GroupDrop all set to enhance the experience of #DoingItTogether

Doing It Together has always been an entertaining affair. From picnics to assignments to sharing quality time with family, all of us have memories of doing unforgettable things together. These memories are hitched with us forever and are cherished for a lifetime. Inspired from this feeling of doing it together, GroupDrop has launched first of its kind social e-commerce portal in India with an aim to bring a change on how consumers perceive and buy products of their choice online. GroupDrop aims at leveraging the power of community purchase by bringing the like-minded consumers together and buy products at the best possible price.

Image Source* – GroupDrop

The idea came to Gaurav Kapadia when he heard of a group of people in India who bought 150 high end luxury cars together at a discounted rate. This was such a big announcement that the CEO of the luxury car brand went down along with his senior management team to hand over the keys to the buyers. Gaurav soon roped in Shyam Gursahani and both of them then developed a business model to help like-minded people to meet with one another, on a common platform, share opinions and buy the products of their choice at an irresistible price. The portal will be dealing with wide range of products across automobile, audio, gaming and photography genres.

Image Credit* – GroupDrop

Speaking on the launch, Shyam Gursahani, Director, GroupDrop said

This is a proud moment for both Gaurav and I. We aim to connect people with similar likes and provide them with a common platform, where they can discuss all the pros and cons before buying a product. We want to leverage the power of the people in community purchase. This will help us become the preferred space to help consumers buy what they need and not what is offered at the best price, and promote the experience of #DoingItTogether.

GroupDrop aims to grow and offer more choices to the customers.  All products on GroupDrop are chosen, created, or inspired by people, which are called ‘drops’. Consumers can search for products they want, and discuss and vote for the products they would like to buy. Once the consumer decides what product they’d like to buy together, GroupDrop contacts the vendor directly on behalf of them to get a great group discount, and allows the consumer to buy the product by joining the drop.

About GroupDrop

GroupDrop is first of its kind social e-commerce portal launched in 2016, with an aim to change the future of how the customers buy products of their choice. GroupDrop is only place where consumers from all parts of the world can connect with like-minded people, ask for products that they want, have conversations, share their expertise or opinions and also be able to buy these products at discounted price in groups. The more people that join the drop, the lower the price gets. GroupDrop services are available through the web-portal, and the made-for-mobile web service. The GroupDrop app on the Android play store and iOS app store should be available soon. For more information, please visit GroupDrop

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[Interview] Market slowdowns will always impact average & below average companies as there is no cash flowing freely : Satish Medapati, Founder & CEO – Bounty

As a customer, what if you are paid just for checking-in or walking into a mall or a shopping outlet 🙂 It sounds exciting since you are incentivized for doing a small act !!! This is what Bounty mobile app has in store for it’s users and that too without your phone’s Bluetooth or GPS being turned ON (so you gain points without loosing any battery juice).

Bounty is a Bengaluru based startup founded by Satish Medapati. Today, we have a brief chat with him where he shares details about Bounty, his startup journey, entrepreneurship, funding & all things related to startups 🙂 So let’s start with the Q&A…

Image Source - Bounty App

Image Source* – Bounty App

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

Satish Medapati is the founder of bounty. He has a total of about 12 years of varied  experience across analytics, portfolio management, banking, entrepreneurship.  The other founder has similar level of experience in core data sciences. The core team also has Anita and Sandeep who manage Engineering and Growth respectively.

Bounty is a hassle-free mobile app that rewards users for just walking into a business location. Every time a user walks into a place, be it a restaurant, pub, saloon, spa, retail store etc, the app automatically recognises the person and location and alerts him/her to check-in. You have to just tap once to collect the reward points. These rewards can then be redeemed against a host of offline and online gift cards with no conditions and no couponsBounty works even without your GPS being on or when your internet is switched off too. Bounty app’s ‘Intelligent Assist’ feature automatically recognises your location and alerts you to collect reward points.

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

Bounty began its journey on Feb 8th, 2015. The source of inspiration behind bounty is – How knowing and understanding a simple activity like eating or a weekly activity of visiting a mall can be so powerful in driving consumer experience that also results in businesses targeting efficiently without spamming the consumers with what they do not need..

