RailYatri.in, a train travel marketplace, has launched milk delivery service for train travellers. For the first time in India, warm milk will be delivered in specially designed spill-proof thermo packages. The milk for babies can easily be ordered through the RailYatri app and delivered at the designated stations.

RailYatri.in analysis found that in more than 80% instances, trains are not prepared to serve baby food or milk to passengers. Long delays and uncertainties that often mark train travel add to this persistent problem leaving travelling parents in a big fix.

Manish Rathi, CEO and co-founder, RailYatri.in said

Train travel can have some severe hurdles when you are travelling with an infant. Our effort is to make sure no mother goes through the agony of seeing her hungry baby cry. Keeping such emergencies in mind, we will now deliver warm milk for babies in hygienic, spill-proof packages. We already serve great meals for the entire  family, so why should the little ones’ need be unattended.

Parents usually carry their baby’s food and milk along. However, in case of unforeseen situations like long train delays or if someone forgets to carry baby food, you now do not have to worry about milk for your child. We have taken special care to deliver milk in the best condition, with emphasis on hygiene and quality packaging.

Mrs. Gayatri Chaudhary, a passenger travelling from Old Delhi to Gorakhpur in the Avadh Assam Express once shared her unfortunate experience

As a customary practice I had packed baby’s milk and food in adequate quantity for the journey. It was all fine, before the train reached Hardoi. The train was stranded in the middle of nowhere and all we learnt was that there was a massive signalling problem ahead and we were stranded for over 9 hours. My husband sought help from the train’s pantry, but they too did not have excess milk. So, he kept disembarking at every stop in search of any baby food. After many failed attempts, he found some milk from a station side tea stall. All this while, I was going through the agony of trying to console my hungry 10 month old daughter. I would never forget that feeling of helplessness!

Ordering milk is a just few taps away and can be done through the RailYatri app anytime, anywhere. And once you order, milk will be delivered right at your berth without you bothering about getting off the station and collecting it.

With multiple payment options, you can also order milk for your near and dear ones who are travelling without you. Getting warm milk for your child on your train travel is a step forward towards simplifying train journeys for each passenger, and this has been RailYatri’s constant endeavour.

About RailYatri.in

The brainchild of seasoned experts from IITs and IIM-Kapil Raizada, Sachin Saxena & Manish Rathi with over 20 years of engineering experience-RailYatri is changing the ecosystem of train travel in India.intelligent travel provides the most comprehensive information on trains, passenger amenities at stations, platform information, speed of the train, personalized alerts, and much more via the mobile apps, mobile web and SMS.For more information, please visit RailYatri

There was an era of MS-DOS [Microsoft Disk Operating System] in the 80’s & 90’s when our computer systems used to have around 512 MB of RAM. In fact, this was considered as a very high end configuration during those times! However, with the advent of time the OS was replaced with operating systems that offered rich GUI’s with support of CLI [Command Line Interface]. Fast forward now, we have so many operating systems for PC’s i.e. Windows, Linux [with various distributions], MAC, etc. Not only has the demand of an average user changed but there has been a gradual shift in the expectations of the developers.

Important applications like Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc. that are used by millions of users are now accessible without local installation of those softwares. This is all possible due to the advent of Cloud Computing that has been a buzzword for quite a few years! Thanks to cloud computing, companies can now focus on core business instead of spending time & effort on costly server infrastructure.

In a nutshell, there has been a gradual shift to ‘Pay Per Use‘ or ‘What You Use Is What You Pay‘ economy. Cloud computing eliminates the expense required for buying quality hardware, reduces overall cost, guarantees better reliability and performance [depending on the maximum up-time mentioned by the cloud service provider].

According to the latest data by Synergy Research Group, Amazon Web Services [AWS] continues to remain the market leader followed by the likes of Microsoft, IBM, Google, etc. [Source]. Though AWS from Amazon is considered the ‘Big Daddy’ of the game, smaller [and rising] players like DigitalOcean are upping their game by following a very different strategy [that does not directly confront with Amazon].

DigitalOcean : Overview

DigitalOcean is a cloud infrastructure provider founded in 2011 and headquartered in New York with data centers worldwide. The company is founded by Ben and Moisey Uretsky who earlier founded ServerStack, a managed hosting business and while surveying the cloud hosting market, they realized that most of the hosting companies were serving the enterprise market leaving a void that needed to be filled!

