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RNI No. HARENG/2011/39608-FBD/286/15-17







May 2017 l ` 150 l INDIA EDITION


Meet the Technocrats


n my editorial role, I come across several genre of entrepreneurs and one thing that weaves them in a common thread is their never-say–die attitude. However, what I found unique about tech entrepreneurs is their quest to seek excellence. Their notion of what is right is different from the rest of the world, measuring success by their ability to transform the lives of others. Most often they ask themselves ‘‘how will the world be different because I lived in it?’’ Their financial success and society change are ever more linked, with the lines blurring between the business and social impact. These individuals have built companies that are propelled by the turbulence around them or are generating the forces that disrupt markets. Making money, material riches is just incidental to their success and not too high up in their list of priorities. Entrepreneur magazine has selected 25 tech intellectuals for its annual “Tech List” - men and women - who are bringing the future at your doorstep. This year’s Tech crunchers include people who are visionaries of technology to start-ups who are changing the way the world works. While it may all seem quite unreal now, financial technology above all others is moving the fastest. The recently organized Moneytech2017 brought together the new thought leaders in the fintech industry to delve on the future of digital finance.

If you missed being there, we bring you the highlights in the ensuing pages. Meanwhile, we continue to see how businesses are changing their workethic in the new world order and are working on building a culture for productivity. In this issue, we talk about the relevance of chief innovation officers who are slowly becoming imperative for companies, painting new shades of innovation within the organizations. We also delve in to the agriculture sector to see how technology is helping improving the game. India was the second highest investment destination after the US for agri-tech with 53 deals last year. Through technology, favorable policies, transparency in market information, leaner supply chain, single window access to raw materials and affordable machinery and access to credit, the Indian agri-tech start-ups and private investors are ploughing hard for harvesting better growth ahead.

Ritu Marya Editor in chief E-mail me at:



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PRIVATE COMPANY VS. LLP - WHICH IS BETTER FOR YOU? Saloni Shroff, Associate, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, talks about advantages and disadvantages of Private Company and LLP.



WHY START-UPS NEED BRANDING? Alpana Parida, Managing Director, DY Works, speaks about why it is essential to brand your product.



OPPORTUNITY Through technology Indian agri-tech start-ups and private investors are ploughing hard to reinforce efficiency in agriculture. India was the second highest investment destination after the US last year.


COOL IDEA Nishant Kumar, Founder and CEO, Pune-based Embryyo Technologies, designed BoxRx smart pill box – for those who forget to take medicine.


KICK-OFF The tenth edition of ‘Startup Kickoff’, powered by Franchise India 2017, held on April 15-16 at The Lalit, Great Eastern Hotel, witnessed some feisty ideas and innovations.


MY STORY Sanjay Aggarwal speaks about his company InCourts which aims to simplify legal issue for the layman.

Growth 44


Indian companies are still to realize the relevance of innovation officers and marketing officers and business heads are often given the task of innovating new ideas within the given frame work.

Why eBay India picked Flipkart to piggyback on its growth in a fight to the finish against Amazon India.






LEGACY Marquee Indian hoteliers and restaurant owners have carved their niche over the years by following the simple yet important Indian concept –“Atithi devo bhava”. But, what does it take to maintain a brand in the hospitality sector?




MAY 2017

Eco System 70


The Moneytech 2017, powered by Entrepreneur and Franchise India, recently held in Delhi brought together a gamut of thought leaders in the fintech industry to deliver the deepest discussions about the future of digital finance.

At the ninth Annual Summit of Assocham, a panel consisting of Mohan Chutani, Rajat Arora, Arvind Mathur, and Ritu Marya discussed about developing fund of funds industry in India.




POLICY Why is the Government of India not willing to be a party to an MSME forum being planned at WTO?


THE NEW SCIENCE OF ENGAGEMENT Research tested ways to pitch yourself, make a great first impression, interview, engage others online, and more.

Money 88

ECON A quick snapshot of the best deals of the month.

FRANCHISE FOCUS Satya Narayanan R’s Career Launcher began as a personality development test preparation company and today it has 170+ centers spread across 90+ cities in India.


Business Unusual 90




How start-ups are using design thinking mindset to break away from the clichéd problem-solution formula, they thought was scalable, to achieve growth.

VC Parag Dhol of US-based early stage venture capital firm Inventus Capital Partners explains what makes him tick.

Ask these questions to reveal the best people to hire.

Six entrepreneurs explain how do you attract more business.





SHINY Samsung Galaxy S8 has just made all others look antique, if not junk, altogether.



Dhruv Khanna, CEO, Data Resolve – cyber intelligence company shares insight about IoT Botnets.

Catalyst was launched by Ministry of Finance and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to seed digital payments among the economically weaker section of India.



APP 3 Liquor Apps to delight your eventful evenings.


TREP Dharmendra Singh talks about his software-as-a-service platform for deal discovery and post M&A integration – MergerWare.







Lifestyle 110

WORK-LIFE BALANCE Entrepreneur caught up with few entrepreneurs to find out where they are heading this summer.



Entrepreneur caught up with 112 Divyank Turakhia, Co-Founder, Directi, BOOKS Ashok Vashist, Founder and CEO, to know more about his other passions Aaveg, talks about how reading besides tech. changed his perspective.





Tel: 0129-4228800 #9311148342, CHAIRMAN Gaurav Marya PUBLISHER Sachin Marya

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ENTREPRENEUR MEDIA INC. CHAIRMAN Peter J. Shea, PRESIDENT/CEO Ryan Shea EDITOR IN CHIEF Jason Feifer Published by Franchise India under license from Entrepreneur Media, Inc., 18061 Fitch Avenue, Irvine, California 92614 USA. ENTREPRENEUR® is a registered trademark of Entrepreneur Media, Inc. This publication is sold and distributed with the understanding that Publisher is not warranting the accuracy of the contents herein nor is it promoting or endorsing any third-party businesses or products/services referenced herein. While Publisher considers the sources of the information contained herein to be reliable and verifies as much of that information as reasonably possible, reporting inaccuracies can occur and readers using that information do so at their own risk. Each business opportunity and product/service herein offered contains certain inherent risks. It is therefore advised that anyone considering investing in or purchasing any such opportunities or products/services first consult with and seek the advice of appropriate experts, including financial advisors and attorneys. This publication and its contents are protected by international copyright registered to Publisher and Entrepreneur Media, Inc. Consequently, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form and by any means without the prior written permission of Publisher.







MAY 2017

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Most read

“I Wanted to Change India’s Impression in the Minds of Americans” 291

t ed s o M ent m m o c

Entrant y l r a E et This n Intern a i d n I g Amon s What w o n K s ie Compan ndia & How I Works in 2 54

s rship i u e n e r nd Entrep y to Fi a W y l s the On to Problem s n Solutio g in India Existin 368

Company Culture is Something You Need to Consciously Create, 74-Yr Old Indian Entrepreneur Says 338

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s hing rs T 5 # eu pren ow e r t En ld Kn Shou The Job t Abou 37 3

What’s on


When the Government Comes in Direct Line with the Entrepreneur

How German and Indian Entrepreneurs Can Be a Great Cultural-fit

Aashika Jain, Associate Editor,

Angela De Giacomo, Advisor & Initiator, WunderNova


Can You Learn Entrepreneurship Or Are People Born With It? Arijit Dutta, Managing Director, Priya Entertainments Pvt Ltd (PEPL)






Greetings of peace and joy! I wish to thank you for the special volume on Entrepreneur. The articles inside are quite informative and inspiring. A lot of labour has gone into the making of the volume. Everywhere, there is a need of innovation and creativity. This volume also gives evidence of the creativity and entrepreneurship in education. I am sure many will benefit by this. My congratulations to you, to the Editor Ritu Marya and the Team. Gods bless you!


Writing format for the story ‘leadership lessons for dadpreneurs’ is quite impressive and it keeps readers interested throughout. The graphics add icing on the cake. However, the story could have streamlined the attributes more cordially. A short analysis here would have added a competitive advantage to the story. Overall it was a nice attempt. Abhijit, Bengaluru

Bishop Thomas Dabre Bishop of Poona




Apropos Smart Grid story in the March issue of Entrepreneur: The article is great. Another hot topic in the sector is how the smart grid is going to expand into energy analytics through data monitoring. Well, keep sharing more information in the area as well. Harit Soni, Co-Founder, Ecolibrium Energy

A well researched and crafted piece. Even I am a beard keeper but never knew it was another area to be catered upon. Though I used to groom very often in accordance to my office norms, but this article has given a new perspective to it. Excellent research and analysis of this industry. Keep growing!


Wars were waged, empires were built, many travelers, explorers visited India in search of spices. Even today, Indian cuisine has a special place in the hearts of gourmands for the spices that adds unforgettable flavours and life to Indian cuisine. The story about Indian spices was a good read. Shehnaz, Nashik

Anugrah Mathur, Noida

Entrepreneur Tech & Innovation Summit May 16, 2017, JW Marriott, Aerocity, New Delhi

Entrepreneur Start up Summit

May 20 & 21, 2017, Nehru Centre, Worli, Mumbai

Dear reader, got a thought, a question, an idea, a story or a comment? Write to us at



“With the right investments and plans, technology is helping us to shape the way India learns. However, there is still a lot of room for improvement.”

“Our role is to create valuebased operational partnerships between different players like government, private entities and non-profit organizations in the ecosystem.”

“Entrepreneurs spend a lot of energy in trying to get funding. Not that they shouldn’t focus on this aspect, but at some point their focus should be on creating valuable product.”

Byju Raveendran, Founder, BYJU’s

Badal Malick, Chief Executive Officer, Catalyst

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Big industrialists have access to capital abroad. The SMEs depend on money from within.We need much more liberal policy for SMEs and agri sector.” SUBRAMANIAN SWAMY, Member of Parliament

In recent times, there is a fundamental disruption in India that’s bringing about changes in our society in multiple ways giving hope that India will progress much faster now than before.” SUNIL KANT MUNJAL, Joint Managing Director, Hero MotoCorp



orn on September 13, Milton Hershey 1857, in Derry, a small farming community in Pennsylvania, Milton Hershey was the only surviving child of Veronica “Fanny” Snavely and Henry Hershey. Milton spent the early years trailing his father, who lacked the perseverance to stick to something. By 1867, Henry cut himself out from the family. At the age of 14, Milton, who dropped out of school the year before, expressed an interest in candy making and began apprenticing with a master confectioner in Lancaster, own again, first in Chicago and Pennsylvania. A few years later, later in New York City. In both he set up his own candy shop cases, he failed again. In 1883, in Philadelphia with $150 he he returned to Lancaster and had borrowed. But success without doubting himself started eluded him. Later he closed his Lancaster Caramel Company. shop and headed for Denver, Within a few short years, Milton where he started working for a had a thriving business and was confectioner. shipping his caramels all over the Here, he learnt about caramel country. and how fresh milk could be used He soon got fascinated to make it. But Milton wasn’t with milk candies, which was content to work for someone largely the domain of the Swiss else and he struck out on his

IT’S PERSONAL WHEN SWAG MEETS HAUTE COUTURE Businessman Sanjay Kapur recently tied the knot with his longtime partner, Priya Sachdev, an entrepreneur, a mother and a style icon. Sachdev has conceptualised RockNShop, a marketplace for International and Indian luxury brands and also the COO and Creative Director of the luxury fashion retail store Kitsch. Kapur, the CEO of Sixt, India (Sona Mobility Services Ltd.), was earlier married to designer Nandita Mahtani and actress Karishma Kapoor.

earlier, and was determined to find a new formula that would allow him to massproduce and mass-distribute milk chocolate candies. In 1905, he opened a mammoth and modern candymaking facility in Derry Church, which was a path breaking move for Milton and the candy industry. Quickly, the Hershey Chocolate Company’s success far exceeded that of its founder’s previous venture. His legacy as a businessman and philanthropist continues to this day. The Hershey Chocolate Company has endured as one of the world’s greatest candy makers, with brands that include Almond Joy, Mounds, Cadbury, Reese’s and Twizzler.





Edinburgh Business School launches one year full-time MBA


dinburgh Business School, the Graduate School of Business of Heriot-Watt University in the UK, recently launched one year full-time MBA program focusing on entrepreneurship. This unique program, which will begin from September 2017, offers a host of exciting initiatives including an intensive, six-week study seminar in Dubai, company visits, guest speakers, and a final elective where students develop an investor-ready business plan.

Students will also benefit from one-to-one business mentoring while developing their plan. Further, the business school

is also offering a fullyfunded scholarship for an exceptional female candidate. The program will attract entrepreneurs keen to launch their own businesses, and those who want to be more creative and adventurous within their organisations, offering specialist electives in ‘Entrepreneurship and Creativity’ and ‘Entrepreneurial Venturing’.

Walmart pledges support to women-owned businesses in India W

ith an aim to encourage women entrepreneurs, Walmart India has gone an extra mile to support them by imparting professional and soft skills training. Recently, as many as 32 women entrepreneurs graduated from the Walmart Women Entrepreneurship

Development Programme (WEDP) that aims to enhance their skills, capability and sustainability. It works with non-profit organisation WEConnect International and Vrutti, a centre for sustainable livelihood, to implement the


Amazon plans to make Tantuja a global brand


mazon India is taking global a state-owned saree brand, Tantuja, as part of its global selling program. Tantuja is owned by West Bengal State Handloom Weavers’ Co-operative Society Ltd and Amazon is taking Tantuja to the US, after the brand received huge response selling through Amazon India since last August.



training program. The criteria for selecting women entrepreneurs are that their businesses should be 51 per cent owned and controlled by one or more women, have a minimum turnover of Rs 10 lakh and should be in existence for three years.

At first glance, it’s easy to miss the impact new innovations can have on the world. But look again. Bill Gates, Founder, Microsoft As the world recognises the need for a secure digital ID as a public good, India is way ahead! Nandan Nilekani, Co-Founder, Infosys. Worked on #Aadhaar 2 lessons:a) NEVER be discouraged by initial rejection b) Science, indeed all of life, is Art Anand Mahindra, Chairman and MD, Mahindra Group Don’t live your CV, live your Eulogy. Harsh Goenka, Chairman, RPG Enterprises




Private Company vs. LLP Which is Better for You? By Saloni Shroff


hen starting an enterprise, one of the most fundamental and preliminary questions raised by an entrepreneur is which kind of entity, a private company incorporated under the Companies Act, 2013 (Companies Act) or a limited liability partnership established under the Limited Liability Partnership Act, 2008 (LLP Act), would be most suitable to the enterprise. This article discusses the options that an entrepreneur should consider while forming an enterprise.

a private company can be converted into an LLP more expeditiously, in compliance with the LLP Act, 2008 and the extent foreign investment provisions but conversion of an LLP into a company would require compliance with detailed legal provisions, which may not be optimal from a tax and timing perspective. Further, since an LLP is a relatively newer concept in India, there are certain procedural hurdles that might delay the setting up of an LLP as compared to a private company. Further, in our experience, some laws and regulations are yet to be updated expanding their applicability to LLPs (along with companies).

Where lies the difference?

An LLP is an attractive entity to establish mainly due to tax reasons. Both a private company and an LLP are liable to pay an income tax at the rate of 30 per cent of its taxable income, in addition to surcharges depending on net or total income, respectively. However, the main difference comes for the dividend distribution tax, where a private company has to pay an additional tax at an effective rate of 20.36 per cent on any amount which is declared or distributed or paid by a private company to its shareholders. Unlike a private company, an LLP is not required to pay any dividend distribution tax and profits distributed and they are not liable to tax in the hand of the partners. Incorporating an LLP requires lesser legal compliances, whereas a private company is required to file various forms and documents like a memorandum of association and articles of association at the time of incorporation. The LLP agreement, offers more operational flexibility in structuring and managing an LLP compared to a private company, bound by the memorandum of association and its articles of association. A company also has to undertake a number of statutory compliances such as holding general meetings, board meetings, maintaining registers and much more which are not required in the case of LLPs. It is important to note that

The disadvantages of an LLP

The biggest disadvantage of an LLP is in terms of its liability. The Companies Act provides the manner for determining liability of directors and individuals qualifying as an “officer in default”. In an LLP, the designated partner has no shield or protection from the LLP and the liability for compliances with the LLP Act fall on the designated partner and there can be instances where the designated partners are also personally liable alongside the LLP. The company provides a corporate veil to its shareholders and there is a distinction between ownership and management. In an LLP, there is no clear distinction between partners and management. This places a huge risk on the partners of an LLP when taking a loan, applying for licenses, or dealing with third parties. While operationally an LLP may seem easier, if you are planning for long term growth of your business, whether it is raising funds from the public, selling a business, merging, etc. but the private company is the preferred form of structure. However, it is always prudent to seek legal advice for your bespoke requirements.

“While operationally an LLP may seem easier, if you are planning for long term growth of your businesse but the private company is the preferred form of structure.”



Saloni Shroff, Associate, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas




Why Start-ups Need Branding


By Alpana Parida

meet a lot of entrepreneurs, starting out their ventures, saying it is still not the time for branding. Even today, branding is seen as a later stage luxury, a niceto-have thing as against a must-have. And if they are in the B2B space, they see no point in it whatsoever.

Taking the Lead

Infosys, Apple, Google or Flipkart were all unknown companies when they started out. The only thing that distinguishing them from others was the zeal and vision which their founders carried. They had to attract investors, good caliber partners and suppliers, employees and early customers. To do so, each time they portrayed their product through their words or action, they were creating a brand. A brand is simply the perception of the sum total of all touch points – of a product, service or business. Thus, each meeting, personality of the promoters, kind of PowerPoint presentation he makes, quality and uniqueness of the product or the service offered, references cited – all these things give a perspective about the start-up.

What is a Brand?

“Branding creates trust, affinity and preference and a greater belief in future. A branded pitch is considered to be more professional and has more clarity.”

Human brains have a filing system. It takes all fragmented associations about anything and everything – and ‘files’ it together under a ‘tab’. This tab could be a logo, could be a sound or a smell – that trigger memories of all these fragmented associations. That is why a wafting smell can transport you to a particular time and place. A logo is a powerful ‘tab’ to which all associations of a brand start getting attached. The earlier a brand starts to create this bank of associations, the stronger it gets. A logo and/or a brand name is like a bar code. Each time our brain scans it – it unlocks all the facts, experiences and memories about that brand. A good logo is both distinctive and simple. A good brand name should be unique and yet memorable. Nike’s swoosh, Citibank’s arc and Apple’s apple are examples of simple yet distinctive logos. Pepperfy, Paperboat, Google are unique and memorable names. It is important that a brand’s identity should not simply be a category descriptor but a unique reference. So for every



RuPay and PayTM , there are other brands such as PayUMoney, PayZippy, PayZapp, TruPay and others. In a sea of sameness of undifferentiated names, most of them are more category descriptors and only one or two will stick and the others will never register. Mobikwik and Citrus Pay are much more unique as brands. Thus, branding ensures that all brand equity is not frittered away through fragmented memories – but starts to stick around as a unique, relevant and a strong brand identity that acts as a ‘barcode’ to which meanings continually gets attached. This continual meaning creation builds a strong foundation for a brand and makes it more relevant. It is important to create this perception across all stakeholders. It creates a greater belief in investors, who see a branded pitch as more professional. With a greater clarity about the market, it attracts better talent and partners, creates trust, affinity and preference and a greater belief in the future dream. Branding also helps you be the David to entrenched Goliaths – and can help get customers and gain marketshare faster.

5 Things to Remember while Building a Start-up Brand . I often ask entrepreneurs to answer


a fundamental question about their business - “Why will someone buy your product/service”. I am amazed that eight out of 10 start-ups cannot answer that question. Having an idea is not good enough, you need to define why it is relevant to your customers. . What differentiates you from others? What is the brand promise and your distinctive brand personality? Define the emotional reason for consumers to connect with your brand. . Create brand identity that is simple yet unique, invest in a logo that has the power to stick and signify the brand. . Create a brand culture that defines everything you do, and create an experience for your consumers. . Stay consistent. Building a brand is not simply knowing what to do but equally about what not to do.

2 3 4 5

Alpana Parida, Managing Director, DY Works

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GROWTH Much credit goes to world food crisis in

2007-08 that has led global economies to reinforce efficiency in agriculture. Through technology, commitment is being enabled at multiple value points – favourable policies, transparency in market information, leaner supply chain, single window access to raw materials and affordable machinery, and access to credit. Barring policies, which is pure government play, agri-tech start-ups and private investors are ploughing hard for harvesting better growth ahead. On $313 million raised by 53 agritech start-ups in India in 2016 (as per online investment platform for agri-food technologies - AgFunder), one might laugh off at it when seen through the e-commerce lens. But since agri-tech space is nascent globally, India became the second highest investment destination after the US with those 53 deals last year. By Sandeep Soni



Photo: Naveen Sharma

L-R: Alekh Sanghera, Co-Founder and CEO, FarMart; Prashant Jain, Co-Founder and COO, Crofarm; Swapnil Tripathi, Co-Founder, Paalak; Varun Khurana, Co-Founder, Crofarm







he technology solutions by Indian agritech start-ups are largely focusing on four areas. First, helping farmers with a) Right information for e.g., about the crop, weather, soil, market prices, etc., using algorithms, data analytics and image processing techniques that has companies like AgroStar and Airwood; and b) Devices for e.g., irrigation control system etc., having startups like Flybird. Second, selling agri-products through online marketplace where again we have AgroStar and Kisan Point. Shardul Sheth, Co-founder, AgroStar, says, “E-commerce is just one part of our solution. Every information related to growing crops, whether it is the prices at the mandis, weather updates, what products to use, how to improve yield, how to conserve water, crop infection, etc., is available for farmers.” Started in 2010 as a manufacturer of organic fertilizers, AgroStar pivoted to the current model in 2013. Currently 200 sellers sell agri inputs on AgroStar and delivers surprisingly via India Post, unlike other marketplaces. “India Post has been amazingly efficient against the popular perception of it. No other logistics company can deliver, let’s say 50 kms away from a taluka in a tier III district within five days. They can deliver to any valid pin code across the country,” explains Sheth. AgroStar has one centralized warehouse each in Pune, Ahmedabad and Jaipur and is looking to become profitable within next two years. Third area is about ending pilferage in the supply chain by connecting consumer and farmer in terms of online delivery of fresh farm produce that has start-ups like selling directly to consumers and Crofarm aiming at neighborhood retailers. Ajay Kakra, Director, Agri & Natural Resources, PricewaterhouseCoopers India, says, “For farmers, production cost is big and any technology that helps them reduce it and increase their share is very welcoming. For e.g. if producing mango would cost him Rs 10 per kg while consumers buy at Rs 50 per kg, then the additional Rs 40 is gained by the intermediaries without any value addition.” The impact of agri-tech, believes Swapnil Tripathi, Co-founder,, can be maximized in solving the fundamental issue with supply chain as compared to last mile. “Last mile is a generic problem and not specific to the agri space." Started in August 2016, Noida-based has two collection centres - in Bulandshahr and Hapur (towns




>> Launched in 2010, Pune >> 5-15% margin as per product category >> 200 sellers on the platform >> $10m Series B funding led by Accel Partners in March 2017 >> 3 warehouses (Pune, Ahmedabad, Jaipur) >> Within 2 years aiming for profitability >> 8-10% return rate


>> Launched in 2016, Gurugram >> 100+ retail store partners in Delhi NCR and Bengaluru >> 10% cheaper supplies as per product category >> $1.5m seed round raised from Mukul Singhal and Rohit Jain (former principals, SAIF Partners) and others in August 2016 >> Rs 10,000 daily sale order >> 14% blended commission charged across categories


>> Launched in 2016, Noida >> 12-18% commission charged >> Undisclosed seed funding from multiple angels in February 2017 >> Rs 350 average B2C ticket size >> 500 orders (B2C), 700-1,000 orders (B2B) expected by end of 2017


>> Launched in 2016, Delhi >> 20-25% cheaper machinery >> 10-30% commission charged from machinery owners >> Undisclosed seed funding from Indian >> Angel Network in March 2017 >> Present in Western UP and Saharanpur district >> Rs 750-1,000 average order value >> 10,000 farmers expected by end of 2017

in Western Uttar Pradesh) and it delivers in Delhi NCR. It also sells to retailers. When selling to retailers, which becomes business-to-business, the supplies are 10 per cent cheaper as though it depends on the product, apart from the convenience and freshness quotient that it brings to retailers. Varun Khurana, Co-Founder, Crofarm and former CTO at Grofers, says, “At Crofarm they can sell their products in packaged form unlike mandis, to reduce wastage. In fruits and vegetables there is a whopping, at least 60 per cent, wastage in the supply chain.” Gurugram-based Crofarm has potato, tomato and onions as its highest selling items with average sale order worth more than Rs 10,000 per day. “Maximum opportunity is in retail as it is the last part of the chain where businesses are trying to innovate. But in five-10 years it will percolate down to the producer side which is till now mostly untouched,” adds Kakra. Fourth area is ‘Uber-ing’ underutilized machinery, including tractors by connecting its owners to farmers who can’t afford it, wherein we have start-ups like FarMart. Alekh Sanghera, Co-founder and CEO, FarMart – launched in January 2016 , says, “80 per cent of farmers can’t afford machines. On the other hand, machine owners traditionally can reach only to farmers in their village and nearby ones. So aggregating machines on the single platform, gives cost benefit to farmers which is 20-25 per cent cheaper than offline market.” For machine owners, they are able to serve more customers with wider reach, up to seven kms area. “The charges are per hour or per land holding size basis,” adds Sanghera. Owners can track their orders via the app on the subsidized smartphones given by FarMart. This is the part of the trend that is coming up in countries like the US, Canada, Israel, and Australia, where there is an increased interest in agriculture as people are now more aware of it after going through the global food crisis. From consumer perspective, there is broader interest in healthy eating. Mark Kahn, Founding Partner, Omnivore Partners, says, “This trend is playing out in India as well, where entrepreneurs are launching businesses around food, agri sustainability, organics, vertical agriculture, hydroponics, etc.” Bengaluru-based venture capital firm, Omnivore Partners is among the few investors focusing on early stage agri and food start-ups since last six years.

