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Interview with Syed Imran A Successful Young Leader Who Helps Professionals to Achieve their Goal

posted Apr 26, 2017, 11:26 PM by Startup Simba   [ updated Apr 26, 2017, 11:27 PM ]

Successful leaders are those who have the vision and appropriate strategies for the business. Once they set a goal in life, with full dedication and hard working pays them to achieve the goal.

Syed Imran, CEO and one of the co-founder of Sprintzeal Pvt Ltd. He is a die-hard entrepreneur at heart who helps professionals to get certified in different certification courses provided by the Sprintzeal.

We are grateful for his valuable time as he shared his success to inspire other young leaders around the world. 

Startup Simba: What has made you so successful as an entrepreneur?   

Imran: For me instructing helped a lot, I learn from everybody and I am still learning. I always seek help and interact with a person that helps me to know what good and bad is happening.

SS: Can you tell me about your company?

Imran: Yes sure, Sprintzeal is mainly a Training company which offers a wide range of service in training, learning, and development in the field of technology and management. It provides different training to professionals according to their fields like PMP, Six Sigma, ITIL, CSM etc. Other than Bangalore we have also a branch in Las Vegas, USA.

SS: How important have good employees been to your success?

Imran: Good employees play a vital part in your company growth. You should always motivate them daily, provide a better working environment and give them training accordingly. This will help them to give you the best result what you are expecting from them. 

SS: Where do you see your organization in upcoming years?

Imran: As all of you know that, day by day number of startups is emerging and imparting challenges in the market. My aim is to find a position for my company where my whole team develops a unique way to grow the business and attain the customers.

SS: What advice would you give to the new comers who want to start a business?

Imran: Listen to your heart…Dream! If you want to start your own, first you have to proper plan on what to do, when to do, how to do. Take suggestion and research on them then at last implement it in a proper way. Just go out and do that and fulfill your dreams.

SS: If our readers want to connect with you how can they?

Imran: Just they can mail us at info@sprintzeal.com

Can follow us on social media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Sprintzeal

Twitter: @sprintzeal

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/sprintzeal

Website 

Interview with Manoj Tulsani, CEO of Rayna Tours and Travels

posted Apr 16, 2017, 11:48 PM by Startup Simba   [ updated Apr 24, 2017, 12:27 AM ]


Read our interview with Manoj Tulsani, the CEO of Rayna Tours and Travels, a destination management company providing a well curated online space for all types of travel services.

Please give us a rundown of yourself and your venture? 

I am the CEO of Rayna Tours and Travels, one of the most successful travel management companies in the UAE. Rayna Tours was established in 2006 by Kamlesh Ramchandani and myself, with our common passion for travel and adventure. Despite coming from different industries and facing ongoing challenges, we didn’t have any speculation that Rayna Tours will be a dynamic venture, quite sure to grip us for years to come. 

Starting off as a mere travel boutique at Dubai’s Flora Grand Hotel, our intuitions didn’t go wrong; Rayna Tours has now become one of the finest travel solution providers in both B2C and B2B verticals, thanks to its ever-expanding collection of products and services encompassing global visa packages, hotel reservation, customizable holiday packages, and popular touristic activities such as city tours, cruises, desert safaris, transfers, show tickets etc. 

Our main office is in Dubai and we have branches and outlets all over the UAE. Apart from a strong base in India, we have a steadily emerging presence in many Southeast Asian and European destinations like Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Turkey.

So you told you came from different industry. What really urged you to change the route to an entirely new industry? 

At the peak of my career as the Marketing Head, I walked away from the fast-paced job in trading and decided to set up something excitingly new and never heard of. My love for travel and passion to connect with more people led me to analyze the prospects of the travel business, which then lacked the presence of a strong specialist offering the convenience of booking hotel accommodation, tours and activities all under one roof. Pretty quickly, we took this haphazard as an opportunity to walk through and open Rayna Tours in order to help visitors to Dubai with comprehensive travel services. 

Can you tell us what make Rayna Tours different from its competitors? 

First of all, our business model is very unique and well-synchronized. Contrary to most related companies that rely on a third party infrastructure, majority of our services ditch the presence of an intermediate. This allows us to provide our guests with high-end solutions accompanied by best in the industry rates. Our constant commitment to improvement is another significant facet that helps us to remain ahead of the competition. Be it offline or online, we implement the latest techniques and most innovative approaches to ensure the exceptional quality of our service packages. Finally, we have an enthusiastic network of experts, who are available on 24/7 basis, to ensure top-notch standards in customer service. 

What have been the major challenges in your business journey? How did you overcome them and identify your niche? 

While starting this venture was quite an easy decision, running it without a viable business plan or proper financial support was extremely tough. But with every problem, we have managed to craft better strategies by realigning our business procedures or via introducing value added products and services. Besides giving us the impetus to gain a strong toehold in the fiercely competitive market, this can-tackle-it attitude has effectively paved way for our business’ ongoing growth and success, thus turning challenges to opportunities and subsequently to our strengths. 

What are your future goals? 

As we continue to grow and expand across major travel markets, our main goal is to keep innovating and globalize our massive portfolio of offerings and operations.

