Liferay Inc., which makes software that helps companies create digital experiences on web, mobile and connected devices, has acquired controlling interest in Triblio and committed to an ongoing strategic investment in growing Triblio’s Account-Based Marketing [ABM] business. The investment allows Liferay to explore opportunities for the DXP audience to further enhance and personalize the customer journey with account-specific content and messaging. In turn, Triblio will continue to focus on delivering long-term customer value and product innovation.

Bryan Cheung, CEO – Liferay said

Triblio represents the next generation of B2B marketing cloud and we are fully committed to investing in the platform and growing Triblio’s ABM business. Existing Liferay DXP customers will reap the benefits of this investment over time as we continue to help organizations build long-term relationships and deliver value to customers across their life-cycle.

Triblio will continue to operate as an independent entity led by CEO Andre Yee. Andre co-founded Triblio after serving as Senior Vice President of Product Development at marketing automation software provider Eloqua. Triblio is a leading ABM cloud provider with over 100 customers and triple digit annual year over year growth. The platform offers account-based advertising, web personalization, sales orchestration, account scoring and analytics, all powered by its unique AI-based purchase intent engine.

Andre Yee, CEO of Triblio, said

We are excited to receive Liferay’s investment. With their strategic commitment, we intend to extend our market reach and invest significantly in our customer success and product development teams.

Together, Liferay and Triblio are dedicated to bringing improved customer engagement and content targeting capabilities to enterprises. In addition, the two companies share a deep commitment to customer success and in giving back to the wider community.

About Liferay

Liferay makes software that helps companies create digital experiences on web, mobile and connected devices. Our platform is open source, which makes it more reliable, innovative and secure. Hundreds of organizations in financial services, healthcare, government, insurance, retail, manufacturing and multiple other industries use Liferay.

In what will no doubt be one of the most exciting developments to watch, home grown JetSetGo, that currently manages the largest fleet of private jets and helicopters in India announced its plans to bring the dream of flying cars and on demand urban air transport one step closer to reality starting nowhere else but right here in our own country.

Image Source – JetSetGo

Rather than piling dozens or hundreds of people into big jets that fly back and forth between crowded airports or spending countless hours stuck on city roads, the company announced plans to use its existing fleet to provide inter-city and intra-city air shuttle services in smaller jets and through vertical take-off and landing [VTOL] making full use of the third dimension to blast traffic jams into the past. With initial launch routes starting from September 17 between Mumbai and Bangalore along with helicopter shuttles within Mumbai connecting to surrounding industrial clusters like Tarapur and Vapi, the company wants to use learnings from these routes to further expand offerings across the country thereafter.

This comes close on the heels of Uber’s Elevate initiative and the 19+ companies that have drawn active investor interest globally from Larry Page’s Kitty Hawk to Airbus’s Vahana and Boeing’s bets on electric cargo and passenger aircraft to develop the new age flying machines of tomorrow which now increasingly appear closer to reality than people once believed.

Already enabling amongst the highest number of non-scheduled aircraft movements across the country, Kanika Tekriwal, CEO and Co-founder of JetSetGo believes solving the problem of technology that most companies are racing towards only solves one part of the problem. What is equal or arguably more important is having an enabling environment from a regulation standpoint, creating the right level of initial customer demand to bring these flying cars to market, understanding to bridge infrastructure gaps and complex operating dynamics till the world makes a full transition to the Jetsons world of flying cars are all equally important.

Sudheer Perla, her Cofounder added

Even if available, it likely will be some time before people and regulation warm up to ‘flying’  their own cars versus driving as one is used to now. So early adopters to bring flying cars to market are likely to be fit for purpose ride sharing platforms most possibly through a more asset heavy and a more regulated model. The challenges here are far greater than those faced by existing ride sharing platforms where it was all about an aggregation play.

Since we have already solved parts of the problem by aggregating private jets and helicopters the closest proxy at the moment to flying cars and operating and managing them, it now is all about trying to expand our on demand air charters to a much broader market segment in a cost effective, seamless and a sustainable manner. Since the first generation of electric aircraft are likely to carry no more than 4~5 passengers, much like a private jet, a point-to-point air shuttle service as a premium offering at the right price points for superior value is the first step towards building that new age platform and market appetite to usher in electric flying cars into our country over the coming years.