Over 58%

rural households depend on agriculture for livelihood


GDP contribution to India

~`1.11 trillion

agriculture GDP

Source: India Brand Equity Foundation (figures for 2016-17)



~`15,280 cr.

FDI equity inflow by agri services and machinery sectors from April 2000-Dec. 2016.

hile most of the start-ups have set up call centres where farmers can call for agronomy-related advice, these businesses want farmers adopt app usage. But how do you navigate them in using the app with probably negligible connectivity? The mindset shift to smartphones among farmers is being driven mostly by their children, who are aware of basic smartphone features and use WhatsApp. Moreover, the apps are meant to work even at low 2G connection and offline as well with downloadable content. “Our app works offline as well and the size is less than 8 MB. We have given tremendous attention to its user interface based on multiple interactions with farmers,” adds Sheth. Once the farmer downloads the app, AgroStar team calls them to guide on how to search the products, how and where to click etc. There were three key discoveries during the interactions that Sheth observed. First, farmers don’t understand the search option. Hence AgroStar removed it. Second, they tend to continuously scroll down the screen. So AgroStar instead of putting the most important thing right on the top of the page, took it to the second page. Third, farmers don’t usually have the patience to read lengthy content about a particular problem. So it was reduced to its crux. AgroStar uses image recognition technology to offer solution on the infected crops. It has repository of images for major crop diseases that are 90 per cent accurate to the pictures that

`1,87,223 cr. ~271.98 MT

allocation for rural, agricultural and allied sectors for FY 2017-18

India's food grain production

farmers share of the infected crop. “In the cotton season, we saw that 80 per cent of cotton has five-seven diseases. Farmers can share the picture of the crop based on which we can suggest them the products to solve that problem,” claims Sheth. More than the cost advantage, it is the clarity on pricing that farmers and retailers often grapple with. For e.g., in consumer market, the pricing for X commodity for up to 15 days of the season’s beginning is expensive and when the season nears its end, the prices again go steep. This means in between, that is 75 per cent of the season, the price remains almost static. “With if a farmer is supplying for e.g., bottle gourd between January-February, the prices are not going to change. In the market, if I take the median at Rs 10 then the farmer might end up transacting between Rs 6 to Rs 12. But we keep the prices static at Rs 10,” explains Tripathi. Another issue is that of seasonality of crops but since agritech start-ups partner with farmers which are into multiple types of crop farming, it doesn’t remain extremely cyclical. “For vegetables, farmers would need machinery almost every second month while for wheat it is November to April cycle and for rice it is June to November. So, in 12 months of time, around 10 months we are working with full capacity. There are not more two months when machinery is not in use,” maintains Sanghera. In a country where 78 per cent farmers are small and marginal who probably can’t afford three-time meal in a day, it is tricky to understand how they will adopt even the ‘affordable’ technology available. And that seems a long, really long road ahead. MAY 2017 l ENTREPRENEUR



Make Over Masters

Beauty and wellness industry is in makeover mode and five entrepreneurs give an account of how they are changing the dynamics of salon and spa business at Indian Salon & Wellness Congress 2017.

ENRICHING BEYOND LOOKS Salon as an organized vertical in the beauty and wellness market has relatively been a newer and fragmented space. Of course then, existence of legacy players in this space is quite unlikely and if at all there were, you won’t see any of them around today. But exceptions exist like unisex salon chain Enrich Salons and Academy (Enrich) that was launched as a friendly venture way back in 1997. And it took its own sweet time – 13 years precisely to scale up instead of withering away. And then it was nothing short of a transformational growth.

L-R: Rohit Dedhia and Vikram Bhatt, Founders, Enrich


traight out of college, the young finance graduate in 1997, Vikram Bhatt along with his buddy Rohit Dedhia and a common friend played out on an idea of setting up a salon business. “It was not the initial idea. So it was quite an accident as only our common friend knew how it could work. Back then, the salon business wasn’t considered as a great profession and it was neither popular,” recalls Bhatt, Founder and Director, Enrich. Three years later, the common friend moved overseas after her marriage leaving Bhatt and Dedhia in the lurch but, “We clung to it as we started liking it,” adds Dedhia, Co-Founder and Director, Enrich. 32


Enrich grew to four salons till 2004 and to 12 till 2010 setting up back offices and learning how to manage a small chain. But the growth was average and Bhatt reasons for that. “We weren’t serious about fast tracking growth but then we realized of a great opportunity and the need to scale it up as a premium yet value-for-money brand,” stresses Bhatt, former vice president at the global IT and consulting company Accenture. Quitting Accenture in 2011 and focusing on Enrich led to 35 per cent annual hyper growth. From four-page to more than 30-page menu and from 12 to 60 salons across Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Pune and Vadodra.

SCALING UP PRETTILY YEAR OF LAUNCH: 1997, Mumbai TOTAL CENTRES: 60 across Ahmedabad, Vadodra, Pune, Bengaluru apart from Mumbai TECHNICIANS: Over 1,000 CUSTOMERS PER MONTH: 1,200-2,000 per centre EXPANSION: 150-250 centres in next five years CAGR: 35% REVENUE MIX: 45% from hair services, 35% from skin services, 17% from retail products, 3% from memberships AVERAGE BILL VALUE: Rs 1,400 for women, Rs 900 for men FUNDING: $10m from JM Financial Fund in 2010 & 2011


Bhatt takes great pride for being one of the very few salon brands that is extensively pro-employee or technicians focused company. “Our people management skills are one of the best. For e.g., our technicians and entire team work five days a week. No other salon or retail business offers that,” says Bhatt. Enrich believes in self-love first to do other things in life and that’s what reflects in its tagline – love begins with you. Salon industry suffers from very high employee attrition rate, anywhere between 50100 per cent a year. One of the reasons among them has been unstructured career path. The duo wary of this trend made Enrich the first chain to create a career path for them. “Within a year they become master stylist or beauty therapist and grow further in few years to becoming trainer as well,” explains Dedhia. There are other industry firsts as well that they claim. To name a few, setting up a central call centre for managing customer requests, introducing disposable aprons and towels made of Viscose, doing rigorous quality and customer experience audits of each salon, enrolling employees for professional counselling services, etc. The company forayed into home-based services by acquiring home salon brand Belita in August 2016. But Enrich too has been getting buyout offers since early days. And Bhatt is serious of not letting it go, though he quips, “If somebody today give us handsome multiples of revenue then why not, we will hand over the business but we are not that easy to give up.”



Entrepreneurship struck Rahul Bhalchandra bit late – at 40. “I should have started 10 years before that.” That’s the only sign of regret you would notice in otherwise confident and no-nonsense Bhalchandra’s voice – Co-Founder of Bengaluru based salon chain You Look Great (YLG). Though he started off late as an entrepreneur, it hardly took him time to find his true calling - YLG, in 2008. The company today has managed to stand out among its contemporaries.


efore YLG, Bhalchandra was heading the Future Group’s wellness business where he built the Health &Beauty category, was instrumental in setting up the group’s company with Sachin Tendulkar (Products branded “Sach” retail across the Future Group stores) and set up its salon chain - Star &Sitara. However, venturing into the salon business wasn’t actually the ‘Plan A’ for Bhalchandra and his wife Vaijayanti. “We wanted to start a retail chain because I already knew how to run it,” says Bhalchandra. But right into their first interaction with an investor, the duo realized that they were in the wrong boat. “The investors asked me why don’t you start a salon business because foreign direct investment in retail is not allowed. And, they were ready to back me,” he remembers. But, this meant controlling their evolving lifestyle, if not cutting down on it. “The car – Innova that I had 11 years back, I still drive that. We were clear that it will take at least a decade to set YEAR OF LAUNCH: up a significant service business and 2008, Bengaluru hence we would have to pause our FOUNDERS: material advancements,” he states. Rahul Bhalchandra and While most businesses truly Vaijayanti Bhalchandra believe in the value their customers TOTAL CENTRES: hold for them but YLG made it 45 in total - Bengaluru (36) extreme. Bhalchandra left it for his and Chennai (nine) customers to name his brand. The TARGET AUDIENCE: name also resonates when it comes Mid premium to quality benchmark. But in an EXPANSION: industry that’s highly unorganized Hyderabad in three months, how does one build the trust of piloting home-based services quality for its customers? For YLG, FUNDING: $5m from it is the question of how you deliver Helion Ventures in 2008 the service. “Every other salon and undisclosed sum from might claim quality but the kind Everstone Capital in 2012 of practices we have maintained


ACADEMY: ~7,000 sq. ft

I don’t think any salon does that. For e.g., all my laundry is done in-house, we have a centralized laundry service,” claims Bhalchandra, now 49. Also, every new joinee at YLG undergoes a skill test for every service and is inducted once the service trainer clears him/her. For e.g. as a stylist, YLG trainer will test him/her on cutting, blow drying, creative coloring etc. “I will not hire you even if you are coming from a large brand. You have to learn how we do things at YLG otherwise you cannot touch my customers,” cautions Bhalchandra. YLG has many industry firsts as well, including the European Light Therapy facials that use blue and red light at a certain wavelength for better penetration.


While the business has gained significant scale and size of 45 centers (36 in Bengaluru and nine in Chennai) and soon to be launched in Hyderabad, Bhalchandra has realized few things that he won’t do, learning from past nine years. At YLG instead of number of centres, it is about creating a model which is predictable, profitable and sustainable in terms of growth in a particular period. “As a retailer if I can make the business predictable of reaching profitability in particular period, that’s when the brand has cracked it, I think. To that extent we have been fairly successful in Bengaluru. We are now becoming lot more predictable in Chennai,” explains Bhalchandra. For him, the biggest achievement is being profitable at the centre level. Apart from that, YLG will remain focused on women and operate only at neighborhood stores or few mall stores. “During our consumer studies, we found that to scale up to 100 outlets in a city means positioning our self as a mid premium players. We chose to focus on our customer as the hero and provide great value to women as the brand is well known as a women’s brand,” opines Bhalchandra. When it comes to recruitment, he is sure of not having ‘heroes’ in his system. “If someone wants a particular star stylist, creative director, or an art director who do celebrity clients– then the customer is at the wrong place.” YLG has around 7,000 sq. ft of training academy which was set up even before the first salon was operational. The company quarterly and annually recognizes top performers in both the cities and offers all expenses paid training and incentive trip to foreign locales. “This year we are taking a 25 people team to Vienna for four days,” smiles Bhalchandra. The company is currently piloting app-based home services for customers. MAY 2017 l ENTREPRENEUR




The quest for physical, emotional and spiritual wellness has

moved beyond from being a thing for just metro city dwellers. And the opportunity seems bigger in tier one cities, ripe for disruption in the local wellness market. Silverine Spa & Salon, a young unisex beauty and wellness brand launched in Jaipur by noted beauty expert Purnima Goyal, is taking a shot at the makeover of city’s salon and spa market.


oyal has Shishir Goyal, her husband and partner in crime, whose family deals in silver jewellery business. So not just the name – Silverine comes from her husband’s lineage in silver jewellery but it also adds up to their business of salon and spa. “The idea is to promote the silver jewellery among its customers who are mostly women. Also the salon’s theme is silver and white color even as there aren’t many silver-only jewellery showrooms here,” says Goyal. The duo launched Silverine in 2015 as a franchisee partner for Cleopatra Chandigarh-based salon and spa chain and it is the biggest salon in Jaipur in terms of size. “Ours is a 4,000 sq. ft centre. We are technically collaborated with Cleopatra which has around 13 centres, primarily in Punjab,” she opines. But there was a catch for Goyal and her husband. They acquired space for launching Silverine on the second floor of a mall in Jaipur which already had low footfall. And to attract customers to a salon and spa centre two floors up wasn’t quite a good idea. So Goyal had to direct her investments for the first year into marketing and advertisement that did drive a good chunk of people to walk up to second floor. “Gradually the word of mouth started working for us and from last year we have now scaled up to 50 new customers every day,” she adds with a differentiated price offering which is around



50 per cent cheaper than brick and mortar chains. For e.g., Silverine’s haircut costs Rs 200 against around Rs 400 charged by local centres with average bill value of Rs 1,000-1,500 and around 70-80 per cent customers returning for the service. Despite being a non-metro salon and spa brand, Silverine has managed to come with its own uniqueness. “Our semi-precious stone basin for pedicure which has lights inside it is unique across India,” smiles Goyal.


Silverine has also expanded to business-to-business model in a short time span. The brand has tied up with banks and retailers in Jaipur for introducing spa offers for their chosen customers at a discount. The brand is now looking at expanding to Ajmer and Udaipur which are rich in tourism apart from Jaipur also via franchising route. Goyal is also aiming at collaborating with budget or three star hotels where guests looking for such services don’t want to burn hole their pockets. “Bigger hotels have their own spas and salons. We are focusing on three star and affordable hotels to partner with and offer our service at a reasonable cost for their guests,” explains Goyal. For her husband, Shishir is launching a lifestyle magazine called High on Persona in May this year focusing on the richness of the city and Rajasthani culture apart from weddings that remains highlight for other print platforms. In the fray, is also a women’s club in the city to drive more customers to the salon business through memberships.




Former Gladrags Manhunt contest’s semi finalist Santosh Kumar is an entrepreneur who breathes versatility. Hyderabad-based third generation entrepreneur, Kumar’s family has been into textiles business from past four decades even as he wears multiple hats – running real estate, jewellery, furnishings and the one, most dearer to him – Paris De Salon, a luxury salon brand which was set up in 2010 has already created a niche in the premium salon market.

THE LUXURY QUOTIENT YEAR OF LAUNCH: 2010, Hyderabad TOTAL CENTRES: two (in Hyderabad) CENTRE SIZE: 4,500 sq. ft FOCUS AREAS: Hair care, make-up, beauty and skin care REVENUE MIX: 65% from beauty service and 35% from hair service DAILY FOOTFALL: 40 AVERAGE BILL VALUE: Rs 3,500


oming back from modeling in 2003, Kumar still had an inkling left in him to get his hands dirty in the wellness space. “I was into modeling from 2000 to 2004 but it was out of passion, it couldn’t be the career path,” admits Kumar. But before he launched Paris De Salon, Kumar was already heading several businesses under the company Starlet Group and he reasons for that, “I believe in having diversified businesses so that I don’t have to depend on one single business during recession,” he explains. More than his connect with the glamour world; Kumar forayed into

salon business because he believes it to be recession proof. “Salon is one of the markets that I feel is not prone to recession. At the end, people would still need a haircut every month,” adds Kumar. Hyderabad-based Paris De Salon has two centres in the city catering to the premium society for their hair, make-up and skin care requirements. Among its elite customer base are ace badminton star Saina Nehwal and veteran Bollywood actress and politician Jaya Prada. While Kumar believes he could have scaled it up to more centres in past seven years but is satisfied with the growth as he could only give that much time to it

with multiple businesses that drove away most of his time. Both the centres of Paris De Salon are profitable today. “I don’t want to focus on number of centres for growth. Jean Claude Biguine salons have just two centres in India but still they are such a big brand. So, I run it for passion and believe in quality not quantity, giving personalized touch to every business,” asserts Kumar. It is the only brand in India to have European standards certification (UKAS) other than ISO certifications.


Unlike a typical salon that has a menubased approach for offering services, Paris De Salon’s skin and hair analyzers analyses skin and hair before suggesting the treatment. “There are no menus. Customers are misled because other salons have daily targets to meet. We don’t believe in that,” he claims. The name in itself, says Kumar, has a story behind it. “Paris is my favorite city and during one of my visits in 2008, I went to a luxury salon that completely stood out from the others and so I decided of recreating the same experience for customers in India, particularly the upper class. I even named it keeping the city in mind,” he states. However, Kumar had to look for differentiation for its salon brand. He came across a pattern among the existing ones – all of them were 1500-2000 sq. ft in size. Also none of them had any product exclusivity. So he jumped into it and launched a massive 4,500 sq. ft salon with exclusive products from Paul Mitchell – international luxury salon brand. “I realized that if I am starting it, then it has to be the biggest salon,” maintains Kumar. The competition, believes Kumar is into mid and mass segment not into luxury and that’s where he is targeting. “That’s the reason I am not so keen in expanding rapidly but gradually via franchising to other metro cities with partners who are equally passionate about it.” The brand’s 65 per cent business comes from beauty service and the rest from hair service. The salon also has a unique concept of VIP room for customers seeking exclusivity and privacy. The biggest challenge however for Kumar is finding the skilled manpower. The brand has retention rate of 70 per cent and going forward, Kumar aims to scale it up in Southern and Western India. MAY 2017 l ENTREPRENEUR




Small towns, simple people and their simpler lifestyle!

The zing of beauty that adds that special touch of grace and class is not given much heed to in a small town, especially in the middle class families. But, with the rise of India’s urban middle class society, their aspirational needs have now grown stronger which sadly aren’t met with the adequate facilities available in a small town. Vadodara-based Mitalie Mange is among the very few wellness managers in the city who are trying to make that difference.


ounder of five-year old premium brand - Zoe Spa & Salon (Zoe) with two centres in Vadodara, Mange isn’t a newbie bitten by the instant passion for salons and spas, neither it was a new found opportunity for her. Having learnt the tricks of the trade from her nine years of job at cosmetics brand Lakme and healthcare company VLCC, Mange decided to eventually quit it in 2011. “I started what I wanted to. At the job I got a sense of the wellness business and knowledge about the industry that helped me take baby steps towards my first venture. My family stood by my side, a little worried though, as it was my first experience.” Mange invested Rs 40 lakh to bootstrap the business. The brand derives its name from the Greek word Zoe that means life. And that’s how the brand positions itself – giving new life to its customers. “In Gujarat there is a trend, where everyone launches salon or parlour by his/her YEAR OF LAUNCH: 2011, Vadodara name. Zoe is not such a project. It is a unique project in a city like Vadodara,” claims Mange. INVESTMENT:



Zoe has kept things simple and basic at both the centres that she believes makes the brand very special. A case in point is that a foot massage is given to every customer irrespective of the service he/she takes. In fact that’s what makes Zoe unique among its peers. “Other salons offer such services only for customers coming for a massage or a scrub but that’s among the basics. We always train our technicians in Swedish, Aroma and Sport massage that very few spas deliver correctly,” she maintains. Moreover, customers are also treated with a complementary head or foot massage if they have to wait for the service requested. What validates Zoe’s customer service which Mange cherishes is the fact that a lot of its customers have returned to Zoe after leaving it for its competitors in last



40 lakh (bootstrap) TOTAL CENTRES: Two (in Vadodara) NEW CUSTOMERS: At least 150 per month EXPANSION: 500 customers annually and 100 centres in 2019 via franchising FRANCHISING INVESTMENT: ~Rs 50 lakh per centre, ~Rs 7 lakh in royalty

the two years, when there was a sudden surge of 38 salon and spa businesses setting up their shops. “My customers tried all of them and came back to me. So it ensures that our customer service has been significantly better than others,” she affirms. The brand has scaled up with 500 new customers annually and expanded to businessto-business vertical as well. Zoe offers operational support to other spas as well in the form of straight forward consultancy, management agreement, revenue share as well as a joint venture. Currently it has 60 per cent returning customers but that’s due to a significant number of them being tourists. Mange has her eyes set firmly on her vision for Zoe. From two centres, she wants to scale it up to five centres next year, do few acquisitions, and eventually make it a 100-centre brand through franchising before going global. The focus, however, in India will remain on the tier-2 cities as “Metros are already too crowded,” concludes Mange.






For those who frown upon having their daily dose of medicines and by chance, not choice, fail to adhere to that regimen, BoxRx – the smart pill box won’t spare you.



Working as solutions specialist for medical devices at Agiliad (Pune-based product engineering services company founded by former senior executives of Patni Computer Systems), Nishant Kumar (Founder and CEO of Pune-based Embryyo Technologies) got to know about where the leading medical Original Equipment Manufacturers are heading with their new products in the new markets. He was later joined by Prateek Jain, his former classmate, at Embryyo.

“This was the time when we decided to start on our own. One of the problem areas identified was diagnostics wherein we learnt about Tuberculosis (TB) problem. We realized that TB patients mostly fail to recover because they don’t take medicines on time,” says Kumar.




For every pill there is a corresponding track which is broken when a pill is picked. This activity is sent in SMS format to a central server and it records the information and updates the mobile apps of the clinicians and workers on the field.

The duo created the solution that consists of an electronic pill box, a censor circuit, and a set of mobile applications. The TB blister pack which consists of four different kinds of drugs combined in one combi-pack. The blister pack has a censor cartridge which is made up of conductive tracks printed on a paper.

He later realized that lack of receptiveness for patients to adhere to a schedule hold them from getting cured completely as TB requires rigorous antibiotic treatment of six months. “It has to be zero patient burden solution where the patient has to be only a passive recipient,” adds Kumar.

By Sandeep Soni

80 mm


mm 120




The box is 120x120 mm and 80 mm in depth. “This white colored box is made up of cardboard. We have designed it in a way that after six months of medication, the same box can be re-used with some minor alterations. Ideally the blister pack has to be replaced every week,” opines Kumar.

BoxRx is available as a market ready prototype. The product is ready for large scale manufacturing and Kumar has already filed a patent for it. The box will cost around Rs 10,000 but in the public health system it will be free.