How did you come up with name Bounty [is it somewhat co-related to Bug Bounty] ?

No its not related to bug bounty. We initially came up with lots of names and most were taken in this field. The idea was it’s a frictionless rewards app that gives you a lot and since we wanted it to be sweet and short, and not a hassle for people to remember either the spelling or the name, we came up with ‘Bounty’

Can you detail on the technology used in development of Bounty [i.e. Is it BLE based/Beacons based ?]

No, we do not use any hardware. In fact, bounty’s superior positioning in business circles is also due to this fact that there is no effort from a business to do business :). We do  indoor positioning to give automatic check-ins through intelligent assist. This patent-pending indoor positioning technology works without GPS or even without 4G/3G/internet.

Who are some of the existing partners of Bounty [Stores & redemption partners] ?

In terms of redemptions, we have more than 30+ brands including Flipkart, ebay, Amazon, movie vouchers etc. where you can redeem bounty points for gift cards or physical products without any conditions/coupons. In terms of physical stores, you can earn bounty points across 7500+ places in Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

Can you list the cities in which Bounty is currently operational ?

We are currently in Bangalore and Hyderabad though we have a small presence in Chennai too.

Can you take us through the entire process of redemption ? [Right from entering the partner store to process of redeeming points]

When a user visits a partner place, bounty app will automatically detect and send a notification alert. User clicks on the notification to check-in and collect points. User gets anywhere between 2 to 20 points (1 point = 1 rupee) depending on the store and other factors. Users needs a minimum of 100 points (pretty easy to get) to redeem for gift cards/physical products. The hardest part is select the gift that he/she wants to redeem. It could be amazon, flipkart, ebay vouchers or products like earphones, bags etc. Also, there is no social posting or anything for the check-ins. It’s all hassle free rewards!

Please share some numbers (downloads, offers redeemed etc.) with us

We have over 450k users who cloak millions of off-line check-ins every month. We drive over 100k transactions/month to ecommerce players. You can guess the value and GMV 🙂

Who are some of Bounty’s competitors (epecially in the O2O space) & what are some of the stand-out features as compared to other apps (in similar space)

In terms of technology, we have most bigwigs competing with us on indoor positioning technology, we have the likes of  Google, Apple, Qualcomm etc. In terms of business model, there are quite a few without our vision.

Bounty’s stand-out feature is the proprietary location technology that works even without internet and GPS! Not many companies in the world have such a technology. Not to forget, it’s also how the technology is applied in real life for hassle free rewards. Consumer has to just install the app and from there on the app will keep reminding them to collect reward points like a rewards assistant.

Team Bounty

Team Bounty

What are the major changes that you experienced when you moved from an Employee to an Employer [or Entrepreneur]

Mind set is the first change – Everything is YOU and adaptability and survival is the key. Secondly, hunger should  far dominate anything as you hardly have money, success, team or infrastructure. All you have is a un-ending faith and a will to survive all odds to succeed.

What are your key advice(s) to aspiring entrepreneurs ?

Please do not think and over analyse. Just get into it. Make sure you/your family have enough money for food and shelter [Clothing can be borrowed ;)]. Extremely pathetic lifestyle, really there is no glamour so get in only if you really want to. Funding [especially for growth stage startups] has dried up with companies picking funding at lower valuations, your take on the scenario [and current situation]. Market slowdowns will always impact average and below average companies as there is no cash flowing freely. However, its also the best time for a great company to raise as there is no cacophony.

Valuations are really notional and as long as you build your business in the right direction, you should be happy not minding too much on valuation.

Lot of startups (food-tech etc where Customer acquisition cost is high & margins are less) expand pan-city and struggle in keeping the momentum going, your words of advice for entrepreneurs trying to scale up(or expand Pan-city) ?

Have enough foresight to know when to expand. Always ask yourself why is “Scale” important. Does scale multiply my losses or get me to an advantageous situation. Get to unit economics as fast as you can and then if scale is the only plausible way for your business, by all means grow rapidly.

