Why Microsoft acquired AI Startup MALUUBA ?


Microsoft acquired Maluuba a Toronto startup focused on using deep learning for natural language processing.

REASONS FOR ACQUISITION
  • To set new milestones for speech and image recognition using deep learning techniques this acquisition was finalized. 
  • Microsoft to Outperform Facebook and Google in AI
  •  Along with acquiring the company, Microsoft has also established closer ties with Yoshua Bengio, a pioneer in the field of deep learning who served as an advisor to Maluuba, and will now become and advisor to Microsoft’s AI division.
  • Maluuba will be integrated with Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant, to help consumers deal with everyday chores like email.
  • Maluuba’s expertise in deep learning and reinforcement learning for question-answering and decision-making systems will help advance Microsoft  strategy to democratize AI and to make it accessible and valuable to consumers, businesses and developers.
Microsoft is building an AI system that doesn’t just know what emails you receive, but also knows the critical information in each message.

About Maluuba 
Maluuba was founded in 2011 and is based in Montreal and Waterloo in Canada

Maluuba Founders
Sam Pasupalak
Kaheer Suleman


Tags: #DeepLearning #AI #Cortana #MachineLearning #Startup

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.

Goods And Services Tax: How It Can Benefit Businesses


Goods And Services Tax: How It Can Benefit Businesses
In India, indirect taxes have driven businesses to model and restructure their systems and supply chain owing to the multiplicity of costs and taxes such as service tax, value added tax etc. We passed a milestone towards consolidated goods and services tax regime, with the Parliament passing the appropriate constitution amendment bill, in what is regarded as the most revolutionary indirect tax reformation since the independence. Now that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has seen the light of day, the way India goes about business will change radically.

What makes GST an essential tax reform is it simplifies the structure of tax, increases government revenue, the tax compliance is raised and most importantly, there is an integration of states.
Consumption-based tax, that's what GST is. It is obtained from value-added goods and services, at every stage of purchase in the supply chain. As for the last person in the chain, who is the end consumer, has to endure this last-point retail tax.

Objectives Of Goods And Services Tax
Ensure availability of input credit across the supply chain and brings transparency among taxes.
Minimize the cascading effect of all of the other taxes such as service tax, sales tax, and value added tax.
Achieve balance between laws, tax base, and administrative systems across India.
Decreases tax rates to avoid classification issues and destructive competition among states.

The cumulative tax collection (direct & indirect) in India currently is at Rs. 14.6 lakh crore, of which nearly 34 percent constitutes indirect taxes, with Rs. 2.8 lakh crore coming from excise and Rs. 2.1 lakh crore from service tax. The existing taxation rate peaks at 26.5 percent. With the implementation of the GST, the whole indirect tax system in India is anticipated to grow.

Impact Of GST On Inflation
Once the proposed GST is in effect, the tax rate on goods (comprising about 70-75 percent of the CPI load) will decrease. Along with this, a notable proportion of goods won’t be subject to tax and you should anticipate a status quo in the near future.
Service tax is not imposed on certain services and these services are expected remain outside of the GST regime. Thus, the overall transition to GST will not have a significant impact on inflation.

Automobile Sector
The active tax rate in this area ranges from 30 percent and 47 percent. Once GST is implemented, the GST Rate is expected to waver between 20-22 percent. The transit time and the overall cost will be diminished as the goods will be transported from one state to another by comfortably surpassing various checkpoints and octroi.

Consumer Durables
The tax rate for this sector varies between 7 percent and 30 percent. GST will benefit businesses that have not availed tax exemptions in the past. It will drive to the decrease of the price gap between the organised and unorganised sector.

Logistics 
The logistics sector is originally split into four divisions -- warehousing, transportation, freight forwarding and value-added logistics.
The transportation provides the major chunk of 60 percent of the logistic pie, succeeded by warehousing at 24.5 percent. Packaging and other related businesses make the rest of the segment.
The existing interstate taxation has driven businesses to maintain warehouses in each state, in addition to this many carrier agents in each state makes the supply chain inefficient and long. The GST Implementation will increase demand for high capacity trucks and lead to overall reduction in transportation expenses.

While GST can drive inflation up in the short term because the price of some goods will rise, economists say it will expand business activity and prevent tax evasion.



References:
www.relakhs.com/gst-goods-services-tax-in-india/
www.thebuzzdiary.com/news/here-is-how-goods-services-tax-gst-will-benefit-indian-economy/
www.business-standard.com/article/economy-policy/gst-bill-who-will-it-benefit-the-most-116080100301_1.html
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/the-advantages-of-gst-take-a-look-at-benefits/articleshow/53514291.cms

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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How to Sell Combs to Monks ?