The start-up wants to take it to only proof-ofconcept level which means limited sales and then license it to a bigger player that can take it up for further manufacturing and distribution globally. “This is because we want to continue to create innovate solutions for other diseases like oncology where cost is very high and drug adherence is very low,” concludes Kumar.


Illustrations: Rajeev kumar

120 mm






By Baishali Mukherjee


o dikhta hai woh bikta hai’, roughly translates into - ‘to be sellable be visible’. And, facilitating visibility for fledgling start-ups and business ideas is what drives Startup Kickoff, an event that brings entrepreneurs, investors, VCs and accelerators on an idea sharing platform. The tenth edition of Startup Kickoff, powered by Franchise India 2017, was held on April 15-16 at The Lalit, Great Eastern Hotel. It witnessed some feisty ideas and innovations being presented

by a group of sparky young and aspiring entrepreneurs from Kolkata. Startups also showcased their products and services to the funders in ‘Demo Zone’, an exhibition space specially designed for them.

Ideas galore

More than 10 start-ups rocked the show with new ideas, products and business models, opening up new possibilities for customers, businesses and the world at




he idea of an iconic product that relates to the youth and has the potential of emerging as a brand with strong images and association value in the eyes of the consumer made Jayanta Samaddar’s idea a distinct one. The creative vigour of the team was palpable and grabbed the investors’ attention suitably. On asking about winning the investor’s attention, Samadar said, “What makes Kollab unique is the untold story of artists, rebels and independent thinkers. Being the winner at the Startup Summit is just a start. The selection has put the word out in the community about our brand. I see Kollab not just as another fashion brand in India. I see a brand with global potential because of our unique and universal story that people all across the world can relate to.” 40


large. The start-ups boasted of a broad repertoire ranging from services and apps to web development and e-commerce. These budding entrepreneurs enthusiastically presented their business models in a three minute AV presentation which was followed by a two minute Q&A session by the panel of judges which included Arijit Bhattacharya, Founder and CEO, Virtualinfocom, Rajesh Singhal, Vice President, Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd. (Times Group) and Raghav Kanoria, Director, Moni Viniyogh Pvt Ltd. The evaluation was done on four basic parameters – market, team, uniqueness and selling point. The young and innovative minds drew applause from the delegates attending the event. The ones that left a mark include Rohit, CEO, Rest Brothers, Bidisha, CEO, Medwise Pvt Ltd, Jayanta Samdar, Founder, Kollab Lifestyle, Vishes Anand Singh, Founder, Fusion Art Jewellery, Arun Kumar Jaiswal, Co-Founder, Amara Concepts LLP, Muzzafar Ahmed, CoFounder and CEO, Info Height Web and Mobile Application Pvt Ltd. and Saptak Banerjee, Founder, AAPTI Future Guide Pvt Ltd. At the end of the show, Jayanta Samaddar, Founder, Kollab Lifestyle - a designer street wear brand aimed at artists, rebels and independent thinkers, was declared the winner.








hile we cannot be very sure if Indian legal sector will ever witness an ‘Uber Moment’ but yes, we are very sure that there has been a major disruption in this section. After the start-up boom, back in 2015, ventures started off in almost every field. However, nothing major came up in the legal sector. Concepts came, ventures started but those mostly dealt with the traditional service part or providing easy database or search engines for law. There hasn’t been anything which could look at the grass root level when it comes to legal literacy of an ordinary man. There has been nothing that aims to bring change in the way legal picture is looked at in general. However, InCourt, a one-and-half-yearold start-up based in Greater Kailash 1 is working hard to change this. InCourt, an “WE REALLY WANT app and web based platform gives away all TO WORK HARD the legal and business updates in short and simple 60 words. The news brief is coupled AND BRING A VALUE with informative pictures, videos and link PRODUCT TO THE to the detailed news piece. Sanjay Aggarwal, Founder of InCourt PEOPLE. WE WANT who comes with around two decades of TO CHANGE THE WAY experience in the legal business says, “We really want to work hard and bring a value PEOPLE LOOK AT product to the people. We want to change THE INDIAN LEGAL the way people look at the Indian legal SYSTEM” system.” He not only conceived the idea of Sanjay Aggarwal, InCourt but also worked tirelessly to bring Founder, InCourt around 17,000 downloads and 9000 active users with the whole concept to substance. Sanjay great feedbacks from the users. It has a dedicated stands firm like a rock when it comes to content team which curates the legal updates, news and changes motivating the team or mentoring the other co-founders. that take place. New version of the app has been launched with Not only this, Sanjay Aggarwal has been an early stage many remarkable features like search, wire, voiceover. Rightly investor for InCourt too. His experience with Eagle Riders said, anything legal is just a swipe away. (world’s oldest and largest venture in adventure tourism on Garima, NLU Lucknow alumni, had joined InCourt just after luxury bikes), and his association with Kishore Biyani in Elisir few months of its inception. She has been operating as the VP Lifestyle Pvt Ltd has been of a great help while ideating the and donning as many hats as required to keep the product and concept of InCourt. He also runs Insurance Samadhan ( www. team on the run. Talking about the future of the product she ), a platform that handles grievances of tells, “We have designed the app and the content in such way life and health policy holders. as to suit the needs of budding entrepreneurs, aspiring and M Abhijnan Jha, yes! As strangely as his name is spelt are current law students, lawyers, business professionals, CA and his ways. Another co-founder and an NLU-Jodhpur product, he CS aspirants. Along with that we are working ahead to introduce has been the brain behind all the ideas and processes. When we various other models which will be strictly on the basis of our asked about his journey so far, he dedicates it all to the team and customer needs. Take for example start ups; knowing about each the interns who worked hard with him amidst all the technical and every compliance and being able to manage it is a task, we and financial crunches but never let go off the aim. plan to make it simpler for them.” InCourt by InCourt News Pvt. Ltd. is up and running with





“Bringing as many channels as possible on board and making the content interesting even for the general public is what we will count as success,” she adds. No market leader is ever made without a great team. Same is the case with InCourt. Ashima Chadha and Shraddha Lal, who head the curation vertical and editing vertical respectively, are almost never offline. Ashima’s laptop in fact does not need a shutdown button. It is a pleasure to watch both the ladies pushing the limits. It is a fact that not even 1 per cent of the Indian population would wilfully want to take recourse of legal machinery if there is even a slightest chance to avoid it. “We



are not a very law-friendly people. This is the challenge. It is very important for a layman to understand the law. To know what it talks about and how it works. All we care about is the current financial year’s tax slab and when your daughter is being ill treated, how can the law help her,” Garima adds. So, law has always been there to make things easier for us. It is just the ignorance of it that has raised so many problems. InCourt, in this regard has started blog on its web portal. Rakshita Verma, who is a feature writer for this section gives the most interesting takes on the topics that are hard to talk about. Courageous that she is, her take on legal subjects are even more distinct.

LTOR: Vaishnavi Gupta, Amit Bara, Ashima Chadha, Jatin Sahani, Garima Yadav, Shraddha Lal. Centre: Mr. Sanjay Aggarwal

Jatin Sahani, who is also one of the co-founders and is handling the technical front, mentions about the technical edge InCourt provides to all its users. He goes on to mention that it will be for the first time that such an elaborate sector of study will be dealt with and curated to make it an easy read for almost every one. Moving on, team InCourt plans to introduce new products which will deal in specific subscribed contents in the areas of taxation, labour laws, IPR, Company Laws and International Laws and other complex compliance related fields. This attempt to innovate with the way law is perceived in our country will definitely be worth the watch. MAY 2017 l ENTREPRENEUR




Digital Transformation is Mandatory Today

Innovation Officers at The Relevance of

Organizations Today


By Sneha Banerjee

ndian companies, especially in sectors like information technology, are in dire need of disruptive innovation to revamp their business strategies. Innovation officers have become an integral part of an organization today, be it healthcare, banks, venture funds, educational organizations and more. Especially when India as a country is warming up to ideas such as cashless economy and programs such as Digital India, Smart City Plans and more, innovation becomes a very important element in it.

Innovation Officers are ‘Inhouse’ Incubators

Chief innovation officers lead their companies’ efforts to find and develop ideas for new products. They also work to ensure that other executive officers recognize and support initiatives to encourage innovation. As Steve Jobs rightly said -- ‘Innovation distinguishes between a Leader and a Follower,’ to ensure that good ideas become the next generation of new products, chief innovation officers work in collaboration with all levels in the organization. They work with the R&D team to ensure that their efforts reflect customer needs as well as innovative thinking. Manoj Kumar, Head of Innovations, Tata Trusts, believes that the relevance of innovation officers is directly measured on the parameter of how successful they have been at keeping the company’s vision relevant. “Innovation is the lifeline of any business and if you don’t, someone else will disrupt you out from your market. I expect innovation offices to become the in-house incubator and accelerator of innovative ideas and create a pipeline of new solutions that can catapult the business on a non-linear growth trajectory,” he adds. 44


“Innovation is the lifeline of any business and if you don’t, someone else will disrupt you out from your market.” Manoj Kumar, Head of Innovations, Tata Trusts

Even traditional businesses are gradually warming up to innovations such as automation, digital payments and artificial intelligence in order to streamline operations under controlled costs. Technology and innovation heads play a crucial role in spearheading these transformations. Sauvik Banerjjee, President, Tata Industries, Digital Initiatives, Advisory to Group Cos and CTO of Tata CLiQ, says, “Digital transformation has become a mandate right now for the Tata Group.” Meanwhile, Sunil Nair, Senior Vice President, Technology and Business Solutions, Spar India, believes that when one spearheads the technology part of the business, his role is basically to make a small difference in the customer’s life. Talking about approaching the concept of innovation in the retail space, Nair said that he always works around the concept of jugaad. “Innovation is not something path-breaking and bringing an out-of-the-box concept, all we strive to do is make a small difference in the life of shoppers by simplifying their shopping experience,” he adds. Speaking further on the subject, Kaushik Banerjee, Chief Innovation Officer and Chief Business Officer, The Growth Matrix, says, “Innovation is not a survival strategy or a technology strategy but it is a core business strategy that demands one to look at business holistically and align and drive all the assets of the enterprise to embrace and usher new changes so that innovation becomes pervasive and prevailing in whatever the enterprise does and will do in future.”

How Does One Qualify for This Role

Innovation involves deep understanding of the company’s business, its ecosystem, customers, competitors and usage of data as an asset. Chandrahas Panigrahi, CMO and Business Director, Acer India, says, “This role involves more responsibility compared to the fancy designation; other key requisites include analytical skills, excellent interpersonal skills, strong business knowledge, inquisitive and creative mind to develop inventive strategies and direct new projects.”

Donning Multiple Roles

Many executives have stressed on the fact that they are often forced to perform multiple roles, which includes role of an innovation officer, due to the unavailability of quality talent in the market and tighter budgets. Banerjjee believes that major conglomerates look for qualities such as ownership backed by commitment, trust and integrity, ability to build new teams and ability to be agile and not have a monolithic mindset. “Change is constant “Innovation is not and these executives (innovation officers) should be able something pathto change every month with something new coming in the breaking and bringing industry,” he adds. CIOs are enablers who design processes and introduce an out-of-the-box concept, all we strive best practices that allow him or her to create a space for others to develop and drive novel concepts. Katharina to do is make a Borchert, Chief Innovation Officer at Mozilla, says, “The role small difference in often includes analyzing trends and identifying emerging the life of shoppers new market opportunities that guide investment decisions.” by simplifying their shopping experience.” Indian industries are gradually learning the ropes to advance technologies such as artificial intelligence, data mining, Sunil Nair, Senior Vice internet of things. It has become imperative for companies to President, Technology hire folks who can paint new shades of innovation within the and Business Solutions, organization. Spar India







Illustrations & Design by: Rajeev kumar





IIT Delhi 2005 batchmates Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal launched online book store Flipkart in Bengaluru. Made 20 deliveries that year.

HOW EBAY INDIA JUMPED INTO FLIPKART’S SIDECAR At last, Flipkart was the one to offer its ‘crutches’ to eBay India to chug along, better than its handicapped growth since 2004 when it entered the country. Flipkart too got a temporary respite to catch its breath and continue its marathon, chased by the big daddy – Amazon. Selling out to Flipkart wasn’t out of choice but desperation by eBay India to stay afloat in the ‘booming’ Indian e-commerce market. Amazon could anyways never come into picture for acquisition being competitors back home in the US whereas Paytm has already been ‘colonized’ by Alibaba. Snapdeal also, in its journey from riches to rags, couldn’t be the alternative. By Sandeep Soni



Hired first employee, Ambur Iyyappa as delivery manager. Raised $1 million from Accel Partners after two angel rounds of $40k and $100k in the same year. Total headcount reached 150.



Acquired Myntra for around $300 million. Launched the annual discount festival – Big Billion Day but failed due to price changes, low stock and non-responsive website issues. Raised a mammoth funding of $1.91 billion in Series F, G and H rounds.

Kalyan Krishnamurthy, director at Tiger, appointed as the interim Chief Financial Officer to manage costs and improve sales.

2015 Made multiple acquisitions, two in mobile ad and marketing space with Adiquity and Appiterate and another in payment services with FX Mart. Secured $700 million Steadview Capital and Tiger.

2017 Acquired eBay India valuing it at $200-250 million. However it is believed that Flipkart has given additional equity to eBay instead of cashing it out. eBay entered India in 2004 by acquiring auction site eBay’s idea of making auctioning big India fired back even as it lost all ground to Flipkart, Snapdeal and later Amazon without making significant investments and innovation in India.

2017 While it has added to Flipkart’s firepower to take on Amazon and prepare for future listing with a cap on losses as steered by Tiger – biggest shareholder in Flipkart; for eBay it has been the deal for survival with otherwise no intent of existing India.



Expanded to movies, music, games, electronics and mobiles. Launched logistics company E-kart and cash on delivery option. Raised $10 million from Tiger Global Management (Tiger).

Expanded to eight other categories including cameras, laptops and stationary. Acquired Chakpak (Bollywood news site) and Mime360 (digital media distribution start-up)



Pivoted to marketplace model and raised $360 million from two rounds in Series E from Dragoneer, Morgan Stanley, Sofina, ICONIQ Capital etc., apart from existing investors.

Shifted base to Singapore for tax benefits. Acquired electronics retailer Letsbuy for around $25 million. Launched Flipkart mobile app and expanded further into categories. Became unicorn and raised $150 million round led by Naspers.



Valuation marked down multiple times by its investors including Morgan Stanley, Fidelity, Valic apart from T. Rowe Price. Morgan Stanley cut it to the lowest valuation of $5.54 billion from $15 billion peak valuation.

Binny became the new CEO replacing Sachin due to ‘performance issues’. Acquired fashion e-tailer, Jabong, and payment app, PhonePe.



Kalyan Krishnamurthy took over Binny as the new CEO. Raised $1.4 billion from Tencent, eBay and Microsoft at $11.6 billion valuation. Tencent contributed $700 million followed by eBay with $500 million and rest by Microsoft.

Saw multiple top management exits such as Punit Soni, Mukesh Bansal, Ankit Nagori, Sanjay Baweja etc. Amazon increased its India commitment to $5 billion, narrowed the gap with Flipkart to topple it as India’s top e-commerce company.

2017 Similar deal was struck in 2016 when Mahindra & Mahindra sold its babycare business BabyOye to FirstCry apart from investing $34 million in it. Tiger Global has been making valiant efforts in keeping its two biggest Indian bets – Flipkart and Ola to maintain lead against Amazon and Uber and give stellar returns from their IPOs. Infographics: Manish Raghav





What does it take to Maintain a Brand in the Hospitality Sector?


he travel and hospitality sector in India gets continuously challenged by factors ranging from foreign brands, government policies and regulations and changing trends. The concept of shared economy and new-age companies like OYO Rooms, Airbnb and food- delivery services like Fresh Menu and InnerChef have also played their share to disrupt the industry with the help of technology. However, marquee Indian hoteliers and restaurant owners have carved their niche over the years by following the simple yet important Indian concept –“Atithi devo bhava” (Guest is equivalent to God). Entrepreneur spoke to three industry leaders to understand what helps them clock successful business despite several challenges in the domain.

By Sneha Banerjee

>> Grown from a single brand to an empire of over 100 outlets across 20 Indian cities >> Brands include – Citrus Hotels, Falafel’s, Khandani Rajdhani, Rasovara and more




aurav Goenka joined the Mirah Group in 2005 and almost immediately charted his own path and founded the hospitality arm of the group. He took over a hotel property in Lonavla and rebranded it as Citrus, making it the group’s second major acquisition post Khandani Rajhdhani. Mirah has grown into one of the favoured hospitality brands in India under his helm.

On Building the Right Team

“We’ve been in this business for over a decade now and have built a brand with a lot of passion and dedication. Our USP is a very bright team of professionals and we have invested heavily on system and processes that has helped us run multibrand and multi-city operations. The real success lies in the fact that one believes in his team and concepts,” Goenka said. Mirah Hospitality is a comprehensive, end-to-end solutions provider and leading player in the Indian food and beverage and hospitality sector. The brand has grown from a single brand to an empire of over 100 outlets across 20 Indian cities in a short period of time. 48





aljee saw the glory of an IPO in 2006 and the dust of financial crisis in 2008. Today, Royal Orchid Hotels is the only Indian hotel company from Bangalore to have made an International foray with new markets in Africa. Its two brands Royal Orchid and Regenta hotels today stand with 38 hotels in 26 cities across India and Africa. >> Baljee started his journey from Shimla >> Started hotel business in 2001 >> First Royal Orchid Hotel came up on Old Airport Road, Bangalore >> Brand had its IPO in 2006 >> Royal Orchid and Regenta 38 hotels in 26 cities across India and Africa. Speaking about competition, Baljee said, “Entrepreneurs in the hotel industry must be willing to adapt to the current economic scenario and imbibe the evolving technologies which are gaining tremendous hold in the market, with the consumers today making impromptu, yet informed decisions through their

mobile phones. During times of festivals and holidays, it is the hotelier who works double time. Some industries are labour intensive, and others are capital intensive; however, it is the hotel industry that carries the pressure of being both capital and labour intensive.” “What is luxury today will become a necessity tomorrow, and with new methods of marketing and technology, one must take unconventional paths to anticipate fast changing habits of the customers, food choices, mobile booking platforms and social media habits,” he adds.


Being IPO ready

The hotel industry needs to get its due

“After the incremental growth of the Royal Orchid brand from one hotel in 2001 to four hotels in 2006, the brand name had received notable recognition in Karnataka and in turn gave me the confidence to proceed with an IPO on the NSE and BSE. 2006 was a great year for us as the stock markets saw an upswing. No hotel stock had hit the market for a long time, and so we took the risk and were overestimated by 42 times. The response was overwhelming, further giving me the confidence to drive forward and gain a panIndia footprint with 40 hotels,” he said.





amat Hotels (India) Ltd is one of the fastest growing hospitality groups in India. KHIL was initiated on March 21, 1986 by Late Venkatesh Krishna Kamat, a visionary in the business and has steered it into a successful public limited company by 1994. He began working at his family restaurants at the age of 13 and continued to work till his graduation. After graduation, he expanded his culinary horizons with his first stint at ‘Vithal Kamats - Original Family Restaurant’. He spearheaded the standard designing of the kitchen, centralization, standardization and execution.

Despite being in the industry for years, Vishal continues to believe that the tourism industry has not been given its due

credit. “A hotel, even a small plot engages 100-150 people at a time. The value which our industry adds to our economy, is not as much appreciated,” he said.

About Maintaining a Brand

He opined, it takes a lot of personal conviction to build a brand and it is also necessary to inculcate that conviction among the people in the organization. “I am proud of my veteran staff, who today act as mentors to the younger generation and take the legacy forward,” he adds. >> Established five hotel brands viz. The Orchid – An Ecotel Hotel in the 5-Star segment, VITS Luxury Business Hotel in the 4-Star segment, Gadh Hotels, Lotus Resorts and Vithal Kamat’s Original Family Restaurant. >> VITS Luxury Hotels presently operates 10 properties >> Under Vishal Kamat’s leadership the Kamat Group of Hotels set up Maharashtra’s only Heritage Hotel ‘Fort Jadhav Gadh’ in Pune

Goenka believes that while food was always the hero and alcohol the supporting character in the restaurant space, going forward, this trend is bound to take a western route altogether. According to him, alcohol is going to become the hero and food will take the supporting slot. “India saw this trend creeping into the system last year and I expect this trend to continue going forward wherein food will become the second fiddle,” he adds. MAY 2017 l ENTREPRENEUR






25 Techpreneurs make it to our class of 2017 By Punita Sabharwal

“If your business is not on

nothing is same as before. And,

find the five kinds of people from

internet then your business will

India and Indians play a pivotal

the tech world – thought leaders,

be out of business” – Bill Gates

role in this with the innovations,

investors, maestros, start-ups

investment and foreign

and gems.

echnology can be


companies finding a footing

described as the wave

here. In search of the biggest

annual Tech 25 list is all about:

of creativity that has

tech-preneurs, who are changing

finding the firms with superior

always looked for ways to make

the world of tech, we looked for

growth (both past and projected),

life easier. It can be anything

Indians who live abroad, Indians

along with a solid earnings -

that wasn’t around when you

who head tech enterprises here,

quality score from value line!

were born. Tech has always

Indians who are now regarded

been and will be the talk of the

among the top in the world.

town, disrupting the way we

These 25 Indian techies continue

think, operate or do business,

to affect our lives, changing the

showcasing new ways of doing

way we pay, shop, commute and

things. It has played the role of

even the way we learn. From

a controller of everything around

clean tech to electric cars to

us. From the biggest companies

space tech, Entrepreneur has

around the globe to the change

listed the top 25 tech-preneurs of

makers, (thanks to technology)

today’s time.

entrepreneurship or innovation,

Here’s what Entrepreneur’s

(With inputs from Sneha Banerjee, Aashika Jain, Nishi Kumari, Sugandh Bahl and Sugandh Singh)

In the ensuing pages you will








orn and brought up in the family of an IIT Professor, Naveen Tiwari began his professional journey with McKinsey and Company as a business analyst. When in 2007, Naveen, with his three friends started working on InMobi - born as a mobile first company - from a shared apartment in Mumbai, people started calling them ‘boys with powerpoint’. Even today, InMobi continues to be a mobile-only advertising platform. Mobile advertising has the potential to fundamentally change the future of the ecosystem. The first 10 years of mobile advertising model was about ‘mobile natives’ whose business models were gaming, entertainment, cabs etc. Today, mobile novices and traditional organizations are compelled to enhance



their revenue streams by monetizing data, which they haven’t before. InMobi has been a flagship example of India’s explosive start-up growth, and one of the earliest to have taken risky bets back in the day. In terms of disrupting the status quo, InMobi has gone against the tide right from the word go. Tiwari tells us, “We were told that building a product company in India is impossible as there wasn’t enough talent available. But we survived, thrived and grew despite a whole lot of frowns and thumbs down.” Till now, InMobi has raised more than $200 million from four investors including Sherpalo Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Softbank. InMobi pivoted early to a new business model that could have a global impact. They took a brand from India to Silicon Valley, competing with

giants in the space. He also says, “Right now we are profitable, as a result of the entrepreneurial culture that runs in our blood.” They believe in trusting new people and ensuring that policies do not hamper their entrepreneurial mindset. Their unrelenting focus on building great products, execution rigour and a peoplefirst culture has helped them build a successful and profitable global mobile internet business. Talking about the future prospect, Tiwari says, “InMobi will play a critical role in shaping the future. Over the next few years, InMobi will help redefine business models in the mobile phone ecosystem, through strategic partnerships with OEMs, telecom companies, e-commerce players and media companies.”




