E-commerce versus Kirana


After the smashing entry of Reliance Jio, Ambani is making another contrarian bet. When retail companies are logging into India, Ambani is betting big on Bharat. Amazon and Flipkart may be putting billions of dollars in e-commerce wars, Ambani plans to ride high on the corner shops—the small kirana stores.

For the retail biggies, the mom-and-pop stores could be dying but for Ambani they are an ambitious business opportunity. For his retail foray, Ambani is neither spending money nor dirtying his hands with delivery issues. All he plans to do is link manufacturers and kirana stores to his Reliance Jio customers and mint money.

Reliance Jio will offer its subscribers digital coupons to buy goods at Kirana stores at discounted rates. It will not spend its own money on discounts. It will only mediate between manufacturers and kirana stores to benefit its subscribers. While manufacturing brands will get free publicity, kirana stores will have more customers. And it will be an effective way to add and retain subscribers for Jio. The company is running a pilot project of this scheme in Mumbai, Chennai and Ahmedabad before it rolls out the scheme next year.

Small kirana stores are seen as a threat by e-commerce companies, but Ambani views them as an opportunity. In an age when the digital and brick-and-mortar are mostly seen as two opposing models, Ambani seeks to combine them in an innovative way using technology, e-cash, coupons and telecom userbase.

Mukesh's father, legendary businessman Dhirubhai Ambani, used to say if you made a phone call cheaper than a postcard, you would revolutionise the lives of millions of Indians. After realising his father's dream by not only making a phone call totally free, but also making a handset, JioPhone virtually free, Ambani is all set to ride the digital revolution.

When he began offering free data to Jio customers last year, Ambani must have realised how telecom could open for him the big doors into the Indian retail market.

Jio's cheap data opened up a vast market for Ambani with which it can play in diverse ways. E-commerce is only 3-4% of India's $650-billion retail industry. Organised retailers hold just 8% of it. Small kirana shops make up the remaining 88% of the market. It is this market that Ambani is accessing through his telecom foray.

Bharat, he knows, is still bigger than India. Rather than trying to pull it online, what Ambani is doing is taking the online shoppers to Bharat, the traditional retail sector, that is. After telecom sector, now the retail players should get ready for a wave of disruption. It's not just retail players who should be afraid of Reliance Jio's new foray into retail. It will give tough competition to digital wallets such as Paytm, Mobikwik and Phone Pe too once it has developed its own retail network

Reliance Retail has plans to compete with Amazon and Flipkart by offering a wide selection of products, (with the promise of) same or next day delivery even in small towns where aspiration level is high but availability is a problem.

Two Billion Dollars spent on Indians on How to Use 'APPS'


India has been named as the world’s fourth largest app economy, and it’s expected downloads will top 9 billion by the end of 2016, with an annual growth rate of 92%. The data comes from a report by App Annie, where it’s said the growth will continue and reach 20.1 billion app downloads by 2020.

India app ecosystem is estimated to be in the range of $330 mn by 2016.The average mobile app usage in India has grown by at least 129 per cent and has outpaced the global growth rate. The next wave of growth in the Indian mobile apps is being driven by the increased usage of smartphones coupled with low mobile tariffs bridging the digital divide between metros, non-metros and rural areas.

Who Spent on APP awareness to Indians and How much?
"Collectively all Indian Unicorn Startups like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Paytm, Ola and many more have spent around two to three billion dollars to educate Indian consumer on how to use APPS. These companies brought consumer onboard and the people started buying online" said Sandeep Singhal Co-founder of Nexus Venture Partners.

How many APPS average Indian user installs?
Study says Average Indian user installs 32 apps

How many Smartphones used in India?
200 Million

How many of these Smartphone users are from Urban Population?
70% Users

What are the most popular Apps in India?
WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon and Paytm.

Why it is important for startups raising capital to clearly communicate what you do.


