Startups launch and funding all time high in 2014

The year 2014 was boom time for startups in India. Over 1250 new startups were launched in 2014. Internet companies in B2C space, those serving end-consumers were the flavor of the season, fuelled by growth of internet users on mobile. Out of estimated 300 million internet users in India, smart phone users are 200 million. Value of startup funding reached $4.68 bil in 2014. Established and early stage startups alike were flush with funds.

Nearly 270 early stage investments were made. VCs made First round funding in 177 companies , out of which 22 startups raised over $ 2 mil. Sixty companies raised second round funding. Even startups with little or no revenues to boast managed to raise funds from VCs and angel investors. E-commerce companies – mainly Flipkart and Snapdeal – too the major pie of funding with $ 3 bil. This funding appears to be driven by greed rather than cold calculations – Flipkart and SnapDeal continue to make losses after more than six years and four years of operations respectively.

startup-funding-indiaOnline retail with 46 rounds of funding and $3046 mil was the overwhelming leader, with transport (think Olacabs) vertical at 9 rounds and $ 307 mil lagging behind. Real Estate with 8 rounds and $ 222 mil was at the third rank. While brash founders like Kunal Behl of Snapdeal cliam that their startups solve basic problems of people, a hard look at lineup of startups reveals that all that they offer is better convenience or discounts to the consumer, based on ecommerce. How basic is that?

Valuations are going to bubble time levels, hedge funds are coming in and even individual big investors like Russian millionaire Yuri Milner have invested in Olacabs and Investor enthusiasm will dampen when flow of foreign funds choke up or the startups fail to turn profitable. Globally tech companies are opting for private investments rather than IPO.

Indian tech startups have never had it so good, helped by a robust eco system of mentors, startup networks, conferences, angels and VCs.

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New Internet Marketing Startup

seoyogis-logo250x188The Internet Marketing startups space may be getting crowded, but that does not stop from ambitious new ventures being launched. SEO Yogis is an Internet Marketing Company which started operations in 2012. Company provides Search Engine Optimization , Social Media Marketing (SMM), and Search Advertising (PPC) services. Its core competency is web services for small and medium businesses. This team has a collective experience of 20 years in search engine marketing.

They claim to have helped numerous Indian and international clients dominate in search engines for competitive keywords. Their unique selling proposition is that they conduct a holistic marketing audit and create an integrated strategy for SEO, PPC and SMM to build your brand and achieve optimum ROI.

A new study by BrightEdge reports that organic search is the primary driver of website traffic to business site. The study found organic search drives 51 percent of all visitors to business websites, scoring over other search channels, including paid search (which drives 10%) and social (5%).
This being the case, ranking in top 10 results of Google gives a company a competitive advantage. SEO does not break your bank account and if your site ranks on top, you are basically competing for business with all the big competitors on level playing field.
The adoption rate of Internet Marketing among Indian companies is poor. Startups like SEO Yogis are well positioned to exploit this opportunity.

Source :

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Entrepreneur who creates dream homes

award1Abhishek Chadha always had a passion for designing and this prompted him to leave his secure job to nurture his passion. In 2007 he teamed up with his brother, Vinayak, and wife to start ‘The KariGhars‘ to build beautiful homes. Today, their projects range from contemporary to classical interior design. Karighars has built up an extensive design sample library and resources, and is in a position to create a home to complement every desire, lifestyle, and budget.

With the brand name, which combines two Hindi words – “Karigars” which means “Expert Craftsmen” and Ghars” meaning “Homes”, the company wants to showcase to people that they are a team of skilled craftsmen who can decorate, design, furnish their dream homes and turn them into reality.

Abhishek says “At KariGhars, we are very passionate about giving customers more than they would expect from an Interior Designing company. We give great importance to customer experience and customer satisfaction and make sure that we are unmatched in this regard in the business. We believe that making a home is one of the most important phases in a person’s life and we work to fill that phase with contentment & satisfaction.”
The Karighars has served more than 750 clients in and around Bangalore so far. It has won several awards including ‘Karnataka Service Excellence Award’, ‘Best Entrepreneur’, Best Interior Design Services for Residential projects’ and ‘Gobal Business and Service Excellence award’.