Only time will tell a Jetsons future will come to fruition, but for this proudly desi-made multiple award winning startup that has risen against many odds now making the movers and shakers of India move from any Point A to Point B in the fastest possible manner, they are bringing it one step closer to reality. Consumers interested in zooming through the third dimension can book a ride at SkyShuttle

Indian School of Business’s Thomas Schmidheiny Centre for Family Enterprise conducted a research study Family Businesses: Promoters’ Skin in the Game 2001~2017, which reveals the pattern of increasing stake of promoters in NSE and BSE listed family firms. The research study, conducted by Dr. Nupur Pavan Bang, Prof. Kavil Ramachandran and Anierudh Vishwanathan of the Thomas Schmidheiny Centre for Family Enterprise at ISB and Prof. Sougata Ray of IIM Calcutta, provides insights into the ownership pattern of family firms in comparison to the non-family firms and also explores the heterogeneity within family firms.

Image Source – Family Business

It is a first- of- its kind research study that presents and analyses the trends in equity ownership by various classes of shareholders for 4,615 firms listed on the National Stock Exchange [NSE] and the Bombay Stock Exchange [BSE] of India, across different ownership categories, for the period 2001~2017.

The research study attempted to give a bird’s eye view of the shareholding pattern of listed Indian firms. Dr Nupur Bang saied

We found that promoters of family firms have increased their stake in their companies over the last decade, while State owned Enterprises [SOEs], Other Business Group Firms [OBGFs] and Standalone Non-family Firms [NFs] have witnessed a decline in promoter shareholding. This reinforces the preeminent role of family-controlled businesses in India. It seems to imply that the engine of growth of Indian businesses will not be dependent on overseas or other promoter categories. Instead, promoters of family firms will continue to play a major role.

Professor Kavil Ramachandran, Executive Director, Thomas Schmidheiny Centre for Family Enterprise said

The ownership pattern of listed businesses in India is fairly concentrated, especially in the case of family firms, SOEs and MNCs. While this has significant positive effects, there is also a need to keep close vigil on their governance practices.

Key findings of the study

Rising Promoters’ stake – The research study finds that while the concentration of promoters’ shareholding is decreasing in non-family firms, it is increasing in the family firms.  By steadily increasing their shareholding in the firm, the promoters of family firms, both family business group firms [FBGFs] and standalone family firms [SFFs], were signaling their growing confidence in the potential of their company, thereby instilling confidence among the investors. Promoters of MNCs have also increased their stake in their Indian subsidiary, probably indicating their belief in the ‘India story’.

The promoter stake in State Owned Enterprises [SOEs] has been steadily falling over the past decade. This is in line with the policies of the successive governments in India to divest their holding in the SOEs. Other business group firms [OBGFs] and standalone non-family firms [NFs] have also witnessed a decrease in promoter shareholding.

Rising Trend of Holding Shares Through Companies – In FBGFs, the preferred mode to hold shares is through holding companies, while in SFFs the family members prefer to hold shares directly as individuals or Hindu Undivided Family [HUF]. In FBGFs, holding companies or trusts that hold shares of all companies on behalf of the family members enable better resource allocation, control, realisation of synergies and tax planning within all group level firms and better management of ownership, inheritance and payouts at the family level.

It also enables the family to professionalize each of the firm while the family maintains a bird’s eye view at the group level. SFFs are younger with less complex structures both at the family and the business front. As they grow the complexities of inheritance, succession and growth would force them too to adopt better structures of ownership.  Entry of the next generation into the business and more interest in the business by the extended family with better performance and increased scale would point towards a need to streamline ownership and be prepared for future structure, governance and professionalization needs of the firm. Therefore, we see a gradual increase in shareholding through companies even in the case of SFFs.

Declining Institutional Shareholding in Family Firms – Non-promoter institutional shareholding is lower in family firms when compared with non-family firms and it has decreased further between 2007 to 2017. As a block holder, institutional shareholders influence the governance and strategy of the firm; if they refrain from investing in family firms, the pursuit of governance will take longer. Institutional investment is inversely proportional to promoter’s shareholding, especially in the case of family firms, higher preference is given to the firm where family ownership is lower.