I often come across business pitch decks, or even company websites that have fancy set of words that don't really communicate what the company does. For example, a tagline like "Redefining Healthcare" feels grand, but does not give the reader any clues on what your company does.

Instead, if the tagline were to be specific saying “Your neighborhood childcare clinic’, there is specificity in communicating what you are offering. If your tag line can also communicate your value proposition, it is ideal. E.g. “Affordable cardiac care”.

VCs and angel investor networks get 100s of business plans every month. And a few individuals in VC firms have the task of sifting though these pitch decks to shortlist those that they think are worthy of more time. Because it is impossible for anyone to go through 100s of pitch decks very, very diligently, it is often the first impressions and the clarity of communication of the first couple of slides that will decide whether the deck makes it to the 'shortlisted for further review' bucket.

I urge startup founders to share their tagline (nd other marketing collaterals, including website, with a few folks from outside their circle of family & friends and ask them what they understand about the company from that material. If you get multiple interpretations and inferences of what you might be doing, then go back to the drawing board and repeat the exercise till you get a sharp definition of your business that helps everyone instantly understand what you do. And often, it is the tagline about your brand that often has to carry the load of communicating what your business is all about.

Also remember, the tagline you have for consumers/users/clients may be different than the description of the business that you have when you present to investors. Consumers need to know your value proposition for them, while investors need to know the business behind that value proposition.

Starting Up & Fund Raising



About the AuthorPrajakt Raut@PrajaktR
Prajakt Raut is a Guest writer for Startuptimes.in . 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.

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3 Types of Partnerships Startups Need to Look for


A few key partnerships can make all the difference in the early stages of growing a company.

Starting up a business is never easy, especially when the market is constantly getting more crowded. It is increasingly difficult to find ways for your business stand out, and to forge the necessary relationships to help your business succeed in the early stages. But not all hope is lot.

Partnerships with other growing companies can help spark innovation among your teams and provide outlets for attracting new customers from a unique base of consumers. Every relationship formed must be a two-way street to ensure both parties are benefiting from the connection.

Developing a small number of key partnerships, especially in the early stages of building a business, can be an incredibly valuable way to grow your consumer base and experiment with additional revenue streams.

Here are the three types of partnerships  formed at Unfettered Socks(a startup) that have significantly impacted their business:

1. Cross-marketing
For successful cross-marketing partnerships, you want to find companies that offer a product that complements (but does not compete with) your product offering. In addition, you want to target companies that have a unique set of customers that fall within a similar target demographic. This was a particularly useful tactic while raising our initial funding on Kickstarter.

Our sock company worked with a shoe company (complementary, but not competing, product) to promote their Kickstarter page to our existing backers, and they did the same for us. With so many projects added daily to Kickstarter, it is often difficult to stand out or be seen by potential backers but this partnership guaranteed incremental views to our fundraising page.

2. Retail outlets.
While our business was created as a direct to consumer ecommerce model, we quickly realized the value of creating local brand recognition, as well as increasing the routes to market. When considering retail partners, it was important to think about how to grow our brand in a unique way that would set us apart from competitors. We do have distribution in local boutiques that align with our style, but you can also find us in an upscale suburban pharmacy, as well as on display at a downtown hipster men’s grooming salon.

Having a variety of retail partners allows us to have a unique strategy with each of them to increase the number of new consumers introduced to our product, and to ensure each partner feels we are adding value to their business as well.

3. Product collaborations
Product collaborations offer an opportunity to share brand equity and to cross-market to each brand’s existing consumer base. Our first collaboration is a co-designed sock with a local St. Louis brewery. With their help, we produced a sock that resonated with their fans and earned their commitment to sell the sock through their gift shop.

For each pair of socks sold (either in the brewery or on our website), we donate a pair of socks to a local homeless shelter. The collaboration and donation program has been well-received among loyal brewery customers, and has allowed both companies to gain awareness among each other’s followers. Collaborations open up a lot of opportunity to diversify our revenue stream, and strengthen our brand.