itesh Agarwal’s OYO Rooms have changed the way India’s legacydriven hospitality industry functions. This industry suffers from a major disconnect between demand and supply of quality living space, forcing travellers to compromise on decision variables of location, comfort and pricing. With an aim to provide affordable yet standardised accommodation, the company was the first-of-its-kind to cause disruption in the space. Backed by a strong operation team, OYO is setting a strong example of how technology can enable an exceptional experience for customers and also can be profitable. On one hand, it has simplified booking, payment, check-in and check-out processes. On the other hand, it has helped many branded budget hotels to pick up pace and its growth potential. He was hardly 18-years-old when college drop-out Agarwal launched his first travel startup, Oravel Stays, an Indian clone of US-based online lodging service Airbnb, but it lacked a concrete perspective. In 2011, the same year when Oravel was conceived, he applied for Peter Thiel fellowship program that gives $100,000 to an under-22, college drop-out entrepreneur every year who has the potential to make it big. Post this, he visited several hotels across the globe to find loopholes which needed immediate attention. Agarwal found that the sector lacked standardisation globally and rehashed his first venture to OYO rooms. Data Sciences and analytics is integral for every decision making strategy in OYO’s business, helping in identifying inherent nature of every guest who checks-in, and work towards making their experience much more personalised and seamless. Also, on the supply product side, OYO offers an app to its hotel partners, enabling them to get a comprehensive view of their day to day operations including bookings, customer’s details, customer feedback scores, revenue and expense management tools etc. All the afore-mentioned innovation/ technology has been conceptualized and developed in-house. Agarwal said,” 415 million Indians undertake a journey every year and none of them want to spend their days at a simple hotel with basic necessities.” Therefore, Oyo has launched its Oyo Townhouse, a friendly neighbourhood hotel targeted at millennials. Currently, there are four Townhouses across the country.








eff Bezos-owned Amazon has been aggressive in infusing capital in the Indian e-commerce space, thereby locking horns with home-grown e-commerce biggies. The man who spearheads the India division, Amit Agarwal, SVP and Country Head, Amazon India, rightly believes that e-commerce is today one of the most exciting spaces in India with a tremendous opportunity to grow. Agarwal has close to two decades of experience in Amazon and has played a pivotal role in establishing its position in the Indian market. “It’s been exciting and humbling for us to see how customers have responded to Amazon’s innovations. It has helped us consistently grow significantly faster than the industry and rapidly penetrate into more geographies,” Agarwal told Entrepreneur in an interaction. Speaking about unleashing technology and innovative culture in the Indian marketplace, he said, “As we are making rapid progress towards our goal of making e-commerce a part of everyday life of Indian customers, we are opening up market to many Indian entrepreneurs with our innovative programs such as ‘Amazon Launchpad’ and ‘Global selling’. This in turn facilitates an important participation with key programs such as ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’ that will help build the Indian economy.” Agarwal further explains that Amazon’s vision is to transform the way India buys and sells by consistently offering the widest selection across an ever-increasing number of categories, to be able to continually increase its reach within the country and to increase eligible selection for next-day delivery. “We are already leaders in every things that matter to customers and are constantly looking at enhancing customer experience by working backwards and introducing new initiatives and programs on their behalf,” he adds. Ever since its entry into the market, Amazon has come up with a range of product offerings for the Indian market. These include Amazon Classroom to impart online selling skills to new sellers, Prime Video Service, Fire TV Stick and more. 54





irish Mathrubootham had officially launched the cloudbased customer support platform Freshdesk in 2010. Over the years, the company has successfully brought onboard a marquee league of investors and has successfully grown from strength to strength. Freshdesk, spearheaded by Mathrubootham, a Zoho protegee, has been a global venture from day one. “Our first six customers were spread across four continents. About catering to the foreign markets and Indian consumers, we believe that people from different countries are culturally diverse – some prefer to meet in person before closing deals, while others close deals over phone,” Mathrubootham said. “There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to selling. At Freshdesk, we try and understand each market demographic before we start selling there. What works for one market need not necessarily work

for another, but at the end of the day everyone is just looking for a partner who can work with them to grow and scale their business,” he added. According to a joint research report by Google and the US VC firm Accel Partners, by 2025, India is likely to become a $10 billion revenue industry with eight per cent share of the global Software as a Service (SaaS) market. The SaaS innovation in India is about bringing affordable and easy-to-use business solutions based on cloud. Thanks to a fantastic talent pool combined with falling costs of data center infrastructure, Indian entrepreneurs are innovating at par with the west in SaaS. Freshdesk, under Mathrubootham’s leadership, has changed how it looks at customer success as a function and made it a highly a data-driven based service on its machine learning (ML) capabilities - innovating on features, on boarding practices, pricing strategies and based on

very high quality segmentation. The company is using ML across the board in its products like sentiment analysis to help understand the customers better. Its products complement each other to help high-growth businesses. Freshdesk has also been on the forefront in acquiring companies and integrating new technology into its offerings constantly. Technology and product innovations include launching new products focused on mobile-first companies, an appmarketplace and building features that are firsts in collaboration in the customer support world. The company’s investors include Tiger Global Management, Sequoia Capital and Accel Partners. Today, it has 900 employees globally and helps over 100,000 businesses and organizations around the world to offer better, more personalised support to their customers. MAY 2017 l ENTREPRENEUR








n alumnus of IIT – Bombay, Bhavish Aggarwal, along with few others, forms the face of India’s emerging start-up ecosystem. Aggarwal is the CEO and CoFounder of Ola and prior to that he worked with Microsoft Research for two years, where he filed for two patents and published three papers in international journals. He started Ola (formerly Olacabs) in December 2010, along with Ankit Bhati, also an IIT- Bombay alumni, with a mission to build mobility for a billion Indians. And from there on, the duo has led Ola to become one of India’s most valuable and respected startups in a short span of time. With over 75 per cent market share in India, Ola continues to be the most preferred transportation platform with a wide range of mobility options ranging from auto-rickshaws to business class vehicles and most recently, shuttles! Aggarwal said, ““We will continue to lead the market share. We have a clear path to profitability as we have managed to improve our market share. We should be profitable soon.”





n IIT graduate and a notable figure in the start-up domain, Gaurav Singh Kushwaha, Founder, BlueStone, has been a technology entrepreneur for over 10 years. Before BlueStone, he had established Chakpak, an online entertainment gateway, in 2007. And within two years, Chakpak had more than three million users a month and effectively raised two rounds of funding from Accel and Canaan Partners separately. His second venture BlueStone, which sells precious stones and jewels online, was launched in 2011. Since its establishment, BlueStone has never wanted to be known as a commercial centre. Therefore, it has set up its own assembling unit in Mumbai, which employs around 100 labourers and today it has more than 6,000 designs under its brand name. Kushwaha claims, “In order to run BlueStone, technology has played a very pivotal role in it. Technology is a tool with which we can directly print some of the designs on paper and the productivity is high.” Having raised a total of $60 million and an additional $30 million dollar last year in series B round of funding, Kushwaha claims that they have a good control on pricing and on costing. Further, they are investing the savings heavily into branding and are even thinking of having some offline store as well. Furthermore, Gaurav and his team are working towards opening an experience zone in Bengaluru just to see if that makes people more comfortable in buying from Bluestone, either online or offline, a more of brand touch point that they want to make. They plan to open the offline store possibly by the end of 2017.






yju Raveendran took the education technology domain by storm when he moved classroom coaching to an online platform. Today, BYJU’s is India’s largest K-12 learning app with over eight million users and 4,00,000 annual paid subscriptions. In an interview with Entrepreneur, the teacher turned entrepreneur gave his perspective on what he feels about innovation in the technology space. Talking about the core innovation areas BYJU’s is working on, he says, “A lot has been happening in the Indian education space and it has evolved much over the last few years. With the right investments and plans, technology is helping us to shape the way India learns. However, there is still a lot of room for improvement in the way students learn.” Speaking about a very crucial factor about India’s education system, he

explains that learning is still driven by the fear of exams, and not the love for learning. “There is so much focus on marks and grades that students are missing out on the fun of real learning. If they learn in the right method and enjoy learning it, then they will automatically score well. If we can intervene during their formative years and change the way they learn then we can make a huge impact,” he adds. BYJU’S is aiming to create a healthy learning environment by making the entire process more contextual and visual. “We are creating millions of selfpaced learners where parents take up supporting roles. Our focus is to make students love learning,” he added. When asked about what he believes has been the master stroke innovation at his firm, he said that it is the unique combination of content, media and technology that has helped them to create learning programs and set benchmarks in

the industry in terms of making content more interactive. “Our approach has been very simple – help children learn right in their formative years and imbibe the habit of learning rather than spoonfeeding the content,” he says. Reinventing a module of education which is more appropriate for students of the mobile generation, he says, “We combine world-class teachers, proven pedagogical methods, innovative technology and data science to deliver personalized learning, feedback and assessment for students in classes 4-12. Basically, the app makes use of original content, rich animation, interactive simulations and engaging video lessons to provide lessons.” Helping students learn and understand concepts on their own, BYJU’s has created a whole new-segment of selfpaced learners through mobiles which is disrupting traditional learning methodologies. MAY 2017 l ENTREPRENEUR







financial advisor, venture capitalist and a second generation entrepreneur with vast experience in IT services/ infrastructure, business development, etc, 40-year-old Arihant Patni began his career at a very young age. He initially worked at his father’s company, Patni Computers Venture for four years, which was later sold to iGATE at a reasonable amount but at the right time. Post that, Patni was left with two gateways, either he could have setup another entrepreneurial venture, or else he could have opted to become an investor in entrepreneurial firms and become a part of their venture. Patni chose the latter. In 2011, things had already started changing, new business innovation models had started coming up and Internet started having a very strong presence. “We sat down thinking how could we back these businesses. And decided to look for smart companies whom we could fund and be a part of,” claims Patni. At present, Patni is the Managing Director of Patni Financial Advisors and Hive Technologies. He is also Co-Founder and on the Board of Directors of Nirvana Venture Advisors, a venture capital fund with focus on the Internet. Their first fund venture, Nirvana, which is into consumer space, was partnered with Rajan Mehra, who was earlier running eBay’s business in India. Later they started a big data fund for which they tied up with The Hive in 2013, leading to the establishment of Ideaspring Capital, an enterprise fund company, having partnered with Mohandas Pai, who anchored it. Saluting the spirit of budding entrepreneurs who have the courage to think out of the box, Patni claims that he can invest up to Rs 2 million into an idea if it carries that spirit and zeal to break through the market. There are few filters he looks for while choosing to invest into an idea; firstly, the venture should have some kind of an enterprise innovation element, along with having a global applicability. Secondly, it’s really important to have a good team. Patni is of the view that there is some great stuff going on in the artificial intelligence and robotics sector these days. In the health tech sector, creating liver tissue from scratch which will be used and helpful in clinical research is an exciting innovation. “It’s a really cool thing in the health sector. Such innovations are flooding the market place and I am really excited to be a part of many such ventures in near future,” he adds. 58






shish Hemrajani is not an entrepreneur who retweets every tweet that praises the fabulous offers his online ticketing platform has for its consumers. Neither does he posts inspirational quotes to stay connected to his followers. Hemrajani instead prefers to stay focused. Bookmyshow, the online entertainment ticketing provider, is Hemrajani’s baby since the last 18 years. Being at the helm as the CEO has taught him two facts about India – the country is full of challenges and it is hence equally full of opportunities. “A lot of people are surprised by the scale, I am actually not. I have been around for 18 years to know other countries, other businesses in other parts of the world, not only scale much faster if there is an idea that catches fire, they also end up making revenues as well,” he says. Hemrajani’s primary concern is why is it that after so many years, Indian businesses actually cannot end up making money. You can hide behind the guise that I am actually scaling

but the problem is everyone is just discounting. “There isn’t a large enough consumer base yet because it’s challenging with taxation, infrastructure, disposal incomes. I have been hearing about India taking off for a long time but why isn’t India really taking off? I can tell you in my own sector, entertainment tax on films and live events is so high that it’s unviable for people to scale and build entertainment venues or multiplexes all over the country,” he further says.Connectivity is another issue which hinders growth. But Indians still like choices. “So going to mall and looking at different things before actually shopping for something is as much entertaining. But, they will evolve over a period of time like how America did. But, the entrepreneurs are trying to run even before the consumers have learned to walk. The challenge is that the market is open and capital is being dumped and everyone is in this land grab mode,” he concludes.




6 years ago, a 16-year-old boy, Pallav Nadhani, started a company called FusionCharts from his small bedroom in Kolkata. The idea behind the startup was to dumb down complex data for layman to understand it. In 16 years, FusionCharts has grown from one room office to a Rs 40 crore company that employs about 80 people in its offices in Kolkata and Bengaluru and has over 27,000 customers. Nidhani says, “We’re providing a better way for humans to consume data, through interactive visualizations.” He further says, “In B2B, it is not very difficult to be profitable, if the understanding of market (product-market fit) and distribution channel is clear.” FusionCharts is a bootstrapped start-up. On counting his innovation excellence, Nadhani says, “On the product side, it is about innovating an interactive model around data. On business side, with all the team members sitting in India, through internet, we distribute data among 700,000 users and 27,000 customers.” On the future prospect, the core plan of the company is to build global quality products from India, with a focus on people, process and products.









he founding passion is always driven by an idea and it can never be replaced by any other feeling. Same happened with Mahesh Lingareddy. Lingareddy had started thinking about Smartron in 2013 and launched it in 2014. For a couple of years it remained less visible as they were busy building the team and other capabilities quietly in Hyderabad and Bangalore. It presented itself in the public

domain in March 2015. Talking about his IoT start-up, Lingareddy says, “Under this platform, we have tried to incorporate the best services for our customers from personalised health to smart homes to enterprise, infrastructure, farming, etc.” In March 2017, it reported a revenue of $ 10 million, which is not a bad start for a product start-up. Smartron happens to be an

Indian company with an aim to build a global brand. Since inception, it has raised close to Rs 100 crore in capital.




nlike other leading e-commerce firms, ShopClues is a merchant-focussed company that is targeting the tier II, III and IV markets of India. The company was founded in 2011 by Sandeep Agarwal, Radhika Agarwal and Sanjay Sethi. Agarwal says, “We have always believed that real India lies in the local markets and SMEs and that’s where we need to be. We wanted to build a platform that reflects the Indian-ness of consumers, keeping in mind the typical shopping preference and cultural tastes. Given that, tier II and III markets fit our target description the best.” Shopclues has raised around $200 million approximately. Their key investors are Helion Venture Partners, GIC Pte ltd, Nexus Venture Partners and Tiger Global Management LLC. The team has been ahead of the curve in terms of figuring out market insights to build sustainable and profitable businesses. Agarwal laughs while sharing one of the craziest stories from her entrepreneurial journey, it was during her first Valentine’s Day, back when they started in 2011, they had orders for 200 bouquets of flowers and the merchant couldn’t deliver. As they were new and worried about the consequences of such an incident, to counter this, they shipped soft toys and chocolate with handwritten notes from the founding team, as an apology from the brand. 60


So far, it has launched three products with its own backend platform including tphone and tbook. They have also been shipping its tablets to Saudi government exclusively. Apart from Middle East, its other markets include SouthEast Asia and Korea. The company claims to sell more phones overseas than in India because of its quality and an attractive price point. On what makes Smartron stand out, Lingareddy says, “We

focus at the backend more to provide a hassle-free experience to our customer base.” Smartron happens to be the second entrepreneurial venture of Lingareddy, the first was Soft Machines Inc which got acquired by Intel for close to Rs 2000 crore in September 2016. He says, “I basically wanted to flip the US story and see that why can’t we have such companies.”





nand Deshpande studied B.Tech from IIT Kharagpur and then he completed his Ph.D. from Indian University in 1989. Immediately after graduating, he worked for HP labs in Palo Alto for about 18 months. During this time, he always felt that he should come back to India and start working here. Sharing the start of his entrepreneurial journey, Deshpande says, “It just all added up to a new level and couple of friends were supportive and we decide to start our own business.” As Deshpande worked in the US, his initial projects came from people whom he knew professionally. “When I started off in India, doing a software business was very difficult. Computer hardwares were not available, telecom facility was very bad, and there were whole bunch of issues,” he shares. Highlighting some of the learnings from his entrepreneurial journey, Deshpande shares some interesting points. He said, “Firstly, you have to have the right peers that can hire and work for the company and having the right team is a big challenge. Moreover, it is very important to position yourself correctly so that the customers are aware of your offerings. Finally, people just give up too fast. The whole thing about entrepreneurship is that if customer rejects you have to be relaxed, all these are the parts of life.” Persistent has something called Persistent Ventures, which invest in early stage startups. They look at two aspects before investing in a company. “Firstly, technology that we invest in must be in sync with what we do. And moreover, the product should be saleable. We are focused mainly on technology side of the business,” shares Deshpande. Apart from investing in several start-ups in the US, Persistent Venture has invested in a Big Data IoT start-up in India named Altizon. Many employees from Persistent has went on to become entrepreneur themselves. Persistent also recently began a Smart India Hackathon where more than 10,000 students participated. There are many foundations Deshpande is a part of. One of them is deAsra, which happens to be his family foundation. For Persistent, the next aim is to focus on digital transformation. “We have built up the model and platform and everything else to help companies become software driven businesses,” concludes Deshpande. MAY 2017 l ENTREPRENEUR







ishal Gondal has always been a believer that a business will succeed only if it has a great differentiating idea behind it. The man who built Indiagames and later sold it to the Walt Disney Company in India in 2011 has been regarded as India’s foremost techpreneurs. After continuing as Managing Director for a year for the same company, he finally called it quits to find another calling. In 2014, he launched a health and fitness solution company named GOQii. GOQii’s coaching model is unique in the healthcare space. Through its coaches and doctors, it is constantly aiming to improve the lifestyle of people. Talking about his differentiating factor, Gondal says, “We are not just collecting

the data but, also analyzing it and providing insights to people on how to make the right use of this information for their well-being.” With more than 100 employees on board, GOQii is constantly innovating and trying to create an enhanced eco-system in the healthcare space by partnering with relevant experts in the field. “We have now tied up with Max Bupa Health Insurance and Swiss Re as we believe that wearable technology will revolutionize the health insurance industry,” states Gondal. The wearable tech start-up holds the no.1 position in the Indian market as per a report. In 2016, it received funding of undisclosed amount from Ratan Tata, and also from the venture capital arm of Edelweiss.




eamIndus is a six-years-old company started with an attempt to launch a spacecraft towards Google Lunar XPRIZE, an international competition wherein the aim is to land a rover on the moon and make it move 500 meters and come back with the evidence. “That is where we started off with engineering as our core focus,” shares Rahul Narayan, Fleet Commander, TeamIndus. The company started off like any other start-up. The whole point was to connect people and then over a period of time it consolidated. The team got full time people on board and moved to Bangalore in 2015. TeamIndus went on and did one round of seed funding and did its first prototype. Talking about the support it received, Narayan says, “I have been very fortunate when it comes to people who came forward to help us along. A big step was when we got a ranking in the competition. We signed a partnership with ISRO which made a lot of progress.” Currently TeamIndus has a close to a dozen retired ISRO scientists who are working with them. Talking about putting together a team towards such a mission and also staying focused on the same, Narayan says, “The biggest strength that we all are bringing to the table is that we truly believe that this can happen. Teams are there to take care of technology, some look after programming, operational part, building and integrating of various facts.” Sheelika the other Co-Founder looks after marketing, Dilip Chabria another Co-Founder looks after core engagement and business development. TeamIndus has been working closely with other teams of the competition including a Japanese team, which is relatively a young team and they did put together the rover but didn’t have a space craft to launch the vehicle. TeamIndus will help them launch the rover.






rom creating the Rotaract Club in Rourkela while pursuing his chemical engineering at the National Institute of Technology way back in his yester years to being the CEO of India’s largest IT company, CP Gurnani is often considered the god of IT. Few know Gurnani was with a British company called Fenner India before diving into the IT ocean. “I was posted in Calcutta and enjoyed an incredible market share for the company compared to competitors. At 26-27, my boss said you are in the wrong industry at the wrong time. The company will only grow X much and you will have to look at a fast-paced industry.” That’s when Gurnani started his research and in 1995 landed a job in IT. In a career spanning 35 years, Gurnani has held several leading positions with HCL, Hewlett Packard Limited, Perot Systems (India) Limited and HCL Corporation Ltd. In 2016, Gurnani was appointed as the Chairman of NASSCOM for 2016-2017. “I was a small town guy who didn’t even know what being a CEO meant. At 33, I was already a CEO of a small unit. At 38, I was a CXO. It was no longer a dream, it just came to me,” Gurnani told Entrepreneur as he recalled his nearly 40-year journey as a dreamer, achiever and giver.





fter dabbling as an entrepreneur with Flora2000 and being an angel investor to some start-ups, Rehan Yar Khan started an early stage fund, Orios Venture Partners focusing on software and technology enabled startups. Initially, Orios raised Rs 300 crore as ‘Fund I’ and he raised Rs 500 crore for Fund II. An investor from the last 10 years, Khan feels that there is a shortage of funds even in today’s environment. “My observation is that the amount of funding has gone up significantly if you

compare it with 10 years ago, I would say it’s hundred times larger. The quantum of money which is now available in India would continue rising,” states Khan. While selecting the start-ups, Khan believes that the entrepreneur and his business model is equally important. After doing 20 odd investments in companies like Ola, Druva, Yumist and Pretty Secrets, Khan believes that the early stage investment formula has worked well. As large amount seed funding is the speciality, the ticket size in early stage is between Rs 6 crore to Rs 12 crore. Talking about his vision for the fund, he says, “In last 20-25 years, a large intuition has been created on the debt side. Now you will get to see large institutions created on equity side.” MAY 2017 l ENTREPRENEUR










he self-proclaimed obsession around customers service has made Peyush Bansal leave his job with Microsoft in US and launch Lenskart in India. After sailing though different business models and without any external investment, Lenskart has managed to raise a total of Rs 721 crore which was utilized in terms of building backend infrastructure and for delivery of spectacles. Its marquee list of investors include Premji Invest, Ronnie Screwvala, IFC, TPG Growth, and Adveq. Talking about his plans on building a company of the future, Peyush Bansal, Founder and CEO, Lenskart says, “Mainly it will be a tech focused company whether we run online or offline. The idea is to use technology to deliver an omni-channel experience to consumers. Besides, we are working on getting into hyper market and will also be looking at tying up with hospitals.” The company is also exploring a portable mobile model in tier III and IV cities where putting up an offline store is not viable. When asked about most e-commerce players undertaking losses for high GMV, Bansal says, “For us profitability has not been an issue and by the end of this year we will be profitable.” Organic growth has been the way of growth for Lenskart so far with current revenue looking at about $7 billion a month. With a team of 500 people, it has kept its focus on brand building, customer satisfaction and building a culture of innovation.



ossil fuels are about to be consumed in the next 50 years and alternative sources like solar, geothermal and wind are still struggling to be costeffective. Avant Garde Innovations has truly displayed that it can revolutionise the space for wind power generation with its innovative design of a small wind turbine. This hardware technology can be used for residential or large-scale deployment and works at low wind speeds that makes it viable just about anywhere in the world. That is the reason why Arun George, Founder and CEO, Avant Garde Innovations tells us, “We have been

receiving heavy orders from countries like the US, Africa and the Middle East although initially we had thought there will be a demand from the coastal areas in India only.” Also, the cost of this wind turbine is set to be just under Rs 50,000 for a 1 KWH capacity as against the global standard of Rs 2-3 lac, a fact that has brought about global recognition to this start-up from Kerala. The small wind turbine can be installed for small residential purposes as well as on a large, commercial scale on an incredibly low cost that is unparalleled in the industry.




