Aug 30, 2016

Obama clears ‘Startup Visas’ to encourage Foreign Entrepreneurs

startup visa obama america immigrant entrepreneur

Creating a “startup visa” for international entrepreneurs has always been a part of the President Obama's commonsense immigration reform principles, and was part of the bipartisan immigration bill that passed the Senate in 2013.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is publishing the White House’s International Entrepreneur Rule. The program grants temporary visas to startup founders from other countries if their companies meet certain requirements, like financing from U.S. investors.

What Startups Qualify for this program?
To qualify for what the White House calls “startup visas,” entrepreneurs must own at least 15 percent of a U.S. startup, and demonstrate the company’s growth potential, investments from qualified American investors, and “significant public benefit to the United States.”

The rule would allow entrepreneurs that fit those requirements to stay in the U.S. for up to two years. They could then apply for an additional three years if the company shows continued growth and benefit to the American public (like increases in capital investment, job creation, or revenue).

How does United States benefit from this reforms?
The administrative reforms announced by the President in November 2014, if fully implemented, could boost the nation’s economic output by up to $250 billion, while shrinking the federal deficit by $65 billion over the next ten years.

#StartupVisa #ImmigrantEntrepreneur #Obama #UnitedStates #DHS

Aug 27, 2016

Why Long Queues for Reliance Jio SIM cards?

Thousands Queue up across the Country before Jio Outlets , Reliance Digital, Digital Xpress, Digital Xpress Mini stores, and other select retail outlets in the hope of getting their hands on a Reliance Jio SIM. The response shows the potential of #DigitalIndia and how much people are hungry for data.

Reason 1
Jio SIM comes with 3 months of unlimited calling, SMS, and most importantly, unlimited mobile internet usage. People are only more than happy to enjoy free data for 3 months.

Reason 2
The SIM is available free of cost as Reliance Jio is still testing its network

Find out if your SmartPhone is eligible?
The preview offer was initially only available for LYF smartphones but now Reliance Jio has extended the preview offer to most smartphone brands in India which include Samsung, Micromax, Karbonn, Lava, Xolo, LG, Gionee, Panasonic, ASUS, Yu, TCL AND Alcatel. However, the company has not yet released a statement regarding an official launch but it is expected to have a commercial launch soon.

Pic of Mad Rush for Jio SIM cards

Aug 17, 2016

OYO raises Rs.413 cr to Scale UP

Online aggregator of branded hotels OYO has received Rs 413.1 crore in a fresh round of funding from its existing investor Japan-based SoftBank Group.

How would OYO use fresh funds?
  • Implement new customer experience initiatives and build technology products. 
  • Expand its new initiative 'OYO Flagship'
OYO currently has over 6,500 hotels on its network in 213 cities across the country.
2.3 million booked room-night transactions in the first quarter of 2016.

Business & Revenue Model
OYO makes a profit on every room sold. As of May 2016, the average booking rates of the rooms range from Rs 1,400 to 1,800.

Recommended Read: 100 Startup Ideas

Aug 8, 2016

Time has come to build a better Web

Internet’s most famous librarian and an inductee of the Internet Hall of Fame Brewster Kahle, believes that the time has come to build a better Web.

Brewster says, the Internet is no longer either private or secure. So his argument, summarized in a white paper entitled “Locking the Web Open: A Call for a Decentralized Web”, says that we now need to rebuilt the Web to ensure that it guarantees both privacy and security for its users.

The technology now exists, he says, to create websites which can be hosted “everywhere and nowhere”. Finally, he says, we have the technology to build both a genuinely public and commercial Internet which protects rather than exploits its users. And his call is for start-up entrepreneurs to join his mission.

Source: Brewster's WhitePapers

Aug 6, 2016

Most Common Monetization methods for App Developers

Many people enter the mobile arena because they’ve become infatuated with the billion-dollar success of breakout apps like WhatsApp, Vine, and Instagram. Mobile is a big deal, but that doesn’t mean it will magically lead to a big deal for you. You need to build a sustainable mobile business, not just a one-hit wonder.

If you’re an app developer or an app marketer with an ambition to make a profit from your apps you should take a deep dive to read these stats. The top monetization drivers are listed below - you can see the most common monetization methods in the infograph above.

Subscriptions -27%
General Ads - 20%
Transaction Fees - 20%
Sponshorships -9%
Add-ons - 8%
Pay-per in-app items 5%

Data by AppFigure

Aug 5, 2016

Converting an idea into a business

I often get asked this question: “I have an idea. But I just don’t know what to do next. How do I start implementing it?”