Website

 

Camabeds Furnitures-A Startup From Minimum Inputs To Maximum Benefits

posted Feb 28, 2017, 10:10 PM by Startup Simba   [ updated Feb 28, 2017, 10:11 PM ]

The demand for certain products is or would be far higher than the ability to deliver the products.  The furniture industry is one such example of such a scenario.  The market is mostly unorganized and lacks variety, quality and supply strength.  Keeping all this in mind Camabeds a part of Natasian Corporation Pvt Ltd was founded in 2013 by 2 businessmen from Spain Fernando Villuendas and Antonio Fernandez. They came to India driven by country’s enormous economic growth and demand for high quality services and products. Both of them are engaged in various ventures in both the continents like solar energy, trade and even laundry and dry cleaning. Along with Kamil Pawlowicz, who is the brand’s CEO, they created Camabeds as a result of the company's mission of making it easy to buy great value products everywhere in India. 

Their aim was simple- to create furniture solutions of modern, European designs which would have high usability and low price.  Also in order to make the model work, they had to manufacture them fast and deliver it anywhere in India.

The idea and market

Like every business startup, Camabeds faced a lot of obstacles on their way to success. Since the idea was pretty new in India, they decided to import certain models from Spain, where their company has a HQ. They ran tests in the online marketplace to check whether the products will sell and what would be the client’s opinion. The products sold well, however they quickly learnt that their beds’ height was not what customers in India expected and they were faced with certain number of returns. This gave them a brainwave- there was demand, but they needed to learn more about the market and adjust the products accordingly.

In the first stage, they decided to start with production in Kolkata, where their Indian HQ is located, however that complicated the logistics. Because of distance from main markets like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore the transportation costs were higher than expected, therefore they shifted their production unit to Pune, which is more centralized and hence they could serve their clients faster. 

Revenue model

A big share of the revenue comes from online sales from their own e-commerce platform www.camabeds.com and through partners like Amazon, Flipkart or Snapdeal. Online sales was their first priority as it was relatively new and growing fast when they started the business and this gave them the ability to reach out to  a great number of clients effortlessly. Currently they have dealers of their products in most major cities. 

Furniture products, in many cases, require better customer insights like feel, touch, softness which cannot be conveyed easily by photos or videos in websites. Entering the offline market helped them scale up the business, though, to achieve significant numbers, it took several months. In recent months the offline share sales has been around 80%.  Hotels and guest houses are main customers for their folding, guest beds and roll-away beds. 

The initial investment made for Camabeds was mainly from manufacturing stock for 6 months of 10 SKUs which they planned to sell online. After that period, they invested in human resources, marketing and sales departments and advertising which helped them achieve their goals offline. 

Growth

“The potential in the market we operate in is enormous considering the demographics and players in the market. We look forward to further growth of sales from online as this is very new and relatively small, compared to the traditional retail market. In the next year our expectation is  10 crores business from around 70 SKUs, which is around 20% higher in comparison to the  current year” says Kamil. 

Competitors

Considering the structure of the market their competitors are in a few levels of business. First would be online players like Urban Ladder. Then there are local manufacturers which mainly are part of the huge, yet, unorganized market.  

Challenges

Since the market is relatively new, it’s difficult to plan in the long run, therefore to provide great products in a short span of time, Camabeds has to be extremely flexible with the production. That forces them to have limited number of SKUs and keep very close view on each product performance and manufacture only the best-selling ones and rest of them are usually modified to adjust to market expectation.

One of the biggest challenges in online sales is the distribution of products in a short time. Clients are always impatient. They want their new piece of furniture to be delivered “now”. That could only be achieved by having a strong courier partner and proper stock maintenance. 

The road ahead

Being one of the top sellers of furniture online by now, Camabeds’ focus is now oriented towards improving and extending their dealer network in the smaller cities and towns in the country as well as starting a chain of their own stores in particular cities. Besides that, they plan to enter neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka or Nepal. 

For a start-up, the industry poses several challenges. The demand however will continue to multiply. The good news is that due to the real estate sector the furniture start –ups will be benefited.  Also with the increasing number of jobs and offices there will never be a dearth of buyers in the market.  The number of people coming into the country in search of opportunities can’t be quantified which is also a good sign.  These factors are all a boon for the furniture industry whose future seems to be very bright. 

Camabeds with its unique style and taste has no doubt a million more opportunities ahead, with its online and offline presence.

Visit Camabeds Website

 

Qtrove: Startup With An Aim To Empower Local Sellers, Break Clutter In E-commerce

posted Jan 2, 2017, 11:34 PM by Startup Simba   [ updated Jan 2, 2017, 11:37 PM ]

Vinamra Pandiya - Qtrove

Anirban Guha - Founder and Editor of Startup Simba spoke to Vinamra Pandiya, Founder and CEO, Qtrove.com to find out how this young startup is making its impact in the cluttered e-commerce market in India.

Qtrove stands for the Curated (Q) trove. Qtrove is a curated marketplace that exhibits and sells non-mass produced items from small entrepreneurs across the country. We call it sustainable commerce. The central idea to start Qtrove was to break the clutter in ecommerce and bring the focus back on unique and curated products. With most big companies offering unrealistic discounts and displaying the same mass produced products (read brands) to its customers, we feel, shopping is now reduced to a mere chore. Qtrove aims to be a curated marketplace that exhibits & sells non-mass produced items from small entrepreneurs across the country. These products are unique in nature and are not easily available across the online spectrum. We seek to empower local entrepreneurs who are producing exotic/unique products in their vicinity and give them a widespread national platform.