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

I have been lucky to get my team. However, you need to struggle a lot to get the right members in your core team.  People who believe you, your vision and are mad go-getters like you.  Failed entrepreneurs, never giving up types,  people who underwent hardships in life – everything is a data point for you.

Do give Bounty app a shot and share across your feedback/questions in the comments section. If you have any questions for the Bounty founder about the app, entrepreneurship etc., email them to himanshu.sheth@gmail.com

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Time to realize your Dreams with Personal Loans from Bajaj Finance [Review]

When there is a discussion about ‘Salaried Class’ in India, there is a clear classification made as to whether a salaried person belongs to the “Organized” or the “Unorganized” sector. This classification is done by the Government Of India. All public sector employees are in organised sector. Private sector establishments with more than 10 employees in non agricultural sector are classified as organised sector. The Private sector companies have to register sales tax, pay employee’s PPF etc. Everyone else is in un-organised informal sector. As per the data available on https://data.gov.in, in 2011 there were 28.9 million workers in organised sector out of a total labour force of 469 million. As per the report, though there is a dip in the organized work force vis-a-vis labour force has fallen since 1990’s; people who are in good jobs in private sector companies are making more money than ever before 🙂

With the rise of the upper and lower middle class; salaried class people developed higher aspirations like Planning a vacation abroad, Home improvement, Planning a grand wedding etc. The aspirations can sometimes be endless.. Most of the times these aspirations may not be fulfilled with the ‘Salary’ coming from their jobs and this is where Personal Loans act as a catalyst in managing your finances and helps in putting your plans into ‘tangible’ actions. Many of the NBFC’s [Non Banking Financial Companies] offer Personal Loan but either their interest rates are very high or you get stuck in endless paper work [which starts from account creation and never seems to end :(].

When one of my colleague’s who is falling in the ‘Premium category of the salary bracket’ was looking out for a ‘Exquisite Wedding’ [which was bit beyond his budget], he took a Wedding Loan from Bajaj Finserv Lending, one of the most diversified non-banks in the country. Yes, you read it right; Wedding loan :). Bajaj Finserv has launched online services to offer personal loan to premium salaried class professionals.

It sounded very interesting proposition and hence we decided to have a closer look at their offerings in the ‘crowded’ Loan sector. Let’s have a look at their overall offerings.

First Mover Advantage

Bajaj Finserv Lending is one of the first NBFC’s to offer ‘Specialized’ Personal Loan catering to the Premium salaried class professionals. This is where they have an upper edge over their competitors who are also looking to enter into the rising Personal Loan market. With Bajaj Finserv’s deep technical and financial expertise, they definitely have a huge first mover advantage over it’s competitors !!!

Whatever your need, BFL has a Loan

As discussed earlier, my colleague took Personal Loan to fulfill his wish to plan an exquisite wedding. Thanks to BFL he was able to realize his dream into reality. Bajaj Finserv offers Personal Loan for salaried class whether you are looking to fund your child’s education, home renovation, planning a grand vacation or planning a grand wedding (for self or family). Whatever, your Loan requirement, BFL has an answer to it.

No Running around.. Hassle Free

Unlike other NBFC’s & Banks that offer Personal Loan, BFL offers 100% end-to-end Personal Loan solutions. Yes, you read it right 🙂 You can apply for a loan online and before applying for the Loan, you can check the eligibility by going to their Eligibility Calculator so that you do not waste your precious time by applying for a loan only to come to know that you are not eligible (for the Personal Loan).

If that is not all, once you confirm your eligibility for the loan; you can apply for a Personal Loan in less than 5 minutes. Customers can avail loan from range of 1 Lakhs to 25 Lakhs (depending on various parameters).. The disbursal from the bank normally happens in less than 72 hours, which in our opinion is “pretty swift” !!! With this process, it ensures that the customer does not have to take the pain of filling lengthy forms and waiting for an executive to collect the documents. Just like e-commerce, customer can now enjoy the benefits of ‘Loan Commerce’ 🙂

Flexi Loans : Lower Interest Rates & more Benefits

BFL has come up with many industry first’s in the ‘Personal Loan’ category with Flexi Loan being one of them. As the name signifies, once a customer signs up for this facility; (s)he can save interest cost via pre-payment or by just having funds lying idle in your account. The main benefit of this facility is that there is no interest levied on the part-paid amount.