It is not unusual to get stuck with the idea without knowing how to take it forward. Often the fear of having to manage operations, finances and staff is what stops people from getting started on their idea.

Having an idea is a good starting point. The first thing to do is to let that idea rest for a few days. Think about it every day. But don’t act on it. Think through all the positives AND all the negatives. Think of how great it can be. And also think about what could go wrong and how worse can it get. You will start seeing different aspects about the idea. Not all will be good. And that’s OK.

And even after a few days of thinking about various aspects of the idea, if it still excites you as much as it did on the first day, then you take the next step of thinking about how to convert that idea into a product/service, how do you get users/customers, who is your user, who is your customer i.e. who pays, how much do they pay, how much money will you make out of what they pay i.e. what is your margin, what are the costs… and as a result of all this thinking through, you will get a sense of whether this makes sense for you commercially.

Once you have done that, start thinking in detail about all the cost structures, the time gap between when your expenses start and when your revenues start coming in, and the gap between your costs and your WORST CASE estimates on revenues. That will give you an indication of the kind of monies you may require to get your concept into the market.

Then think of what the relevant funding sources for this concept are at this stage (and VCs are NOT the only option… often it could be alternates like getting advances from customers or funding from family & friends, or a small loan from a bank, or plain bootstrapping).

Family & friends funding explained: If you, say, need Rs.15 lacs of funding for your business. Would it be possible to raise that through a co-investment of Rs.1 lac each from 15 individuals of Rs.50,000each from 30? That’s a family & friends round.

Start talking to potential customers and other stakeholders – distributors, intermediaries, influencers, other founders (to get their perspective on your plans), media folks, vendors, etc. Conversations with different folks gives you diverse perspectives on the BUSINESS dynamics around your concept.

Parallely, start thinking very, very hard about how you are going to implement it… for the first few quarters you should have a week-by-week plan on what the milestones and goals should be, and how you will go about meeting those. i.e. it is not very useful to say “we will have 500 users by end of the first month″… it is important to nail it down to “To get 500 customers registered by end of month 1, we will have to reach 10,000 potential users. We aim to do this by online marketing in Gurgaon area, and through posters in housing complexes.” (In fact, in your operating plan, it will be important to nail down the specific housing complexes that you will be approaching to get your posters on their notice boards). When you start planning to this granularity, you will notice that a lot of things become more apparent e.g. how many visits will you have to make to a housing colony before the poster gets on their wall, who will put it up, how much will it cost, how will you monitors, etc.

As you immerse yourself into the operational aspects, you will start understanding the complexity and the multi-dimensional aspect of business that founders need to think deeply about. And this is the fun and the challenging part, which gives entrepreneurs the adrenaline rush – in understanding the challenges, the clarity that one keeps on getting as you immerse yourself more into the domain, the tweaks that you make in your plan as you learn… and the decisions that you have to make based on whatever data you have.

As you start seeing the various dots that need to be connected, you start realizing that this is much bigger than what you had originally thought it to be… and that is fun. (Well, often scary too… but in a nice, ‘keeps-you-awake-at-night-but-gets-you-to-a-raring-to-start-your-day-type of scary way.).
About the AuthorPrajakt Raut@PrajaktR
Prajakt Raut is a Guest writer for . Prajakt Raut is an entrepreneur and entrepreneurship evangelist. Prajakt’s personal goal in life is to encourage and assist a 100,000 people to become entrepreneurs.

Leave a Comment and Join the Discussion

Why Walmart is acquiring ?

Walmart is in talks to acquire an eCommerce startup that has raised more than $800 million in financing in an attempt to build a new online megastore. The deal could be valued as much as $3 billion.

What attracts Walmart to buy

Reason 1
Walmart would be acquiring the startup’s sophisticated pricing technology, which provides discounts to shoppers based on factors such as order size and proximity to partner warehouses. Shoppers typically save more as they add additional items to their virtual cart.

Reason 2
Walmart is also interested in acquiring a leadership team led by Lore (Founder that is widely viewed as having some of the best e-commerce operations minds in the business.

Experts TAKE on this deal
The deal could help Walmart become the No. 2 online retailer

Walmart vs Amazon  - Product Offering only offers around 11 million products
Amazon offers 260 million products business strategy
For a $50 annual membership, Jet members could buy diapers, cleaning supplies, and sporting goods, promising prices 10% to 15% below elsewhere online.

