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Ankita Bhandari Hoarder of trivia and some opinions Currently undergoing articleship training for CA course

    Ideas are easy. It’s the execution that separates the sheep from the goat. However, good an idea may be, it won’t be adopted automatically. Ideas need to be driven into practice by patience. The booming start-up industry is a great example.

    For every ten start-ups launched, nine fail. The primary reason is the lack of effective marketing. It is essential to embed your presence in culture. marketing needs to be pervasive and precise to generate a market where there was none. Otherwise, just like any passing trend, your business will lose demand and eventually shut doors. Here is a list of ten promising start-ups who bit the dust due to poor marketing-

    1.Cogxio

    This was a dating app that used location intelligence to link up those who were already connected online. It wanted to tie up with consumer internet businesses to provide dating options like places to eat and vacations. Being a novelty, it quickly went viral but that didn’t translate into stickiness. Big players like Tinder took over the market soon.

     

    2.FranklyMe

    Golden child,  part of the first batch of the Google Launchpad accelerator program, FranklyMe shut shop last year. FranklyMe began as a site for connecting celebs with fans, then pivoted to video blogging. It had tools to help users create and post videos.  The video mode is a budding platform but an independent app failed to hold popularity due to complexity in operation. It’s a promising idea just well ahead of its time. The people haven’t adapted to the medium just yet.

     

    3.Autoncab

    This mobile auto-hailing app dreamed to become a poor man’s Ola. Unfortunately, the ground reality is different. Adoption has been slow among drivers even in tech hubs. Further, the prices are really close to the one offered by cabs, making the sweaty auto ride not worth the hassle.

     

    4.Truckmandi

    Research firm Technopak says logistics and delivery account for 30 percent of the costs of e-commerce companies in India. Thus resulting in a plethora of investment in the direction. Truckmandi, was an on-demand truck booking app. Transporters could bid for customer loads for a fee – two percent of the carrying charge. It sounded good on paper but failed in the field. The delivery business isn’t as simple as it seems, it is very need-specific and works with a personal touch. Start-ups have failed to digitize it so far.

     

    5. Flyrobe

    Fashion renting is an established market in the west. A couple of investors have tried to capture the market in India as well, Flyrobe being one of them. However, Indians are not used to borrowing clothes, even to flaunt high fashion. Further, the general public had concerns regarding hygiene. The demand didn’t shape up as expected and it is soon to close shop. There is a need to prep the market for such ideas.

     

    6. Fashionara

    The fashion e-commerce industry is surviving purely on marketing. Everyone is offering similar products, the game being who sells better. Fashionara only managed to attract customers by offering heavy discounts, which obviously wasn’t good for the financial stability of the enterprise. The fashion retail market is heavily crowded with no differentitation, if you enter, enter with a solid marketing plan.

     

    7.TinyOwl

    TinyOwl raised US$15 million in February last year, followed by a bridge round of US$7.4 million in October to give it an extended runway. But all the funding could not solve the core problems of meeting delivery costs. The demand took successive hits due to unreliable food quality. In an already stooping food market, distrust among customers spelt doom. The company had lay offs and an eventual merger with a logistics company.

     

    8. Peppertap

    PepperTap has the dubious distinction of being the biggest failure of 2016. The Gurgaon-based startup had raised over US$50 million, including a US$36 million series B round led by e-commerce player Snapdeal in September last year. And yet, less than a year later, it shut down. It failed to cover ground and at the current rate profitability looked at least three years away. They were working on negative margins per delivery yet failed to add customers. It is difficult to compete with local vendor pricing and still cover costs.

     

    9. iProf

    Edtech is another domain in India which puts investors in a dilemma; in a country desperately in need of an educational revolution, start-ups fail to work. The traditional methods still remain first preference.  iProf, one of the earliest test prep startups in a country where college entrance exams are do-or-die affairs, had to shut shop. On the online platform, the consumer is still used to free stuff and pirated material, making it difficult for ed-tech to make a niche.

     

    10. AskMe

    Another shocking member to the list of failures is the consumer internet search platform, AskMe which shut down in August. A variety of reasons, from weak technology to aggressive acquisitions, are responsible for the online retailer’s failure. The concept was to build an alternate search option, but old habits die hard and to replace conventional search engines isn’t as easy as it seems.

     

    All budding entrepreneurs should take note that an idea backed by seamless funding isn’t enough. You need to sell the idea, sell it convincingly, once-twice, repeatedly.  An idea in your head isn’t worth a dime. There is a need to spread it among the masses in order to profit from it. Good marketing is where you generate demand without a need for it.