In today’s era of assembly line mass production & consumption, we wish to release our customers from the tyranny of choice and add fun back to the shopping experience. We have also adopted a seller first approach to give our vendors a wider reach as well as share their stories through dedicated vendor pages on our website and social media. We want to make customers for life and not based on some discount fad and hence this slow but sure approach. We are traditional businessmen at heart and believe each business should be started with the core focus of creating value for all the concerned stakeholders (employees, investors, customers and sellers) and this philosophy is the underlying theme behind Qtrove.

 

Team behind Qtrove

 

  • Vinamra Pandiya (Founder – Product, Marketing, Finance)
  • Prashanth Nagarajan (Co-Founder – Sales, Ops, HR)
More about the team can be found here.

 

Qtrove - launch 

 

Qtrove went LIVE in July 2016, whereas we started working on the concept around Feb 2016. Qtrove.com is based in Bangalore, the start-up capital of India. We deliver to every metro and mini metro along with tier 2 and tier 3 cities.

 

Qtrove's USP

 

Our USP is curated products from handpicked vendors across categories. We like to call it Alternative or Sustainable commerce. Besides, we have created a Lead Research Guideline doc which contains several parameters and we rate each vendor on those parameters. Only when they cross a threshold, they are selected for Inside Sales team to call. Each parameter is based on how unique or exclusive the vendor and its products are and that it shouldn’t be easily available online etc.


To talk about Qtrove’s impact, we aim to reach more and more home entrepreneurs and showcase their products. We are also creating their community page on Qtrove which talks about their start-up inspiration, them in action while making products and a video. This unique approach to showcase them has really stood us out amongst the clutter. Personalization and an ability to empathize with them has also added our appeal in the seller network.


Tough competition  

The journey has been humbling and full of insights for Qtrove. Currently, it is too early to discuss numbers, but we can share some insights:

  • One third of the products listed on our website have been ordered at least once.
  • A visitor coming on our website is spending an avg of 5 mins and this is really encouraging for us.

Regarding competition, there are some players who are already in this space since last few years. Our main competitors are ‘iShippo (Acquired by Snapdeal), Engrave.in’ but all of them are primarily focusing on arts and crafts whereas we are taking a more horizontal approach. Other difference is that we personally scrutinize each vendor before they are listed on our platform as curation is our biggest differentiator.

Our other differentiators are:

  • Personalized photo shoots
  • Dedicated Vendor page which has photos of how products are made, faces behind the business, a write up about them and in some cases, videos showcasing their inspiring stories. 
Qtrove
Game plan  

Qtrove wants to establish a content and community driven marketplace which is democratic and sustainable in nature - one where seller and buyer happily co-exist, one where products are celebrated and together it leads to a happy, natural and a sustainable planet for a better tomorrow.

We are already unit level positive. Aim is to move towards gross level profitability in the coming year.

VC funding or investment 

We are incubated and promoted by Growthstory (Incubator promoted by K Ganesh and Meena Ganesh).

 

Awards and recognition

 

I think the biggest success to any business is when it grows at an enviable pace. We have been doubling our revenues and orders virtually every month and this to me is the biggest achievement right now.

 

What next?

 

Qtrove wants achieve the following in the next six months:


  • We started operations from Bangalore, so we want to bring handpicked vendors from the top 10 cities.
  • For us, core focus is on the quality of products and hence we aren’t chasing GMV or Seller count. We want to have a base of 10k satisfied customers and around 500 unique sellers on our platform.
  • We will start international shipments pretty soon. 

Why Startup Simba? 

Startup Simba is a promising platform for the young entrepreneur. With regular updates about the rapidly growing startup industry in India, it is a great medium to catch-up on all the latest happenings as well articles by Startup veterans.

    

TripHippie: Adventure Travel Simplified

posted Nov 4, 2016, 1:48 AM by Startup Simba   [ updated Nov 4, 2016, 4:37 AM ]

TripHippie is an online platform for making adventure travel simplified. Our aim is to become the one stop destination for any and every kind of experience and activity based travelling. We connect travellers with grassroot travel experts, guides, campsite owners and certified trekkers. We have a vision to provide information and booking help for campsites, wildlife safaris, weekend getaways and long adventure tours in India and abroad.

Kind of startup

TripHippie is a technology based travel startup catering to adventure and weekend getaways.

Founders behind TripHippie

We are a core team of three founders - Sarbojit, Tarun and Vignesh.

      • Sarbojit is an alumnus of NIT Durgapur and NITIE,Mumbai.
      • Tarun is an alumnus of Jadavpur University and NITIE,Mumbai.
      • Vignesh completed his computer science engineering from NIT Durgapur and M.Tech from UVCE. 

Cumulatively we have more than 14 years of experience in Steel, Production and business consulting experience in organizations like Jindal, Mahindra, L&T, Intel etc.

How it started 

We went live in October, 2015 and the response has been very good so far. We sold around 1000+ trips in the last quarter and it is growing by 100% per quarter.

We cater to Indian tourists, companies and also to foreign tourists. We have served tourists from South Africa, United Kingdom, USA, Bahrain and from other countries. In India we have corporate tie ups for outings and team building exercises. We have international destinations and we are planning to expand to 5 countries in the next year.

TripHippie is currently operating from Bangalore. We have close to 250 preferred vendors across Asia and Africa  for various activity based travel and curated local tours.

Where it stands out 

The USP is the local taste and the range of different services which can be booked from a single platform with communication from the original guide or facilitator.