Walmart buying - is it going to  Become A Real Threat To Amazon?? 
Post your comments below

Aug 3, 2016

GST BILL 2016 - Mobile phone calls may get costlier

The Rajya Sabha passed the constitutional amendment by two-thirds majority. The adoption of the GST regime will make manufacturing cheaper, leading to lower prices of a number of manufactured goods. On the other hand, services are likely to become costlier under the GST. The bill is likely to come into effect from April 2017.

GST will be levied on consumption rather than production.

Post GST Bill following items may become cheaper:
Auto: Prices of entry-level cars, two-wheelers, SUVs may fall
Car batteries likely to get cheaper
Paint, cement prices likely to fall
Electronics items like fans, lighting, water heaters, air coolers, etc. will get cheaper

Post GST Bill following items could become costlier:
Cigarette prices likely to go up as GST rate for tobacco will be higher than current duties
Mobile phone calls may get costlier as service tax will go up
Textile and branded jewellery may become costlier

India Constitution: Article 122nd Amemndment

Who are the loosers post GST regime?
The State Governments of India

Jul 24, 2016

Free and Paid Tools I use for my Startup

Here is a list of free and paid tools I use in my startup. I am a open source person so my preference is always to find a tool or utility which does not need money initially and if I like the product or service, I always donate some amount to company or author/creator of the tool. Sometime paid tools are worth spending money as well. Tools play a very important role in running a successful business. It not only saves a lot of time but actually smoothen the process of running any business which eventually increases the productivity. So today I bring a list of product, services, tools or resources which I use in day to day life of running my own startup Names marked as start (*) in the list belong to paid subscription.

Web Site Launch:
Instant Domain Search
AWS hosting*

WebEngage Surveys*
SurveyMonkey survey builder for web survey inside website

Customer Support: – in-site feedback and targeted short surveys*

AWS mobile farm

Mixpanel – Real Time analysis of your users & metrics.
Google Analytics

PayTM Payments India

File Sharing:

Task/Project Management:
Google Task
Google Docs

Video Conferencing & Desktop Sharing:
Google+ hangouts

Adobe Photoshop

Android Studio

Email Delivery:

SMS Delivery:

Hubspot. Inbound marketing.
HasOffers (create affiliate program).

Customer Referral Programs:
Social Twist (Tell-a-Friend button).
Referral Candy
InviteBox (referral marketing)

SEOmoz SEO & Social monitoring.
Google Keyword Planner
Google Webmaster
Neil Patel Blogs (QuickSprout,
HubSpot Blogs

Productive Tools:
Sticky Notes


Startup Blogs:
Quora Startup Forums
Linked Pulse

About the AuthorAnshul Johri@AJohri
Anshul is a guest writer for Startuptimes. he is the founder of Rentomo an online P2P rental hyperlocal marketplace.

Leave a Comment and Join the Discussion

Qdesq - workspace rental Startup raises Angel Funding

Gurgaon based Qdesq, an on-demand platform for sharing and renting office space has raised an undisclosed amount from a clutch of investors, led by Kajaria CeramicsBSE 0.59 % Joint MD Rishi Kajaria, Jaipuria Beverage and Food Director Ruchirans Jaipuria and Jai Drinks Director Anuraag Jaipuria.

How will Qdesk use these angel funds?
The company would spend the fund in team expansion, operations, technology enhancement and inventory expansion.

Qdesq Insights:
The start-up acts as an aggregator for sharing vacant work desks, offices, conference rooms etc. Besides aggregating third-party venues, it also plans to have venues fully managed by the company. Of the 23 venues it has on the platform, the firm manages one of them on its own. Going forward it plans to add 100 more venues in the next two months with at least two being fully managed venues.

Lavesh Bhandari
Paras Arora

The company claims to have sold the services to almost 35 companies so far.

Other Players in this Space who received funding:
My Cute Office
Altf Coworking

Tags: workspace, facility management, startup, rental, aggregator, coworking space, #workingspace, #coworking #rentals, 

Byju's Education App startup to raise $50 million

Byjus funding

Online Education Technology Startup  Byju's Learning app today said it is in advance talks with investors Sequoia Capital & Sofina to  raise $50 million (Rs 335 crore) in the second round. Byju's will be the largest fund-raising in the education start-up segment in India.