Any potential partnership needs to be approached with careful consideration and clear communication, as managing these relationships creates additional complexities for your business. However, developing a small number of key partnerships, especially in the early stages of building a business, can be an incredibly valuable way to grow your consumer base and experiment with additional revenue streams.



Article By Sarah:
Sarah is an Entrepreneur ,Investor and CTO at Unfettered Socks. Sarah is a recent graduate of Washington University in St. Louis where she studied systems engineering and entrepreneurship. During her junior year she opened Green Bean, an eco-healthy salad restaurant.

Flying Taxi Startup Lilium raised $90M Series B

Lilium

Never again will you need to ask your taxi driver to take the scenic route as you’re flown from one location to another, much faster than by car and with significantly less environmental impact. That’s the promise of the five-seater Lilium jet, a new kind of all-electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) device being developed by a startup based in Munich, Germany, which, until just a few years ago, had yet to come into existence. with a single tap, hail the closest air taxi to take you to your chosen destination. The experience will have Uber-like convenience but the mode of transport couldn’t be any more different.

So Said the Founder
The founding mission of the company was to enable everyone to use this kind of transportation system in their everyday lives,” Lilium co-founder and CEO Daniel Wiegand

About Lilium Funding
Lilium announced it has closed $90 million in Series B funding, up from the $10 million Series A Lilium raised a year ago. Backing the round are Tencent; LGT, the international private banking and asset management group; Atomico, Lilium’s Series A backer founded by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström; and Obvious Ventures, the early-stage VC fund co-founded by Twitter’s Ev Williams.

Headcount at Lilium
Headcount now stands at more than 75 people, around half of which are non-German

Other Startups in this Space
Kitty Hawk (backed by Google's Larry Page)
Zee.aero (backed by Google's Larry Page)
Vahana (backed by Airbus)


Tags: vertical take-off and landing VTOL, electric aircraft market, flying taxi, air transportation startups, #VTOL #FlyingTaxi, 

6 Things That No One Tells You Before Launching Your First Facebook Ad Campaign


When it comes to running Paid Advertising Campaigns, Facebook is one of the most diverse and more importantly cheap platform to drive traffic, sales or brand awareness even from an extremely specific target audience

What other platform allows you to

  • Target potential customers with laser precision based on the multitudes of targeting options.
  • Utilise a versatile array of media to advertise, ranging from mobile video to Instant Articles.
  • Track end-of-customer journey level conversions with an all inclusive dashboard right where you are running your Ads from.

When I set up my first Facebook Ad Campaign roughly an year ago, I was excited. However, after having burnt through INR 10k in less than week, with little to no results to show for; All that initial excitement didn’t last long; I was disappointed, ashamed even of the failure of my first Ad campaign.
I had referenced the Facebook Blueprint and also diligently studied various “Facebook Ad gurus” before I set up my campaign. After pouring through all the Ad reports and dismantling my Ad from top to bottom, I soon came to the realization…

“I had followed all the guidelines to the T and still failed”

It’s been an year since that letdown, and looking back on the disaster that my first Ad campaign was, I can point out atleast 6 things I did wrong that ensured that my campaign was bound to fail.

Why didn’t I know of these things beforehand?
In retrospect, I realised that these things are not “cool” or “worth writing about” but are important to any marketer looking to run their first Ad Campaign and who want to achieve some modicum of success with it.

So here goes. A curated list of what not to miss before running your first Ad campaign on Facebook and easy fixes to the hurdles you are bound to face.

1. Audience Fatigue: The performance of your campaigns will drop after 4–7 days
This drop in performance can be attributed to something called Audience Fatigue. As a result of optimising for the objective you set up your campaign for (clicks, reach, engagement et al) Facebook ends up showing your Ads to the same set of people multiple times.