Non-family firms in general have strong formal internal control mechanisms to keep the personal interests of managers out of the company’s functioning. Consequently, the probability of a strong and independent corporate governance mechanism is greater for a non-family firm. Institutional investors have a strong preference for firms with good governance. Thus, we see higher institutional shareholding in NFs and OBGFs.

Reluctant Non-Institutional Shareholders – Except NFs, our study shows a decline in the shareholding of non-promoter non-institutional shareholders. It suggests that investors’ preferences might have further shifted to alternative asset classes like real estate, gold, and fixed deposits or they might be investing through institutional investors like the mutual funds. Most of the decline is due to small investors with upto than Rs. 1 Lakh worth of shares. These small investors have reduced their holdings across all ownership categories. This may be due to the lack of disposable income in the hands of small investors.

Also, such investors are typically the last-in in a bull market and end up buying at a very high price and selling cheap when the market starts to stumble. Repeated such experiences make them wary of the market. FBGFs and SFFs have fairly large non-institutional shareholdings, even though it’s been on a decline. On deep diving, we find that the average shareholding may be skewed due to outliers. In the case of family firms, more so in SFFs, we find a large number of firms that report a very large percentage of shares being held by non-promoter non-institutional shareholders. On checking the websites of some of these companies, it is clear that these are family owned and controlled firms.

Moreover, for many of them, the number of such investors remains constant quarter after quarter. That is a very unlikely scenario in the case of small investors and leaves a lot to speculation. In a few cases, we find that the names of shareholders disclosed by the company under the category of non-institutional shareholders with shares in excess of Rs. 1 lakh, have the same surname as the promoters or surnames from the same community. This calls for the regulator to closely scrutinize the shareholders in this category to ensure that the law is obeyed in spirit and not just in letter.

About The Thomas Schmidheiny Centre for Family Enterprise

The Thomas Schmidheiny Centre for Family Enterprise was launched on February 7, 2015 with an aim to advance real-world and academic knowledge of family business. Since its inception, the Centre has been bringing together faculty and practitioners from India and abroad with the broad aim of combining theory and practice to enhance research and innovation in the field. Family businesses make a major contribution towards wealth creation, job generation, and increasing competitiveness in countries around the world. As such, the unique challenges and opportunities faced by them are rapidly becoming an important subject of management research.

Cognizant of these developments, a Chair was set up in 2006 at ISB, which later developed into a full-fledged Centre. It has been generously funded with support from Thomas Schmidheiny, Founder and Chairman of Spectrum Value Management, Ltd, Switzerland. The Centre has forged several collaborations with academic institutions and professional organizations at both the national as well as international level. These engagements have helped the Centre to contribute significantly to the growing body of research on various aspects of family business.

Lenovo and Intel have announced a partnership with Paytm Mall, owned by Paytm Ecommerce Pvt Ltd. With a collective aim to reach out to 10 million Small and Medium Businesses [SMBs] by 2020, under this partnership, Paytm Mall will host a unique Lenovo brand store on its platform to drive discovery and instant purchases of the SMB range of laptops.

Image Source – PayTm Mall

The brand store will enable the customers to make instant purchases and avail exciting cashback offers. The consumers will have the advantage of a large assortment of readily available products under one umbrella, fast delivery and protection against in-transit damages. This collaboration will provide a seamless shopping experience with added online benefits for the consumer. The SMB customers can obtain a GST invoice which will help them claim input tax as well. Apart from this, there will option to purchase laptops on interest free EMIs. The platform is also offering low-cost extended warranty and lucrative purchase offers to SMBs.

Ashish Sikka, Head of SMB, Lenovo India said

SMBs are at the forefront of driving economic growth of the nation.  While SMBs are driving tremendous innovation, they still face challenges when it comes to adoption of the right IT infrastructure to gain operational efficiencies. With this association, we look forward to empower our customers with the right range of products and services which enhance their buying experience and improve productivity. This partnership also enables our partners and provides them with Paytm’s wide digital network leading to a superior quality shopping experience for our consumers.