armers in India are still ignorant of the correct market price of their produce and the majority of margins still go to the middleman at mandis. On a vacation when Aditya was home, his father Sanjay Agarwalla who has spent close to 15 years helping big firms get access to rural markets, narrated this story and its compounding disadvantage to farmers in India. Aditya, who is studying Computer Engineering at Princeton, decided to research on the issue during his vacations. Eventually, he was able to identify grass-root problems and to build up the idea, within a few months he came back to India, taking a break from his university education. He says, “Initially it was for a year, but as the company is growing fast I haven’t had the time to go back yet.” Aditya tells us, “We definitely provide better prices to farmers and procure from them directly, because once a farmer has transported his crops to the mandis, he cannot get it back to find better prices and so, ends up selling it there.” Kisan Network has partnered with local service providers regionally and takes care of the entire chain from procurement, packaging, transporting and selling it to B2B customers like restaurants, big retailers and FMCG giants. This ensures that Kisan Network is able to provide better prices to its customers and the payment is also done electronically and in full, as against traditional methods, where the farmers are sometimes paid by middlemen in installments over a few years. Through the use of data, Kisan Network finds out the demand and suitable prices of agricultural produce and on their platform they attract prospective buyers who are looking for the best quality products. 64






ecently back from the TIME 100 event (the band is still tied around Vijay Shekhar Sharma’s right wrist) where he stood with privilege among the 100 most influential people in the world. The music lover is happy to recall that he met all the cool people, including his favourite music legends. From the full page Paytm ads, which Sharma published on all leading newspapers the day after the Central Government announced the implementation of demonitisation to adding new innovations every day, Sharma has been the one who doesn’t only react but respond to changing market situations and reads customer well. Always a step ahead, Sharma launched yet another product for Indian customers called Digital Gold - cashing in on the opportunity of Akshaya Tritiya (an Indian festival wherein it’s considered auspicious to buy gold). Coming from a small town in UP, Sharma has always been the hustler, quick to realize what opportunity to thrive on at what time. At the launch event, Vijay says, “Our interest was that since we have a bank account now, we want to give wealth management products.” With the current user base of more than 200 million, Paytm is on a mission to digitize half a billion Indians to use mobile payment, commerce and soon to be launched payment banking services. Talking about the muchawaited launch of payments bank, Sharma says, “Payment bank should happen once we get the RBI approvals. I can’t provide a final deadline as the last approval from RBI is still left.” Talking about building a future enterprise, Sharma says, “We will continue to remain committed on payments space.” The company’s investors include Ant Financial (Alipay), Alibaba Group, SAIF Partners and Mediatek. On the recent mergers taking place in e-commerce, Vijay was quick to hive off any rumors doing the rounds. “We are not a buyer as we believe in building our own category. We have not bought or not buying anyone,” states Sharma. He has also built a road map on international expansion side with the recent expansion in Canada. “Basically, we are talking about expansion of our business into the new market and Canada is our first market. Our business and Paytm labs there so we are expanding there,” states Vijay. MAY 2017 l ENTREPRENEUR











n a time when retailers used to use card based loyalty program, Capillary disrupted the market with mobile based CRM. After revolutionizing the way loyalty programs are run and perceived, it went on to innovate and deliver the omni-channel experience to the industry. From innovating on loss of sale to creating endless aisles, it has helped retailers be where their customers demand them to be. Capillary has been successful in executing its strategy across India, the Middle East, South East Asia (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia) and China. The biggest product story for Capillary right now is ECRM, cashing on the fact that e-commerce is big in China right now. Capillary launched WeChat CRM, fully integrated with Offline Retail, to be part of the China O2O Story, which is far ahead of most (if not all) global markets. Moreover, it is currently investing $4 million for new products. The vision is to build five products in the next three years and lead the space by building an ecosystem taking an omni-channel approach. Talking about the future innovations he’s working on, Aneesh Reddy, CEO and Co-Founder, Capillary Technologies, says, “We are currently innovating a bunch of futuristic ideas to address the monotony of the dashboards with the help of intelligent reporting tools via Artificial Intelligence (AI). We are also working on deep learning and video analytics, building the click stream equivalent of the online.” Capillary has raised a total of $82.1M with three acquisitions and investments from majors like Warburg Pincus, Norwest Venture PartnersCapital and others. 66


7-year-old Bhavin Turakhia has been popular in the tech circle for building businesses in a bootstrapped way. A start-up evangelist, Bhavin has over 19 years of experience in the sector, with 11 companies founded by him till date. “I have always believed in creating value. If you are able to provide value to the consumer, success and profitability will follow. My key mantra is to focus on creating value rather than on valuation,” shares Turakhia. Bhavin’s affiliation with coding and computers started at a young age of nine. In no time, he went on to acquire remarkable business acumen and co-founded Directi, an entirely bootstrapped technology conglomerate, in 1998. He has enjoyed phenomenal success, and of the number of brands under his name, he sold all four of his web presence businesses to Endurance International Group for $160 million in 2014. In August 2016, he again made headlines for selling his advertising technology firm to a Chinese consortium of investors in a whopping deal of $900 million. Always the one to predict and lay down the ‘next big what’ ideas in the tech world, Bhavin launched Flock in September 2014. In its two years of existence, the brand has grown exponentially under Bhavin’s able leadership and vision and continues to do so today.




n the list of most powerful women in Silicon Valley, is Padmasree Warrior, 56, the CEO of NIO U.S. After graduating from IIT, Warrior left for an adventure far away from her home in India. She went to the United States to attend graduate school at Cornell University with only $100 and a one-way ticket and the rest is history now. At NIO U.S., they believe that the car will be the smartest device people will own. This not only means that they have to provide cutting edge technology, but

also means that they must approach every aspect of the design from a userfirst point of view. In the digital age, consumers expect a one-click experience to buy service and upgrade their vehicle. “My job as CEO is to align and bring the best out of this diaspora of talent. Our team at NIO US is multi-domain, multi-generational and multi-cultural. I hired the first 100 people at NIO, knowing that they would hire the next 1000,” says Warrior. On disrupting the status quo, she says, “At NIO, we are thinking of

developing a model which is more of a robot but looks like a beautiful highperformance car. We call it Car 3.0.” She strongly believes breakthroughs happen when divergent viewpoints collide. She is quite deliberate about fostering diversity on her team with people from very different industries and backgrounds. She is the former Chief Technology and Strategy Officer (CTO) of Cisco Systems, and the former CTO of Motorola.








mbarish Mitra often reminisces about how his augmented reality app Blippar was born out of a joke at a remote bar located in south-west England. Founded in the UK in 2011, Blippar app, the flagship product of Blippar, is the first augmented reality browser, bridging the gap between digital and real-world experiences using AI and AR. It allows users over time to ‘blipp’ (scan) anything that they’re curious about - from objects to buildings, animals and people - to unlock useful and entertaining content and AR experiences. Speaking about the innovations explored by his company in the AR space, Mitra explained, “In the last few years, we have developed thousands of augmented reality campaigns and through this vast experience we have come to understand the importance of artificial intelligence in achieving scale. Before we augment the world, it is crucial that we understand the reality in front of us and as such, we have built our capabilities in the areas of artificial intelligence, computer vision and deep learning,” When asked as to how Indian companies can better utilize this technology Mitra said, “AR provides a great combination of education, gamification, product visualization and content dissemination, which has potential use in every industry and particularly those mentioned above. It is very important for these AR experiences to move beyond the initial ‘wow’-factor and for companies to understand how to use this technology as a real-time channel to communicate.” As per Mitra, the categories which have immense potential for disruption by AR technology are education, social networking and communication, retail and commerce, healthcare and advertising. When it comes to developing countries like India adopting this technology, Mitra strongly believes that as the second-largest smartphone market after China and the global leader in smartphone adoption with a net addition of 350 million connections in 2016-20, India will be one of the largest ecosystems for AR adopters and creators. “Historically, India has been held-back by infrastructure issues and lack of connectivity - but with new 4G plans coming in with a goal to make ‘data’ accessible to all - innovators across the board stand to benefit” he added. Blippar’s AR technology has been used by global brands such as Porsche, Nestle, L’Oréal, GSK and General Mills to create exciting and award-winning experiences which deepen consumer engagement. Blippar now has offices across the UK, USA, India and Singapore.







The Future of Digital Finance


he biggest transformation technology and digitisation is going to bring in our daily life is probably the way we use financial services today. Very soon our ability to raise a loan may be determined by a private messages sent to our friend, and the bank as you know might simply not exist at all. While it may all seem quite unreal now, the fact is that technology is moving so fast that it will catch you unaware in just about a few years from now. The Moneytech 2017, powered by Entrepreneur and Franchise India recently held in Delhi and brought together a gamut of thought leaders in the fintech industry to discuss the deepest thoughts on the future of digital finance.

THE ‘OFFICIAL’ CATALYST TOWARDS DIGITIZATION If the government hadn’t pushed demonetization down the thick of about a billion odd Indians, the adoption of digital methods of transaction at such a large scale could well have taken another decade. While we may hate it or like it, and argue endlessly about its benefits and drawbacks, the fact is that, it is going to stay.


t the Moneytech conference in Delhi recently, minister Sri Arjun Ram Meghwal and Dhiraj Nayyar, Officer on Special Duty & Head, Economics, Finance and Commerce, NITI Aayog, Government of India, who were present at the event, discussed what a businessman, an entrepreneur, a taxpayer, a trader and every citizen in general should expect of the future. Hon’ble minister Sri Arjun Ram Meghwal, the chief guest of Moneytech 17’ said, “We will have no choice but to move towards digitization just like with globalization, we cannot move back. We have to be globalised. If globalization is important, then digital India, digital transaction and digital economy are also important.” While Meghwal talks about the inevitable need



for digital transformation in India, Nayyar informs about the infrastructure that can support this evolution. He says, “Aadhaar cards, Jan Dhan Yojna, greater penetration of smart-phones and cheaper connectivity are the basic four pillars which has enabled the digital transformation of India. We have been playing catch up with the developed world for a long time. This is the opportunity for India to become a world leader in adoption of digital methods as we have a vibrant and open market.” It is interesting to note that “Developed nations have the cash to GDP ratio in the range of 3-4 L-R- Arjun Ram Meghwal, MoS, Finance, Corporate Affairs; Dhiraj Nayyar, Officer on Special Duty and Head, Economics, Finance and Commerce, Niti Aayog

per cent. But India’s cashGDP ratio is more than 12 per cent. How will India become a world leader like this?” asks Meghwal. He also highlighted the issue of shadow economy in India that has been estimated to be over 23.7 per cent and said that it is harmful for the fiscal health of the Indian economy. With GST coming in, the accounting complexities will be replaced by an integrated system which will be heavily dependent on digital technology. When majority of transactions will become digital and there will be incentives for people to do transactions, the black and shadow economy will gradually disappear which will push our country towards better growth, prosperity and an improved figure for GDP. Nair supports the

contention that there needs to be incentive for people to adopt digital modes of transaction. He highlights that greater social inclusion is something that will come through financial inclusion. “Due to demonetization, people have found out about the benefits of alternate modes of transactions only after experimenting with it” he adds. As the government becomes a part of the conversation on greater digitisation and the development of the sector, it become affirmed that the ease of doing business will only improve. Digital transformation has arrived and it will stay to evolve in a manner ‘the personal, the public and the private’ interact in the system.


Digitization is set to revolutionize the lending space through various means of technology for credit assessment. Banks are already facing competition from online lending platforms that are creating marketplaces to pull borrowers and investors away from the need of a traditional bank. These lending platforms are driving revenue and growth through their website and app with data driven analysis. The technology wave in the lending sector has brought about major disruptions that seem to be just the beginning. L-R: Manish Khera, CEO and Founder, Arth Impact; Naveen Kukreja, CEO and CoFounder, Paisabazaar; Rajat Gandhi, Founder and CEO, Faircent; Rahul Sanklecha, VP Credit and Operations, Lendingkart; Adhil Shetty, CEO, Bankbazaar


ajat Gandhi, CEO and Founder, Faircent, Manish Khera, Founder and CEO, Arth Impact and Naveen Kukreja, CEO and Co-founder, Paisabazaar shared their opinion on the future of lending space in India during a session at the event.

All Lending To Move Digital In Next Five Years

Rajat Gandhi feels that all lending activities will move digital in next five years. “Offline branches will go away but that does not mean the death of banks. From lending perspective, it will be a one centralized unit servicing large number of units and customers across pan India. We are looking at that kind of scenario,” he said. Talking about the growth

scenario of new entrants in the lending space, Rajat opined that more companies mean more growth because they are creating an industry. “They all are doing something in the space and trying to bring new innovation in every sphere. We see it as an opportunity because they are building an ecosystem. Right now the market is too big to compete. It’s more about collaboration, so competition will happen eventually after 10-15 years,” he explained.

Lenders To Rely On Unconventional Data For Risk Evaluation On the other hand, Manish Khera believes the Indian lending space is going to explode in future. “There is such a large unmet demand. Various people are going to explore and deliver on that. Work needs to happen in two

to three dimensions – one of them being access. Housing loans, two-wheeler loans and personal loans have already become a separate segment, so digital lending needs to work deeper into that. Everyone will try to create a physical digital channel to cater to this segment,” he said. “Till now we have all relied on secure lending to mitigate risks. Slowly that will move from secure models to unsecure methods and that is the second dimension of growth that we will see. Third, a new segment of players are coming from a non working age population to a working age and that’s the increase we are going to see in coming years which will lead to growth. All this put together, there is a very bright future in the lending market which is coming up,” he further added. When asked about the growth scenario, he said

the market is so large that not only these new set of companies but also existing companies in the ecosystem will grow to a very large extent. “The differentiators will start coming, beginning with the customer experience and going on to the depth of credit model that all of them will develop. We will see growth happen for everybody in the ecosystem,” he said.

The Alternative Lending Industry Is a Good Buzz Word According to Naveen Kukreja, the alternative lending industry has become a good buzz right now. As the industry matures it will merge with the existing players and there will be no separate industry as such. “Lot of players may enter the segment of alternative lending in future, Basically it’s a segment of customers who are not willing to buy from mainstream banks or NBFCs today. There are established NBFCs and banks who are trying their hands in new credit areas. With more and more data, the industry is surely going to grow in next five years,” he added. MAY 2017 l ENTREPRENEUR




L-R: Siby Sebastian, CEO (Indian Operations), SBM Bank; Sameer Garg, VP and Regional Head (New Economy Group) Axis Bank; Ritu Marya, Editor in Chief Entrepreneur Media (India)

IS TECHNOLOGY SET TO CHANGE THE WAY BANKS LOOK TODAY? More than anything, it is the trust people have, has kept banks in business till date. But very soon, the technological revolution is going to change the way banks operate and even look today. Does that mean banks may lose their position, trust and so the business?


iby Sebastian, Chief Executive OfficerIndian Operations, SBM Bank (Mauritius) Ltd. says, “One of the most heavy spending banks today are doing is in the field of technology. Fintech companies and telecom operators can now offer services which earlier only a bank could provide. Banks have been slow at that”. To this, Sameer Garg, Vice President and Regional Head– New Economy Group, Corporate Banking, Axis Bank adds, “Banks will have to evolve by giving a superior simplicity of execution to customers. Banks can give them the ease of omni-channel execution wherein they can reach a bank through any 72


platform, from anywhere.” However, this theory throws up the contention that the reason someone could relate to their banks was due to the human presence- the relationship manager. But technology, fast obliterating the ‘human touch’, what shall remain for customers to still be loyal towards its banks in an era where there are many alternatives? Sebastian adds, “It is very possible that the traditional function and the infrastructure of a bank may not exist in the coming 5-10 years. While routine jobs like transactions, information and basic advisory can be automated with an AI engine, banks will function more like an advisory firm for more complex investment issues.”

“Financial platforms have radically changed in the last 3-5 years.” V Vaidyanathan, Founder and Chairman, Capital First Ltd.

Deliberating on an experiment with advanced AI technologies, Sandeep Varma, Head, Innovation, DBS Bank, India says, “One thing which we did in DBS is offering integrated AI power chatbot. It actually helped drop call volumes tremendously. Now we are also looking at how we can use artificial intelligence in other ways or how robotadvisory can be integrated within the banking solution.” Through the use of technology and increasingly AI (artificial intelligence), banks can well predict your behavior and offer you products that suits your requirement. For example, if you are travelling abroad and you bought a ticket, the bank can cross sell a travel card/holiday package to you. Any data could actually be useful to someone. V Vaidyanathan, Founder and Chairman, Capital First Ltd. says, “Every single information about every single person is being recorded as their digital footprints. All of this can be used, say, for credit assessment”.

THE END OF CASH MIGHT BE AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL! Just like somewhere in history, civilizations must have

ended the barter to transact using cash, we are on the cusp of another behavioral change where advanced technologies have enabled us to transact virtually and from anywhere, geographically. It is no surprise that this trend could be rapidly adopted in some parts of the world, while others may not be willing to adapt so soon.


he case in point is a European country like Germany, which despite being ‘developed’, is a heavy cash intensive economy. On the other hand, the world was taken by surprise at the aggressive adoption of demonetization by India, still a developing nation. Christian Trumm, FinTech Advisor and Start-up Mentor, SuperChargerFintech, confirms, “Citi Bank and Imperial College of London have conducted a study and

they came to the conclusion that in 2016 India was the most progressive country on the way to digital money. This happened due to four prominent factorsGovernment involvement, technical infrastructure, products placement and the receptiveness of consumers.” While the rural population in India might still not find it relevant, digital technologies have the capacity to radically improve the payments space, making it dynamic and yet simpler, easy and effective.

Amit Goel, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Let's Talk Payments LLC (LTP) believes, “We need to educate people about digital transformation, financial technologies and how they can utilize it.” Although adoption is one problem, the road towards an overwhelming transformation of people’s habit is fraught with a bigger concern- cyber security. Trishneet Arora, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, TAC Security Solutions says, “A revolution happened through technology and our lives are dependent on it now. Everybody is thinking we have built a huge building but they are not concerned about its security. The next three-four years would see the space for cyber security growing multifold as companies and individuals realize its importance.” Vikram Gupta, Founder and Managing Partner, IvyCap Ventures Advisors Private Limited, adds, “Consumers are at a huge risk especially when it comes to banking transactions, payments, etc. You have to be extremely

careful about the security of the systems.” It is estimated that companies will have to keep investing heavily on the upkeep of the same technology that has shown us the opportunity to cut down on operating costs. If these advanced technologies can be well maintained, the benefits out of it could be quite radical. For example, Manik Nangia, Director and Chief Digital Officer, Max Life Insurance, says, “Every user leaves his digital footprint of what he does on the internet. If the consumers let us access and use this information, marketers may use this data to personalize the feeds to consumers in a way that delivers value back to them.” Karan Mohla, Executive Director and Head- Consumer Media and Technology, IDG Ventures India Advisors, adds, “Although internet banking has been around and has been adopted, getting people to use banking applications anything more than the basic requirement has been a challenge.”

L-R: Trishneet Arora, CEO and Founder, TAC Security Solutions; Karan Mohla, Executive Director and Head - Consumer Media & Technology, IDG Ventures; Vikram Gupta, Founder and Managing Partner, IvyCap Ventures; Sandeep Verma, Head of Innovations, DBS Bank; Aashika Jain, Associate Editor,



The winners of Moneytech 2017 stand tall all together

RECOGNISING THE EFFORT MoneyTech Awards 2017 recognised and rewarded the brilliant work of companies and leaders in the fintech domain from across the nation. The winners were announced at a glittering evening held at the JW Marriott Hotel, New Delhi on April 10, 2017.

Rati Shetty, Chief Product Officer, receives the award

Saket Modi, Founder, Lucideus receiving the award





Best Fintech Communications Campaign


Best Fintech-Bank Collaboration of the Year


Best Innovation in Corporate Banking

Yes Bank

Best Innovation in Cyber Security


Best Innovation in Data Solution

Aircel Ltd

Best Innovation In Payments And Transfer

Avenues India

Best Innovation in Wealth & Assets Management

Funds India

Customer Experience Innovation in Fintech


Entrepreneur of the Year

Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Paytm

Female Entrepreneur of the Year

Upasana Taku, Mobikwik

Fintech Innovation of the Year

Lending Kart

Fintech Startup of the Year


Insuretech Innovation of the Year

Lending & Investment Technology of the Year

Perfios Software Solution Pvt. Ltd

Fintech Trading Platform of the Year

Angel Broking






Why India shouldn’t join the WTO MSME Forum yet A higher proportion of global trade and exports can just be the stepping stone for Indian MSMEs towards further growth and prosperity. A trade body like World Trade Organisation (WTO) can foster huge opportunities for the sector towards facilitation of business avenues globally. Then why is the Government of India not willing to be a party to an MSME forum being planned at WTO?


By Sugandh Singh

espite the fact that MSMEs on an average remain 70 per cent less productive than large firms (World Trade Report 2016), about 38 per cent of India’s GDP is derived from the MSME sector. About 95 per cent of firms fall under this category, and a majority of job creation is done by this sector alone, only second to agriculture. Smaller firms can grow big through greater access to overseas markets where the competition is low and profits are high. A WTO forum plans to help address just the same. But as KK Jalan, Secretary, Ministry of MSME, says, “India is not in favour of a WTO forum on MSMEs.” 76


Structural issues It is interesting to see that in India, MSMEs are categorized according to the amount of investments made into the business (Cost of plant/machinery, land, etc. ranging from Rs. 10 lakh- 10 crore) depending on whether the firm falls under manufacturing or the services sector. This crops up elementary problems at defining the correct size and potential of an MSME firm as in some industries like steel, power and heavy machinery, the cost of investments could be very high compared to others like manufacturing of plastic bags, where the investment is low, but the profits are much higher. Similar structural anomalies exist in the services sector which could be at a variance with the

standards defined by WTO. Until this gap is abridged, a forum at WTO could throw up mandatory reforms domestically at a pace which India is not ready for yet even though India has already moved towards amending domestic rules that shall re-categorize the sector on the basis of parameters like employment generation and annual turnover apart from the existing parameter of total investment.

Labour issues While structure is not the only roadblock, the biggest and the most complicated hurdle is the issue with labour laws. Jalan adds, “In the WTO, developed countries are keen on bringing in an MSME forum in the context of the potential of the sector for job generation. While this is a welcome step, India is concerned about the possibility of labour issues becoming a non tariff barrier to markets.” While the issue of labour standards falls under the domain on International Labour Organisation (ILO), the WTO from late 80s has been trying to introduce them in one form or the other, much to the chagrin of developing


Investment in plant and machinery excluding land and building for enterprises engaged in manufacturing or production, processing or preservation of goods

Investment in equipment excluding land and building for enterprises engaged in providing or rendering of services


Not exceeding Rs.25 Lakhs

Not exceeding Rs.10 Lakhs


More than Rs.25 lakhs but does not exceed Rs.5 crore

More than Rs.10 lakhs but does not exceed Rs.2 crore


More than Rs.5 crore but does not exceed Rs.10 crore

More than Rs.2 crore but does not exceed Rs.5 crore

countries like India and Brazil. India has significantly progressed in areas like abolition of forced labour, minimum age to work, equal remuneration and end of discrimination, there still remain areas where Indian laws do not match WTO standards. Ashok Saigal, Chair, Sub Group on Ease of Doing Business, CII, National MSME Council says, “Just like under the existing rules and protocols, we cannot be a part of Nuclear Supplier’s Group as it will mandate an even further scrutiny and inspection by international agencies, there are issues with the labour laws at WTO which we just cannot relent to now. For example, there is a mandate of 16 hours of work. We cannot subscribe to that yet.” It is important to note that under the ILO conventions, labour inspections in agricultural and commercial workplaces is a requirement that India may find very hard to monitor at this time. The failure to ensure adherance of such laws may result into considerable setbacks and sanctions for the country’s MSMEs sector if India indeed becomes a part of the WTO forum on MSMEs.