We travel with the local service providers and gauge their services. Onboarding is done on the basis of previous experiences and we collect them from our alumni and friends circle. We have interns who travel with the service providers. The process is focussed on the quality and audit of the services promised by the provider.

All the service providers are government certified and skilled. They all have immense knowledge of the local climate, terrain, remote sightseeing locations, dialect, cuisines and people. The business and marketing efforts by TripHippie has improved their livelihood with more recognition and feedback from customers have helped them fine tune their services. The efforts have created a steady source of income for the cooperative farming colonies and adventure guides.

The journey so far

We are a bootstrapped company from Day-1 and we made profits from the 2nd quarter of our operations. We invested almost Rs 50,000 to start the business development efforts and marketing of our experiences. The website is developed internally and all other efforts are handled by the team reducing the operational costs to a minimum.

We are looking for investments to ramp up our product development and marketing efforts.

The revenue model is commission per transaction and with some of our service providers who signed up for the preferred partner programme we go about with the profit sharing model. Almost 40% of our service providers are preferred partners.

Our turnover till date is 1 crore and above until this quarter. We are looking to double the quarter earnings in Q4 of 2016.We are growing by 110% QoQ.The target is to reach the more than 150 destinations expanding our partner base to 500+ so that we can grow 5X to 10X by next year.

As travel is a diversified and complex market we face competition from the incumbents and also from the new entrants. The advantage we have is that we have already developed exclusive preferred vendor contracts which helps us to manage the inventory better and streamline the process.

Long-term strategy 

'Sales cures all' is the mantra we follow very diligently. We are generating revenue from the very first day of TripHippie. Our focus is always on giving the best to the customers, gaining knowledge of the domain and improving constantly. We will continue to focus on maintaining our QoQ growth as we improve our platform, making it more easier for travelers and vendors to interact with each other and share the information. With the increasing internet penetration, we believe we will able to get our vendors directly interact with the customers on realtime basis on our platform helping the customers get the right information.

Bootstrapped and self-sustaining

We have bootstrapped the company. We have crossed the 1 crore revenue per annum and are financially efficient and self-sustaining.

Awards and recognitions

We have been covered by Deccan Herald, PayuMoney Growth Drivers and Nearfox for our efforts. We are one of the pioneers of local tours in some destinations and we have run pilots where were we have got an excellent feedback. We are a 9,000 member strong community on various social media platforms.

We have organized Chadar Trek, one of the most premium adventure treks in India for more than 80 participants during Jan-Feb 2016 in our first year of operation is one of our biggest achievement. We are very excited for the upcoming season of Chadar Trek and have already crossed last year's bookings. This year we had a very good rappelling season around Mumbai and adventure camping around Bangalore. We are glad that we are able to cater to all these markets with such a small team.

2 years from now

We are yet to reach the goal that we set out to achieve which is to make the global travellers get connected with grassroot vendors who organize the treks. In our next two years, we will continue implementing various features in the platform in this direction. In terms of market, we are expanding to Africa as we see lot of interests in travel to Africa amongst Indians. In terms of adventure, Africa provides some unique experiences and hence we are keen to offer adventure packages in Africa too.

About Startup Simba 

It is good to see such initiatives which help voice the opinions of various startups. It helps budding entrepreuners like us in getting regular updated information about the various initiatives in the startup world. 

Power2SME: The B2B Digital Ecosystem for SMEs

posted Oct 27, 2016, 1:12 AM by Startup Simba   [ updated Oct 27, 2016, 1:35 AM ]

Power2SME is the first 'Buying Club' for Indian SMEs that aims to empower and propel them on the fast lane to growth. Headquartered in Gurgaon, Power2SME has 5 more offices spread across Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Pune. Startup Simba spoke to R Narayan, Founder and CEO, Power2SME, to find out what is this startup doing to change the SME segment in India. 

Who are we?

  • Power2SME started operations in 2012 and we function as a 'Buying Club' for SMEs and help them source raw material at best market prices.
  • Power2SME is creating India’s No 1 B2B Digital Ecosystem for SMEs which delivers raw material procurement at competitive prices and access to finance at improved rates of interest thus driving higher efficiencies and profitability.

The company is leveraging technology solutions and building relevant technology platforms to promote ease of doing business among SME players. Our initiatives are as below: 

Power2SME has built simple to use tech platforms: Power2SME’s online platform allows the SMEs to track their orders as well as undertake transactional activities such as placing new enquiries, checking price quotes, uploading purchase orders, checking status of delivery, account statement, notification of payment due etc. This platform is available 24x7 to all the customers and can be accessed without any charges. This online platform thus enables the SMEs to reduce costs and build efficiencies in their business processes, allowing them to compete on an equal footing with large enterprises. 

SMEShops: We also own a category called SME Shops on Power2sme’s platform through which sellers can buy and sell products in various categories ranging from Power tools, IT & Electronics, Office Supplies, Pneumatics, Power, Coating & Paints, Pumps, Sawing and Cutting, Solar products, Lab equipment’s etc. SME Shops offers unlimited product listings and one can sell all across India 

How did we start?

The idea to start Power2SME came about during R. Narayan’s experience with the SME community on the field. Narayan used to deal with both the SME and enterprise segments during his previous stints. Narayan saw the price quotations that were sent to an SME as well as a large enterprise, for the same product, where the variance was to the tune of 20-45%. This was mainly due the size of the orders and SMEs’ weak negotiation power. With 70% of the Indian job market powered by SMEs, he felt this was an unfair gap between SMEs and enterprises. At that point in time, Narayan decided to build a portal where SMEs could submit their requirements and the portal would buy on their behalf. 