Amit Sinha, COO – Paytm Mall said

We have announced the availability of SMB-focused notebooks on our platform in partnership with Lenovo and Intel. This partnership will enable the SME community to get the widest range of products, doorstep delivery and exciting offers all in one place.

Rahul Malhotra, Director – Retail, Intel India said

This initiative is in line with Intel India’s effort to engage with growing business to establish the relevance of technology in general, and PCs in specific. Lenovo’s Intel technology powered devices, combined with Paytm’s significant reach, will enable the 11 million plus SMBs in India to not only become more efficient, but also to explore newer business opportunities.

SMBs can choose from a broad portfolio of products that include Intel’s 8th gen powered E series, V330, ThinkPad T series, X series and the convertible range of the Yoga series. The price of products will range between Rs. 39,900 ~ Rs. 89, 692, depending on the configuration.

Subscription box services are a huge trend in e-commerce. Whether the contents are carefully selected by the customer [Blue Apron, Dollar Shave Club] or come in the form of a mystery box [Ipsy, Bark Box], people love this business model.

Image Source – Subscription Box Business

Buyers love the personalized surprise every month, while sellers love the predictable income due to recurring fees. It’s also satisfying to source specialty items and cater to a specific niche of discerning customers.

Why It’s a Blockbuster Idea to Start a Subscription Service

The subscription e-commerce market has jumped 100 percent annually for the past five years. According to a recent Forbes article, e-commerce subscribers are in the sweet 25 to 44-year-old demographic and bring home $50,000 to $100,000 a year. Although many current subscribers live in urban environments of the northeastern U.S., the market is growing exponentially. In fact, about 15 percent of online shoppers have one or more subscriptions to get products via monthly box services.

Women make up 60 percent of subscribers, but men are the ones most likely to have at least three active subscriptions to avoid trips to the store. Let’s look at the types of box services currently available in the market.

Three Types of Subscription Box Services

The different box types appeal to the core reasons people love getting them. Some subscribers want a monthly surprise, while others want to pick out each item for an uber-customized package.

  1. Build-A-Box – Customers choose each item from a list. Food and meal plan businesses often work off this model to provide variety and flexibility to clients.
  2. Mystery Box – Subscribers don’t know what they’ll get each month. The box includes regularly available merchandise as well as limited edition products. It provides a rewarding customer experience that increases profits and moves inventory quickly.
  3. Membership Model – This subscription resembles a Costco membership for a monthly fee. It grants access and purchase ability at the store. Membership models build customer loyalty and up-sell capabilities.

How to Build a Subscription Box Business in Eight Steps

Let’s look at each stage of building a subscription box business.

  1. Start with a great idea – Think of products and services that would appeal to a specific market. Common themes are makeup, fitness, or food. When figuring out your niche, get as specific as you can. For example, the categories above can be segmented further into glamour makeup, martial arts equipment, and workout snacks.
  2. Research potential customers – The more honed-in each box is, the easier it is to sell to a specific group of customers. This lets you optimize retention and customer experience.
  3. Develop a prototype box – Try out prototypes in sample markets to get feedback on each component. The idea is to develop a product your target customer will be delighted to receive every month.
  4. Pre-launch by building a community that can get the word out – Use online content, contests, and other strategies to generate buzz and collect email addresses.
  5. Pre-sales phase – This is where you convert test markets and leads to your first paying subscribers.
  6. Show me the money – Presales revenue lets you build and ship the first month’s boxes.
  7. Build – Grow your target demographic to achieve predictable monthly revenue. Use smart tools to manage your inventory and figure out the right quantities to buy. There are free economic order quantity [EOQ] calculators online that can help.
  8. Encourage word of mouth, shares and referrals. If your product is great, people will come back, but it’s equally important to get new customers in the early stages.

Two Manufacturing and Supplier Tips

The production of items for your boxes is a major consideration. Will you outsource this or handle it in-house?

  1. Negotiate – One of the most difficult things to negotiate is what percentage of the subscriber fee the supplier gets. Consider a per unit, per click, or per minute model that’s appropriate for your industry.
  2. Do it yourself – In the subscription business model, the more you can do yourself, the better. In-house sourcing is streamlined and gives an entrepreneur more control over quality and productivity. It comes down to cost and efficiency, but if you have the wherewithal to do so, this is the preferred sourcing.