While availing any loan, Loan Pre-payment is an important question that comes up in any customer’s mind. Once the customer opts for Flexi Loan facility, they can pre-pay the loan with the idle funds that are lying in their account, that too at no additional cost !!! To top it all, customer can also save huge money on Interest Payment since Interest is only levied on the utilized loan amount (Pre-paid amount is out of the radar of interest).

With so many benefits, it is needless to even mention that you would have Online access to your account so that you can access it even when you are on-the-move 🙂

So, why wait for the right moment ? Whether you are planning for a grand vacation or an extravagant wedding; you have Bajaj Finserv Personal Loan at your rescue !!!

Time to realize your plans and turn your Dreams into Reality….

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NI hosts its annual Certified LabVIEW Architect [CLA] Summit 2016 in Bengaluru

National Instruments (NI) successfully hosted its first Certified LabVIEW Architect Summit 2016 in Bengaluru. The summit was an endeavor by National Instruments to bring together the most skilled LabVIEW developers from across India who are working on a variety of test, measurement and control applications.

Reflecting on the event, Jeff Kodosky, Co-founder and NI Business and Technology Fellow at National Instruments also known as the Father of LabVIEW commented

I am excited to have been a part of the first CLA Summit in India this year and witness the vibrant community of LabVIEW users and their innovative and advanced applications that our LabVIEW Certified Users here are developing to solve real-world engineering challenges.

The Certified LabVIEW Architect is the final step in the three-part LabVIEW certification process. The exam for this step presents a set of high-level requirements and tests the user’s skill in building a program hierarchy with LabVIEW and a project plan for delivering an application that fulfills those requirements. This level of certification validates the LabVIEW programming capability and the ability to architect reliable, efficient and well documented project.

Senthilkumar Murugesan, CEO, Unilogic and the chairperson of the CLA community said

This has been a great opportunity in bringing together the certified LabVIEW users from various industries in India and have them share their experiences and insights about their applications. The sessions included best practices shared by the CLAs, NI experts providing tips and tricks to help the engineers become more productive and efficient.

Adding to that, Jayaram Pillai, Managing Director, NI India said

With the growing Indian economy, companies today face many new trends and technological challenges. The need for skilled LabVIEW developers in the community is ever more. The CLA summit has helped in developing the Certified LabVIEW Architects Community manifold and contributing towards the sustainable development of the Indian engineering ecosystem.

For further information on LabVIEW Certification please visit NI LabVIEW Certification Page

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Greytip Software raises INR 35 crore in its series B round of funding from New Enterprise Associates & Blume Ventures

Greytip Software, a leading provider of HR and Payroll solutions to SME’s and enterprises across India, has raised INR 35 crore in its series B round of funding. The funding was led by New Enterprise Associates and Blume Ventures. The funds will be primarily used to enhance their flagship cloud solution, greytHR to enable its adoption among a wider set of enterprises and small businesses and for expansion into Tier I and Tier II markets.

greytHR helps businesses manage their employee-related TDS, PF, ESI, & LWF compliances and significantly cuts down the cost and time in providing services to their employees. It automates key areas of HR, payroll management, leave and attendance tracking, thereby reducing and simplifying work while delivering accurate and super-fast results. Its employee self-service mobile app is being widely used with 30K+ downloads, empowering employees to check their TDS, PF, etc. on-the-go.

Image Credit - Greytip Software

Image Credit* – Greytip Software

Speaking on the announcement, Girish Rowjee, CEO, Greytip Software said

We have constantly obsessed about how we can help SMEs easily and efficiently manage their HR and Payroll processes. Our cloud app, greytHR is a product of that obsession. In NEA and Blume Ventures, we see ideal partners who believe in our vision of helping small businesses use cloud to cut down operation costs and improve productivity.