Industry expectations While there can be ‘law of the land’ issues that Indian government has been trying to homogenise with international standard, currently, the Indian industry is the one that is at the receiving end of all the troubles. Geeta Goti, President, Confederation of Women EntrepreneursIndia, says, “Despite producing good quality products and packaging them well, Indian MSME produce is seen as inferior in the international market. For them to have acceptability, we are told to get certified by international agencies which are very expensing, and even after



Geeta Goti, President, Confederation of Women Entrepreneurs- India

KK Jalan, Secretary, Ministry of MSME, Government of India

that, there is no guarantee that they will buy our products. An MSME Forum at WTO may help us at doing business internationally, but if there are labour issues, I am sure the government is taking steps to protect our national interest.” Indian MSMEs are facing a myriad of problems domestically as well as internationally some of which include excessive dumping of cheap products that makes Indian produce fail in the market due to uncompetitive prices, issues with intellectual property wherein foreign companies tend to assert IPR over minor modifications to generic products, and international opposition to government subsidies which are paradoxically being

provided overseas as a modified version and being called ‘affirmative action’. Bharat Garg, State President, Haryana Chamber of Commerce and Industry informs, “Indian MSMEs do not have the resources to deploy representatives globally. We need a platform where we can get all the information that we need. The lack of information on international insights is a big hurdle towards Indian MSMEs becoming competitive. The other issue is with the proper support in the availability of finance.” All these issues and more have the propensity to be well addressed at an international forum like WTO, but for now, the road towards it needs to be tread with caution. MAY 2017 l ENTREPRENEUR




“Fund of funds is a great initiative as the first step” At the 9th Annual Summit, on the role and challenges of private equity organized by Assocham & PEVCAI, industry veterans came together to share their insight. During the summit, a key issue - developing a fund of funds industry in India was discussed by a panel that included Mohan Chutani, Rajat Arora, Arvind Mathur and the session was chaired by Ritu Marya.

RITU MARYA: The government has sort of taken the initiative to create a fund of funds. Is it like a global trend where governments are the first body to take such initiatives? ARVIND MATHUR: Yes. In most countries, such initiatives are catalyzed by the government first. If you look at the domestic funds industry in China, you will notice that it has been catalyzed by the municipal and state governments. So it is a great initiative that the government has taken in India to set up a Rs 10,000 crore fund of funds and I think it is a great step as the first step. They have also done a great job in engaging SIDBI to manage the first round which is about Rs 2000 crore or whatever. SIDBI has the background and the experience to handle such an arrangement but it is just the first step. But to develop an industry we need many more fund managers, and these could be people who have the experience of investing in funds and could form fund of funds companies and SIDBI could be a catalyst to that. SIDBI is currently investing in funds but they can also invest in other funds of funds as well.

Ritu Marya: And a PPP model can also be looked at, where high net worth individual investors of that particular state would collaborate with the government. Has it been done before, where can we look at? ARVIND MATHUR: In China, state government like Shanghai government has seeded funds and fund of funds. It has happened in Ireland and many other countries. And particularly since our country is a developing one, it is all the more needed. RAJAT ARORA: We already have some residence in terms of state-based funds

where the government acts as a General Partners (GP), like the Gujarat or Rajasthan Venture Capital funds. I think that it is only the extension of that thought process - from GP to Limited Partners (LP). And governments should actively participate in this and SIDBI fund of funds is a good first step. MOHAN CHUTANI: Development of any market happens through collaboration of the regulator and market players. Market players here are mostly in the private sector so it would be nice if this industry turns around various industries through modes of governance that the private equity is supposed to do and help develop the growth story of our economy. And Indian growth story is poised at least as far as I can see. In a few decades, it is going to be a leader globally and right now, we continue to grow as a top notch economy and may be equal or surpass China’s growth story. In that growth story, private equity can also play its role and if this model of fund of funds can help private equity do that then that would be really interesting to see.

Ritu Marya: Fund of funds is essentially a national fund and it would not prioritize any state. Do you think we need more government funds at the regional level?

ARVIND MATHUR: If state governments want to do it then why not. If they want set up their own fund of funds, then it is the perfect legitimate way to do it.



LTOR: Arvind Mathur, Founder, Private Equity Pro Partners, Mohan Chutani, Economic Advisor, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Ritu Marya, Editor in Chief, Entrepreneur Media (India) and Rajat Arora, Investment Director, LGT Impact Ventures




aving made my way through the corporate world for the last 21 years, I find myself reflecting “THE BOLDNESS upon my professional OF THE WOMAN journey. Among the several things that BALANCING HER shape and define us as ROLE IN THE professionals, I ponder my role as a woman and WORKPLACE, AND how this has influenced my life. Reflecting upon THAT AT HOME IS moments and events CERTAINLY WORTH that have characterized this journey, it occurs A MENTION.” to me that we tend to Ritu Gupta, Director, categorize one another Marketing, Consumer and with labels. These Small Business, Dell India labels then form virtual boxes around us. These boxes, which may aptly define specific virtues, by their very nature, also limit the definition of who we are. When I think of a power woman, I cannot help but imagine that this title cannot be limited to the example set only by a woman who has succeeded professionally. Of course, women who excel at work should be and perhaps are recognized for their feat, for balancing their homes, personal lives and the well-being of those around them along with work. Indeed, a business woman is a power woman. It is bold to be a frontrunner in a variety of industries – from the armed forces, to surgical medicine; from information technology to aeronautics, and so on. But there are several women that fit that description of boldness, even if it is not by way of having ‘killed it’ in a corporate environment. To me, womanhood itself epitomizes boldness.

Having emerged from a fairly traditional environment, it is important for the Indian woman especially, to be bold in everything she does. Professional success is a more subsequent outcome, but let us rewind and commend the bold steps taken by everyday women – like you and I – who have led us to a society where women not only compete, but succeed as equals. The boldness of the woman balancing her role in the workplace, and that at home is certainly worth a mention. I admire the boldness of a girl, coming from a traditional family background, who might have been the first ‘girl’ in her family to pursue a higher education, and even to secure a job. I also admire the woman who was the first ‘working daughter-in-law’ in her family, and was able to justify the value of her income as an asset for her home, therefore causing a shift in the mindset of her family. The boldness of a mother breaking stereotypes and providing equal education, allotting equal household work and treating her son and daughter equally, is most commendable because it is she who lays the foundation for these roles, and how they evolve later in their lives. Perhaps a different way to look at it is that boldness is not what we expect from monumental decisions. Boldness is the seed of change sowed by women every day in our city, our country, and the world. It takes boldness to challenge an unbalanced status quo, and to spark a change. It is this spark that lights a brighter torch for other women to seek and be inspired by. It would make sense then, to extend the definition of boldness beyond my successful professional counterparts, to girls and women all over the country and the world. I commend each individual step which is sparking collective change in the minds of those around us, and uniting unknowingly to inspire boldness among the next generation of little girls, for whom they set an admirable precedent.





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From the first hello to the 10th hello, tweet, to the handshake that seals the deal, ther are dozens there of smart ways to make a great impression.



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Put Your Hands Up!

How to Hack a

First impression Head high, eyes forward, and please, please keep your hands out of your pockets. By Vanessa Van Edwards a study published in 1992, researchers Nalini Ambady and Robert Rosenthal at Harvard University tested the power of first impressions by examining students’ perceptions of their professors. For the experiment, Ambady and Rosenthal showed muted, 10-second video clips of professors teaching to participating undergrads, who rated the teachers on 15 dimensions of effectiveness, including warmth, optimism, and professionalism, all based entirely on nonverbal cues. Ambady and Rosenthal looked at the results and wondered if they could change the ratings by shortening the clips. So they cut them from 10 seconds to five seconds. The ratings didn’t change. They cut them to two seconds. Nothing changed. They concluded that we make a snap judgment in the first two seconds of meeting someone, and we rarely adjust it—even when we get more information. We decide if we like and trust someone before we have even heard him or her speak. But here’s the most interesting part: Ambady and Rosenthal took the ratings from each of these clips and compared them with the actual student evaluations of these same teachers after an entire semester of classes. Again, they were surprisingly similar. Teachers who got poor rankings from the two-second clips also got low ratings from students who took their classes. Those teachers agonized over their curriculum and teaching methods, and even spent time bonding with students. But in the end, it didn’t matter. The students decided how effective teachers were within seconds. Behold the power of a first impression. Intimidated? Don’t be. My research suggests entrepreneurs can easily hack those first few seconds and make a great and lasting impression. It just comes down to four skills.


Adapted from CAPTIVATE: The Science of Succeeding with People (Portfolio), by Entrepreneur columnist Vanessa Van Edwards, out now.


I’m a TED Talk junkie, and I’ve often wondered why some talks generate enormous traffic, and some fall flat, even if the talks themselves are equally interesting. Could it have to do with first impressions? To find out, I designed an experiment. I had a team of coders analyze hundreds of hours of TED Talks, looking for differences between the least and most viewed videos. We counted hand gestures and measured vocal variety, smiling, and body movement. Here’s what we found: The most popular TED Talkers used hand gestures to instantly build trust with their audience. The most popular used an average of 465 hand gestures (yes, our coders counted every single one). The least popular TED Talkers used an average of 272 hand gestures. And TED superstars Temple Grandin, Simon Sinek, and Jane McGonigal topped the charts with more than 600 hand gestures in just 18 minutes. This effect isn’t specific to TED Talks. More than 30 years ago, researchers Robert Gifford, Cheuk Fan Ng, and Margaret Wilkinson found that, among other aspects, job candidates who used more hand gestures in their interviews were more likely to get hired. Why do hand gestures have such an impact? They can show intention. Think back to the caveman days. When a stranger approached our caveman ancestors, the best way to tell if the stranger had good or bad intentions was to look at their hands. Were they carrying a rock or a spear? Then as the stranger introduced themselves, our ancestors watched their gestures to make sure they weren’t going to reach out and attack or steal precious belongings. My theory: Even though we aren’t often subjected to physical harm today, this ancient survival mechanism remains. When someone can see your hands, they feel more at ease and are more likely to befriend you. I have found that the absolute easiest thing you can do to improve your first impression is to keep your hands visible. So when you walk into a room or are waiting to


meet someone, keep your hands out of your pockets. Pockets are murderers of rapport. Don’t let desks, purses, or laptops block them, either. And never, ever skip a handshake. The moment we have skin-to-skin touch with someone, our body produces something called oxytocin. Researcher Paul Zak discovered the power of this little hormone to facilitate trust. In one experiment, he was able to manipulate the trust of participants simply by giving them a dose of oxytocin. Think about that. They don’t call it “the connection hormone” for nothing.


Keep it dry. SKILL 2

Nothing is worse than a slimy palm. If you’re at a party, wrap some extra napkins around your drink. The innermost will absorb condensation; the rest are your wipe.

Stand Like a Winner Projecting an air of confidence is absolutely critical when meeting someone new. Why? It’s simple. Because, as humans, we want to be associated with winners, not losers. We want to be led by winners, not losers. And in the first few seconds of an interaction, we’re looking for indications of confidence. We’re trying to decide if the person we are speaking with looks like a winner or a loser. And that person is looking for the exact same thing in us. So what does a winner look like? Researchers Jessica Tracy and David Matsumoto wanted to find out. To do this, they compared how various sighted and blind Olympic athletes behaved after they won or lost a race. Did those people display the same forms of pride and shame? The answer was yes—across cultures, and regardless of whether an athlete had ever seen other athletes with their own eyes, the behavior of winning and losing was identical. Winners typically raise their arms over their heads, expand their chests, and tilt their heads up toward the sky. Losers bow their heads, slump their shoulders, and pin their arms tightly to their sides. The fact that athletes instinctively use the same body language shows us how innately programmed we are to nonverbally broadcast victory and defeat. When we’re proud, we want people to notice us, so we take up

Keep it vertical. Offering your palm up is considered by some to be a submissive or weak gesture, whereas forcing someone into the palm-up position by putting your hand out palm down can be seen as domineering.

space. When we feel defeated, we try to deflect attention by taking up as little space as possible. Now, as much as I want you to look like a winner, the traditional winner’s pose is a bit much for everyday interactions. Instead, I use something I call the launch stance. This is a slightly toned-down version of the winner’s posture: Keep your shoulders down and back; aim your chin, chest, and forehead straight in front of you or slightly up; keep space between your arms and torso—not too much—and, again: Keep those hands out of your pockets..


Look ’Em Straight in the Eye Once we decide someone is a winner, we want to know if we should align with them— if, so to speak, they should be on our team. This is the differentiator between a good first impression and a great one. So we ask ourselves questions: Does this person


Be firm. How can you tell if a peach is ripe? You squeeze until you feel a tiny bit of resistance. Same goes for people. Squeeze until you feel their muscles tighten, and then stop. And never give someone a limp hand—it’s deadly for rapport.

like me? Would this person respect my opinion? Will this person include me? Will this person help me? If the answers are no,we’ll never warm to that person. And if you’re the one being evaluated, how do you communicate that you’re worth aligning with? Easy: Eye contact. One of the most powerful examples of eye contact is in a video done by activist Jae West and her team at Liberators International, an organization that aims “to coordinate, record, and distribute monthly global acts of freedom,” and whose YouTube channel is filled with many daring acts of kindness and awareness-raising. The video is called “The World’s Biggest Eye Contact Experiment.” In this video, strangers are asked to participate in one minute of sustained eye contact with another stranger. “We were definitely nervous going into it,” says West. “It’s quite confronting to stare a stranger in the eye and allow yourself to be vulnerable.” The results were overwhelming. More than 100,000 people participated in the experiment in 156 cities around the world. After just one minute of eye contact, stranger after stranger ended their moment in tears, hugs, and astonishment. Why is eye contact so powerful? Like a


handshake, we’re programmed to interpret the right amount of eye contact as a nonverbal signal of goodwill—because when you like someone, you look at them more. Just don’t overdo it. Body language experts Barbara and Allan Pease say the ideal is to look someone in the eye 60 to 70 percent of the time you’re interacting with them. If you do far less than that, you can appear timid and nervous. More, and you’re off-putting. But in that sweet spot, you’re making a connection that lasts. (For more tips, see page 51.)

And here are the results, in order from most to least interesting. 1. What was the highlight of your day? 2. What personal passion project are you working on? 3. Has anything exciting come up in your life? 4. What’s your story? 5. What brings you here? 6. What do you do? 7. How are you?


Trash the Script Sometimes we’re lazy or plain afraid of tackling new topics in social situations. I get it. We have our scripts—Where are you from? What do you do?—and we stick to them. But what’s the point of following nearly identical social scripts every time you talk to someone? What’s the point of trying to talk to a new client if the conversation is so boring they won’t remember it anyway? Good conversation has tons of sparks: little bursts of pleasure we remember. In the brain, sparks are marked by dopamine, a neurotransmitter released when we feel pleasure. Importantly, that little chemical also helps your long-term memory. “You can think of it like a Post-it Note that reads, ‘Remember this!’” says molecular biologist Dr. John Medina. “Getting one’s brain to put a chemical Post-it Note on a given piece of information means that information is going to be more robustly processed.” In other words, being memorable boils down to inducing chemical pleasure. When you produce dopamine during a conversation, you not only give your partner more enjoyment; you are also assigned more significance, which increases your memorability. How do you trigger dopamine? By asking fresh questions that ignite new ideas, introducing topics we hadn’t thought about, and stimulating in-depth discussions. In 2016, to better understand this, my company teamed up with the organizations Mercy Corps, Society for Information Management, and Girls Inc. We randomly partnered more than 300


participants and gave each pair seven slips of paper. On each slip, one of the following questions appeared:

What’s your story? How are you?  What was the

highlight of your day? What do you do? Has anything exciting  come up in your life?  What brings you here?

What personal  passion project are you working on? Once everyone was seated, we ran them through what was essentially the networking version of speed-dating. When we rang a bell, they picked up one of the slips and had a conversation based on it. After three minutes, we rang another bell and they rated the quality of that conversation—from 1 (for boring) to 5 (for stellar). We wanted to see which subjects would rank the highest.

And here are the results, in order from most to least interesting. 1. What was the highlight of your day? 2. What personal passion project are you working on? 3. Has anything exciting come up in your life? 4. What’s your story? 5. What brings you here? 6. What do you do? 7. How are you? Notice that the least effective sparkers are the ones people tend to use the most. Coincidence? No. We stick to social scripts out of habit. We use the same dull conversation starters over and over again because they are in our comfort zone. But we need to stop that. Nothing spark-worthy happens in your comfort zone. All this advice really drives toward one thing: When we meet new people, we have to quickly decide if we want them in our lives. First impressions are a survival mechanism, a way to instinctively react to external stimuli and decide whether you should stay or flee. If you want someone to stay, you need to quickly win them over. Keep your hands visible, make eye contact, stand like a winner, and try nontypical conversation sparkers. That’s how you’ll turn strangers into acquaintances, acquaintances into friends, and prospects into clients. That’s how you become memorable.

How to

Pitch Lakshmi Balachandra is a former entrepreneur, improv comedian, and venture capitalist. She now works as a professor at Babson College, studying negotiation, pitching, and trust development in the world of entrepreneurship. She talks us through how best to engage potential investors, partners, and clients, and how to avoid mistakes that can kill a deal. —STEPHANIE SCHOMER

What are investors really looking for when they sit down to hear a pitch?

They always say “passion.” But I’ve tested it, and they don’t want passion. I spent two days with the Tech Coast Angels [a large network of investors in Southern California], interviewing them, running surveys, reviewing 101 pitches they received. And while they think they want the crazy guy in the garage, they don’t. They want someone who is calm, composed, who can lead. Someone coachable, humble, and open to critiques. Someone they can trust. How do they decide if an entrepreneur is trustworthy?

Trust research shows, theoretically, that when trust develops it’s either characterbased or competency-based. Character is about benevolence and integrity—basically, if you think someone is a good person. And competency is about ability, measurable intelligence. In the context of pitching, I expected the development of trust to be based on competence. But my research found the exact opposite. VCs put more weight on character. You can be the most competent person in the world, but if you’re a jerk, you’re not going to get invested in. What are some of the easiest mistakes to avoid during your pitch?

We recently completed a language study using pitches from the MIT Elevator Pitch competition, where real entrepreneurs have

HOW TO MOVE What do you say when you don’t say anything? Lillian Glass, Ph.D., a body language expert and communications consultant, tells us six things to watch for.

Stop fidgeting. “You’ve got to eliminate tapping your fingers, shaking your leg, tapping your feet,” she says. Those are signals that you’re insecure and uncomfortable. And appearing insecure makes others less inclined to engage with you.

Easy on the blinking. When we’re nervous, we blink more than usual, Glass says. “Your nerves are firing rapidly, your subconscious is working overtime, and your eyes dry up to compensate.”

Be sure to lean in. “If you’re leaning away from someone in conversation, that’s a huge body code saying, ‘I don’t want anything to do with you.’ Lean into the conversation to show your comfort level.”

Mind the goods. People tend to unconsciously cover their genitals when they stand up. “Your natural human instinct is to protect the most vulnerable parts of the body,” Glass says. But doing so “weakens your position and makes you look insecure.”

60 seconds to pitch VCs for a cash prize. We used word search and psychology software to analyze what was effective or not. Words and phrases related to satisfaction and inspiration—happiness, joy, thanks, I feel lucky, I’m confident—get positive responses from VCs. Anything that implied uncertainty— could, perhaps, might—was a turnoff, as well as referring to your projects as “work.” When you indicated how hard you had worked, it was off-putting.

Watch the face. Your autonomic nervous system kicks into overdrive if you’re feeling nervous or lying, making you itchy. Pulling on your nose or scratching your cheek can signal deception, while chewing on a pen cap “gives off a sense of being judgmental.”

Flail = fail. “Sometimes if you don’t know how to use your hands properly, you start flailing all over the place,” Glass says. But don’t be too stiff. “You have to flow, be easy at the wrist and the elbow, which will show you have command of the situation.”

You’ve spent a lot of time studying gender and how it relates to success in raising capital. What’s the most surprising find?

Despite what other studies have shown, we didn’t find a bias against women. But we looked at the behaviors of people making pitches, and categorized them based on the stereotypes around masculinity and femininity—men are assumed to be more confident, aggressive, and bold, and


women are supposed to be more expressive. And while there was no bias against women, “feminine” behavior, regardless of gender, was poorly received. You used to be an improv comedian, which now plays into the courses you teach. Where’s the intersection?

In improv, the term you train with is “yes and,” which means you have to accept whatever has happened and move with it. You have a very short amount of time to produce a product—a laugh—and the only way to do that is to be hyperaware of your surroundings. As an entrepreneur, during a pitch, you need to read cues, recognize an opportunity, and build on it. The number one rule is listening, and learning to step aside from your script and understand why the investor is asking you a certain question or making a certain comment, and adjusting appropriately. It’s listening in a different way—less about the words and more about the emotion—and it’s really hard to do, especially in the moment.

How to

master the interview You might think you’ve got an intuitive knack for interviewing prospective talent, but a whole body of research begs to differ. As it turns out, our brains are often swayed by the least meaningful moments of the interview process. Recognizing those quirks before you start out can make you a more effective interviewer—just as strategically (some might say, cynically) deploying them could make you a more attractive candidate. So be aware. Be very aware. Let’s start with flattery. Most people would be loath to work with a fast-talking, ingratiating narcissist, but a study in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology found they’re pretty likely to hire one. Researchers asked 222 raters to assess 72 mock interviews and found that candidates scored much higher if they


complimented the interviewer, spoke quickly, and were overtly self-promotional. Moreover, that effect can be multiplied by a good handshake (see page 47). University of Iowa researchers found that because so many candidates tend to say similar things in interviews (“I’m a team player! XYZ is my passion!”), the handshake can be interpreted as an indicator of the candidate’s true personality. Then there’s timing. While we probably assume our judgment remains consistent throughout the interview process—as fair to the first candidate as we are to the last—the fact is, it’s all over the place. A study in Psychological Science found that, since humans have a natural tendency to balance judgments across a batch, we’re more critical of the third or fourth

candidates we meet because we subconsciously worry we might have given too many high marks to the first two. Finally, there are the problems of fatigue and confirmation bias. When you’re down to the last couple of candidates, you’re likely tired of vetting people and thus hypermotivated to close the deal. You also—whether you admit it or not— have a favorite. This combination makes you far more likely to miss any new red flags. All the more reason to really dig in in the early rounds of interviews, when you have more candidates to evaluate, and more energy to do it with. Just watch out for those flatterers. —KATE ROCKWOOD For battle-tested tips on asking better interview questions, go to page 22.

5 MORE SCIENCE-BACKED TIPS Sleep! A recent study showed that when workplace leaders don’t get a good night’s sleep, they’re more likely to act like “jerks” (the study’s technical term), causing their team’s level of engagement to plummet.

Write what you mean. In a study that reviewed email exchanges, recipients accurately detected seriousness or sarcasm just 56 percent of the time. Best to be clear. If you’re a manager, sending mixed signals can cause employees to disengage.

How to

engage online Here’s the truth: No online relationship with a customer will ever be as valuable as one forged in the real world. “Social networks have a much lower impact dollar to dollar,” says David Shrier, managing director of MIT Connection Science, which uses data analytics to build better societies. But online interactions can still play a key role—it just takes a bit of finesse.