First Round Funding:
Byju’s had raised $75 million in a funding round, in which both investors had participated.

How will Byju's use these fresh funds?
The money will be used to fuel international expansion (UK & US) and acquisitions.

Byju's Userbase
The company says it has over 200,000 paid subscribers, with 30,000 added in the last one month alone.  The app enjoys unprecedented popularity among K12 students with  90% annual renewal rates from the students.

Headquarters: Bangalore (aka Bengaluru), India

Revenue in June stood at Rs 30 crore and Byju’s says it is already profitable and growing at a pace of 15 per cent month-on-month. The firm also registers high engagement, with the app being used by students for 40 minutes a day on an average, bolstering the idea of e-learning in India.


Jul 20, 2016

How Uber, Airbnb, and Etsy Attracted their First 1,000 Customers ?

This articles is presented by Michael Blanding based on a case study by Thales Teixeira who studied three of the most successful “platform” startups to understand the chicken-and-egg challenge of how companies can attract their first customers.

New businesses often struggle finding their first customers. The challenge is even more difficult with startups in the sharing economy that launch as platforms connecting independent service providers with consumers.

Take Uber. Its platform is two-sided, connecting people who need rides with people who have rides to offer. (Same idea as Airbnb, which connects people needing rooms with home-owners.) So to launch as a platform service, these companies need to find users on both the supply and demand sides.

“When you have a two-sided platform, you have to acquire both the customers and the services,” says Harvard Business School’s Thales Teixeira, Lumry Family Associate Professor of Business Administration.

“It’s the classic chicken-and-egg problem,” he says. You can’t have one without the other, but which one do you find first—the customer chicken or the service egg? “As a small company you cannot afford to focus on both with the same amount of effort. You may need to prioritize one side.”

Preparing to teach a new course on e-commerce marketing next spring, Teixeira made it his goal to find an answer. He studied three of the best-known and most successful startups—Uber, Etsy, and Airbnb—hoping to find some commonalities in how those businesses solved the dilemma.

Spoiler alert: it’s the egg that needs incubating.

As Teixeira reports in a new HBS case, Airbnb, Etsy, Uber: Acquiring the First Thousand Customers, all three platforms concentrated on getting the service side of the equation first, customers second. But there’s a catch. “It’s not just the chicken and the egg, you also want to select the right eggs,” explains Teixeira. “If you acquire the wrong eggs and ostriches come out, then you are in trouble. The chickens will run for the hills.”

From the beginning, it was clear to the founders of apartment-sharing site Airbnb that they’d need to find people willing to list their homes before finding people interesting in staying in them.

“If you don’t have a supply of houses and apartments, people are not going to come,” says Teixeira. The problem was, where to find people willing to let strangers stay in their places. It’s not like they could go around San Francisco knocking on doors.

Instead, founders Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia thought like customers themselves, trying to figure out where they would go if Airbnb didn’t exist. It didn’t take them long to figure out the answer: Craigslist. The entrepreneurs figured they could do a better job of making apartments appealing than the online classified site, but first they had to siphon away its customers. To do that, Chesky and Gebbia created software to hack Craigslist to extract the contact info of property owners, then sent them a pitch to list on Airbnb as well.

The strategy worked. With nothing to lose, property owners doubled their chances of finding a potential renter, and Airbnb had a ready supply of homes with which it could attract customers.

“Poaching customers is something all competitors do in different ways,” says Teixeira. “If you are a website and you are providing content to users publicly, others can grab that information.” It’s not enough to just take someone else’s customers, though, he warns—you’ve got to give them something better than they had before.

Once they had apartment owners on the hook, the Airbnb founders realized they had a problem: the subpar photos that property owners were taking for Craigslist on their iPhones would never work for customers looking for an alternative to a hotel.

“The first time a person goes on Airbnb, they are comparing the quality of photos to hotels that take glamorized shots,” says Teixeira. “They needed to compete at that level.”

In order to do that, Chesky and Gebbia did something that would never be scalable: hired professional photographers to go to property owners’ homes to take inviting pictures. The gambit worked, making the site much more attractive than the competition, and setting a standard for photography that later property owners rose to match in order to compete against other homes.

“The underlying principle of this is you should help your suppliers portray themselves in the best way possible, even if that is not scalable,” concludes Teixeira. “If you don’t have customers, there is nothing to scale.”