Speaking on the funding aspect, Karthik Reddy, Blume Ventures said

Greytip has been a pioneer in developing an SMB-centric solution that’s a leader in India already in its space. Scaling this beautifully to both large enterprises now and regional markets across Asia, we are very excited to deepen our investment into Greytip after being their first believers a couple of years ago.

Tarun Sharma, New Enterprise Associates India said

What impressed us was that greytHR team has demonstrated their ability to achieve tech leadership and gain meaningful scale in the SaaS based HR and payroll market in India in a short span of time. With more than 300,000 employees across India already getting their payroll processed each month through their SaaS platform, greytHR is well poised to grow through new product offerings and expanding reach. Their deep presence in the Indian market makes them an ideal platform to benefit from the digitization of enterprises in India, irrespective of company size, sector or location.

Greytip Software enables more than 3,500 businesses manage 300,000+ employees daily. The company’s vision is to reach out to all enterprises and small businesses across Tier I and Tier II cities and help them benefit from automating their people processes.

About Greytip Software

Greytip software is a leading provider of HR & Payroll solutions to SMEs across India. Its cloud application, GreytHR, helps clients manage their employee life cycle. It automates key areas of HR, payroll management, leave and attendance tracking, thereby reducing & simplifying work while delivering accurate & super-fast results. For more information, please visit www.greytip.com & www.greythr.com

About NEA

New Enterprise Associates is a leading venture capital firm focused on helping entrepreneurs build transformational businesses across multiple stages, sectors and geographies. With approximately $17 billion in committed capital across 15 funds, NEA invests in companies at all stages in a company’s life-cycle, from seed stage through IPO. For more information, please visit NEA

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ErosNow Enables ‘Watch Offline’ Feature on Android Devices

Eros International Plc., leading global company in the Indian film entertainment industry, have announced that ErosNow, it’s digital over-the-top distribution service for Indian language entertainment, has enabled its ‘Watch Offline‘ feature on all Android devices for premium ErosNow subscribers at no additional charge. The service shall soon be available across all iOS devices as well.

Image Source - ErosNow

Image Source* – ErosNow

ErosNow’s Watch Offline capability introduces another feature to satisfy the on-the-go lifestyle of our ErosNow subscribers across 135 countries. The new feature allows ErosNow subscribers to watch films when they have limited internet connectivity or low bandwidth while using the entertainment service. As part of the Premium subscription service, subscribers can now download movies from the service to their device for immediate viewing offline for as little as Rs. 99 [$1.49] per month in India or $7.99 for international subscribers. To ensure the Watch Offline experience meets the demands of users, a choice of quality formats is available to expedite downloads and maintain the storage used for movies downloaded.

Commenting on the feature update, Rishika Lulla Singh, CEO, Eros Digital said

As consumers lifestyles evolve, they are constantly looking to access and consume entertainment on-the-go. ErosNow believes in exactly this concept – providing endless entertainment at consumer’s finger tips, anytime, anywhere. With Watch Offline, we have made our films more accessible to our subscribers who no longer require an ongoing internet feed to enjoy the extensive catalogue of films on ErosNow. We will also soon be rolling out the feature to Apple consumers, introducing the offline feature across all iOS platforms.

Watch Offline features

  • Unlimited playback of the titles downloaded to the device
  • Download quality options are High, Medium or Low Bandwidth
  • Storage management provided
  • Browse ErosNow or use other services on the device while downloading
  • My Downloads in ErosNow application displays titles available for offline playback
  • No internet connection required to watch titles in My Downloads
  • “Only download on Wi-Fi” option available in My Downloads
  • Manage downloads stored on device

The offline viewing feature is the latest product enhancement attracting users and subscribers to ErosNow. Additional in-app features include regular updates of the latest Hindi, Tamil and other Indian language titles; the ability to customize content by creating personal watch lists; video progression, allowing users to continue watching content from where they previously left off and multi-language subtitles. All features are available to users across the globe accessing the app via any device.

