or file-based tape thereby saving IT organizations tremendous investment in unnecessary excess primary storage, not to mention power and cooling.

Jim Simon, Senior Director of Asia-Pacific Marketing, Quantum

Please share some details about the Indian subsidiary of Quantum [employee size, innovation, market it addresses, etc.]

Quantum has been operating in India for nearly two decades.  We have pre-sales, sales, and post-sales team members in our offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru.

What are the next big innovations which we can expect in the near future from Quantum or something which is happening in the area of Storage, Security, Connected computing, etc.?

Quantum is working on a software designed storage initiative known as Castle. We aim for storage to be agile and able to evolve while managing it should be ‘a piece of cake’

There is a huge amount of thrust about Digital Media [epecially after the advent of 4G in India], which means more content creation companies. How can Digital Content/Digital broadcast companies leverage the strength of suite of solutions from Quantum

Both agencies and clients understand the importance of video and digital media to a standout content plan. They know it’s difficult to create, distribute, and repurpose digital content effectively, especially when dealing with large, rich media files. The demand for content from their growing base of clients can quickly outpace their ability to manage it on the back end.

An Effective Content Plan Requires an End-to-end Approach. We help agencies and clients from concept to creation to distribution to repurposing and remonetizing their media.

Can you share some insights into the storage scenario in Asia and globally

Data is an ever-increasingly valuable asset to organizations both big and small. Recent ransomware attacks have demonstrated how the loss of data [or data access] can cripple an organization.  The value of data is expected to continue to grow as digital overtakes physical.  This, in turn, will drive demand for high-performance primary storage as well as always-accessible low-cost storage.

How has the year 2017 been so far for Quantum, can you summarize the technical developments that your company has achieved in this year.

Earlier this month, Quantum announced the general availability of StorNext 6, a major new release of the company’s scale-out storage technology. StorNext 6 delivers a unique combination of new advanced data management features for on-premise, hybrid cloud & public cloud environments and industry-leading streaming performance. StorNext 6 is now shipping with the company’s Xcellis® workflow storage solutions, enabling users to overcome the limitations of traditional NAS systems in keeping up with the demands of large, rapidly growing data-intensive workloads and driving business value from that data.

This latest StorNext release provides more efficient and cost-effective ways to share and access files across geographically distributed teams, to manage and protect archived data, and to audit changes to data throughout its lifecycle.

Some of the competitors of Quantum and how offerings from Quantum stand vis-a-vis its nearest competitors [pricing, core offerings, SAN, etc.]

Quantum has a long history of competing against the likes of Dell/EMC, HP, IBM, and NetApp.  Unlike those generalists, Quantum is a data workflow specialist. Therefore, those with the most challenging data workflow needs to rely on Quantum to achieve their mission whether it is a government space agency, a film production company, a university bio-research team, an airport, or IT data centers.

We thank Jim for his time and sharing his valuable insights with our readers. If you have any questions about Quantum, their solutions and how it can help accelerate your business, etc. do email them to himanshu.sheth@gmail.com or leave them in the comments section…

The IoT India Confex 2017, India’s most unique and comprehensive IoT conference will be held on 24th and 25th August at Le Meridien Hotel in Vasanth Nagar, BengaluruOrganized by Aayera, supported by Department of Telecommunications & Ministry of Communications & Information Technology, the two-day IoT conference is an amalgamation of thought leaders, IoT solution providers, IoT solution seekers, start-ups, State IT Secretaries, Government officials and Investors from across the globe.

VS Shridhar, Senior Vice President for Tata Communications, Damodar Sahu, Consultant partner & Head, IoT for Wipro Limited, Dr Neena Pahuja, Director General ERNET India, Department of Electronics & IT, Vikrant Sankhe, Executive General Manager for Siemens are some of the prominent speakers at the event. They will be joined by industry leaders like Sandip Datta – IoT Country Head, IBM Watson for IBM India Pvt Ltd and Mr. Ramesh Verma, President for The VR/AR Association.