Address :
The Karighars
SST Brindavan – No.65, EPIP, Opposite ITPL back gate No. 3, Whitefield,

Tel : +919845997945 / 9945953945
Web :
Email :
Facebook :

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10 Benefits of Blogging for Business

1. Prospects time spent on websites is proportional to the number of articles or blog posts on your website (or Blog). In turn, time they spend on your site will influence how much they progress along  the sales funnel.

2. Do not worry about need to create “viral posts”.  Viral posts last a short time and then disappear from collective memory of  the social media sunset. Remember that your actual goal is attaining customers and achieving ROI.

3. Your blog will come to be regarded the expert voice of the industry— it will be shared, and visited for information,  training, and why not, plagiarized.

4. Do not worry about your ability to create content.  Your customers  have questions and a good blog answers them. Just start, and going gets easier with experience.

5. You will gradually discover that the social media “experts” are not the experts they are made out to be and their advice can be worthless. The rules of engagement on web depends  on the industry, business, target market, etc..

7. Consumers  do not understand expert acronyms and industry jargon— they appreciate transparent and informative blog.

8. You will online relationships which when nurtured turn into fans.

9. You have the chance to  show customers that you care about them. You will distinguish yourself from businesses in your industry that aren’t even blogging and taking the time to be engaged with consumers.

10. Sharing – Have you ever heard of a corporate brochure or a press release being retweeted? Blog content when written well gets shared by your readers who find it valuable. The act of “sharing” your post whether it be in the form of a tweet or Facebook share, not only extends your network and but also serves as a form of recommendation from the reader. As a bonus, backlinks and ‘likes’ you earn are good for SEO.

Here are some great informative blog posts :

1. Discover The Attractions Of Mumbai
2. Places to Visit in Bangalore
3. Things to do in Bangalore

4. Bangalore Attractions


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Social media startups are connecting jobs and people in social context

Move over, and the like – job portals are gradually being upstaged by startups in social media tools space that ride on social networking sites like Facebook to help companies find the right talent and candidates to search for open positions; apply and upload their  resume directly from the their social media  account. Rather than advertising or using job portal to find candidates whose  background needs to be investigated, leveraging employee referrals is one of the most effective ways to recruit talent.  People referred through socially and professional  network  of your  employees are more likely to be the right fit for the job and company culture.

Round One Network does not work with social networking platforms. Instead it has built its own online platform.  Its unique model enables jobseekers to register for unofficial phone interviews with employees in a company, and earn a job referral from them. Employees at over 120 companies  have interviewed and referred candidates through Round One during its beta trial, after it launched on 10 January 2012.  Employees that join Round One as referrers  receive points ( credit points, cash or meal vouchers) for each jobseeker they assess, and are able to forward the best resumes through their employee referral program, thereby earning their company’s referral bonuses.

We believe that though the model is unique, it will be difficult to scale up. The referrers or interviewers do not personally know the candidate and surely vouch for their credibility. The company would have to advertise intensively to attract both job seekers and referrers. It does not ride on the large user base of a social networking platform.

Tools that are embedded into social media, like MyParichay,  can reach out to people who are not even scouting for a job; these are people who are doing well in their current job and are likely successful.

So far social media has played a secondary role during recruitment, by helping company conduct  identity verification and check background of  prospective candidates, such as history of substance abuse or posting bad reviews of their bosses or employers. These social media  startups are taking this a step further and building their own referral networks.

HireRabbit, founded by Prafull Sharma and Pipalayan Nayak in 2012, follows the software-as-a-service model. It allows companies to build a social career page on a site like Facebook, automate job postings and receive applications through the network.

MyParichay has  built a social network within Facebook that allows members to apply for jobs, companies to recruit, and employees to refer friends for internal job postings. Facebook users after installing the ‘MyParichay’ app can apply for, or refer friends, for the various jobs available online. The employer branding and talent lead generation module of MyParichay on Facebook creates a job micro-site on company’s career pages which allows candidates visiting the page to search for open positions; apply and upload a resume from the convenience of their Facebook account.  The platform currently has 4.5 million profiles and has signed up 12 companies so far.