Two Important Lessons from Successful Subscription Businesses

  1. Price it right – Establishing a price point involves how much you offer and how often, which lets you predict costs. it takes some research to stay competitive and set a realistic margin expectation based on the local market.
  2. Focus on both growth and retention – Customer retention is vital once you establish a steady subscriber base. Business owners must watch competitors and gather feedback from current subscribers. Product development and services should embrace new technology to enhances both the brand image and bottom line. Take Netflix for example. The subscription-based business constantly adapts to ensure growth.

Conclusion

Ultimately, you need to convince your customers that your products or services are worth paying a monthly charge. The way to do this involves maintaining the speed, quality and customer service your subscribers deserve. Then, it’s a no-brainer, and you’re on your way to becoming a sought-after brand with no problem turning a one-time interaction into a continuing relationship.

References1, 2, 3, 4 & 5

About the Author

Laura Gayle is a full-time blogger at BussinessWomanGuide. She regularly writes on business, entrepreneurship, & e-commerce. You can contact Laura here.

The Cross-Tab Group which includes the companies Blueocean Market Intelligence, Cross-Tab, and Borderless Access, had a major restructuring with two of its three companies, Blueocean Market Intelligence and Cross-Tab, merged to form a powerful new entity, Course5.

Image Source – Course5

The new company combines the deep expertise and resources of both companies across data analytics, artificial intelligence, and market research domains, to create huge synergies for innovation, business-focused solutions, and operations. The third company of the Cross-Tab Group, Borderless Access, is de-merged and will operate as an independent entity.

Course5 will drive digital transformation for business organizations through Analytics, Insights, and Artificial Intelligence. The company will unveil its advanced new suite of solutions and services that can empower companies with future ready analytics, AI driven solutions, and faster insights for decision making. Across market intelligence, digital analytics, market research transformation, and Artificial Intelligence, Course5 is building solutions that are taking organizations to a smarter future. The company serves leading global clients including Microsoft, Lenovo, Colgate Palmolive, WPP Group, and Adelphi.

Ashwin Mittal, CEO, Cross-Tab group said on this occasion

The opportunities ahead of us are massive – the business world is drowning in oceans of data, information, and technology. Through smart solutions and our proprietary AI technology, we are bringing in a new paradigm of decision making to assist our clients in preparing for a new digital future.

Our name reflects our mission – we are going to enable our customers to chart a course beyond the four points of the compass, North, South, East, and West to the fifth direction which is the future. The industries of data, analytics, and market research are going to be completely disrupted through the AI wave and will emerge as more powerful partners to businesses worldwide.

One of the exciting new products deployed for clients is called Course5 Discovery. Course5 Discovery empowers decision makers to get answers and insights near instantly with great ease through a personalized Voice & Chat Assistant available on their smartphones and tablets. These interactive assistants, powered by advanced Natural Language Processing [NLP] and deep learning capabilities would smartly discover the insights by identifying relevant data and performing analytics modelling in a matter of seconds and communicate them in a natural conversational manner to the business user.

About Course5 Intelligence

Course5 Intelligence enables organizations to make the most effective strategic and tactical moves relating to their customers, markets, and competition at the rapid pace that the digital business world demands. They do this by driving digital transformation through analytics, insights, and Artificial Intelligence [AI].

The sudden exit of Martin Sorrell from WPP is quit a news. He worked for the world’s largest advertising company. Now the challenge lies with the board to search for a solution after Martin Sorrell resigns from WPP

Image Source – WPP

Martin Sorrell was responsible for making the company from a wire shopping basket manufacturer to a company that has more than 2 Lakh employees. No doubt the man is irreplaceable, and the new CEO will have to review the WPP’s strategy. The company was already facing struggle of declining ad spending, consultant’s competition in digital work, and the web giants risk of eliminating the middle men. The new CEO will also have to arrange the assets across the holding company which is one of the toughest jobs considering the current fragmented federation of businesses.

It was revealed that a probe had happened by the company, where the CEO was accused of being involved in the offences like personal misconduct and misuse of company assets. Just 2 weeks after the probe, Sorrel had resigned. The board was all set to declare the findings. Though he refutes all the blames, but as per WPP, the enquiry was complete. The company refused to share more details.