IoT India Confex will focus on industries like Industrial IoT, LPWAN connectivity, Smart cities, Healthcare IoT, Wearables & VR, Connected and autonomous vehicles, Blockchain, Enterprise IoT, Manufacturing & Supply, IoT Architecture, IoT Data analytics & AI, Sports & entertainment, IoT security and agriculture.

Syed Fareed Ahmed, IoT expert and Project Director, Aayera said

IoT is one of the most talked about technologies in India. The next big step is towards implementation of IoT across different industries and sectors. The IoT India confex is a business driven event that brings together solution providers and solution seekers under one roof to discover the most disruptive IoT solutions.

The following are the highlights of the event:

Key Note presentations

  • Connectivity IoT: Partnerships and collaboration to maximize LPWAN (Low power wide area network) success. Looking beyond the technology to understand what will Make LPWAN successful
  • Industrial IoT: future of internet of manufacturing, Generating the new ecosystem for Industries 4.0 – Enabling horizontal cross company value chains by new partnerships and business models
  • Healthcare IoT: patient monitoring today and the role of artificial intelligence in future
  • Automotive IoT: what IoT solutions should automotive OEM’s need to implement for sophisticated connected vehicles
  • Smart home: the role of retailers and advertisers – accelerating smart home product sales
  • Wearables, AR & VR: the future of motion sensing in IoT
  • Energy & Utilities: Internet of Things in energy & utilities

Panel discussions

  • LoRa connectivity: Creating game-changing opportunity with LPWAN
  • Joining forces: Building an open, collaborative & secure ecosystem to deliver true IoT success
  • Emerging IoT solutions for patient monitoring, prevention and mobile health
  • Smart cities: Creating smarter cities – future trends and best practices
  • From fantasy to reality: Successfully launching connected/autonomous vehicles
  • Looking ahead in wearables, AR & VR: from dream to essential

Attendees can look forward to two days of insightful sessions exploring Industrial IoT solutions and an exhibiting space to showcase the IoT Solutions. Attendees can also network with potential business partners and discover new projects. IoT India Confex is an opportunity for attendees to evaluate, select and implement IoT solutions that improve business processes, create new revenue opportunities and drive business transformation.

For more information, please visit IotIndiaConfex

‘Meeting’ is something that is applicable in our day to day lives, more so in a professional’s life. Many times, corporate employees have to spend the entire day in meetings and some of them might turn out to be entirely pointless. We already see many of you nodding their heads 🙂

Image Source – Meetings

Sticking to the agenda of a meeting becomes very critical since it not only involves you but also a set of team members attending the meeting. Hence, it is the collective responsibility of the meeting attendees to ensure that they do not digress from the core agenda in order to make the meeting super-productive.

Meetings can sometimes be quite hectic and an unproductive meeting at the start of your workday could ruin your remaining time in office. It becomes imperative to decide whether you really want to call for a meeting or whether you can do away with ‘that’ meeting by using some effective project management tools so that you can collaborate with your team in a much better mannerIn order to be an effective planner of your activities, you need to use the right set of free [or premium] project management tools that can also be used for cross-site teams. Better project planning could eventually result in far lesser face to face meetings!

Wrike, a work management & collaboration platform used by high-performance teams has come up with a very informative infographic titled Should we have a meeting. We liked the overall presentation which is in the form of a flowchart with the core being ‘go vs. no go’ for a meeting. We hope that you use it for executing a ‘productive’ meeting!

Infographic brought to you by Wrike free project management tool

Should We Have This Meeting? - by Wrike project management tools

What are some of the methods you follow to have an effective meeting, do leave your suggestion in the comments section…

Techstars announced the launch of Techstars India as a joint venture company in partnership with ANSR. Headquartered in Bengaluru, ANSR builds and operates GICs and captive centres for some of the leading global companies from the retail, fintech, healthcare and media domains.