Getting financial institutes on board 

  • Finance is the biggest problem for any SME as they struggle to meet their growth and operational requirements.
  • Power2SME connected with and closed partnerships with Axis Bank, Vistaar Finance, HeroFin Corp, Electronica Finance Ltd, L&T, Capital Float, Religare Finvest Ltd and more
  • We act as facilitator by bringing together SMEs & NBFCs/banks on a common platform. This initiative has been huge success as more and more SMEs are opting for NBFC financing which provides them with an alternate way of financing.
  • Benefits to SMEs include accelerated lending at better rate of interests than private lenders
  • With our working model NBFC can provide loans to SME as quick as 8 days. Normally it takes up to 25-30 days to for businesses to get loans.

 

Halla.in: Nurturing Hidden Talent In Photography

posted Oct 26, 2016, 12:55 AM by Startup Simba   [ updated Oct 26, 2016, 1:00 AM ]

Halla.in founder Dr TP Pavan Kumar

Halla.in is a platform to showcase individual’s hidden talent by participating in the photo and video contests. Startup Simba spoke to Halla.in Founder Dr. TP Pavan Kumar to find out what is the platform all about and how is it bringing out the best in talented youths in the country. 

1. Tell us about Halla.in and what it does?

There is so much of talent in every one of us and very rarely one tries to explore it. Most of the time, we are constrained by our convictions, shyness, society, or fear of failure. We created Halla.in, for individuals of every age to freely come and express their feelings and emotions. The contests at Halla.in focuses on festivals, seasons or social themes that users can easily relate to their daily life. 

We have recently introduced mystory.halla.in, to share personal accomplishments and experiences to inspire and motivate others. Though started recently, we have good contribution of inspirational stories that are motivating and build confidence in individuals.

2. Tell us about the team/founders behind Halla.in? What is their background and experience? 

Halla.in is founded by Dr. TP Pavan Kumar, with intent to create a platform for everyone to explore and share their talent. Pavan has over 25 yrs of professional experience in various domains, including startups. He is an active angel investor with funding in NewsBytesApp, Ilenze.com, Greenz.co, PindropMusic.co etc.. 

We are a team of 2 members and 3 interns. Pavan as founder provides the overall direction to chase the vision, while Vikas Sawant looks after the marketing, social network and sponsor relations. Rest of the work is outsourced to Achiveee, a Mumbai based startup that looks after website, content and IT. Pramit, Ashi and Pallav, keep mystory.halla.in alive through their inspirational content. 

3. In which year Halla.in was launched? What is the current team size? 

We launched Halla.in in April, 2013. As a community, we have grown over the past three years. When we launched Halla.in, we had to constantly request our family, friends and neighbors to post their photos and participate in contests. We encouraged users to review the contest photo entries, write comments to join the conversation and appreciate the hidden talent. Today, the community has over 12,000 registered users and over 18,000 followers on Instagram. We are quite active on Facebook and Twitter as well. As mentioned earlier, we are a team of five and growing fast on quarterly basis. 

4. Halla.in conducts photography and video contest. What is the selection process? 

The entries in the contest are voted by fellow users, website visitors, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram followers, etc. To avoid unfair practices, the users can see only their votes and not of other participants. Users can publicize their entries on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram to get votes and comments. 

The contest winners get their own work printed on t-shirts or mugs. These gifts remain sweet memories and special moments reflecting their efforts and willingness to take the plunge. For the sponsored contests, the sponsor will decide on the winner selection and prizes. 

Vikas
5. How has been the journey so far? How tough has been the competition?

The journey so far has been quite challenging. When we launched the idea, there were very few takers. We spent considerable time in explain the concept and purpose of Halla.in. Very few entries we got for the initial contests. In the beginning, we were rewarding every participant to spread the idea. After 6 months of consistent effort, the idea started sinking and we gained users on all channels.  There are few portals in this space and the competition is not significant. Signing up users and encouraging them to return to the light hearted platform to keep discovering their talent, remains our biggest challenge even today. Introduction of android mobile app also helped us to signup users and get creative content through mobile photo captures. We have over 4000 android mobile downloads and would soon be introducing IOS app.

6. What kind of help do you receive from corporates?

Initially when we spoke to businesses to sponsor contests, they were quite reluctant due to low customer base. Despite this challenge we got few organizations to sponsor the contests. Today, we are being approached by companies, but we are quite selective to limit the sponsorship that helps the platform to grow, rather than getting commercialized.

7. What is your plan or strategy to sustain in the long run? 

Our strategy is to be the preferred platform to showcase individual’s talent. A platform where individuals can freely express, also get inspired and motivated by the achievements of others. Looking at the growing mobile base, we would soon be introducing location based contests. We are also actively working towards enhancing our platform for users to commercialize their creative work. We will partner with companies that appreciate, encourage and reward individual accomplishments. 

8. Did you receive any awards or recognition? What has been your greatest achievement?

Though we did not get any formal awards or recognitions, the positive feedback and compliments we receive every day from our users, keeps us going. We get numerous comments on our Facebook page and by emails, complimenting the work and the difference Halla.in is making in their lives, specially to discover their talent and showcase them.

Halla.in
9. Where do you want to see Halla.in 2 years from now? 