Ride-sharing app Uber pursued a similar strategy. Rather than starting out with Uber Pool or Uber X, in which drivers use their own cars, the company started with black cars driven by professional drivers. That way, they could ensure that customers would have a great experience virtually every time they used the service—and they could then rely on customers to spread the news of that experience by word of mouth. “That’s why you get the supply side first—if you get the right suppliers, the customers will experience their high quality service and then do the marketing for you,” says Teixeira.

Etsy also pursued a decidedly non-scalable strategy in finding the right eggs with which to launch its business. The platform, which serves as an online marketplace for craft vendors, started its business with an offline strategy: scouring craft fairs across the country to identify the best vendors at each, and pitching them on opening up an online store on the site. “They first brought their customers, and then they brought other artisans who followed the customers.” Once Etsy had the first-tier artisans on the site, the next tier naturally followed them.

Uber and Airbnb were also smart about how they chose to expand, picking the right cities at the right time to maximize their success.

Since Uber’s main competition was taxi cab companies, the startup researched which cities had the biggest discrepancy between supply and demand for taxis. They then launched during times when that demand was likely to be the highest, for example during the holidays when people tend to stay out late partying. It also ran promotions during large concerts or sporting events, when big crowds of people all needed cabs at the same time, and an individual might be more likely to take a chance on an unfamiliar company named Uber.

In that way, the company acquired a large group of customers in one swoop. “First, they figured out how to get a bunch of customers all in one night, when the demand was high. Then, they made sure this first group of users had a great experience and brought in the next wave of customers via word-of-mouth,” says Teixeira. The company banked on the fact that once users realized how easy it was, it was only a matter of time before they started using it to go to work, then shopping for groceries, and so on.

Airbnb followed a similar strategy with its rollout, launching in Denver in 2008 to coincide with the lack of hotel space during the Democratic National Convention and adding new cities at times when they had major conventions or other events.

In addition to the obvious demand, the strategy has another benefit: “Your competitors don’t see you as a threat, since you are not taking away from their demand,” says Teixeira. By the time you have a foothold in the marketplace, it’s already too late for them to do anything about it.

Launching in situations of high demand and low supply also helps startups acquire the right type of customers—those early adopters who might be more forgiving of a company while it works out the kinks. After all, beggars can’t be choosers, and if you are thankful to even have a room during a conference, maybe you’ll forgive the lack of hand towels. The last thing a company wants during its early phases is negative word-of-mouth.

“You are still a startup,” says Teixeira. “You have to find people who are willing to accept your flaws and cut you some slack. Satisfying all their needs and wants is just not feasible at this early stage.”

Next Lesson: From 1,000 to 100,000,000
With early adopters in place, a company can start thinking about how to expand their customer base through more traditional means of marketing.

To tackle that problem, Teixeira wrote a sequel case study, Airbnb, Etsy, Uber: Growing from One Thousand to One Million Customers, and is currently working on a third entry in the trilogy that will examine how a platform can go from one million to many millions of customers.

In each case the strategies are different. While word-of-mouth might work for the first thousand it’s not going to get you to a million. “You have to be more proactive and control the acquisition process, which word-of-mouth does not allow for.”

That’s where digital marketing can help, allowing companies to target specific customers through search ads or social media at a low cost.

“It’s highly targetable and you can do it on the cheap,” says Teixeira—adding that digital marketing also makes it easy for companies to rapidly iterate its advertising message, tweaking it to figure out what works best. “Only after passing the millionth customer can you go into advertising on traditional media. That’s when you need massive scale, so you go to mass marketing.”

As a company grows, it must consider the purpose of advertising in order to achieve the best effects in gaining new customers.

“Some tools are better for the beginning, some are better when you are bigger,” says Teixeira. “It’s not about, should I use digital marketing or word-of-mouth or TV ads. The question only makes sense when you say, 'I am at this stage, what approach should I take?' Only when you answer that question will you know what tool is most appropriate.”

Jul 19, 2016

Mike Maples Interview - Startup Investor

Mike Maples holds a BS, from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. Mike's investments include Twitter,, ngmoco, Weebly, Chegg, Bazaarvoice, Spiceworks, Okta, and Demandforce.

Watch Mike maples Interview for Startup grind Silicon Valley, he shares his startup experiences, failures, advises and successes. Below are some of the questions that kicks off the interview.

How Mike Maples landed in Silicon Valley?
How Mike started Maples Investments?

Related Interviews 
Nir Eyal - Startup Founder/Author/Speaker

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More