2. Metrics: Links Clicks, Post Clicks and Clicks all mean different things Facebook Power Editor, the go-to Ads dashboard for a majority of Facebook Marketers offers a wide array of metrics for every Ad that you run. However, be extremely wary of what each of one of these metrics mean. “Tracking the wrong metric can be disastrous to measuring the success of any Ad campaign” For example, when running an Ad campaign with a website click objective (i.e is to run a campaign to get website traffic) Link Clicks should be your key operating metric. If you were to go ahead and track Clicks, you’d a get a deceptively high number, as this includes clicks on the Ad post itself, clicks to know more etc.

The Fix: Have an in-depth view of each metric & what it means for you before you run an Ad Campaign to any objective, customise each tracking dashboard accordingly before running a campaign. You can also go a step ahead and and set up the Facebook Pixel on your website to directly track conversions of your end objective from the Facebook Ad Dashboard itself.

3. Attribution: Conversions from your Facebook Ads won’t always match your in-house analytics Attribution of traffic from your Ads has been a long contested topic amongst marketers. To put it succinctly, Attributing your traffic is the first step towards measuring success of your marketing Ad campaigns and will go a long way in determining what is working and what doesn’t. The Fix: Choose one platform that you are most comfortable with and stick to it track success of your campaigns. It’s essential that you track your channel improvement over time than using a couple of tools to get an accurate absolute number. As a general rule of thumb, ensure that your Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel (If you are using it) tags are set up correctly.

4. Bots: Beware of Bot Traffic “Not all traffic is good traffic” I recall the first time, I decided to run campaigns to the Audience Network Ad placement, which is a network of blogs that have complied with the Facebook Ad policy and have Ad spaces set up. I received massive success on clicks, reach, CTR, all across the board except…there were no conversions.

On Analysing the traffic coming from that particular Ad placement, I noticed that most of those users would perform one click and drop off, all within 0.1 secs. All of them, the very same action. That is a definitive red flag for Bot traffic, which in unhealthy for any Ad campaign, as you are paying for every on those useless clicks.

The Fix: Closely analyse the traffic you receive from your Ads also split test across placements to check for the kind of traffic you receive from each. Always keep your end objective in mind, the conversion, and don’t get bogged down with early stage metrics like traffic or post likes.

5. Overspending: You may end up spending more than you planned to Facebook offers you a couple way to set the budget of your Ads, you can do on a daily, weekly or total basis. However, this throws up a few problems as Facebook tries to optimise for your conversions. Say you set a weekly budget of INR 7000 with a daily spending limit of INR 1000K. Sounds fair in writing, however Facebook takes the liberty to spend more on certain days to optimise and less on others for the same reason. So if you extinguish your budget, it’s entirely possible that you end up with your Ad not running on half the days that you planned for.

The Fix: It’s best to set Daily Budgets and add enough balance to your Ad account (if you are using a prepaid account or have enough account balance if you have yours linked to a card). You still run the risk of overspending, but not by much, as compared to setting a weekly or total budget for your campaigns.

6. Ad guidelines: It’s easy to get your Ad account banned Have you seen those posts where posts ask you to Like, Share or Tag a friend ? Yes, those are frowned upon by Facebook when you use the same in an Ad and can get your Ad account banned, sometimes forever with no chance of getting it back. This means, all your data, Ads gone before you can say “I didn’t do anything wrong!”

The Fix: It’s best to go through the Facebook Ad guidelines once before you set up your first Facebook Ad Campaign and that should be enough. Also take care that any of the products that you are selling don’t violate Facebooks Community Guidelines, in which case you may have to sell them in an oblique manner to get them approved. Well, what if you still fail after keeping all of these things in mind? “It’s alright” It’s alright not because it’s your first time and you were bound to fail. It’s alright because, Facebook ads are all about iterating on what doesn’t work and focusing on what does, scaling it. Marketing isn’t an exact science…

The more Ads you run, track and analyse, the more you will understand about the dynamics of your target audience and will achieve a better hit rate of successful Ad campaigns. That in itself, is the key to Facebook Ad Success. “Iterate, Iterate again and then Iterate some more”

 Article brought to you by TapChief
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SoftBank Fund to Invest $2 Billion in Flipkart


Technology investor Softbank Vision Fund founded by Masayoshi Son, is in talks to invest directly in India’s Flipkart Online Services Pvt, according to people familiar with the matter, after talks to fold SoftBank-backed Snapdeal into Flipkart fell apart.