In next 2 years, we want to see Halla.in as a lighthearted platform of choice for both individuals and businesses to express, inspire and reward talent. We would see whole lot of sponsored contests with themes connected to our daily life, running on the portal. Customers through various channels like web, mobile and social network participate, appreciate and motivate each other.  Halla.in will be a compelling brand for individuals to show case and commercialize their talent as well. 

10. What else you do to support startups and entrepreneurs apart from Halla.in?

In addition to Halla.in, we have the Pegtweets.com, a mobile twitter app to understand the social significance of whom you are following and to follow the trending feed. We recognized that holiday planning is a challenge and are working on a mobile app called Snaplee to help users make informed travel choices.

I am an active angel investor for the past few years. NewsbytesApp, iLenze.com, PindropMusic.co, Greenz.co, Menias.com, Bookmywash.co etc., are some of the angel investments. I support most of these founders in business strategy, marketing plan, product design etc.. I am quite fortunate to have associated with these highly talented founders who quite passionate and committed to achieve their vision.

11. What do you have to say about Startup Simba as a digital platform to promote startups and entrepreneurship in India?

Indian startup ecosystem is exploding and it needs platforms like Startup Simba to help startups gain visibility and recognition. With over 40 percent of population being youth, the younger generation should become job creators rather than job seekers. The best way to bridge the economic and digital divide in India is by creating startups across cities and towns of India. Inclusive growth can be achieved by reaching out to masses through portals like Startup Simba to create awareness about the opportunity, visibility and becoming a platform to promote products and services.

Visit Halla.in website

 

Kowrk: Simplifying The Process of Finding and Booking A Coworking Space for Startups

posted Oct 3, 2016, 12:25 AM by Startup Simba

Honey Jain Kathuria

Startup Simba spoke to Honey Jain Kathuria, Co-founder, Kowrk.com to find out how they are simplifying the process of finding, comparing and booking a coworking space or shared office in India. 

Tell us about your startup and what it does? What specific issue or challenge it is trying to address?
 

Kowrk is a platform to connect users with coworking spaces, business centres and providers of shared work spaces.

For users, Kowrk simplifies the process of finding, comparing and booking a coworking space or shared office. Ordinarily, this is a long, arduous process involving searching the web to discover potential spaces, visiting several locations and negotiating terms with shortlisted providers. Evaluating the fit of a space with requirements and style is more difficult. Kowrk shortens and simplifies this process by providing a location-based search that lists all available spaces, their amenities, user reviews, photographs and indicative prices along with the ability to book or contact the provider. Thus we make finding a coworking space or shared office as simple as finding a hotel room.

For providers, Kowrk simplifies the process of leasing underutilized shared office space. Ordinarily, this long process involves marketing to attract potential users, responding to queries and visits by customers, and managing uneven demand. Kowrk’s multi-country presence results in increased awareness among a bigger customer base.  Kowrk also gives providers the ability to differentiate listings by highlighting specific amenities and incorporate customer feedback collected and shared by Kowrk. Providers are able to manage demand patterns by being informed of customer’s bookings in advance and by being able to customize the time of availability of their space.

Tell us about the team/founders behind this? What is their background and experience?   

Kowrk.com has been founded by Honey Jain Kathuria and supported by her life partner, Dr. Abhishek Kathuria. Together they have a combined work experience of 28+ years in management consulting and relevant industries, spread across 5 countries.

Honey’s experience of managing the offline business in the Asia-Pacific region for Hotels.com helped her recognize the future of coworking spaces and develop a deep insight into the nuances of connecting users and providers of perishable real-estate inventory. She leverages her 14 years of consulting and management experience gained across 5 countries and 3 continents to manage Kowrk. Her visits to 95+ coworking spaces in Asia and interactions with founders & managers of such spaces, have provided her an in-depth knowledge of the coworking industry.

Dr. Abhishek Kathuria, co-founder of Kowrk.com, is a consultant on business performance improvement, enterprise value creation, business and IT strategy to start-ups and medium & large sized firms in manufacturing and service sectors in the United States, China, India and the Middle East. He is an Assistant Professor of Innovation and Information Management at The University of Hong Kong, where he teaches technology entrepreneurship related courses to BBAs, MBAs and Executive MBAs. Abhishek provides strategic vision and guides innovation at Kowrk. He has conducted research on the coworking industry through surveys and interviews of coworking space founders and users.

Where is it located? Any branches?

Head quartered in Hong Kong, Kowrk also has an office in Mumbai. Of course, we work out of coworking spaces in both the cities J

Dr. Abhishek Kathuria
In which year it was launched? What is the current team size? Tell us about the team in short.

Launched in Oct 2015, Kowrk is almost a year old.

We are currently a team of 5 with plans to hire 2 more people by the end of the year.  Along with two founders, we have a Sales and Marketing person coordinating efforts across continents. A Growth Hacker who is managing digital footprint on social media channels. A Tech Ninja to manage and grow the tech side of the business. We are actively looking for an Expansion Hacker to manage suppliers and operations and a Hustler to facilitate multiple initiatives.

We are supported by external organizations for Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing, Accounting & Legal Services.

What is your USP? How is your startup impacting lives in India? 

Kowrk believe in shaping the future of work for people in today’s and tomorrow’s world. We are a thought leader in this emerging industry. We not only provide one of the most extensive list of options across many countries, we are also involved in building & supporting the startup ecosystem in these countries. We annually survey founders of coworking spaces to understand coworking industry from their perspectives. We have formed an interactive group for the CXO of coworking spaces, giving them a robust and ready networking opportunity to connect with each other and share common ideas. Our recent initiative is the launch of a suave contest – titled the ‘Koolest Kospace Contest’ to hunt for and crown the best shared office in the world. Its creating exciting buzz all over!