     

      The Modi Government has spent three years in power against the promise of bringing “acche din“. The BJP enjoys an absolute majority and has thus been able to put forth many policies to practice. Here is a look at some of the game changing decisions taken by the Modi government.

       

      1. Demonetisation

      Regarded as the most radical decision taken by the Modi government, demonetisation sparked a lot of debate countrywide. Two of the highest valued currency notes were removed from being legal tender bringing the market to a stiff standstill. The idea was to curb the untaxed or black money circulating within the economy and to promote cashless transactions. Although there was difficulty in the initial stages, the economy recovered by the end of the quarter. The high cash flow in the market was also kept in check. It was a bold and beautiful move.

       

      2. Make in India

      Soon after taking charge, PM Modi launched the campaign to attract foreign investment and build brand India. Since then, the government has gradually eased restrictions for foreign investors and opened nearly 90 per cent of the country’s industrial base, including the defense sectors and the railways. Further, the move was to give an impetus to manufacturing in India and support local entrepreneurs.

       

      3. Goods and Services Tax

      The government’s mega reform to do away with a tangle of taxes and levies and club them under one tax kicked in on July 1. It is an attempt to check revenue leakages and diminish the cascading effect of existing taxation policies. GST will bring lots of economic benefits in the future. Taxation process is relatively simpler with a clear audit trail. It brings everyone under the scanner of the government. It also tends to bridge the gap between the goods and service sectors. Business is set to grow and corruption to lessen.

       

      4.Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

      A pet project of the Prime Minister, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan aims to clean India by personally promoting healthy habits. The PM and various renowned celebrities were seen with brooms on the street, setting an example for the common people. Not just stopping with cleaning the locality, the government has taken initiatives such as building more toilets, waste management, and waste segregation. Cleanliness is a lifestyle idea and as it grows in the minds of people it will definitely lead to a tidy and healthy surroundings. A cess too is being collected in the name of Swachh Bharat, ensuring contribution of every citizen towards Cleaner India.

       

      5.Jan Dhan Yojana

      Crores of bank accounts have been opened as part of the scheme to give every household in India citizen easy access to banking facilities and set up accounts at zero balance. It even made a Guinness world record. The idea behind the scheme is to map the entire population on the banking network. It is an attempt to promote a credit based economy. The scheme has proven a big boost in moving towards direct subsidy transfer.

       

      6.Yemen Evacuation

      This was one of the biggest evacuations during the times of war since the Gulf War I. Gen. (Retd) V.K. Singh personally oversaw the operation. The External Affairs Minister headed by Sushma Swaraj earned laurels for helping the Indians living abroad, be it for rescuing Kerala nurses from war-torn Libya or bringing back differently-abled Geeta from Pakistan. A sense security has been established in citizens that the country cares for them.

       

      7.LPG subsidy reforms

      Initially started as a ‘Give It Up’ campaign, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry headed by Dharmendra Pradhan barred LPG subsidy to customers who earn more than Rs. 10 lakh per annum. The amount saved was used to give over five lakh new LPG connections to those who still use firewood or kerosene stoves for cooking. A ton of subsidy money regularly being wasted on people who did not need it was saved by the decision. The same money could be put to productive and income generating ventures.

       

      8.Bankruptcy code

      The Modi Government is the first of its ancestors to look into matters of the RBI and banking sector. At a time when bankers were grappling with a huge rise in non-performing assets and government eyeing to create more entrepreneurs, the amendment of existing bankruptcy laws was necessary. With the support from Congress, the law was passed in Rajya Sabha during the Budget Session, laying out strict NPA and loan disbursement norms.

       

      9.Digital India

      This flagship program of Ravi Shankar Prasad’s Communications Ministry aiming to create a knowledge economy is traveling on the right path. Every minister and every ministry are now on Twitter. A slew of e-governance measures; like digital locker and feedbacks through mygov.in in addition to schemes like free e-learning, e-aadhar and other registrations being converted to the online mode; is a huge step forward in terms of making our country technically capable.

       

      10. Foreign Policy

      The numerous and limelight grabbing foreign trips of Narendra Modi has brought a wave of investments for the country. The tie-up with Japan for a bullet train and Google for super fast wifi are among the many trade deals being made. Modi is one of the most active PM so far and his continuous foreign visits are building goodwill for the country. Big companies are ready to invest on a large scale to improve the living standard in India.