Unlike AWS that targets variety of customers, products from DigitalOcean cater to solving developer needs. DigitalOcean became one of the fastest growing cloud-hosting companies offering SSD virtual machines [Source]

They have data centers located in 12 countries around the world with one server located in Bangalore which is a huge boon to the growing startup [and developer] community in the city!

DigitalOcean – Data Center locations

DigitalOcean : Droplets, Pricing and more

The Virtual Private Servers [VPS] are termed as Droplets and each droplet that you create is considered as a new VPS. For the review, we created a VPS/droplet with 20 GB space, 512 MB RAM and running Ubuntu 16.04. The installation process was very simple and it took us couple of minutes to setup the droplet.

Droplet Installation – To create a droplet, you need to login to the Digital Control Panel. On successful login you need to click on the ‘Create Droplet’ button. You would be prompted with the available linux distros that you can use to create your first droplet.

Once you have zeroed in on the distro, you need to select the right storage option that suits your requirements. There are variety of options available as shown below:

The plans are very flexible and you can change the Droplet’s plan based on your future requirements. If you are a newbie who is testing the waters of cloud computing, then you can opt for the least expensive plan that offers 512MB of RAM with single core & 20GB of SSD storage. As seen above DigitalOcean offers a very different pricing model, something that even looks very lucrative to developers!

The next step in setting up the droplet is very crucial as it can have a major impact on the performance (and reduce latency). In this step, you select your nearest data-center region. For our test, we selected Bangalore as the preferred location 🙂 Amazon that offers AWS has a server in Mumbai that offers Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), and Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) [Source] but they do not have a server in Bangalore!

Once the Droplet region is selected, you would be prompted with additional options like setting up backups, IPV6 enabling, etc. You can name your droplet for easy identification purpose and also set up an SSH key. You can now breath a sigh of relief for completing the ‘simple’ task of setting up your droplet.

We could setup the droplet in a couple of minutes, thanks to the awesome UX of DigitalOcean that made the task look very simple.

Pricing – As stated earlier, pricing offered by DigitalOcean caters to a range of customers (particularly developers). Pricing starts at USD 5 per month and goes all the way upto USD 640 per month where you get 640 GB SSD storage! On Amazon’s EC2 platform, the closest equivalent [of the most popular droplet that offers 30GB SSD disk, 2TB transfer] is a t2.small instance which starts at USD 0.026 per hour, almost double the cost of a DigitalOcean droplet [Source].

Effective Pricing, high performance machines, simplicity and developer focused approach are the pillars of strength for DigitalOcean.

DigitalOcean – Vibrant Community

DigitalOcean has a very vibrant Community where you can find a host of tutorials that cater to a range of topics centered around DigitalOcean. They also have an active YouTube channel and a very active topic on Quora (Moisey Uretsky, Cofounder at DigitalOcean being one of the active contributors of that topic! You can follow their official blog here

DigitalOcean – Backups, Performance and more

Backups can be enabled for the droplets with just 1 USD per month. As per this particular thread on Quora

Backups on DigitalOcean are strangely infrequent-which could worry you depending on how your backup plan is. Right now they do it once every 3 days, which is fine for my personal blog, but not for any applications I work on. Amazon requires a laborious setup to do backups that isn’t as straight forward as “click here to buy backups”.

In this case I have been using both. A DigitalOcean Droplet with daily backups to S3 and Glacier. This in my circumstances has been offering the best combination of offerings for small-midscale projects.

From a performance/value perspective, DigitalOcean follows a bulk pricing model. For customers who need higher RAM, they don’t necessarily have to upgrade to a larger sized Droplet. They could merely choose from DigitalOcean’s High memory plans which provide larger amounts of RAM and which would be relevant for use cases such as running databases, in-memory caches, etc. For more information on the plans, please visit  High memory Droplet pricing.  For customers who need more storage than what is available by default in a Droplet, they could use DigitalOcean’s Block Storage offering which provides highly available SSD based storage without having to scale the number of cores. The block storage volumes can be attached to their existing Droplets, and the pricing starts at just $0.10/GB per month. For more information on the plans, please visit  SSD Block Storage pricing.