How has been the journey so far? How tough has been the competition? 

Unpredictable is the best word to describe our journey so far. We failed in doing few things but succeed in others, we learnt from ours and other’s mistakes, we experienced lowest of the lows and the highest of the highs. But we survived and we continue to grow and prosper. 

The competition is fierce in this industry. We were the first platform in Hong Kong and Singapore but that is no longer the case. In India we see new players come and go every day but few have survived. USA is a mature market and we are one of the new entrants and hence the rules of game are very different there. 

What is your plan or strategy to sustain in the long run?

Continue doing what is working for us and not repeating what didn’t work. We plan to improve our supply even further, make our platform more customer friendly and shape up start community in all the markets.

Did you receive any funding or investment?

Kowrk was funded by the founders.

Did you receive any kind of awards or recognition? What has been your biggest achievement/success so far?

Kowrk’s founders and its growth story have been covered in national and international media across following platforms.


Kowrk
Our biggest achievement so far has been the launch of the USA market on our platform.  It was our long term goal which we achieved within the first year of operations.  We couldn’t have done this without a strong product supported by a brilliant team and happy set of customers.
Where do you want to see your startup 2 years from now?

Kowrk Plans to continue its expansion in other continents and become the facto platform for users to find shared workspaces.

What do you want to say about Startup Simba as one of India’s leading digital platform promoting startups and entrepreneurship in India?

StartupSimba team is doing an amazing work at featuring entrepreneurs and connecting startups in India. You are on a path to be one stop place to know anything and everything about startups. Keep doing this great work!!!

Kowrk Website

The Fun of Online Shopping And Saving More on CouponRani

posted Sep 18, 2016, 7:37 AM by Startup Simba   [ updated Sep 18, 2016, 7:39 AM ]

couponrani
Though the world has advanced with technology in every aspect, there are still people who are not so much aware of online shopping and if at all they know, they might not know about online coupons, promo codes or vouchers that are available which will help them save money. This thought prompted Ravi Trivedi to launch CouponRani. Tell us more about CouponRani and what benefits online shoppers can derive from it. 

We aggregate all the latest coupons from popular online stores like Amazon India, Snapdeal, PayTM, Flipkart, Healthkart, etc. In short, we help people to save money by shopping online. An e-commerce startup, CouponRani is one of the most popular and one of the top coupon sites in India. We are mainly into providing coupons, deals and offers to consumers so that they save on their budget while shopping online.

Key people behind CouponRani 

Mr. Ravi Trivedi is the founder for CouponRani. Prior to starting this, he was a venture capitalist and worked at Southeast Interactive Technology funds in USA.  He has experience of running online business in USA. He started off his career as a software engineer at Hewlett-Packard and later worked in sales & marketing, and consulting. He has an MBA from Fuqua School of Business, Duke University. Post his MBA, he worked as an equity analyst with Bank of America where he had covered technology companies over $120B in market capitalization. During his earlier years, he had also co-authored the book Web Services Security, and have been part of Web Service standard bodies.

Year of establishment and locations  

We are based in Bangalore, Karnataka. We have no branches as of now.

Launched in July 2012, CouponRani has currently a team of 15 members. We are headed by Mr. Sai Kumar Sarkar, who is the General Manager for CouponRani. He has completed his B.Tech from NIT Jalandhar and holds an MBA in Marketing from SP Jain Center of Management, Singapore. Sai started off his career as an engineer at Nokia Mobile Phones and has worked as a business manager at Embeco IT services Ltd / Jolivi.com. He has an overall 8+ years of industry experience. Apart from him, we are also backed by a group of hardworking people, who strive hard for the betterment of our firm.

Achievements

1. We are one of the leading coupon sites in India with respect to merchant listing, have 3400+ merchants/stores listed on our website, which we believe to be the most numbers of listing, among all sites in India.

2. We are the only site in India with Hindi coupons (Hindi.couponrani.com).

3. We have 300+ exclusive coupons listed on our website. We have exclusive coupons and partnership with several key websites like HealthKart, Zivame, Tolexo, etc.

4. We get monthly unique visits of 0.5 to 1.2 million every month.

5. We are expanding globally and is present currently in Malaysia as CouponBelanja.com.

http://www.couponrani.com/
Initial days

CouponRani was started from scratch and so the initial days were pretty tough. We learned how to move forward facing hardships, to reap success and this have made us what we are today.

Competition is always the part of the game. Initially, there were only a few key players but, now there are many. As far as we are concerned, we never look at our competitors but rather work on our inner metrics, which we think can help us stay in the industry for long. We focus on customer satisfaction and implement various factors which will add in making it better each time.

Competitive strategy  

As mentioned before, we are trying out various tactics to improve our technical aspects, marketing, etc. We are also looking forward to try out new channels for a better reach out to customers. We also plan to get a better expansion by growing in other geographies as well.

Funding 

Initially we were funded by Srijan Capital. But, now we are Bootstrapped. 

2 years from now

We have achieved 200% growth both in terms of volume and value from the first day we launched. CouponRani hope to maintain the pace and try out new methods which will help us to reach more heights in terms of growth and revenue.