The new executive chairman till the new CEO comes is Chairman Roberto Quarta. The joint chief operating officers squad includes the highly accomplished names of Mark Read, the head of WPP agency Wunderman and Andrew Scott, WPP’s corporate development director. Their job will be to lead the business, develop strategy and optimize its portfolio.

The company had no issues with Sorrell’s fat paycheck till he performed. He is said to have earned more than 200 million pounds in the last five years of his service to the company. He was enjoying performance-related bonus package. But later the board observed that Sorrell was not performing the way he did. The shares lost a third of their value as compared to the past year, which was ahead if we observe the rival figures.

As per the business news, the data management unit of WPP Kantar has been going negative. Its revenue growth has underachieved the group average. It can be sold for as much as 3.5 billion pounds or $5 billion if they plan to decrease the debt. Also, in case the return cash is planned to be given to the shareholders, the same can be sold.

The WPP chief was quite a name in the ad industry who had also got knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II. Britain’s longest-serving CEOs in the recent times, who made regular public presence and talked about issues like Brexit and Donald Trump’s trade wars and the rise of Facebook Inc. and Google etc., got involved in the aggressive controversy enjoying a fat remuneration especially when the company wasn’t doing so well financially.

Martin shared that the current disruption was causing too much unwanted pressure on the business. He also said that in the interest of the company and clients, it was “best for me to step aside”. He also pointed out that WPP has faced difficult storms in the past.

The ICICI bank Videocon Loan controversy is much talked about recently. One of the burning and the most discussed topics shared its screen space in almost all the news channels and print media. As the latest business news highlights, the case was under CBI that went on to interrogate the ICICI Bank’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Chanda Kochhar’s brother-in-law, Rajiv Kochhar too. He was asked to explain his role in the bank’s loan transaction to Videocon. The bank has reportedly given a loan of a massive Rs 3,250 crore to Videocon Group in the year 2012.

Image Source – ICICI

The time is going tough for the ICICI Bank. Chanda Kochhar is accused of having personal interest and making gains in loans worth Rs 3,250 crore which was given to the Videocon Industries. The CBI is busy finding the necessary documents of the transactions to identify any wrongdoing. An ICICI Bank shareholder, Arvind Gupta, had written to the PMO and FM about the Kochhar’s wrongful gains from the Videocon loans. ICICI Bank was part of a total loan ofRs 40,000 crore extended to Videocon by a consortium of 20 banks. As per his letter, Deepak Kochhar was benefitted from this as his company NuPower Renewables was set up as a JV between the Kochhars and Dhoots, who are actually the members of the Videocon Group. Chanda Kochhar is accused of benefiting and favoring her husband.

The prime accused, Rajiv Kochhar, marked his presence at the Mumbai office of CBI. The news say that he was asked to detail about the loan and his connection with the promoter of the Videocon Group – Venugopal Dhoot, and also with the company itself. The sources also say that he was detained at the Mumbai airport recently when he was trying to fly to South East Asian country. He was detained as per the look out circular which was published by the bureau. He was interrogated at the airport itself and at the CBI office too.

The central bureau of investigation or CBI has filed for a preliminary enquiryin the name of Venugopal Dhoot, the Videocon Group promoter and Deepak Kochhar. This is probably the first stage of the interrogation by the CBI as they wish to collect some more data regarding the accusations. After the enquiry, if the CBI is confident that there lies some prima facie material in this regard, it may file a regular case in the name of the accused.

Dhoot’s connection with NuPower Renewables, which is a company founded by Deepak Kochhar, Chanda Kochhar’s husband and Rajiv Kochar’s brother, was questioned. But, ICICI Bank board is in full support of Chanda Kochhar. The bank says that they will stand by her as the bank has complete trust and confidence in her. The bank went on to say that the reports of the credit disbursement to Videocon Group that are against her are nothing more than the malicious and unfounded rumors.

As per the private sector lender, when CBI examined the bank’s internal procedures of the credit approval, they were found hearty. It also clarified that the bank’s current exposure was syndicated consortium arrangement. Another thing that was clarified was that no investors of NuPower Renewables were the borrowers of the Bank.