About ErosNow

ErosNow is Eros International Plc’s leading on-demand Bollywood and regional language entertainment network accessible anytime, anywhere, on most Internet-connected screen including mobile, web, and TV. ErosNow offers its 37 million plus registered users the promise of endless entertainment hosting one of the largest libraries of movies, as well as premium television shows, music videos and audio tracks, unmatched in quantity and quality. Product features such as offline viewing, high definition content, multi-language subtitles and high quality original drama series, differentiate the ErosNow entertainment offering. For more information, please visit ErosNow

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Shadowfax organises ‘Code Wars’ hackathon in Bangalore for technology fraternity

Shadowfax, a leader in the hyper-local delivery category, successfully concluded its Code Wars hackathon in Bangalore. The Code Wars was organised with an aim to bring all tech enthusiasts including front-end developers, back-end developers, android developers and data scientist developers to showcase their capabilities in solving complex challenges and decode systems to bring the next innovation in the competitive logistics industry.

The two-day hackathon event attracted over 100 advanced developers to compete for prize worth over 2 Lakhs which included iPad Mini, Kindle, Headphones, Speakers and many more, along with an opportunity to work full time in Shadowfax’s tech team.

Image Source* – Shadowfax

As per the format, the participants worked in teams of two and the full stack developers worked solo where they ideated on various projects such as Game of deliveries, Payment on the spots, Location exchange and lots of location. The next day the participants presented their ideas to the eminent judges Rohit Jain, Former Principal, SAIF Partners and Puneet Khanduri, Staff Engineer & Tech Lead – Stealth Project at Twitter India. Among the 700 entries, 100 participants were shortlisted and finally two winning teams, two runner-up teams and three special mention awards were declared.

Commenting on the initiative, Abhishek Bansal, Co-founder & CEO of Shadowfax Technologies Private Limited said

In the Indian logistics space, Shadowfax is playing a crucial role in revolutionising delivery with its distinctive tech platform and on-ground delivery. Through hackathon we would like to bring forward the challenges faced by the logistics space on a democratic platform where we can understand the different perspectives to solve the same problem and in turn get some innovative solutions which are completely out of the box. Another important aspect that we are taking into consideration at Shadowfax, is the technology that we are creating, it can be used in various other platform. This is also the first time we have opened doors to all tech enthusiasts and are overwhelmed with the response and their powerful ideas.

The hackathon was organised in Shadowfax’s R&D Centre which is situated in the heart of Koramangala, Bangalore. The R&D Centre is a one-of-its-kind research facility that is breaking new ground in the Indian delivery industry. The work space is occupied by passionate innovators, coders, developers and data analysts who work around the clock to re-invent current systems and processes in order to build Shadowfax as the most cutting-edge and efficient logistics network in India.

About Shadowfax

Shadowfax is India’s largest technology platform to enable intra city logistics. It focuses on serving the first and last mile delivery needs for companies, across different segments, in 10 cities across India. It is trusted by McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Wendy’s, Snapdeal, Paytm, Bigbasket etc., to name a few of its 1000+ clients. Founded in early 2015 by Abhishek Bansal and Vaibhav Khandelwal (both Alumni of Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi), Shadowfax has become a market leader in a very short span of time. It is revolutionising delivery in India with its distinctive tech platform and on-ground delivery network of 2000+ Shadowfax Riders. The Shadowfax R&D Centre in Bangalore is its hub of innovation, with the product and data teams taking steps closer to solving India’s logistics problem, every day. For more information, please visit Shadowfax

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IBM brings Emerging Tech to Developers at IBM DeveloperConnect, set for June 17 in Bangalore

On 17 June 2016, IBM will host IBM DeveloperConnect, a first-of-its-kind meet up that will bring together the developer community. Designed to give developers a year’s worth of learning in one day, the event provides opportunities for hands on experimentation with next-gen technology on IBM Cloud, including Bluemix, Watson, IoT and Blockchain

[Image Credit* – IBM Connect 2016]

At the event, developers will hear from a number of respected technology leaders and developer advocates, including

Additionally, IBM executives will lead technology sessions and share key announcements on new products, offerings and initiatives. IBM speakers include

IBM will also host lightning demos and an immersive experience zone, where developers can test out the newest technologies and offerings on IBM technology.

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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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