On Startup Simba 

This is indeed a great platform for startups where we can get to know how each startup is growing to the next level. It is more of an inspiration to those who are planning to become entrepreneurs as well. Keep the good work going!

Website: CouponRani 

Fusion Analytics World - Where the Pursuit of Data Scientists Comes to an End

posted Sep 2, 2016, 2:50 AM by Startup Simba   [ updated Sep 2, 2016, 4:37 AM ]

Kalyan Banga, Founder & Chief Data Scientist, Fusion Analytics World
In conversation with Kalyan Banga, Founder & Chief Data Scientist, Fusion Analytics Worlda one stop place for everything on analytics, empowering readers to create value from data.

We would like to know who you are (Founders / co founders ) and what’s your background and why did you chose to join hands together.

Website: Fusion Analytics World

Founder & Chief Data Scientist: Kalyan Banga

I am Kalyan Banga, a Post Graduate in Business Analytics from Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta, a premier management institute, ranked best B-School in Asia in FT Masters management global rankings. I have spent 6 years in field of Analytics.

14+ years of rich experience in domain of business analytics, market research, management consulting and strategy. My multi-country and multi-cultural experience enhances my technical Analytics expertise to steer businesses towards facts and data supported decisions prime to the local business culture and environment. My work exposure spans from mature market like US to developing market like India.

For the past 3 years, I have been instrumental in setting up of a Business Analytics & Intelligence team in a multinational Analytics company based on North America. During these years, I have worked on various tools like R, SAS, SPSS and XLMiner.

We would like to know how the idea is created and what made you chose that particular idea and who is your inspiration.

Data scientist is considered the “sexiest job of the 21st century,” and they are bunch of highly paid and sought after professionals in the marketplace. After all, it is data science that gives consumers personalized shopping recommendations on e-commerce websites like Amazon, Flipkart, customized entertainment recommendations on Netflix and tailored content and advertisement on social media.

Over time, organizations have started to see the value of data science as the volume of data they had to analyze increased dramatically. For instance, today an estimated 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created daily. Within this huge quantity of data are hidden insights that could transform companies to gain competitive edge and improve customer experience.

What’s the problem? We have a global talent shortage, with demand for data scientists far outpacing supply. A McKinsey study predicts that globally, demand for data scientists is projected to exceed supply by more than 50 percent by 2018.

How Can Fusion Analytics World Help You?

Fusion Analytics World is a one stop place for everything on Analytics, empowering readers to create value from data. The platform intends to provide a holistic view of the Analytics industry by bringing together all ecosystem players within the global Analytics market. The platform is created for readers to not only view niche content, apply for jobs or courses and list their startups & businesses in directory but also to participate and share their individual expertise with the community and gaining credibility in front of the entire analytics population and be noticed by becoming “Top Contributor” of the site. Website resources include:

  1. Insights: Materials to improve your analytical skills
  2. Forum: Ask as many questions as you can and get responses from experienced professionals.
  3. Jobs:  We have best analytics jobs for freshers to experienced professionalsapply to as many jobs as you can right from your registered account. If you are a company, you can post unlimited jobs
  4. Courses: If you are a student, you can improve your skills by joining courses. If you want to teach, you can post your course and attract best students for your course
  5. Startups: Know the best analytics startups across the globe. If you are an analytics company, please open an account and feature your company
  6. Upcoming Events: Join upcoming events, conferences and meetups to stay updated on recent developments and share your knowledge, showcase your talent
  7. Resources: Check out Whitepaper, Database, Directory listings, participate in polls and gain insights from best online shared documents in You Tube & Slide share. 

So what are you waiting for? Explore Fusion Analytics World and become a champion in Analytics. 

We would like to know how you chose the brand name and how you executed operational plan and the success story of the same. 

Big Data Analytics” can be defined as the process of examining large data sets containing a variety of data types — i.e., big data — to uncover hidden patterns, unknown correlations, market trends, customer preferences and other useful business information. The analytical findings can lead to more effective marketing, new revenue opportunities, better customer service, improved operational efficiency, competitive advantages over rival organisations and other business benefits. “Fusion” on the other hand stems from the word “Data Fusion” which is the process of integration of multiple data and knowledge representing the same real-world object into a consistent, accurate, and useful representation. 

The word “Encyclopedia” comes from Greek word meaning “complete instruction” or “complete knowledge”. The purpose of an encyclopedia is to collect knowledge disseminated around the globe.

Fusion Analytics World

Through my website, I intend to create a highly passionate community which is obsessed with everything Data Science, Big Data, Data Mining, and Analytics. 
Readers can register on the website and post their highly targeted content right from their account page. Benefits being, you get free exposure in front of a highly relevant audience and second, you get back links to your site. If your posts are highly engaging to our readers, you can get substantial amounts of direct traffic to your site and increase revenue. I will also be sharing my knowledge and tips through Insights section.
 

How company is scaling up and what’s its future goals and if you would like to share anything else which can inspire others then please do it. 

Presently I devote 2 hours daily during weekdays and 4-5 hrs over weekend. I get some freelance help for marketing activities and finding targeted content and posting on Fusion Analytics World. 

My revenue generation is through site advertisements. Once I have few advertisements, will spend money on publicity, tie-ups and other activities. I want to create an online platform for millions of analytics professionals and enthusiasts with daily thousands of website visitors who would post their content, share opinion, ask questions, list their organization, jobs etc. and what not. Early traction has been encouraging and I have already got an interest from a analytics institute who want to post their advertisement on Fusion Analytics World. 

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