Bloomberg reported earlier on Tuesday that the fund could invest up to $2 billion in Flipkart. Softbank is looking at putting between $1.5 billion and $2 billion into the largest Indian e-commerce operator within the next two months. About half the money would go to Tiger Global Management, which wants to sell part of its Flipkart stake, while the rest of the funds would go to Flipkart.

SoftBank, already invested in Indian online grocer Grofers and cab hailing firm Ola, tried for months to engineer a share swap transaction between Snapdeal and Flipkart, India's two main homegrown e-commerce companies.

About The Vision Fund
The Vision Fund, created by the tech-to-solar conglomerate, has raised more than $93 billion from investors including Saudi Arabia's main sovereign wealth fund and Apple.

#SoftBank #FlipKart #SnapDeal #VisionFund #Investments 

Fintech startups RealX and REGKO closed it's maiden Real Estate transaction


RealX, a Fintech startup that has built a digital ecommerce marketplace for Real Estate closed its maiden transaction on Monday, 31st July. Apart from allowing people to transact digitally, RealX has brought-in the concept of fractional ownership in Real Estate transactions.

Yashwinder Singh, co-founder of RealX says, “Property buying has always been a very involved, high ticket and cumbersome process. Even after that it is fairly illiquid market. Owing to high ticket sizes, most of us were not able to participate in Real Estate, especially commercial Real Estate. We, at RealX wanted to create an option for people to participate in high value, high yield property transactions at lower ticket sizes and without the usual running around. I’m happy to say that we could build a solution and the first transaction, though small in size, nonetheless demonstrates that capability”.

The unique ecommerce platform allows sellers and agents to post property and all registered buyers can commit their co-ownership share in the respective properties. A transaction is successful if it can generate the total commitments required for full sale, after which the transaction is executed in favor of the co-owners whose collective interest is represented by principal custodian cum administrator.
After the sale deed is registered, it is sent to REGKO for issuance of equitable fractional ownership digital certificates, also called FRAX to respective co-owners. REGKO is another fintech startup that provides Asset Registry solutions based on Distributed Ledger technology, commonly known as Blockchain.

Abhishek Gupta, CEO of REGKO, says, “Our solution was ideally suited for RealX, as we can keep verified records of the fractional ownerships on Blockchain. This technology has inherent benefits of immutability (tamper proof) and verifiability of records. These records are kept distributed across multiple nodes and this ensures the durability and correctness of it. RealX wanted all of these as its registry solution and we are glad to support it”.

Manish Kumar, Group CEO of iVentures and the brain behind both the companies, says “I’m very happy that our hard work of almost one and half years, has finally seen success. Overall what we have been able to create is a deep mix of legal, finance and technology to bring forth to people an ability to participate in properties in a manner that was erstwhile neither accessible nor affordable. This heralds a paradigm change in how we understand property investments and how we buy, sell and hold them. It will open up many new avenues of financial engagements as well. However, these are early days and we have only taken first steps. We will now open up our platform for various players in Real Estate industry to register with us and begin commercial transactions in two to three months.”

#Regko #RealX #RealEstate #Fintech #Startup #India

Should Flipkart have bought Snapdeal?