In less than a year of operations, some of these startups such as Round One, MyParichay, Antezen and HireRabbit have signed corporate clients and are testing their applications in over a 100 companies across the globe

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Government not to increase intake of IAS and IPS officers despite shortage

To become an IAS officer has been an abiding dream of bright youngsters who are driven by a desire to serve the country through good governance, reviving the economy of today,  and also by the prestige attached to the post.  About 3,00,000 candidates  are expected to take CSAT 2013  and only about 11,000 people will make it to the Civil Services (Mains) Exam. Only 180 people will be selected for recruitment to the IAS.
Due the extreme competition, candidates join IAS preparation in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai and other major metros.

Currently the nation faces a shortage of more than 3,000 IAS and IPS officers.  The logical step would be increase the intake of IAS officers; yet the government does not plan to increase the intake  because department of personnel and training (DoPT)  does not want to hamper the career progression of bureaucrats. The government has increased the  recruitment to 180 officers in IAS and 150 in IPS every year from 2012; but this is not sufficient to close the gap  till year 2025.
Important IAS cadres such as those of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have a shortage of almost 40 per cent. Minister of state for personnel informed Parliament that the intake in IAS cannot be increased beyond 180  as it will disturb the hierarchy of the service and there is  inadequate capacity to impart training to a bigger batch. The ministry’s decision is based on a recent report submitted by the Institute of Public Administration (IIPA), which was endorsed by most states. Continue reading

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Angels come of Age in India..and this is good news for entrepreneurs

Angels come in different forms

Angel investors are people who invest in start up businesses looking for a higher return than they would see from more traditional investments. Many are successful entrepreneurs who want to help other entrepreneurs get their business off the ground. Usually they are the bridge from the self-funded stage of the business to the point that the business needs the level of funding that a venture capitalist would offer.
“Angels” typically offer expertise, experience and contacts in addition to funds. Awareness of Angel investing is much less than venture capital because of the private nature  of the investments. The Small Business Administration estimates that there are at least 250,000 angels active in USA, funding about 30,000 small companies a year. The total investment from angels has been estimated at anywhere from $20 billion to $50 billion as compared to the $3 to $5 billion per year that the formal venture capital community invests.
Angel investors were earlier serial entrepreneurs. But in recent times, wealthy businessmen and senior executives are becoming angels and changing the paradigm of this investing segment.

In the United States, angel investors have mainly comprised serial entrepreneurs or venture capitalists who can help hopeful entrepreneurs develop a business plan and go to market strategy. The Centre for Venture Research estimates that  there were about 61,900 angel investment deals in 2010 in the U.S.
In India, that number 2010 was barely 500. India’s entrepreneurial ecosystem is still evolving. Apart from Mumbai Angels, angel clubs like Chennai Angels and Hyderabad Angels have come up. There are many incubators and accelerators coming up.
Today the scene is encouraging for startups; clear market  segments have appeared. Today the entrepreneur can go to a niche funding segment. Earlier PE and VE guys were also in the play. Typically,  the corpus of VCs being large, they look to invest between $3-5 million. In India, angel investors, typically, invest as little as Rs 10 lakh in start-ups

Angel investors Club

This is an association of a large number of investors. A committee identifies potential startup candidates from the proposals it receives. Member interested in funding a particular venture can participate in a meeting or conference call to discuss with the entrepreneur.

Indian Angel Network (IAN) has 188 individual members and 12 institutional members. Individual investments are around Rs 10-12 lakh, and the collective investment in a startup is between Rs 2-3 crore. Usually 20 to 30 individuals team up to do one deal. Unlike a venture fund, investors are not automatically invested into every venture. IANs investors have invested in HashCube, Birds Eye Systems,, Peel-Works.

Mumbai Angels has 150 members. Individual investment is around Rs 10 lakh in a venture, and the group investment in a venture is Rs 2-3 crore.  ZipDial Mobile Solutions and United Mobile Apps are among companies that Mumbai Angels members have invested in.