Image Source – Techstars

The ANSR partnership will provide Techstars with a very strong foundation to launch its Indian operations. Having partnered with 27 leading global enterprises, ANSR is the world’s largest company for establishing and operating captive center service delivery capabilities for global enterprises in support of their growth, transformation and innovation agenda. ANSR, through its innovation arm, Kyron, also operates startup led innovation programs for its corporate partners including Target, L-Brands, Lowes and Swiss Re.

With this launch, Techstars is adding India to its international roster, bolstering India’s position as a leading global startup ecosystem. India, known for its dominant role in the IT industry and home to captive centers for over 1,000 global enterprises, is rapidly gaining traction as an entrepreneurial hub. Techstars operates worldwide and across the US, including Adelaide, Austin, Berlin, Boston, Boulder, Cape Town, Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis, New York City, London, Los Angeles, Paris, Seattle, Tel Aviv, and Toronto, and has accepted over 1000 companies globally into its programs. Collectively, these companies have raised over USD 3.8B USD and have a market cap of over USD 9.9B. The launch of Techstars India will provide Techstars access to India’s rapidly growing startup and entrepreneur network as well as global enterprises that have established captive centers and startup led corporate innovation programs with ANSR and its innovation arm, Kyron Global.

[L-R] David Cohen Co-CEO – Techstars, Lalit Ahuja, CEO – ANSR, David Brown, Co-CEO – Techstars

David Brown, Co-CEO of Techstars, said

We have been watching India’s growth very closely and its emergence as the third largest global startup ecosystem in less than a decade. There’s so much great activity here and the potential for growth is huge, as one of the fastest growing economies in the world. I think in addition to that, India’s prime minister underlining the importance of entrepreneurship and innovation in giving productive outlets to the country’s talent is very positive. It’s heartening to see tech evangelists work closely with the government to lay out a digital infrastructure for the country which startups then can leverage. India is on a tech, digital and startup mission of sorts.

This has been a big year for Techstars. We’re 10 years old and have now seen over 1,000 companies in Techstars’ mentorship-driven accelerator programs worldwide. We are excited to announce the addition of Techstars India to the Techstars Worldwide Network.

Lalit Ahuja, CEO, ANSR said

ANSR is very excited to partner with Techstars to launch Techstars India. We believe that this is an event of national importance and a huge validation of India’s position as a leading global hub for entrepreneurial activity. The launch of Techstars India will provide an impetus to the rapidly growing startup ecosystem and the emergence of India as a dominant entrepreneurial network. This launch brings to fruition ANSR and Kyron’s pioneering efforts to successfully create a startup corporate engagement corridor towards the emergence of India’s largest startup led corporate innovation platform.

Speaking at the event, Priyank Kharge, Minister of IT, BT & Tourism said

The Government of Karnataka is focused on building a bolder and structured ecosystem and the collaboration with Techstars is exactly what the Government requires and is the right step forward. Karnataka is India’s second largest technology hub and this is validated by the fact that we have all the Fortune 500 companies. Propelled by government policies in the last 3 months, more than 3200 startups have registered with the government. We are also coming up with numerous Centres of Excellence and by the end of August we will have India’s first Centre of Excellence for Artificial Intelligence. Karnataka today has reached its maturity as a services industry and now moving forward to R&D and innovation.

About Techstars

Techstars helps entrepreneurs succeed. Through the Techstars Worldwide Entrepreneur Network, founders and their teams connect with other entrepreneurs, experts, mentors, alumni, investors, community leaders, and corporate partners who will help their companies grow. Techstars operates four divisions: Techstars Startup Programs, Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator Programs, Techstars Corporate Innovation Partnerships, and the Techstars Venture Capital Fund. Techstars Mentorship-Driven Accelerator Program supercharges success and Techstars Startup Programs inspire, educate and connect entrepreneurs. For more information, please visit Techstars

About ANSR

Backed by Accel Partners and Infosys and headquartered in Dallas, TX, ANSR is a global leader in establishing, operating and optimizing Global In-House Centers ‘GICs’ and provides end-to-end solutions to enterprises across the GIC life-cycle. Through Kyron, its innovation arm, ANSR also operates Innovation/Corporate Accelerator Programs. For more information, please visit ANSR

Uber, the ride-sharing app that is redefining urban mobility across the world, have announced a new Uber for Business, enabling new use cases like daily commute, late-night rides home from work, between-office transportation and much more.