Be provocative— but genuine Tweets or posts that are slightly provocative are more likely to be shared. “It stimulates adrenaline,” Shrier says. “It’s the same reason people stare at a car accident or watch a racy movie. It gets your neurochemicals going, and there’s an addictive quality.” But don’t push the envelope too far—keep it genuine and light. “Consumers are skeptical of inauthentic messaging. But you can create thought-provoking content and do it with a sense of fun.”

Go for the laughs Shrier points to Dollar Shave Club’s now famous (and very funny) 2012 online launch video— which to date has amassed more than 24 million views—as an example of brilliant online communication. “The founder was a former member of [improv comedy group] The Upright Citizens Brigade, and he knew that people will

Stock up on fruits and vegetables. Their nutrients increase our bodies’ production of dopamine, which is integral to keeping us motivated and engaged— and engaging—throughout the day.

HOW TO MAKE EYE CONTACT It’s imperative to making a strong connection—but how much is too much? Here are three ways to perfect your gaze.

Hold it. Eye contact during a conversation increases brain stimulation and, as a result, recall of the conversation. But it doesn’t take much: A 2006 study found that maintaining eye contact just 30 percent of the time significantly increased a listener’s memory.

But not for too long. Research shows that holding eye contact longer than three seconds without taking a break can be interpreted as aggressive, causing listeners to feel defensive and resistant to what you’re saying.

remember something comical,” Shrier says. “If you can introduce audio and comedy into your communication streams, it will engage your audience more because it triggers emotions.”

Want to be trusted? Get a super-influencer “People today view popular online personalities with greater trust because social media lets them feel like they have a personal relationship,” Shrier says, suggesting that brands identify these “super-influencers” and use them to their advantage. “People may trust a Kim Kardashian because they feel a connection. She appears more trustworthy.”

Listen to nature. To drown out unwanted office noise, skip anything with a strong backbeat and try listening to a recording of nature sounds. Researchers find it optimizes concentration and cognitive function, without being a distraction.

And take breaks. Eye contact and word generation share cognitive resources, according to a 2016 study. That means maintaining too much eye contact can sap your brain and impact your ability to verbally respond.

Can’t get a Kardashian? Solicit a referral “Find ways to use digital communication so it empowers real-world networks,” Shrier says. Asking existing customers or fans to refer friends to the company or product is an efficient way to gain trust and make an impact. “They’ve done the work of identifying people that would benefit—and these are people they actually have a relationship with,” he says. “So it ultimately has a much better influence on behavior.”—S.S.

Talk less. Sometimes engagement means talking less. A team of researchers from MIT recently studied patterns of communication among people working in groups. The biggest success stories? The ones in which everyone got their turn to talk.




e-furniture store Urban Ladder partnered with interior design and décor startup HomeLane to make available its products through HomeLane catalogue.

Telecom equipment company Qualcomm tied up with T-Hub incubator to support start-ups in the area of Internet of Things, mobile, biometrics, wireless technologies, etc.

From deal value perspective, last month was probably most encouraging for start-ups with multiple less than $10m deals taking place. Ubers rival Lyft’s acquisition of Pune-based Q&A platform FinitePaths was a small but significant deal in the M&A vertical. Qualcomm associating with T-Hub incubator and mobile handset maker Intex Technologies foray into start-up funding were the deals of the month among new tie-ups and new funds. Cochin Shipyard India’s largest public sector shipyard plans for IPO was interesting development in the IPO market.




Mobile maker Intex Technologies launched a $2530m fund for early stage technology start-ups.

Cochin Shipyard - India’s largest public sector shipyard to raise is planning to raise about $212227m from its IPO. It has filed draft papers with SEBI.

Bihar government set up Rs 500 crore fund for state’s start-ups under the revised startup policy.



Ahmedabadbased retail financing firm Mas Financial Services filed draft papers with SEBI to raise around $83m from IPO.



Online meat ordering start-up Licious secured $10m from Mayfield India, 3one4 Capital, Sistema Asia Fund and other.

Belgian-based fund Verlinvest pumped in an undisclosed amount in Ed-tech start-up BYJU’s.

B2B logistics start-up BlackBuck raised $70m in Series C round led by Sands Capital.

Travel search engine ixigo received $15m in Series B round led by Sequoia Capital.



Home healthcare company Medwell Ventures secured $21m, in Series B round led by Mahindra Partners.

E-wallet company MobiKwik got $930k from Cisco Systems Capital (India) and Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd, part of its $50m Series C round.

Enterprise contract management software provider Icertis mopped $25m in Series C round led by B Capital Group launched by Facebook co-founder, Eduardo Saverin.

Cab hailing service Ola raised $250m from SoftBank subsidiary SIMI Pacific Pte.


Bharti Airtel bought Tikona Digital’s 4G airwaves for around $242m to boost its data offerings.

Crowdfunding platform DesiredWings acquired crowdfunding and community engagement platform Catapooolt for an undisclosed amount.

Source: Online (recent and most prominent deals between 16 March - 15 April 2017.)

US-based Uber rival Lyft acquired Punebased Q&A platform FinitePaths for an undisclosed amount.

On-demand dry cleaning and laundry services provider PickMyLaundry, has acquired subscription-based laundry and dry cleaning start-up OneClickWash for an undisclosed amount in an all-cash deal.

A &




CASES OF THINKING THROUGH THE EXPERIENCE DESIGN How technology entrepreneurs are using design thinking mindset to break away from the clichéd problemsolution formula, they thought was scalable, to achieve growth. After all, coding their way through problems can’t work every time. By Sandeep Soni


roducts are dead. They no longer differentiate you from other brands. But what does - is the experience they offer, as customers look for experience that’s

intuitive, personalized, and realistic. This goes beyond just creating a great product. For instance, Apple wins over experience against Samsung despite their phones having almost similar specifications and competing in the same price range. In a way, a great product is a derivation of a great experience. And that’s the holy grail for design thinking that has become ubiquitous today. Top global brands use design thinking – the cognitive approach to derive solutions for customers by connecting with them at the emotional level – as nucleus to whatever they do. “This is an inside – out process, which can be practiced by entrepreneurs as a way of working on day-to-day basis and at the same time – can be sourced to a design agency for specialized needs,” opines design expert Shuchi Gangwal, Founder & Principal Designer of design studio - Kypsa. Chew on the following examples to ‘design think’ your problem. It always works. 90


Illustrations: Rajeev kumar



the retail pharmacy space was a great idea for PharmEasy’s Dharmil Sheth in February 2015 by creating an online pharmacy platform. But it was easier said than done. Four months into the business, it didn’t go anywhere. So Sheth came up with a solution: categorize medicines for patients to find them easily but that too didn’t work. Because PharmEasy couldn’t deliver medicine without prescription, the customer would give prescription to the delivery boy who would take it the store to verify the prescription and then deliver the medicine. Hence, customers were reluctant to buy online. So Sheth and his team, one fine morning, went out asking the customers why they leave PharmEasy mid way without completing the transaction. He came across a very fundamental issue. He says, “More than 50 per cent of the patients cannot read medicines’ names on the prescription. They take it to a local chemist store who can read it for them.” So, Sheth tossed out an idea that aimed at replicating the offline behavior: to ask customers to upload the prescription’s image on PharmEasy where comprehension of the prescription is done by the pharmacist in the backend. Soon after that the results were in: the orders went up from just around 15 to 50 everyday and monthly growth from 30 per cent to 200 per cent apart from 50 per cent reduction on the development cost from cart-based selection to image-based.



digital payments in India goes through an inflection point, a number of payment gateways have stepped in to facilitate that change. Among many payment gateways has been Mumbai-based software-as-a-service Airpay Payment Services co-founded by Kunal Jhunjhunwala in 2012. The process of transacting via Airpay was similar too but till nine months back. Customers using Airpay, much like other payment gateways used to fill in their personal details along with payment details and were re-directed to the payment gateway page. But here was the catch, the customer would have to re-do the entire cycle right from selecting the product if he/she made mistake on the payment page. Jhunjhunwala looked


at customer history and noticed where customers were getting lost. He says, “We tried many things to reach there. We came back to our first problem where the consumer left without making payment because he was redirected back from where he started.” The solution Jhunjhunwala came up with has been pretty unique now: Airpay would send the customers on the same page to fill details correctly. “As customers will make mistake, the technology has to gracefully fix it for them. There are more reference sales now with word of mouth from 800 merchants that we have,” states Jhunjhunwala. There’s 40 per cent growth in transactions since then for Airpay, from 100 to up to 200 transactions per day.


based Rajesh Nahar is among the lesser known Internet entrepreneurs of 90s India who started with an online grocery business in 1998 with Chennaibazaar. com. In 2005, he launched online clothing store called for Indian diaspora worldwide in 2005. Like other online retailers for clothes, Nahar had the challenge of touch-andfeel. He says, “Talking to them we realized the need for touch-and-feel experience of the fabric at least for the first time buyer.” So he tried few things except



November 2016, it was already more than 18 months for Thirukumaran Nagarajan running NinjaCart – Bengaluru-based businessto-business agri-marketing platform that he had pivoted to, from earlier model of hyperlocal grocery delivery. And he didn’t seem lucky second time as well. He says, “The consumer base was not growing that fast.” So Nagarajan tried everything generic. “We reduced the prices but sales still didn’t happen. We looked at improving the quality by reducing returns, but that too didn’t work,” he adds. Sitting at the office one afternoon Nagarajan went back to the promises made to his customers. “We pitched five things to customers to be better than others – affordable price, better quality, availability, fulfillment and timely delivery but couldn’t maintain all of them,” he admits. For e.g. NinjaCart promised to be one-stop shop but often many products weren’t available. This meant changes in the supply chain. “We made the supply chain ‘flow-based’. Earlier the supply used to be from farmers to warehouse and then to customers. We changed that from farmers to fulfillment centres followed by distribution centres and then to customers which reduced our logistics cost by 25 per cent to Rs 1.1 lakh daily from Rs 1.4 lakh earlier,” explains Nagarajan. From March onwards things started improving: Our quality improved as our returns dropped from 11 per cent to 3 per cent and pricing became 10 per cent competitive to market rates. Also fulfillment rate hit 99 per cent, on time delivery was at 95 per cent.

discounts. Cbazaar created a widget to help customers buy what they want. “We spent eight months to help discovery of products and better conversion but it didn’t work. We also promised deliveries within seven days but that too went down. We lost $1-2 million in this,” remembers Nahar. He later looked at the pattern where customers left the website: most of them leave after selecting an outfit. So Nahar decided to separate the two parts of buying online – one where product discovery, outfit trial, measurement and fitting, customization and style recommendation. And secondly, where transaction happens. Nahar pulled out the former from his portal and offered

those services by setting up a ‘Guide Shop’ – a 200-400 sq. ft physical store. Here, customers can touch, feel and fit themselves into the samples of best selling designs on Cbazaar at the Guide Shop. For this, Nahar partnered with Cbazaar most loyal customers, who have done at least 50 transactions on its portal. While he didn’t disclose, but partner-customers are assumed to be taking cuts on sales. “It has impacted my overall online conversion as knowing about our offline presence adds credibility to our brand among customers. In fact they add five per cent to our total revenues,” maintains Nahar. Currently, there are three Guide Shops – in New York, Los Angeles in the US and Chennai in India. MAY 2017 l ENTREPRENEUR




Not Just Another Money Guy

Parag Dhol, 48, Managing Director at India portfolio of US-based early stage venture capital firm Inventus Capital Partners. The proud redBus investor wants entrepreneurs, who writes to him for money, to get at least one thing straight – if they feel that they have already arrived on the basis of what their idea is, then they might not get to meet him for the second time. So never close your mind to learning - his mantra for young entrepreneurs. And that’s not it. If you are more than three sharing a single idea, then think before you pitch - he doesn’t like the crowd of co-founders. Dhol shares what clicked him for three businesses which are next in line to ‘arrive’. Happy Pitching! By Sandeep Soni




We all know online search is broken, particularly when you shop. Even today, there are no platforms which talk to you, they can’t exactly provide what you want based on your spending behavior. For retailers of all kinds, except the ones like Amazon which can spend a fortune to fix a problem, it means loss of everything – prospective customer, time, efforts and of course money. The answer to such miseries: Bengaluru-based Unbxd, an e-commerce product discovery solution, that Inventus ‘discovered’ in 2014 and put series A round. “Pavan Sondur (Founder unbxd) always had entrepreneurial ambitions and he always stood out because of that. He and his CoFounder Prashant Kumar were two raw engineers who believed that search in e-commerce for retailers was broken because it was done in an unstructured way,” says Dhol. The fund took the call based on the chemistry between the two founders and complementary skills. “Even if both of them are techies, does one of them have a sales orientation who can sell?” he adds.

Working for a company that comforts you with the luxury of pick up and drop services? Great, but how often do you get picked up last and dropped first? Probably that sounds bit farfetched but for companies offering such services, employee transport management is a mess. Companies usually don’t know which way would be the shortest for your cab in X route, in case one or two of employees in that cab roster don’t turn up. The system has been pretty much unsynced. MoveInSync in which Inventus along with Saama Capital and Qualcomm Ventures put $2.2 million in 2014, syncs exactly that. “In transporting employees the catch is that someone in transport department does all the calculations mentally for rerouting vehicles. Now think about the capacity utilization in this; when two people take a cab meant for four. So through technology, if a particular employee is on leave, can the system reroute itself in such a way that it still remains efficient? MoveInSync solves this,” affirms Dhol. The company gained instant limelight by having Google as their first customer. “When we invested they had around Rs 25 lakh revenue monthly which has grown 10x in last two-and-a-half years and from eight customers to 45 today,” he explains.

For those who trade in mutual funds and other financial products, the ban on entry load for mutual funds to charge 2.25 of the amount invested by investors complying to the Securities and Exchange Board of India rules had hit mutual fund houses. But before that the opportunity already existed for an online platform to offer an investment platform less than the entry load for investors. Chennaibased C.R. Chandrasekar and Srikanth Meenakshi had launched FundsIndia in 2008 to be that platform; and the ban that followed gave the idea a huge push for Inventus to back them with Rs 3 crore. “The space is pretty diverse and fragmented in India. You can buy mutual funds online that constitutes 85 per cent of their business,” asserts Dhol. FundsIndia has up to Rs 3,000 crore worth assets under management and is the second best company in the space in terms of stability of assets. “This means that mutual fund houses like HDFC and ICICI love it because the investor is staying with you for a longer time than with offline funds. So FundsIndia has attracted a very keen set of investors,” he states.









Staffing Smarter fifififfififififififififififi An entrepreneur in need of new employees worries about making a bad choice. BY ADAM BORNSTEIN


I run a small business and need to hire in order for us to grow. What’s the best approach for bringing on the right people? —Shane, Toronto A: Shane, the strength of your team is the strength of your business. But the opposite is also true—hiring the wrong people can pull down your operation and cost you money. When I was in the corporate world, I tried to buy an allstar team. I focused mostly on résumés and achievements. It didn’t work out too well. Later, when I started my own business, I couldn’t afford to buy that kind of team. That forced me to focus on the bigger, tougher question: What actually makes a good employee? Uncovering the answer made me better at finding the right talent. I learned that, though prior job titles are indicative, great hiring is really about identifying passion. It may seem like you can only learn about someone over time, but I found that asking better, more specific questions during the interviewing process can reveal a lot. That means no more “Why should we hire you?” or “Where do you see yourself in five years?” Instead, get a little more personal. You already know the hole you want a candidate to fill in your company. To gain insight, ask how you will fill a void in their life. Did they previously have a bad manager or hit a growth ceiling at their last job? Can this be addressed in your company? You also need to ensure that a potential employee sees value in being part of your team. Here, what they tell you (“I love your company!”) is less important than what they ask. Invested employees will want to know what success will

look like in their position, what you want them to add to the business. They’re interested in growth and future opportunity. If your potential hire appears introverted, flip the question. Ask for specific examples of what inspired them to apply. This line of inquiry will help you gauge how well the candidate understands your company and their potential role in it. You can also throw a curveball to test them. Dev Basu, founder of PoweredbySearch, Toronto’s fastest-growing digital marketing agency (936 percent growth in five years!), likes asking, “How would you beat us if you were a competitor?” You also want to assess key qualities like the ability to respond to criticism, speed of work, and communication style. For these, I recommend creating a test prior to the interview process—something that requires the candidate to share their opinions or expertise—and request a quick turnaround. Does the applicant ask for more time or miss a deadline? Those are red flags. Then, during the interview, criticize or disagree with some of their answers and see how they react. This will be an important test of how you’ll be able to work together, as conflict and disagreement are inevitable in any workplace. Finally, when you’re ready to make an offer, be prepared to think beyond salary. You may need to sweeten an offer with nonmonetary perks, like ample vacation or the ability to work from home sometimes. “The best employees aren’t just looking for more pay,” says Basu. “They are looking for a sense of belonging and purpose.” When they find that, it makes them happy. And when they’re happy, they tend to stick around. Adam Bornstein is the founder of Pen Name Consulting, a marketing and branding agency; a New York Times best-selling author; and the creator of the two12 event.

Have a problem we can solve for you? Tell us at | MAY 22 ENTREPRENEUR l MAY 2017 2017 94 ENTREPRENEUR.COM




Baiting the Hook New customers don’t just walk up and offer you their money. So we asked six entrepreneurs: How do you attract more business?

HAVE FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS “We form strategic alliances with businesses related to but not directly competing in our space who can refer us customers. If we are not able to send customers in their direction, we figure out a way to be beneficial, whether that be by helping get their kid an internship or donating to causes they care about.” —Evan Powell, cofounder, Key Transitions, Los Angeles





“We’ve found that a comprehensive, multichannel marketing strategy is mandatory in today’s fragmented media environment. When we are reaching our customers wherever they are—including TV, radio, Facebook, earned media, Amazon, their email inbox, display ads, YouTube, and search engines— then all channels support each other and increase effectiveness. The sum is truly greater than its parts.” —Marty Fahncke, CMO, Barton Publishing, Brandon, S.D.

“As an e-commerce analytics company, our sales engine is our website. To convert people that land there into customers, we rely heavily on collecting and analyzing data. This helps us understand and optimize the marketing channels that are most successful in drawing in customers—natural search, affiliates, paid ads, or social media, for example. The stats don’t lie. Then we invest in channels according to their return on investment.” —Kevin North, CEO, Terapeak, Toronto

“In an environment rife with gimmicks and teasers, consumers are looking for products and services that embrace honesty. The best way for us to attract new customers is to listen to our loyal ones. They will guide the evolution of your product to meet the demands of the market. It’s simple, albeit time-consuming: We respond to emails, personally call people with complaints, and slip handwritten notes into shipments.” —John Goscha, founder, The Finally Light Bulb Company, Boston




“We sell stock photography, video, and sound. Instead of selling one image to one client for $300, which was the norm years ago, we sell 300 images to 300 clients at $1 each. This means a larger positive impact when they recommend our service to their partners. Viral marketing has more value than ever and nothing gets more customers than a good product.” —Serban Enache, founder, Dreamstime .com, Brentwood, Tenn.

“We seek out people who care about clean energy but can’t do rooftop solar because their roof is tilted the wrong way, there are trees, or they’re just in the wrong utility territory. These are the nonviable leads other companies can’t service, so they think their dreams are over. But we can offer them access to community panels, no roof needed. Problem solved.” —Kiran Bhatraju, CEO, Arcadia Power, Washington, D.C.



PIONEERING THE MANAGEMENT EDUCATION MIT College of Management is established in 2007 to provide education in management. Today, the industry is demanding skilled manpower in every field. India’s industry is rapidly developing and to provide qualified professional in the same, well-groomed managers are the need of the hour. What are the top three advantages of studying at MIT College of Management?

development, research and publication, difficulty in attracting industry experts to the teaching profession due to regulatory norms, restrictions on collaborative programs with foreign institutions. There are several ways in which MITCOM has attempted to manage these challenges, which include faculty development programs, starting a PhD program of the University.

Firstly, being a private university enables us to retain the flexibility in program design and content and teach an updated and innovative curriculum. Secondly, the industry linkages provides students an opportunity to live-projects and internships. Thirdly, it also includes an illustrious team of professionals, alumni from the leading Indian and International business schools, who teaches at MITCOM.

Who awards the degree? Does it have AICTE certification and university affiliation?

What does the course offer?

The degree is awarded by MIT ADT University which has UGC listing, Private universities doesn’t come under purview of AICTE.

We have an intensive program and without compromising on the teaching hours, we What program do you blend our program with offer at MIT College of industry interaction through Management? field visits, live-projects etc. We offer under graduate Internships include interesting to doctoral programs in and relevant case studies. management. We are known We are seeking industry for sector specific highly affiliation and tie-ups to make the program of value to employers. (L to R) Prof. Mrs. Sunita

How is MITCOM different in comparison to the other B-schools? Curriculum offered at MITCOM is aligned with International practices.

How do you tackle challenges that management education face today?

Some of the challenges for the Indian B-schools include shortage of quality faculty, limited interest among faculty for case96


M. Karad, Director, MIT COM, Pune and Prof. Dr. Mangesh Karad, Secretary, MAEER’s MIT Group of Institutions, Pune

specialized programs, our flagship programs are MBA in project and construction, agri business, entrepreneurship.

How tough is the entrance exam?

Admissions to MITCOM happen through a common entrance examination, MIT national aptitude test or MITNAT. Based on MITNAT score, short listed candidates are invited for a discussion and personal interview round.

What type faculty members do you have?

We augmented the team with academia as a full time faculty and industry professionals as visiting faculty. The number of visiting faculty varies with the course requirement. In addition, we propose to invite trainers to conduct industry specific workshops.

What would your class look like in terms of experienced/ inexperienced students? We offer admission to

students with zero to five years of experience. So, the classes have an appropriate mix to make for invaluable lateral learning in case of study discussions. We propose to combine some of the modules for our post-graduate program along with our executive education programs so the class can leverage the network of a wider base of students.

Do you have residential facility?

Yes, we do offer residential facility at our university campus for all programs. Our campus got the best campus award in 2016 by ASSOCHAM.

What kind of help would you give students in finding jobs and internships? We are in the 10th batch in our MBA, MTech and BBA programs and we have a strong alumni network through our various programs. We also have a strong industry network, we propose to leverage all of this to help our students find internships and final job placements. Our efforts will be at 100 per cent placement assistance.

How do the alumni members contribute in terms of placement or curriculum update?

Our alumni are well placed in leading MNCs nationally and internationally. The members participate as panelists, as mentors and some of them are also engaged in teaching. They are invited as a guest speaker or resource persons to conduct workshops. There is a dedicated Alumni Relations Team which facilitates interaction between the students from the current batch and the alumni.






IoT Botnets – Next Big Worry


e all love Internet of Things (IoT), isn’t it? It has brought ‘things’ a.k.a devices, around us to life - from watch, bed, luggage, bulb and clothes to even buildings (in some time). But that love is now turning into a spoiler. The smart band or watch on your wrist and other IoT electronics are being hacked by malware attackers to turn them into an army of zombie machines, and launch botnet attacks. Much like October 2016 attack that used IoT webcams and video recorders to block user access to many sites including Twitter, Reddit, Spotify, etc., by spamming the domain name service used by them. Read on as Dhruv Khanna, CEO, Data Resolve – cyber intelligence company shares insights on it. By Sandeep Soni

Distributed denialof-service (DDoS) attacks aren’t new. So using IoT devices are of a new type? There are multiple types. First is the conventional botnets that target your laptop and desktop servers to track your online activity. Second is the enterprise specific attacks called distributed denial-ofservice attack(DDoS) when botnets blocks all your access to the device. Third is where your activity and data is captured and sent to a third party. Fourth is where your device is remotely controlled and access is blocked until some money is paid to the attacker. IoT botnets are like DDoS attacks that not just use computers in a conventional botnet way but also IoT devices to break into information and data.