Creating a corpus
Here a corpus is created with money from high networth individuals, and then invested in startups.  Seedfund raised $15 million in its first fund in 2006,which was used to invest in 12 companies — an average investment size of $1.25 mil per company. Seedfunds investment could be as low as Rs 50 lakh. Seed funds put in money more than once. The ventures milestones are predefined and the seed fund is backed by larger funds if the milestones are met.   Carwale, RedBus,RupeeTalk and Innoz are among the 23 companies it has funded. Nexus Venture Partners recently launched its seed stage funding program called Nexus Seed that will fund entrepreneurs building technology and internet companies. Nexus will invest Rs 20 lakh to Rs 2 crore each in around 50 companies over the next five years. Matrix Partners India has a new program to support entrepreneurs at the seed stage in the internet and mobile sectors. The firm has two new early stage investments in Twist Mobile and a stealth mode internet company in social commerce.

Online funding platforms
Several online platforms have emerged, which leverage the pool of its global investors.

investmentnetwork  is an online platform connecting local entrepreneurs with angel investors in India and abroad. Investors can gain access to a huge range of investment opportunities from across India and around the world. Their service is free for investors. Entrepreneurs can post  funding request to the network of over 24,000 investors and business angels around the world, and gain access to the contact details of all interested investors.

Fee for listing  a proposal for 90 days. is  Rs 3000 to Rs. 6000  brings together highly successful entrepreneurs and CEOs from India and around the world who are interested in investing in startup / early stage ventures which have the potential of creating disproportionate value.

The Network, in addition to money, provide constant access to high quality mentoring, vast networks and inputs on strategy as well as execution.

Continue reading

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The Future of MBA Education in an uncertain economy

MBA degreeThe trend possibly started after 9/11 and the resultant gobal economic slowdown. It was made more pronounced by the recession of 2008. Business schools are no longer deemed as high priests or indispensable oracles. They have fallen from their high pedestals after the onset of rapid economic uncertainty, scandals at once revered companies like McKinsey and Enron, and studies questioning the value of an MBA.
The evolving MBA marketplace is subjected to multiple threats : enrollments to MBA programs have been fluctuating or even in some years, declining. HR managers have started questioning the value of fresh MBA recruits; CEOs are asking if an MBA degree transforms the person to a good leader or even manager.  Even within academic community, deans, faculty, students, are discussing how MBA programs can help in creating principled and transformational leaders.

Despite apparent fall from grace, business schools can leverage emerging opportunities to work in partnership with other institutions and business and innovate. Business schools are at a crossroads and need to examine their value propositions and assumptions.

High-paying jobs are no longer guaranteed to graduates. The opportunity costs of two year full time MBA program has become dauntingly huge. For the class of 2012, the MBA degree  maintains its value for switching careers or long-term career advancement. Placement managers at many business schools are reporting strong summer placement for internship. The report more companies turning up and  making better offers as compared to last year. Permanent job offers for 2012 MBA class is expected to be strong with 100% placement in well reputed colleges.

MBA students need to realize that Long-Term Value of the Degree lies in broad and deep education on management issues, and networking with peers that can help one’s career progression.

More MBA Program Observations

The percentage of Executive MBA program students whose tuition is paid for by employers has declined. As a result, schools are giving EMBA participants access to placement services that were earlier available only to full-2 Year MBA students.
The recession has reduced the opportunity cost of leaving job to attend MBA program .
MBA students’ average age and years of work experience prior to joining MBA program are declining. Whereas a decade ago applicants were expected to have roughly four years’ experience, today it is around two years.
In emerging economies, both demand and salaries for MBA qualified people is growing.
Both students and alumni are demanding more career services such as Recruiting and job search information, campus placement.
Reduced endowment and state support is resulting in university-wide budget cuts

Institutes  that offer CAT coaching and coaching for other MBA entrance tests, and mock CAT 2012 & 2013 online testing are seeing growing enrolments this year across India.