When Uber for Business was introduced in India, the underlying mission was to give organizations a more efficient way to manage their business travel and improve employees’ experience. Uber soon realized that organizations needed much more than features like monthly billing and reporting. Whether it’s helping employees stay safe when they travel from work late at night, enhancing customer experience with pick-up and drop facilities, or seamless inter-office travel, organizations wanted Uber to solve some of their most pressing business challenges.

Arjun Nohwar, APAC Head – Uber for Business said

At Uber for Business we are continuously striving to make Uber a one-stop solution for all ground transportation needs of businesses. With the launch of our revamped Uber for Business platform, our technology makes it possible to create specialized solutions that help businesses have access to reliable transportation options for all their needs. Companies can now configure and use our platform to manage transportation requirements for all, while reducing costs, increasing operational efficiency and improving compliance.

The Uber for Business delivers new tools with the simplicity and magic that makes Uber what it is today. The product updates include the following-

Set-and-forget travel programs – New tools allow managers to set up automated programs for commuting, business travel, airport rides, and any other mobility need. For example, if employees are working late, they could use a comfortable ride home. Managers can be the hero by setting up a ‘late night rides’ policy that only works for trips taken between work and home after 8 PM. The company can choose how much to fund per trip, and if employees need to take longer trips, it’s no problem, everything over the spend allowance will be charged to their payment method of choice.

New permissions – Companies can set rules for employees, customers, and clients around the type of car that they can use, how much they can spend, and the location from which a trip needs to begin or end. They can mix and match these rules in the way that works best for their company.

Different access for different groups – Businesses can provide customized levels of Uber access depending on each person’s needs. For example, you can give all of your employees INR 500 [or more] for their daily commute, while giving recruiters special access to call rides for candidates via Uber Central. By segmenting the organization by team, level, or location, they can take transportation policies out of the back office and easily bring them to life.

A fresh User Interface – The Uber for Business dashboard has been re-designed from the ground up to feature a cleaner, more seamless experience. A streamlined account setup flow makes it easy to get riding with as few or as many travel programs as needed. Plus, access to Uber Central is easily controlled, enabling employees who interact with customers, guests, or recruits to call a ride for them on demand.

What does this mean for businesses? This means cost savings, because they can ensure that employees travel within company policy. It means time savings for admins and managers, who can now build set-and-forget travel programs for the whole company. And it means happier employees & customers since Uber can eliminate the stress of driving and parking and give people more time to catch up on emails, enjoy their morning coffee or take a few minutes to just relax.

Rajeev Prakash, National Head of Administration, Team Computers said

Uber for Business has changed the way our employees travel around the world. We have done away with the inconvenience of pre-booking through vendors, eliminating administrative hassles completely. The dashboard gives company administrators flexibility and easy billing with cost savings is an added advantage.

With the new Uber for Business, every member of the organization – travel managers, finance, HR, and executive leadership – can deliver solutions that improve the business, whether it’s through cost savings, employee productivity or scaling the business. For more information, please visit Uber for Business

Strengthening its endeavour to foster a one-stop communication platform, Truecaller announced the introduction of the Request Money feature as a part of Truecaller Pay.

The new feature, rolled out last week, saves users from awkward situations of asking for money from someone.  With this feature, users can send a direct payment request to a fellow Truecaller user, via Android notifications. The receiver of the request can just click the notification and make payments after entering their registered MPIN in the app when prompted.

Truecaller users can also create shareable payment links which can be sent via SMS, email, instant messaging platforms or can even post it on a website to receive payments. When clicked, the link would directly open the Truecaller app where the receiver can complete the payment. This makes it extremely useful for small businesses to make transactions and payments simple, secure and direct to bank using just a mobile phone and the Truecaller app.