But why IoT devices have become favourites to launch attacks? Rise of IoT globally is still in its early days hence the level of protection is on the lower end. Moreover there are constraints in IoT devices such as using basic version of the operating system, less processing, storage and computational power in terms of setting up anti-virus and firewall and other security applications to them. This makes them an easy target for attackers to use to them as botnet for attack in comparison to using just computers and laptops which are relatively better secured. For e.g. Mirai botnet that target consumer devices like remote cameras, and home appliances.

The ecosystem in India too isn’t

the device. That’s why people are not spending too much on the device level but more on the cloud side. In a typical malware attack you are not able to control the source of attack but in IoT device you can as you know where your service is based on the cloud. But if your cloud application is compromised, it would be difficult to trace it.

making efforts to be ready. Right? That’s because IoT here is beginning to take its first step, hence, the awareness around it is not significant. On the enterprise side before pushing business services on IOT devices, as a best practice chief information security officers of the company eventually would have to frame a security manual and controls

15-year old Tamil Nadu boy Akash Manoj has innovated a non-invasive technique to detect ‘silent’ heart attacks – one of the major causes for deaths in India. The solution analyses the quantity of a small protein in the blood in heart - FABP3. 98


around IOT devices in terms of IOT device on-boarding, incident monitoring and control. Also, there is a need of regulation to control and monitor them.

Are we better off without IoT? Not really. Advantage of IoT is that it is part of the cloud ecosystem. Securing the cloud is as good as securing

So, this is next level of cyber security challenge? It is certainly the next level of attack. For large businesses, it will be a significant hit on their brand along with data. If10,000 of ant vendor devices in the market get compromised then it will impact on the company. It is not impacting just you as an individual but all the devices that are interconnected to your device and vice versa.








What if technology just dropped in your glass of wine? Well, it just did. The sway of your swigs gets more engaging with the tech-heck that’s in it. While some apps offer a prepaid card for the bar hopping party animal you are, some will give you a happier than expected price for your drink based on the real-time demand for it. Technology is indeed throwing up (well not really ‘throwing up’ that is) interesting ways to entertain thickheads who love a glass of ale anywhere. The three below are some of the best apps in the category.

HIPBAR Hipbar just moved your bar on the cloud. How? This app has created a special wallet for alcohol where you purchase prepaid credits and spend it on ordering your favourites across partner pubs at special discounted rates. It has been certified by the RBI. “Early 2015, I put together an action plan to challenge the status quo. That’s HipBar,” says Prasanna Natarajan, Founder, HipBar. RATING: 4.2, INSTALLS: 50,000 - 100,000

THE BAR STOCK EXCHANGE At TBSE, the price of your favourite spirit could come down as much as MRP and might even shot up all pricey. That’s because TBSE is a stock exchange for- wait for it- alcohol! Depending on the demand of your preferred poison, the prices keep on fluctuating in real-time. Mihir Desai, CoFounder, TBSE tells, “I got the idea when I saw a bar trading in beer in New York.” RATING: 4.2, INSTALLS: 100,000-500,000

HIPCASK Hipcask has become the ‘passport’ to buy craft beer across partner pubs and restaurants. “The idea is to buy a digital Hipcask Passport that gives you the freedom to order any amount of craft beer across any of the listed pubs.” says Aneesh Bhasin, Co-Founder, Hipcask. RATING: 3.8, INSTALLS: 10,000 - 50,000

Sources: Google playstore



Compiled by Sugandh Singh





AKER, THINKER, NGER, EXPLORER, RYTELLER, here is never a happy ending in many NKER, MAKER marriages – whether it’s between two people or two companies. Mergers and acquisitions EVER, CREATOR, (M&As) though still work great for many other business as they fuel inorganic growth from point NDSETTER, A to B but Dharmendra Singh, part of global M&A team of energy management giant Schneider Electric, ATEGIST, DOER, noticed that pattern of love lost between two businesses over integration process. So he turned NDER, REBEL, into the relationship manager for every acquirer to smoothen out the integration with the acquiree ENTIVE, company for everlasting courtship through his software-as-a-service platform for deal discovery, due ENTURER, diligence and post M&A integration – MergerWare. E BREAKER, ME CHANGER, RYTELLER, KER, INNOVATOR, EVER, MAKER, DOER, E BREAKER, L, TRENDSETTER,

The M&A Integrator


By Sandeep Soni

Singh launched MergerWare in October 2015. He was already 42 by then, late by at least 12 years when most technology startups today are launched by under-30 geeks. But he doesn’t have an iota of qualm on his face instead he backs it with a pretty strong reason. “The product and the market which I am into, I don’t think a 30-year old guy can do this. It requires at least 10 years of understanding of M&As particularly large deals.” Singh had financial back-up for following two years to bet on his idea. So either he had to invest his savings to bootstrap MergerWare or seek investment from outside. He had already discussed about the idea with his colleagues at Schneider Electric before he left the company. And he got lucky to find a backer among them without preparing investment pitches. Philippe Bouchet, former Vice President at Schneider Electric has now backed MergerWare twice, investing around $100,000 in April this year. “Bouchet was the first person to fund me. I told him I don’t have money, whatever I have is a back up for two years. So he gave me $100,000,” remembers Singh. MergerWare changed its name from Intgrea Partners in October 2016 after Singh started getting flooded with at least 50 investment pitches from entrepreneurs globally every week since it used last name as partners. “People always misunderstood us a VC firm,” says Singh. Ware in MergerWare signifies it is a software platform. It sell minimum of 10 licenses for $250 per user and per month basis, and goes up to 500 licenses, renewed annually. Also, it partners with M&A advisory firms to offer solution for deployment of their consulting services.



“Everyday worldwide there are 30 M&A deals happening led by companies as well as private equity firms. At Schneider Electric, I noticed that there was no value creation for businesses from acquisitions in terms of growth,” claims Singh. This does not happen because of multiple factors including the strategic intent for the deal, people involved, their vision etc.

Streamlining Value Creation

Globally M&A teams are lean having just four-five people and often members don’t have required experience in working on large M&A deals. As a result they miss out on critical checks and lose information required. Also since M&A integration cycle is quite long, at least six months to up to two years, the team members often changes which mean that critical information also keep changing hands and gets lost in the process. More than that, having all the information in one place remains the biggest challenge for large companies which have multiple offices and so information is also distributed. Through MergerWare, businesses that don’t even have an M&A team, can use the platform for all the checks and balances. “We have automated that process and the information is secured in the encrypted form to avoid any compromise,” claims Singh. Besides that, if the business wants to see how much synergy has been achieved post deal over the time, it can simply log in and check. “There is transparency and it saves time as you know what’s happening on real time basis and corrective action can be taken,” he asserts. MergerWare currently has six customers globally and will dedicate the new funding towards global expansion. The customer on-board will be slow for the company as it targets deals worth $100 million and above.

DRIVING INCLUSION >> Launched in October 2015, Bengaluru >> ~$200,000 raised in two rounds >> $100 million and above targeted deal sizes >> $250 per user and per month charged, license renewed annually >> $2000 per day charged for customized solution (customization takes five-10 days) >> 6 customers globally

FOR THE Find answers, discover solutions and explore new ideas to keep pushing the boundaries of your business.





DISPLAY: 5’8” Quad HD+ (2960x1440), 570 ppi PROCESSOR: Octa Core (2.3GHz Quad+1.7GHz Quad) 64 bit, 10 nm processor ndh uga By S

MEMORY: 4GB RAM (LPDDR4), 64GB(UFS 2.1) expandable up to 256 GB

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SENSORS: Accelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, Heart Rate Sensor, Proximity Sensor, RGB Light Sensor, Iris Sensor, Pressure Sensor BATTERY: 3,000 mAh OS: Andriod 7.0 PRICE: Rs. 57,900/-

BREAKING BOUNDARIES, ALL AT ONCE Samsung’s latest smart-phone launch has just made all others look antique, if not junk, altogether. ‘Stunning’, is the only expression. A sleek powerhouse, and an emblem of beauty, is what this shiny piece of gadget is.

TOUCH-SCREEN Technically, Samsung Galaxy S8 has an unusually large screen with a 5.8 inch full rectangle Quad HD+ (2960x1440), 570 ppi breathtaking display, but the phone does not seem large and cozily fits in the palm of a hand, thanks to its rounded corners and the design that has left not a line of a frame (bazel-less) on the sides of the display, further adding 18 per cent extra area to it. Also, the physical home screen outside the display area has been



done away with and has been embedded under the display using a pressure sensor.

CAMERA The S8 has a dual pixel 12 MP OIS rear camera and an 8 MP AF front camera, both with an aperture of F1.7, which might seem inferior to the standard of 16 MP on a host of other selfie-ready phones, but the quality, to be precise, is unparalleled in the industry. To boost the security feature of the phone, the S8 comes with iris scanner, face recognition and a fingerprint scanner.

PROCESSOR Samsung has incorporated the industry’s first ever, slimmest 10nm processor into S8 that houses under its hood more than 10,000 semi-conductors. Interestingly, it is light weight, faster, and an additional 20 per cent energy efficient that makes the 3000 mAh battery last really long.

BIXBY WITH AI While Bixby can easily be confused as just another interactive voice command platform, it is actually much brighter than that. With Bixby, the S8 brings AI into smartphone that is capable of learning with every use. It learns the behavior of a user

and intuitively blocks, delays, or presents the content at the user’s preferred time or place. Bixby begins to manage your phone as well as your schedule as it learns by use.

GEAR 360 AND VR AND THE DEX S8 has added new dimensions to the VR experience with the capability to capture 360 degree content through the Gear 360 peripheral gadget and can be viewed in Gear VR headset. DeX is a docking gadget that connects S8 to the desktop, mouse and keyboard for expansive usability. It also acts as a wireless charger dock with fast charging capabilities for S8.





Catalyst for Cashless Bharat


s payments in India is at an inflection point, the impact will cascade only onto the population which isn’t underserved. What’s left behind is an overwhelming 80 per cent of Indian population that is still economically weaker. Catalyst as an initiative was jointly

launched last year by Ministry of Finance and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to seed digital payments among the 80 per cent. Badal Malick, CEO, Catalyst and ex-VP of Snapdeal, gives an account of the development so far.

How did USAID get involved in this project?

USAID’s (US body for administering civilian foreign aid) involvement started with a strategic dialogue between the Heads of State of both India and the US on the need to collaborate on digital payments and financial inclusion to democratize finance for the underserved population. This led to a memorandum of understanding between USAID and the Ministry of Finance.

neighborhood ‘kirana’ stores in low-income communities to become e-commerce agents and adopt digital payment services. Another was started by YES Bank and small business lender Lendingkart to understand whether the remittance data of financially underserved small businesses could be used to appraise credit and give loans. USAID then decided to incubate a dedicated organization to scale digital payments adoption in low-income groups.

So, Catalyst was derived straight out of it?

But what exactly is Catalyst’s role?

Not quite. Initially, in its first year, the partnership undertook research focused on merchant and consumer payments behavior and implemented a few pilot programs. One was initiated in Bengaluru by Snapdeal and microlending firm Janalakshmi Financial Services to enable



By Sandeep Soni


Our role is that of a lastmile ecosystem enabler that facilitates markets, addresses critical coordination gaps, and demonstrates replicable and sustainable templates that others can use. Since December last year, we are working under a formal partnership with

the Government of Rajasthan to make the state a less cash economy starting with Jaipur. We have operational partnerships between different players like government, private solution providers and non-profit organizations.

You began with Jaipur last year. What were the focus on the ground?

Our digital payments lab approach encompasses buckets of activities. On one hand, we work at a cluster level where we start by activating merchants to accept digital payments followed by focusing on their customers and suppliers to digitize. Our strategies here include appropriate products, business model innovation, incentives including offering value added services like access to credit (underwritten by payments data), handholding and assisted on-boarding

mechanisms, as well as local trust building and demand creation activities. On the other hand, we are investing in certain cross-cutting, city level interventions such as digitizing controlled networks like dairy and eMitra (Rajasthan’s common service centers network), and enabling interoperable and open loop payments for different modes of transit like buses and metro.

Would that involve incubation as well?

Yes. We are also in a process of launching a fintech incubator in next few months which funds entrepreneurs to build products that address existing gaps like micro savings, income and consumption smoothing, and supply chain payment platforms that are focused on bottom 80 per cent of Indian communities -- typically merchants and households with monthly income less than Rs 25,000.

Briefly tell us about the key issues involved here?

There are three key challenges. First is change in behavioral pattern for which we are focusing on literacy, handholding and new types of value propositions. Second is technical, which is all about creating relevant and context appropriate solutions. Third is institutional which basically is the need for coordination across a fragmented landscape and clustering of use cases.

What’s the agenda now?

The government wants to hit Rs 25 billion digital transaction mark in the new fiscal year which will require three-four times growth. Our focus is on crystallizing the template that works for digital payment adoption. Right now, we are focused on unit level traction. If we get that right, growth will be a breeze.




In a Class of his Own

Ask Satya Narayanan R what it takes to build an enterprise from idea to an IPO - the answer would be 21 years. Incepted in 1996, Career Launcher (CL) Educate began as a personality development test preparation company and now counts itself among a listed entity in the education domain. CL has today 170+ centers spread across 90+ cities in India. By Punita Sabharwal



1996 CL Educate incepted by Satya Narayanan R

2007 Equity Investment by Gaja Capital

2012 Discontinuation of Indus World School of Business

2014 Equity investment by HDFC Ltd.

2015 Acquisition of Accendre

2017 CL Educate Ltd., parent of coaching services provider Career Launcher, launched its initial public offering (IPO) at a valuation of Rs 711 crore.

Our scheduled meeting with Narayanan is running half-an-hour late as he is busy meeting few young entrepreneurs who came to showcase some of their disruptive ideas. As an angel investor, Narayanan has invested in close to a dozen start-ups. His belief is that he gets to learn much by interacting with young entrepreneurs. Anything that’s close to knowledge, technology and education gets ticked by Narayanan. Narayanan did his Bachelors in Computer Science from St Stephen’s college, Delhi and then completed his MBA from IIM Bangalore. Immediately after graduating he joined Ranbaxy, but he realized that his heart lies in teaching. CL was among the early test prep organizations which became a brand. The company’s focus has always been on its core values, like risk taking, openness, ownership, honesty and commitment and innovations, even while franchising. “One thing about franchising is that you have to look from the other person’s perspective while you are presenting your products,” shares Narayanan on how he moved it out from a seasonal offering. Currently, CL has 15 products (including JEE test prep, MBA test prep or law test prep) under its portfolio and is present at 170 locations and it wants to take its offering to 600 districts. Talking about selection of franchisee, Narayanan says, “First they have to pass the academic council test. Following which, we provide them with our study material to read, understand and prepare a model. After 7 to 10 days, they have to come back with an academic model and take mock classes. Once academic council approves the presentation, they have to sit with the business council. I think it is okay to take a longer time to get the right person rather than rushing the process.” Franchisees in Dehradun, Kanpur, Varanasi, Kolkata, Mumbai have been there in the system from 2001, which formed the start of CL franchise. Sharing his tryst with franchising, Narayanan states, “Even before I started CL, I wanted to take up the franchise of a Chennai based test prep organization Campus Abroad. When I approached them, the owner told me to pay him Rs 1ac. I had Rs 7,000 in my pocket and thought of starting my own test prep class by investing Rs 5,000.” He went on to start his own test prep business with four chairs, one table in a room. Soon 20 to 25 people from his batch came to join him, including Gautam Puri, his long-time friend, who is now the MD of CL Educate. Narayanan says, “I am absolutely certain that the franchise model is far more powerful than the employee driven model.” Experiments with franchising began in 20002001. From the first franchisee in 2001, the company moved to 50 franchises by 2005. Talking about what brought conviction in this model, Narayanan says, “We had 100 percent conviction

that without this model there cannot be growth.” Sharing the success he witnessed via franchising, Narayanan adds, “Franchising model is never a push model. It works only when people come and stand at your door step and make a request that they want to become your franchisee and you should be able to say no to nine out of 10 people.” For CL that had started happening from 2002-2006 after it witnessed tremendous success in Delhi. Today, the nodal cities still run company-owned centers. The top 10 state capital continue to operate company owned centers. A lot of CL franchisees happen to be IIM and IIT graduates. Out of the 170 centers, 45 per cent of the centers are still company owned and the rest 55 per cent are owned by franchisees. Globally, CL has forayed in the Middle East and is keen on further expansion. Going forward, the focus will be on building a asset light model. From closing September 2016 at Rs 1606.98 million, the aim now is to go up to Rs 1000 crore. Narayanan believes knowledge services and research services will play a key role in the writing of the second chapter of CL. Speaking about his entrepreneurial journey, he believes more than the start, the period between 2008 and 2013 was the most difficult as the company experimented with newer offerings. Schools are another business where CL spent time and money building it. The company spent 2006-2016 building Indus World Schools. The 17 school portfolio is not a part of the listed CL Educate anymore. The only paper that comes to Narayanan’s cabin is an Urdu newspaper. Even the white board with other calculations has a few lines of a couplet written in Urdu. Narayanan who has authored two books of Urdu poetry is now learning Sanskrit as he plans to translate those books into Sanskrit.

“When Pandit Chaurasia plays the flute he is not working, when Shahrukh Khan is acting he is not working, when Sachin is playing he is not working. I share the same philosophy.” Satya Narayanan R, Chairman and Executive Director, CL Educate MAY 2017 l ENTREPRENEUR






I love to travel to unwind myself. Since I’m on the road most of the times, during such breaks, I try to keep myself free from day-to-day activities and sit back to let thoughts flow seamlessly. Also, spending quality time with my wife and daughter is one of my biggest stress busters. It is like a reminder to live in the moment and find happiness in the simple pleasures of life. Sometimes, I also get a couple of breakthrough ideas during these travels.”

It is good to work hard but it’s not good to work hard without giving yourself a chance to relax. So, no matter how dedicated and passionate you are, sometimes you need to take a break, get away, relax, recharge and come back better than ever. Many studies show that taking a break is the best thing you can do for your business. But, how do we utilize our breaks and come up with new and kickass ideas? Entrepreneur spoke to few entrepreneurs to find out how taking a break helps them energize. By Nishi Kumari

Kaushal Dugar, Founder and CEO, Teabox


Dewang Neralla, MD and CEO, Atom Technologies

The kind of stressful life I live, in terms of work pressure, to successfully manage a business which is growing at a compounded rate of 100 per cent annually, a break helps in two ways– it gives me time to introspect helping me to have a better clarity. It also helps me to strategies things and take decisions. Short trips once in a while helps me to spend some quality time with my family as I strongly feel that spending quality time with your family is an essential thing in life. Breaks also helps in improving your health as it keeps you away from stress.

Deven Mehta, Founder and CMD, Smart Card IT Solutions




This summer, I am heading for a real rejuvenation break to an Ayurveda centre in Kozhikode. I expect that it will help in detoxifying and also relax my mind and body. I do believe in taking breaks from regular activity. Recent vacations have included trips to the Seychelles and Norway. Interesting breaks from the past have included a trip to the rarely visited middle Andamans, the hills of Bir, Himachal Pradesh for paragliding, white water rafting in Bali and trekking in the Himalayas.” Ashok Soota, Founder, Happiest Minds


Taking short breaks is one of the most important things in today’s work life. It helps you to relax from the clutter. Breaks can often give you a fresh perspective or a much needed fresh start. For me, the most important objective of a break is to enjoy the simple things in life. When I am on a holiday, I indulge myself completely in the local cuisine. I love experimenting with my food and what better way than trying out local delectable cuisines. This is something which I enjoy doing and it helps me to de-stress.”









Ashok Vashist, is the Founder and CEO of Aaveg, a Delhi-based employee transport management company. A mathematics graduate from Mahatma Gandhi University, he is an adventure sports enthusiast, a certified scuba diver and also loves to explore India by road.


Alchemist – By Paulo Coelho ‘The Alchemist’ really made me believe in my capabilities both as a professional and a leader, and gave me the inspiration to strive for success, even if the odds are against my favor. The story revolves round the thought– “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” I really believe in this quote.

How did mydala sustain in troubled times? ANIS H A SI N GH, FO U N D E R AND C EO, MYDALA


e had started mydala in 2009 when the internet space was yet to really take off in India. In 2010, we had three term sheets and agreed to partner with an investor, whom we thought shared our vision. After three months of diligent work, a week from money transfer, the investor rescinded the termsheet. mydala was left with more people than it could afford on its payroll. Everyone assumed that mydala’s obituary was written but fortunately we had enough grit or stupidity to persevere and refused to call it a day. With limited funding, we knew that we would be baked if we didn’t find a way to run mydala




The Story of My Experiments with Truth by M. K. Gandhi This book made me realize that being honest to oneself is the best way to achieve one’s goals. One line from the book’s introduction – “What I want to achieve - what I have been striving and pining to achieve these thirty years - is selfrealization, to see God face to face, to attain Moksha. I live and move and have my being in pursuit of this goal.” – is one of my favorite quotes.


Simply fly-A Deccan Odyssey by Capt. Gopinath This inspiring story forms the basis of this book, and quite accurately depicts the struggles and success of one of India’s most influential people. The autobiographical novel inspired me to keep trying until I succeed in my endeavors. Be it my business or setting personal goals, I know that whatever efforts I put into will eventually reap benefits in future.

in a sustainable manner, making money and actually working towards building profit, as opposed to always being on the lookout for funding. We looked at ways to grow organically and with alliances rather than spending marketing dollars which would not justify returns. One of our big wins was tying up with telecom companies as a payment channel to launch mobile coupons across 96 cities. Being on mobile was easier and the payment methods took mydala to a different growth trajectory. Today, 85 per cent of our transactions come from mobile, of which 45 per cent come from tier II and tier III cities. In 2015, mydala emerged as the largest local services marketing platform because of its consistent data analytics matching right users to the right merchants. In 2016, we launched in Dubai and are looking at expanding to other countries as well. Today, mydala has scaled to 38 million registered users, 50 million monthly visitors across 209 cities in India.





Flying High!

Divyank Turakhia, who founded Directi with his brother Bhavin in 1998,

Favorite Scuba Dive Destination: I have scuba dived

recently shot to fame after selling his six-year-old advertising technology

in 20 different locations but

firm to a consortium of Chinese investors last year for a whopping

Sipadan Island in Malaysia is my

$900 million. Tech world’s new-found billionaire, Divyank is proud owner of


plush houses across Mumbai, Dubai, and Los Angeles and also of Ferrari and Phantom supercars. An adventure enthusiast and water sport lover, Divyank is passionate about flying planes and loves scuba diving. Entrepreneur caught

Favorite Trip: Cape Town. It was more than 10 years ago, I

up with Divyank on his recent trip to India to know more about his other

had gone there with my brother

passions besides tech.

and his friends and it has many really cool and fun spots.

Crazy Adventures: I like flying planes. I fly single engine and multi-engine planes. I fly helicopters and do aerobatic flying. Next year if I get time, I will start flying jets.

Best Part about Travelling: I like learning a lot. So when you travel the world, you get to meet incredible people, entrepreneurs from everywhere and you learn about their challenges.

Indian Entrepreneur Friends: Vijay Shekhar Sharma from Paytm, and Anupam Mittal from At some point, I used to host, he was a client and then we became friends.

Favorite Book: Foundation series by Isaac Asimov

My style of reading: I end up buying all the popular books then flip through all of them. This way you get 10 different perspectives Divyank finds aerobatic flying as the most adrenalin pumping sport

in a short span of time. As told to Punita Sabharwal

VOLUME 06, NO. 5, May 2017 issue, and it contains 116 pages including cover. 114


Profile for mann

Entrepreneur India  

May 2017

Entrepreneur India  

May 2017

Profile for mann40