Firstly, let me start by apologizing for writing a piece on a subject that you’ve probably had enough of. Secondly, we got no gossip for you. Sorry. We know nothing about board room battles, founders fighting, investors colluding or anything else you may have heard.
But we thought it would be good to bring some data to the conversation and present to you a glimpse of the e-commerce world as it appears to us.
Let’s start with a look at the reach by app installs of various e-commerce apps in the country over the last 12 months:
Since earlier this year, Snapdeal has witnessed a secular fall in reach – implying that customers are either leaving the app or not downloading it. I’m not sure if this is a result of falling ad spends or indicative of lower customer confidence but in January 2017 something changed and its impact is plain to see.
How does this affect market share by App installs? The 2 charts below provide some insight.
Snapdeal wasn’t the only company to reduce its App Footprint over the last one year. Almost all e-commerce platforms barring Amazon witnessed negative growth in reach and by association market share by app installs.
In e-commerce and other transaction driven businesses, however, reach and market share by app downloads are what you might call ‘leading indicators’ or ‘a measurable factor that changes before the economy starts to follow a particular pattern or trend’ (to paraphrase from Google).
The real reflection of market share is given by transactions. These account for both desktop and mobile (web & app) purchases.
The info graphic below gives a 3 month rolling average of market share by transaction volumes across the major e commerce companies in India.
Snapdeal has lost more than half of its market share between July – 16 and May – 17. Presumably, this is a trend that will continue unabated if no one throws the reverse gear (which we hear is going to happen now with Snap Deal 2.0).
As Snapdeal plans to pursue an ‘independent path’ – the question is have they gone too far down this one to turn back? Most importantly, have board members come to the conclusion that this is not a time for pay outs but patience? If so how what will it take to reverse the trend? Certainly, a great deal of money of the very least.
For Flipkart was there a downside to seeing the deal fall apart? There is certainly value in the back end infrastructure (warehousing & logistics) and customer data that Snapdeal has but in an environment of falling customer retention and reducing transactions would it really have been worth it?  Many would say that paying $900 million for ~ 5% market share isn’t a bad deal if you have a long term vision.  But I Suspect there will be other buying opportunities in the future with less baggage. The market share gains Flipkart would have made from this transaction have reduced for every month that the deal has been in negotiation. At this point, Flipkart can afford to let this transaction slide or not do it at all since any delay will only work to their advantage and reduce the value of residual assets.

10 Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make With Venture Capital Investors


Seeking money for a start-up from friends, family, angel investors, venture capitalists or lenders is an exercise fraught with pitfalls. Many first-time entrepreneurs approach it with great optimism and belief in their business idea, only to fall flat on their face.

Reasons vary, but often it’s just that the entrepreneur hasn’t taken the time to study up on how to approach investors, including what to do and what not to do. The Young Entrepreneurs Council (YEC) – an invitation-only group of top young entrepreneurs – recently asked some of its most successful members to name the dumbest mistake they could think of that entrepreneurs should avoid when pitching investors.

Here’s our take on the top 10 mistakes they came up with (in no particular order):

1)    Making it all about the money: “When pitching an investor, you’re not just pitching your great idea. A relationship with an investor goes beyond the ROI and it’s important to focus on selling yourself as well as your business plan,” says Raul Pla, Founder & CEO of SimpleWifi.

2)    Being unprepared: This is an unforgivable sin. The entrepreneur, of all people, must have the details completely buttoned down. “Even if you get an investor interested, nothing will bring the conversation to a screeching halt quite like not knowing how much you want to raise and what you’ll do with it,” says Jason Evanish, co-Founder of Greenhorn Connect. You must show you can lead a business.

3)    Asking for an NDA (non-disclosure agreement): Only a rank amateur would do this. “Chances are, you’ll be laughed out of the meeting room if you ask investors to sign an NDA,” says Michael Tolkin, CEO of Merchant Exchange. “Ideas are cheap.”

4)    Being overly pushy: Investors accepted the meeting because they saw something in you or your business. But if you push too hard, most investors will shut down. “Be cool and confident, but not like a used car salesman,” says Ashley Bodi, co-Founder of Business Beware.