Truecaller Pay, which was launched earlier this year, lets users create their unique Virtual Payment Address [VPA] in the Truecaller app, and can instantly send or receive money direct to bank account using any Unified Payments Interface [UPI] supported bank. With the addition of these features to its ever-expanding portfolio, Truecaller aims to deliver seamless communication experience to it users.

Have you tried out Truecaller Pay, please leave your experience in the comments section…

Fintech is having a huge impact on the financial services in India. It has been largely dominated by the lending and payments companies in India. Initiatives like the India Stack [UPI, e-KYC, Aadhar] by National Payments Corporation Of India [NPCI] have been instrumental in leading the Fintech revolution.

Image Source – Investments

Many of the fintech companies are leveraging Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Social Data Intelligence, Blockchain, etc. in order to solve critical business problems. For example, with the help of AI, contextual data and transaction data, your wealth managers can come up with a ‘more relevant’ financial plan that suits your requirements.

When we talk about Money, the immediate thought that comes to our minds is ‘How to I multiply wealth via good investments‘. There are significant number of investment options available in the market but the option that you choose depends on factors like your age, dependencies, exisiting investment portfolio, risk apetite, etc. One good investment option is ‘Mutual Funds‘ but as per a report, India’s Assets under management  (AUM) to GDP ratio is only 9 percent which is significantly lower as compared to other developed/developing contries. The bright side about this report is that there are rising number of people interested to invest in Mutual Funds given that they get proper hand-holding and guidance.

This is the problem that founders of WealthApp, a Fintech startup aim to solve by amalgamating their vast knowledge in personal finance with technologies like AI, Machine Learning, etc. Today we have a chat with Gaurav Dhawan, Co-founder & Director of WealthApp about WealthApp, Fintech, Personal Finance, etc.

Image Source – WealthApp

How did you come up with the idea of WealthApp ?

We are ex-bankers from Citi who have decades of experience in personal financial management of individuals across net-worth segments. We understand that while people with higher net-worth have access to good quality financial advice, the middle-income groups in India experience an acute shortage of the same. There are various estimates to suggest that about 30 crore people in India have an ability to invest, a majority of which form the entire middle-income group of the pyramid. Given this huge need gap, we wanted to put in place a solution to reach sound financial advice to the market at large. The next question on our minds was to figure a solution to bridge this gap ? One thing that we realised very soon was that we needed to use technology to reach out to a larger audience.

However, using technology is one thing – but to marry that with quality advice is a totally different ball game. We then studied the entire advisor-client interaction cycle, right from the time of first interaction to the evolution of the relationship over a long term, and broke it down into steps that we could automate. We realised that most of this engagement can be automated using algorithms. Then we started picking elements of this interaction cycle to build algorithms to automate the process – that’s how WealthApp was born. We formally launched the platform in October 2016 for public at large.

Can you please give a background about the team behind WealthApp ?

The founders consist of myself, Subba Rao Telidevara, Sanjay HB and Mitesh Shah. We have a cumulative experience of 50+ years across various forms of money management. This makes us aware that the long winding process, paper work and lack of proper guidance in investment methods puts off people as prospective investors. The team is hard at work to ensure that our platform at WealthApp overcomes all of these barriers and adds value across the personal financial life of our customers.

As per a report, there is very small percentage of investors/would be investors who plan to invest in the Equity market [or MF], how does WealthApp plan to change this ‘resistant’ behaviour from investors ?

India’s AUM to GDP ratio stands at about 9 percent. In comparison, US markets boast of an AUM to GDP ratio of  70 percent. Even if we consider the global averages, 37% is the AUM to GDP ratio. While this clearly indicates the huge potential that our country has to channelize a significantly higher proportion of an individual’s savings into efficient financial products, India has been catching up very quickly.

This is due to a variety of reasons such as increase in financial awareness of the customers, efficient evolution of the regulatory framework and technology percolation across the country. WealthApp plans to use these broader trends to reach out to people and help them join the investment bandwagon. To keep the entry barriers low for our customers, we offer investment plans with as low as Rs. 100 investment minimums. We will also add more investment products in the future that we believe our customers will be able to benefit from.