From a developer’s point of view, debugging [apart from development] is a very crucial phase in the life cycle of a product 🙂 DigitalOcean has an exhaustive Developers Section where you can find the API documentation and insights into how to use those Tools. A sample snapshot of the CPU load on the droplet that we installed is below:

DigitalOcean – Offerings for Indian Startups

In India, DigitalOcean has partnered with several top-tier accelerators, incubators and VCs based in India to support the startups from their portfolio with infrastructure credit.

DigitalOcean – Conclusion

DigitalOcean is not a direct competitor to the behemoths e.g. Amazon, Azure, Salesforce, etc. of the Cloud Computing since it addresses the needs of a very specific market – The Developer Community. With One click app support, developer can even skip the installation as well as configuration and get started with the deployment of code using any one of the pre-built images supporting various languages. A snapshot of their 2016 achievements below

Image Source : DigitalOcean Blog – What’s Shipping next

If you are a developer looking for affordable linux servers that support only a few well-known tools, than DigitalOcean could be an ideal match. Unlike AWS, Azure, etc. that provide Infrastructure-as-a-service [IaaS], Platform as a service [PaaS] & Software as a service [SaaS]; DigitalOcean provides reliable as well as affordable IaaS platform for developers!

If you are an existing customer of DigitalOcean, please leave your feedback in the comments section…

CleverTap, the leading platform for behavioural analytics and user engagement has announced the expansion of its leadership team with the appointment of Almitra Karnik as Head of Marketing & Global Growth. Almitra will oversee growth across CleverTap’s global markets, actively managing brand strategy, digital, content and partner marketing along with public and analyst relations efforts.

Almitra is a prominent member of the Silicon Valley startup community, having led product marketing at Twilio, and most recently building out Splunk’s global brand recognition. She brings experience in cross-market growth development, having also served as marketing manager for Fortune 500 companies like Cisco Systems and EMC Corporation.

Sunil Thomas, CEO of CleverTap said

We are at a very exciting phase in the CleverTap journey, with the potential for massive growth in the upcoming year. The app economy is extremely competitive today. With our rapid engineering innovations, we are positioned to become the go-to solution for mobile app engagement and analytics. We’re thrilled to have Almitra on board to lead our global marketing efforts.

Almitra Karnik added

I strongly believe user analytics and customer engagement should be the cornerstone of every user life-cycle strategy. The CleverTap platform recognises this market need and gives customers the best of both worlds as a single cohesive solution.  I am really excited to be on-board and look forward to driving our global growth strategy.

CleverTap plans to continue to expand globally, building off of its existing client presence in North and South America, Asia and Europe. With Almitra at the helm of its marketing efforts, the company is poised to continue its winning streak in 2017 and beyond.

About CleverTap

CleverTap is the next generation mobile engagement platform. It enables marketers to identify, engage and retain users and provides developers with unprecedented code-level access to build dynamic app experiences for user groups. CleverTap includes out-of-the-box prescriptive campaigns, omni-channel messaging, un-install data and the industry’s largest free messaging tier. To learn more about CleverTap please visit clevertap.com

Snapdeal, India’s largest online marketplace reported that the deployment of its in-house hybrid cloud solution Snapdeal Cirrus, has led to a massive impact on cost and business optimization – the headline being a whopping 75% drop in its monthly infrastructure costs.

Snapdeal Cirrus is built entirely using open source platforms like Openstack with a home grown layer of infrastructure-as-code built on top of it, making it not just an industry-first in India, but also one of the largest deployments of a hybrid cloud anywhere in the world.

Since its launch in last September, Snapdeal has migrated over 300 micro-services and 200 data-stores onto Cirrus, without any downtime required. During this massive live migration, it built the capabilities to orchestrate any micro-service at will on their own private cloud or any of the public clouds like AWS, Azure or Google Cloud Platform.

Rajiv Mangla, Chief Technology Officer, Snapdeal said

Since the launch of Snapdeal Cirrus our monthly burn on public cloud has been cut down to one-fourth. When we decided to build a hybrid solution, our infrastructure needs were growing exponentially and in a short span of 10 months we have built an extremely reliable and scalable platform, with a small but extremely talented team.

The addition of Snapdeal Cirrus to Snapdeal’s innovative technology platform, has led to massive cost savings, but has also lead to exponential performance gains across its applications, providing a consistently more reliable and frictionless experience to customers across India.