5)    Meeting your best prospects first: Keep this in mind, says Christopher Kelly, co-Founder of Convene: “Your pitch only gets better with time. You will achieve the best odds by saving the best for last.” Make a note of recurring questions and concerns after each pitch and revise your materials accordingly.

6)    Promising too much: “Go in with what you know, not what you think you can do. Investors will lose faith in you – that is, if they don’t see through you immediately,” says Jordan Guernsey, CEO of Molding Box.

7)    Rushing the pitch: “As nervous as you might be, try to calm down and speak from the heart,” says Logan Lenz, Founder of Endagon. “Speaking more slowly not only allows listeners to register what you’re saying, it also makes you sound more confident and knowledgeable.”

8)    Failing to leave time for Q&A: This is the flip side to #7 above.  You can’t take too much time and not allow questions at the end. “No matter how organized a pitch is, it will fail to answer questions your audience has,” says John Harthorne, Founder & CEO of MassChallenge.

9)    Making all projections and no plans: “Don’t put a hockey-stick graph in the middle of the presentation and expect everyone in the room to swoon,” warns Brent Beshore, CEO of Adventur.es. “Projections are guesses that rarely come true. What’s more impressive is your plan to get there. Investors know a strategy means a lot more than pretty pictures.”

10) Coming off as desperate: “People like to invest in and be connected to winning projects,” says Raoul David, CEO of Ascendant Group. If you come across as if this investment is the only way your business can move forward, it seems too needy and will turn off many investors. This also sets you up to be taken advantage of. “You’ll end up giving away more equity than you should.”


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AI Startups That Have Attracted Tech Giants


Dozens of startups focused on AI solutions have been bagged by Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon among other companies in the past years. We've a run-down on all the popular AI-focused companies that have been acquired by the giant. As you will notice in the list, these acquisitions only go far as back as five-six years, reaffirming how nascent this space is.

Halli Labs
Google took many by surprise this week when the news got out that it has acquired the Bengaluru-based AI startup. Much about the four-month old startup remains unknown, but we know that some of its founding members came from marketplace Stayzilla. Halli Labs is joining Google’s Next Billion team, which aims to solve the last mile problem by serving people from emerging markets.

Tuplejump
Apple confirmed last year that it had acquired the small Indian machine learning company. Back in the day, Tuplejump offered software services to store, process, and visualise data.

Kitt.ai
China’s conglomerate Baidu acquired Kitt.ai, a startup based out of Seattle that works on chatbots and voice-based applications across several platforms.

Lattice Data
Apple acquired Lattice Data, a startup that uses AI to mine "dark data" — the kind of data that is collected by not used normally for broader purposes earlier this year.

MindMeld
Cisco purchased MindMeld, an AI startup that creates "conversational interfaces" through bots and voice-powered assistants. At the time of the acquisition, MindMeld’s API was being used by over 1,200 companies including Samsung, Google, Intel, and Spotify.

Sonalytic
In March this year, Spotify said it was acquiring Sonalytic, a startup that uses machine learning to offer improved music recommendation.

RealFace
Earlier this year, Apple acquired Israel-based startup RealFace, which developers deep-learning based face authentication technology. Before the acquisition, RealFace was betting big on making passwords redundant.

RavenTech
The Chinese startup that is working on similar capabilities as Amazon’s Alexa was acquired by Baidu earlier this year. The company also has an AI-based app called Flow.

Kaggle
Google acquired the online service Kaggle earlier this year. The company hosted data science and machine learning competitions prior to its acquisition.

Maluuba
Microsoft kickstarted the year by announcing it is buying deep-learning startup Maluuba. The Montreal-based company, Microsoft said, offers "one of the world’s most impressive deep learning research labs for natural language understanding." Before the startup was acquired, it was working on making advancements toward a more general AI by creating "literate machines that can think, reason and communicate like humans — a vision exactly in line with ours."

Harvest.ai
Amazon quietly acquired the San Diego-based startup earlier this year. The startup uses machine learning to analyse user behavior around a company’s key intellectual property.