       

      A lot of promises were fulfilled, a lot remain. Only time will tell if the Modi government lives up to its claim of bringing good days to fore. The signs do seem positive.

        A wise woman once said, “Whatever you do, be different – that was the advice my mother gave me, and I can’t think of better advice for an entrepreneur.”

        It is refreshing to see that so many women entrepreneurs in India have been just as enterprising as their male counterparts and made a name for themselves with their ventures.

        Here is a look at the stories some of the most brilliant businesswomen India has seen-

        1. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

        Source

         Biocon

        Truly symbolic of the potential for female success in India, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is the ultimate definition of a self-made woman. Currently 60 years of age, she is an entirely self-made woman. Mazumdar-Shaw is India’s very first biotech entrepreneur. Educated in sciences at the University of Bangalore and at the University of Melbourne, Mazumdar-Shaw founded the biotechnology company Biocon. Biocon produces and sells affordable medication for the treatment of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and autoimmune disease – the treatment of which is usually extremely expensive.

        2.Padmaja Ruparel

        Source

        Indian Angel Network

        As India’s first angel network, it is a network of Angel investors keen to invest in early stage businesses which have potential to create great value. Started in April 2006, the Indian Angel Network in addition to money provides constant access to high quality mentoring, vast networks and inputs on strategy as well as execution. They are going global by partnering with Inventus Capital Partners to invest in two US-based start-ups. IAN has over 350 members globally.

        3.Falguni Nayar

        Source

        Nykaa.com

        Nykaa is an e-commerce website which sells fashion products of various brands, and ships to more than 900 cities across the country. Recently TVS Capital invested about Rs.25 crore and they have also got Rs.60-crore Series C fundraising from a clutch of investors, including high net-worth individuals, non-resident Indians (NRIs) and family offices. Nykaa has created a makeup segment to the online market.

        4.Ankita Vashistha

        Source

        Saha Fund

        Empowered women, empower women.”

        Ankita Vashistha launched Saha Fund, a venture capital fund for women centric businesses that are run by women. The Saha Fund, India’s first Securities and Exchange Board of India-approved venture capital fund focused on women entrepreneurs, would have a corpus of Rs 100 crore. It would invest in companies run by women entrepreneurs as founders or senior management.

        5.Pranshu Bhandari

        Source

        Culture Alley

        The startup launched its English language learning application in October 2014. In eight months the English app has seen 3 million installs on Android from India. They have recently raised $6 million from Tiger Global and Kae Capital.

        6. Richa Kar

        Source

        Zivame

        A revolutionary and inspiration, Richa Kar managed to create a market in a space regarded taboo by our society. Zivame is probably the first in the online lingerie space in India and has played a role in educating women across the country about intimate wear and shaping consumer behaviour. It has recently raised a Series C round of Rs 250 crore from Zodius Technology Fund and Khazanah Nasional Berhad.

        7.Upasana Taku

        Source

        Mobikwik

        MobiKwik founded in 2009 that provides a mobile phone based payment system and digital wallet. Customers add money to an online wallet that can be used for payments. MobiKwik is India’s fastest growing mobile wallet trusted by 25 Million users & 50,000 merchants. With 17 M-wallet users, MobiKwik plans to raise $100 M.

        8.Shuchi Mukherjee

        Source

        LimeRoad

        Ask any woman today who binges on online shopping and this LimeRoad will definitely pop up. Founder Shuchi Mukherjee comes from a family with no business background and has managed to give biggies like Flipkart and Snapdeal tough competition. A post grad from London School of Economics, Shuchi has made her mark in the fashion world by delivering top of the line goods.

        9.Priyanka Gill And Namrata Bostrom

        Source

        POPxo

        POPxo is a dynamic digital media platform attracting over 3 million loyal and engaged readers every month for go-to fashion, beauty and lifestyle destination for young women across the country. The quirky and relatable content gives the website an edge over its competitors. POPxo has raised USD 2 Million in series A funding from IDGVI, Kalaari Capital.

        10.Debadtta Upadhaya

        Source

        Timesaverz

        With growing culture of nuclear families and both partners working, this idea comes as a solution to many household grievances. Timesaverz is a one-stop solution for home service requirement. It connects customers to home service providers who are certified, verified and curated. The service majorly includes home maintenance and one-time services. Recently Unilazer Ventures invested Rs 15 crores in Timesaverz.

        There are much more examples to add to the brimming list of promising businesswomen of India. Feminism has arrived and the list is set to grow further. Eleanor Roosevelt said,

        “A woman is like a tea bag – you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.”

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