Can you please talk about the funding of WealthApp ?

WealthApp raised about USD 440,000 in seed funding in December 2016. The startup’s investors include some very marque names such as NuVentures managing partner Venk Krishnan, Daksh eServices co-founder MJ Aravind, Vikram Kotak, Managing Partner at Crest Capital and Investment, Jayant Davar, Co-chairman & MD at Sandhar Group, Ramkumar Nishtala, MD & CEO at Vistaar Finance, and Arjun Sharma, chairman of the Select Group.

Can you share some insights into the customer demographics of WealthApp ?

An extremely large part of the unexposed population resides in the tier II and III towns where people have no access to professional financial advisory. WealthApp came up with the concept of Online Robo Financial Advisor for all kinds of investors ranging from youngsters or first time investors to a family man and seasoned investor. Moreover, WealthApp’s internal survey of a few remote towns in Karnataka revealed that about 80 percent of the population there spend at least 20 percent of their income on smartphones and data usage. Rest is reserved for household expenses and cash savings.

People there are actually very tech savvy, largely on mobile phones. And contrary to our belief they have a decent appetite for investment. But most invest in chit funds and other inefficient instruments since they have no one to guide them.

Once user has created an account on WealthApp [and all his investments from various AMCs are under one window], what other services does your team provide to the investors so that they can get more returns from their investments ?

WealthApp analyses an individual’s risk appetite, need to take risk and tolerance for risk based on factors such as income, assets, savings and financial goals that one may have. After an investment is made, the app tracks and monitors the complete cycle, alerting and suggesting investors on due payment, or any change in rules. The app also updates users over the need for liquid cash and provides options to obtain it. The platform is being enhanced further to accommodate more such situations that a customer may face over an investment lifecycle.

Image Credit – YourStory

Can you give a small glimpse about the tech behind WealthApp ?

WealthApp has developed sophisticated iOS and android mobile apps to help the middle-income groups and retail investors in India simplify their financial planning and wealth management process. Sophisticated algorithms automate the entire advisory process thus ensuring top notch and timely advise for the investor. That the smaller cities and towns face data connectivity issues doesn’t deter WealthApp.

The app is built to use data efficiently. It is a light app that works on 2G bandwidth also. Currently, WealthApp’s user interface is English. There are plans to go vernacular, primarily to target the smaller towns and cities in future.

Are there any competitors of WealthApp, if so what are some of the USP’s of WealthApp vis-a-vis the competitors ?

The segment is growing as more people start looking for financial investment products to broaden their portfolio beyond traditional products such as gold and real estate. Some of the USP’s of WealthApp vis-a-vis the competitors are below:

  • Prospective Clients made investment ready via KYC in a thoroughly paperless manner with a very simple and streamlined on-boarding process
  • Sophisticated algorithms automate the entire advisory process thus ensuring top notch and timely advice for the investor
  • Knowledge and experience of the founding team work to provide customized portfolio most suited for investors and their goals based on thorough research and strategy
  • Ongoing monitoring 24/7/365
  • Supported with convenience of doorstep service offered via web and mobile apps
  • Equipped with a team of seasoned professionals for those that require the age old personal human touch

WealthApp is currently limited to MF’s, are there any plans/timeline on whether it would be expanded to cover other financial instruments ?

WealthApp Financial Advisors is an automated investment service, conceived over a year back. It makes use of its user friendly online platform to offer best in class investment portfolio to its clients. This is based on their financial goals and ability to take risk, and mutual funds offer various advantages to build customized investment portfolios. Having said that, the company plans to add more investment options in the near future.

What are some of the methodologies that your team plans in order to keep the investors hooked on to the platform [primary reason being investments are mostly planned by investors and most cases, they would not invest more unless required, unlike shopping which is more adhoc and also more repetitive and hence more stickiness.] ?