Geometric Intelligence
Uber acquired the New York City-based company late last year, as it worked on expanding its AI efforts. Geometric Intelligence was said to work on solutions that could accurately estimate rider locations and travel times, and also help Uber in its self-driving project.

Masquerade Technologies
Facebook acquired Masquerade Technologies after the startup’s app that offered Snapchat-like selfie filters gained popularity among young customers.


What is AI, anyway?
Back in 1956, scholars gathered at Dartmouth College to begin considering how to build computers that could improve themselves and take on problems that only humans could handle . That's still a workable definition of artificial intelligence.

An initial burst of enthusiasm at the time, however, devolved into an "AI winter" lasting many decades as early efforts largely failed to create machines that could think and learn - or even listen, see or speak.

That started changing five years ago. In 2012, a team led by Geoffrey Hinton at the University of Toronto proved that a system using a brain-like neural network could "learn" to recognize images. That same year, a team at Google led by Andrew Ng taught a computer system to recognise cats in YouTube videos - without ever being taught what a cat was.

Since then, computers have made enormous strides in vision, speech and complex game analysis. One AI system recently beat the world's top player of the ancient board game Go.


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WHY AXIS BANK BOUGHT FREECHARGE ?


Axis Bank Ltd -India's third largest private sector lender is nearing a deal to buy digital payments platform Freecharge for Rs350-400 crore in cash. Axis Bank and Freecharge are likely to announce the deal this week.

Snapdeal bought Freecharge for $400 million in April 2015 what was then the largest start-up deal in India. The current transaction will offer significant legroom to the Snapdeal management which has struggled to raise funds for over a year.

DEAL SIZE
Rs.350-400 crore in cash

WHY AXIS BANK BOUGHT FREECHARGE ?
By buying Freecharge, Axis Bank will get a popular digital payments brand as well as access to high-quality technology that traditional companies typically struggle to build compared with internet start-ups.

WHAT STRATEGIC REASON MADE AXIS BANK TO BUY FREECHARGE?
Digital payments in India are surging. Government policies are driving a less-cash economy

FREECHARGE TIMELINE
SEP 2013: Raised $33 Million
FEB 2015: Raised $80 Million
APRIL 2015:  Sold to SNAPDEAL
JULY 2017 : SNAPDEAL sells to AXIS Bank

BIG TAKEWAY FROM FREECHARGE STORY 
The big takeaway from the Snapdeal-Freecharge situation is the fact that the consumer internet market is growing very slowly. This is not China. Just because everyone has internet access does not mean the internet economy is growing,” said Rutvik Doshi

20 Business Ideas for HOME MAKERS


The IDEAS presented here may be doable or not , may or may not be great, however these might ignite new IDEAS in you. Stay-home-parents start thinking and make a difference in your life.

IDEA#1 COLLEGE APPLICATION/FINANCIAL AID PLANNING CONSULTING

IDEA#2 SALE OF PRE-OWNED CLOTHES

IDEA#3 FREELANCE WRITING

IDEA#4 GARDENING BUSINESS

IDEA#5 GRAPHIC DESIGN

IDEA#6 LEGAL GRANT WRITING

Google CEO Sundar appointed to Alphabet’s board of directors


Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google since 2015, is now also a board member of its parent company Alphabet Inc., according to a press release by the company.

“Sundar has been doing a great job as Google’s CEO, driving strong growth, partnerships, and tremendous product innovation. I really enjoy working with him and I’m excited that he is joining the Alphabet board,” said Larry Page, CEO of Alphabet

Google is Alphabet’s most profitable subdivision and is responsible for roughly 90 percent of the tech giant’s overall revenue. Pichai was made CEO of Google in August 2015 when the company reorganised, in that role, he oversees several of Google’s most profitable divisions including search, maps, Android, and YouTube, while also leading the company’s latest ‘AI-first’ push.

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