About Snapdeal

Snapdeal’s vision is to create India’s most reliable and frictionless commerce ecosystem that creates life-changing experiences for buyers and sellers. In February 2010, Kunal Bahl along with Rohit Bansal, started Snapdeal. Today Snapdeal is India’s largest online marketplace, with the widest assortment of 50 million plus products across 800 plus diverse categories from over 125,000 regional, national, and international brands and retailers. In its journey till now, Snapdeal has partnered with several global marquee investors and individuals such as SoftBank, BlackRock, Temasek, Foxconn, Alibaba, eBay Inc., Premji Invest, Intel Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, Mr. Ratan Tata, among others. For further information, please visit Snapdeal

MoneyTap, India’s first app-based credit line have announced the launch of ZeroPaper technology, which enables 100% paperless processing of its customer applications.

The MoneyTap and RBL Bank ZeroPaper technology introduces the new e-Sign feature, which eliminates the use of paper for various steps in the customer application and overall credit underwriting process. Eligible customers can download the MoneyTap app to apply and avail their line of credit without ever submitting a single piece of paper or meeting an RBL Bank representative. They can digitally sign relevant documents via an Aadhaar-based e-Sign that is fast, secure & simple.

While a few banks have optimized some parts of their credit application processes, they retain paper KYC formalities with the requirement of wet signatures for loan applications. Coordinating a visit to the customer’s house or office is not only expensive for banks but also one of the biggest sources of hassle and delay in processing the application. Now, customers can comfortably complete the whole process on the app at any time including paperless KYC.

This enables them to go from start to finish in the same day (instead of days or weeks), as compared to manual forms where there are hassles of collection, submission and verification of applicant data. With the help of Aadhaar, ZeroPaper also reduces the chances of fraudsters, which helps to keep a check on counterfeit documents, forged ink signatures and fake identity papers.

Going paperless also means empowering financial institutions with ZeroPaper technology that enables them to drastically cut operating costs. In addition to the app, MoneyTap’s technology includes a cloud-based back-end platform that is 100% compliant with Aadhaar and Bank security regulations while facilitating an efficient, fast and completely paperless processing of customer applications.

ZeroPaper facility is available to all eligible customers of MoneyTap who have their mobile numbers updated on Aadhaar. The MoneyTap app is available on Android Playstore to all salaried employees, living in Pune, Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Gandhinagar, Anand, Bharuch, Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai. The company is planning to expand to other cities as well in the next few months. There are no extra charges for ZeroPaper.

Kunal Varma, Co-founder, MoneyTap said

This is a huge moment for financial services in India and we are totally excited to be the first to launch ZeroPaper along with the RBL Bank. This will result in a delightful and unparalleled experience for MoneyTap customers that is not yet offered elsewhere in the industry.

Harjeet Toor, Business Head-Microbanking, Cards, Retail and MSME Lending, RBL Bank said

RBL Bank is delighted to collaborate with MoneyTap to bring ZeroPaper into the banking arena, as it makes processes faster and smoother. It will result in significant operational efficiencies and cost savings. More importantly, it will provide customers with a secure and superior banking experience.

Pramod Varma, Chief Architect, Aadhaar said

We firmly believe that in a country with more than 1 billion people on Aadhaar, 220 million SmartPhones and 254 million Jan Dhan Accounts, improvisation in paperless banking and particularly consumer lending is essential to create truly inclusive systems.  MoneyTap’s ZeroPaper can change the way customers access credit in India and make technology ubiquitous with banking.

About MoneyTap

MoneyTap is a Bengaluru-based fintech startup, founded by serial entrepreneurs Bala Parthasarathy, Anuj Kacker & Kunal Varma, who are IIT/ISB alumni. Bala has co-founded multiple startups in Silicon Valley including Snapfish (sold to Hewlett Packard), which he helped grow to 100M users and $300M in revenue. After moving to India in 2007, he volunteered for UIDAI under Mr. Nandan Nilekani before starting AngelPrime in 2011 (now Prime Venture Partners) where he helped create companies like ZipDial (sold to Twitter), EZETap, Happay, etc. Kunal (ex Texas Instruments) & Anuj (ex Airtel & JWT) co-founded Tapstart that grew to 300K users and turned profitable in 2 years. MoneyTap works in very close partnerships with various banks and other financial institutions to make the process painless and on-app. For more details, please visit MoneyTap