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Alcove Serviced Apartments redesigns its website for online booking

Alcove Service Apartments has provided  a bouquet of serviced apartments in Bangalore, Pune, Chennai and Hyderabad for over 6 years. Properties are properties managed by Alcove and  tie ups with  partners who have been handpicked after a strict selection process. Today Alcove is the leading brand among Star Hotels in Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad as well among Service Apartments in Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore.  It is recognized as providing value-for-money accommodation for long and short stay for business travelers.

In July 2012 Alcove has launched Service Apartments in New Delhi, Coimbatore, Kolkata and Mumbai. This phenomenal growth, unprecedented in hotel industry is due to the vision of its promoters.

Alcove will shortly launch a newly redesigned website which will have following features

•    Great customer experience
•    Live Chat
•    online booking  with payment gateway
•    customers can enter testimonials/feedback
•    video of property and Google map location

The website will enable 24×7 customer support, booking accommodation via chat, email, online booking or call center.

Alcove has a long term partnership with Ananya SEO Company in Bangalore for internet marketing. The new website will require fresh SEO evaluation, optimization since content and urls will be different.

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Dealing with loneliness in old age – Satyamev Jayate’s flawed perspective

The eleventh episode of Aamir Khan’s popular TV show ‘Satyamev Jayate’ focussed problems of senior citizens. Amir talked about the fears attached to old age and how challenging it is for the elders to lead a life of dignity in society. The show referred to the  example of an organisation in Ahmadabad which facilitates live-in relationship for old couples. Marrying in old age for companionship was the high light of the show.

Amir seemed to endorse some solutions that are definitely not well thought out. He talked about  property dispute as a major hindrance in remarriage of the lonely senior citizens, and cited the  initiative taken in the first ever live-in relationship conference in Gujarat. The aged looked for a live-in partner with whom they could spend the rest of their lives.

Is marriage and a live in relationship are as easy a solution to loneliness in old age as was made out in the TV episode, with much clapping?

Let us look at marriage. There have many instances in recent years when elderly couples have divorced after decades of marital life. Elder people wanting a quick fix in marriage need counseling and should carefully assess mutual compatibility.

As for a live in relationship, the supreme court has taken the view that a man and woman living together without marriage cannot be construed as an offence. A live-in which has been long lasting, will be considered as marriage according to the Supreme Court of India. Children born out of live-in are not illegitimate. If a man and a woman have been living under the same roof and cohabiting for a number of years, there will be a presumption under section 114 of the Evidence Act that they have lived as husband and wife and the children born to them would not be illegitimate. Such children are entitled to their share of inheritance.

Why should elders afraid of property disputes? When an elderly man chooses a partner, surely she is entitled to her share of inheritance? If they decide to have a live in relationship, what would happen to the woman after the man’s death? She would find it hard to claim her share of property and would have to fend for herself, when she is much older, and needs support.

Entrepreneurs have already taken note of this demand and created matrimonial sites for second marriage and those marrying late in life. There are a number of matrimonial sites for people who are divorced or widowed or someone looking to start late in life

Elderly Gujaratis seeking partners for live-in relationships now can just log on to a first-of-its-kind website that will feature  profiles of men and women. Two students of M S University have launched a website to provide information on matrimony and live-in relationships and other services to elderly people. Their portal has already received good response with elderly  people from Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Mumbai and  USA having registered for the website.

Other sites for second  marriage or late one are : you are divorced or widowed or someone looking to start late in life, for a second marriage.  Marital Status  Unmarried  Widow/Widower  Divorcee  Separated Second Marriage, Divorce Marriage, Marriage Portal for Widowed, Free Matrimonial website for divorced people, Widows, widowers.  , : Dating Portal for Divorced, remarriage, second marriage, Divorcee or Divorced, Widow, Widower & Separated people.

The TV show should discuss the other major, under-the-carpet  issue – challenge faced by  gay seniors to find a partner in India. There are plenty of sites and chat rooms for gays, but GLBT people out there are looking for younger hook-ups. Middle aged and older people are ignored or even derided.

Maybe a smart entrepreneur will launch an online platform to solve this issue.

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