It’s our endeavour to engage our customers meaningfully while adding value to them. A slick and customized dashboard makes it convenient for them to see their investment status on the go and they keep coming back to it often to review their portfolios. They like the fact that we don’t use jargon and provide them all the information that they need in an easy to understand manner.

We also write articles and blogs frequently on topics that are of high relevance to our customers. Again, simplicity of conveying the messafge is the key so they keep coming back to read up and make themselves more knowledgeable on areas of personal finance. Our customers also appreciate the value in our periodic automated reports that reach their mailboxes.

There are various investor initiatives like #MFDayon7th by Reliance MF and CNBC TV18, does WealthApp have plans of starting an investor education initiative [or something else] in order to widen the horizon of passive investors [that could be an integral part of the investors eco-system, but dont know where to get started] ?

WealthApp has been at the forefront of customer education right from the start. We have conducted more than 50 roadshows [in metro cities and beyond] till date to spread awareness and provide simple solutions to people’s money problems.

Our platform is coded with complex algorithms by our engineering team and they have kept it up to date with the ongoing developments in the policies and reforms in our economy. The idea is to reduce the human intervention while we interact with our customers and be fully transparent.

With growing investor and entrepreneur interest in Fintech, many wallet companies like Paytm, FreeCharge, MobiKwik, etc. are plannig to have a boutique of finance products on their platform, does this growing competition have an impact on a startup like WealthApp and how it could result in expansion of the fintech ecosystem ?

Since the evolution of technology and start-up boom, Indian economy has been a huge market place for various types of businesses. Every entrant in the start-up space has been looking at diversifications based on their growth and funding options available around them. Also with the growing economy and huge population, fintech ecosystem has so much potential yet to be unlocked.

At WealthApp, the team comes with a tremendous domain knowledge and experience in the financial sector. We are glued on to the ongoing actions and want to be the best in the market with providing right products and offerings with a remarkable customer service. The market looks extremely responsive for WealthApp at the moment and we would like to be focused on our current service offerings instead of diversifying into many portfolios at this point of time. Currently, WealthApp deals only with mutual fund portfolios because MFs are very well regulated, are very difficult to understand, and the seed money requirement is very less.

You mentioned earlier that there is a growing demand of products like WealthApp in tier-2, tier-3 cities [and beyond], what are some of the marketing initiatives that your team has taken in order to penetrate into that particular market ?

The tier 2 towns and beyond is where the potential lies untapped. The revolution in technology and touch of power has reduced the distance between both the worlds. It has digitally enabled the end customer to gain access to the knowledge and information today. This has opened up new dimensions for them to look into new avenues of investment options.

It has created inroads for WealthApp to proceed further and we are equipped with sound knowledge on the subject. We have created a team of experts who reach out to the end customers in these markets, helping them in communicating the knowledge on investments, building portfolios and managing them. We have been working with the target audience in various parts of the country.

Along with the integrated AMC approach, building investor porfolio as per his requirements, etc. your team also provides advisory services to your customers. Are these services charged and how has been the customer response to these services [since none of the finance platform provides such tailor-made services] ?

At WealthApp, the platform is equipped to build a persona of the customer on its platform and provide advisory recommendations for investments. The automated investment service has been kept free of cost while some specific value added serives are being developed that may be on a chargeable basis. Market response to our platform has been terrific so far and we are extremely encouraged to serve our customers in the best possible manner.

What is the revenue model of WealthApp and does it follow the Freemium model ?

WealthApp does not charge its customers for the automated investment service platform. It charges the fund houses a small fee. There are a number of tools and products in various stages of development and testing that may be used by the customer for a fee.

Are there are any RBI guidelines regulating the app based businesses [P2P, Line Of Credit, etc] in India or to put it the other way round, is there a requirement to regulate them ?

The app is a channel to reach out to people conveniently. The entire advisory on our platform are fully regulated by SEBI while the payments are governed with the rules laid out by the RBI.

2016 was a tough year for startups [especially from funding point of view], how according to you should entrepreneurs deal with such adverse situations ?

Having recognized a real need gap in the market and put in place a solution that adds real value to the customer, what remains critical for an entrepreneur to tide over such times is an ability to evolve as they learn alongside persevering.

After demonetization, there has been a huge demand for payment apps [including UPI], wallet providers providing investment options like Digital Gold, etc. do you see that trend working in favour of apps like WealthApp [that makes an investor’s life smoother] ?

Absolutely. As more and more people become aware of digital platforms and become comfortable using them, it helps us explain the delivery mechanism of our service to our customers in a more contextual fashion.

As per your entrepreneurial experience, when should an entrepreneur look out for external funding ?

A couple of common circumstances when one should seek external funding could include situations when you either need funds to build/improvise your product/service or when your own revenues are not sufficient to sustain growth.

Some books that you highly recommend for entrepreneurs

Some of my recent reads that I recommend  for entrepreneurs are Shoe dog by Phil Knight, Predictably irrational by Dan Ariely and The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly.

Some closing thoughts for our readers!

Effective financial management is key to meeting various life goals. This could include various aspects of our lives such as savings, expenses, investments, budgeting et al. To do any or all of this, one should seek the help of qualified financial experts to guide them through the process.

Choosing the right financial advisor is key and you must ask all questions that you need answered to make a well-informed decision. Keep in mind that the amount of wealth that we build is less a function of our income and more a function of our savings rate. And while they say money can’t buy happiness, I beg you to reconsider.

We thank Gaurav Dhawan for sharing his insights with our readers. If you are planning to put your money to work via smart investments, then you should download WealthApp. If you have any questions for Gaurav or the WealthApp Team, please email them here or share them via a comment to this article.

Uber, the ridesharing app that is redefining urban mobility across the world announced the launch of its integrated marketing campaign in India. With the idea of Apnapan as its core theme, the campaign aims to build everyday brand relevance and re-frame personal mobility. This also marks the launch of Uber’s first TVC in India.

Sanjay Gupta, Head of Marketing, Uber India, said

At our scale, there are millions of amazing stories that we hear each week – stories of heart-warming experiences that take place between riders and driver-partners across the country. It’s these stories that keep people coming back to ride and drive with us. Over the last four months, we’ve spent hours listening to our riders and driver partners across the country to co-create our communication strategy, and build out the idea of Apnapan in the truest sense. We’re super excited to launch this campaign, as it’s our first step towards reframing the narrative around personal mobility and freedom for millions in India. So when you use Uber next, Isey Apni hi Gaadi Samjho.

Reinforcing that Uber is everyday, for everyone, the campaign conceptualized by Taproot aims to build a deeper brand connect. Inspired by real rider and driver partner stories, the simple narrative highlights experiences that every Uber rider can relate to. With Apnapan being the umbrella theme, it brings to life the underlying emotional connect between Uber, its riders and driver partners by reinforcing that it’s a service one can rely on as if it were their own – true to the tagline Isey Apni Hi Gaadi Samjho.

Speaking about the campaign, Pallavi Chakravarti, Executive Creative Director, Taproot Dentsu said

Being a regular Uber user, I can vouch for the fact that it’s changed my life. It’s rare to work on a campaign where the idea is true to the brand and the service, where you don’t have to create a story because the real thing IS the story. The Uber experience is as good as having your own car, and sometimes even better. And this experience is something we think everyone should enjoy. So we’ve attempted to capture the Uber way of life through a simple thought around Apnapan.

Uber recently partnered with Madison to execute the media strategy. A multi-platform campaign, Uber’s digital-first approach will see Facebook and Youtube as primary channels, television for broader air cover and radio to communicate with the commuting audience. Given the scale and geographic footprint that the business has achieved, the TVC and radio campaigns will be available in multiple languages like Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu.

Vikram Sakhuja, CEO, Madison added

With the launch of this campaign, we expect more people to connect and use the convenience provided by Uber in the Indian context –  just like it it is being appreciated and used by people in various countries across the world.