This is a great story, which taught me how to multiply my results in my sales career. I have often shared this with my students, to demonstrate how a shift in mindset and attitude can make a significant difference.

The Story:
3 sales professionals applied to work for a huge company. As they were all evenly qualified, the interviewer decided to set a sales challenge and the person who sold the most would be awarded the job.

The challenge was to sell combs to monks of any temple up in the mountains. "You have 3 days, and the person who sells the most will get the job" said the interviewer.

After 3 days, the 3 applicants returned, and reported their results.

Candidate 1 said "I managed to sell one comb. The monks scolded me, saying I was openly mocking them. Disappointed, I gave up and left. But on my way back, I saw a junior monk with an itchy scalp; he was constantly scratching his head. I told him the comb would help him with his scratching and he bought one comb"

Candidate 2 said "That's good, but I did better. I sold 10 combs." Excited, the interviewer asked "How did you do it?" Candidate 2 replied "I observed that the visitors had very messy hair due to the strong winds they faced while walking to the temple. I convinced the monk to give out combs to the visitors so they could tidy themselves up and show greater respect during their worship."

Candidate 3 stepped up "Not so fast, I sold more than both of them." "How many did you sell" asked the interviewer.

"A thousand combs"

"Wow! How did you do it?" the interviewer exclaimed.

"I went to one of the biggest temples there, and thanked the Senior Master for serving the people and providing a sacred place of worship for them. He was very gracious and said he would like to thank and appreciate his visitors for their support and devotion. I suggested that the best way would be to offer his visitors a momento and the blessing of Buddha. I showed him the wooden combs which I had engraved words of blessings and told him people would use the combs daily and would serve as a constant reminder to do good deeds. He liked the idea, and proceeded to order a thousand combs"

"You got lucky," one of the other candidates said bitterly.

"Not really," the interviewer countered. "He had a plan, which was why he had the comb engraved prior to his visit. Even if that temple did not want it, another one surely would."

"There is more," the third candidate smiled. "I went back to the temple yesterday to check on the Master. He said many visitors told their friends and family about the comb with the Buddha's blessing. Now even more people are visiting every day. Everyone is asking for the comb, and giving generous donations too! The temple is more popular than ever, and the Master says he will run out of the combs in a month... and will need to order more!"

Learning Points:
The three different candidates show us the different levels of sales performance:

Candidate 1 displayed the most basic level, which is to meet the prospect's personal needs. The monk with the itchy scalp had a personal need; it was specific to him only.

Candidate 2 shows the next level - anticipating and creating new needs for the prospect. Perhaps the monk doesn't have an obvious need for the comb, but how can it still be beneficial to him? When you can educate the prospect on new possibilities and benefits for his business, you are already outperforming your competitors.

Candidate 3 demonstrates the best level of all; an ongoing relationship resulting in repeat sales and referrals. Everyone was a winner, the monk, the devotees, the 3rd candidate and the interviewer. Help your prospects benefit their prospects, to create maximum value. View each prospect not as individuals, but also their contacts and network beyond them. See each customer as lifetime clients instead of one time sales.

Our beliefs and thoughts shape our actions and ultimately, our results. When faced with a challenge, how do you respond? And how big do you think?

How can you create new needs for your prospect and benefit their customers?





Post by Joshua Chua

Qyuki Digital OTT Media Startup to raise Series A funding of up to $10 million


Qyuki Digital Media, a cross-platform media network, is looking to raise Series A funding of up to $10 million in 2017. The company plans to dilute 15-30% equity to raise Series A funding

How does Qyuki wants to spend the new funds?
Qyuki wants to use it for scaling up technology, marketing and operations in sales and network management.

About Quicky
Initially launched as a digital music startup in December 2012 and later revamped its business model into Content production, distribution, promotion and monetisation

Clientele
It manages some of the biggest digital superstars such as Sanam Band, FunkYou, Shraddha Sharma, Motorbeam and Powerdrift. It also runs agency business, which has executed branded content projects with clients including Coca-Cola, OLX, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and Colgate.

USP 
Qyuki uses proprietary technology and analytics to discover and promote digital superstars and manages the end-to-end value chain for them across platforms.

Founders 
Samir Bangara
AR Rahman (Oscar Winner for Music)
Shekhar Kapur (Film Maker)

Investors
Qyuki is backed by angel investors including Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal, Varun Singh, Singapore Angel Network and Anisha Mittal.



Tags: OTT, Digital Content, Creators, Music, startup, Qyuki, funding,





HOW ARNAB GOSWAMI WANTS TO DISRUPT MEDIA?

Arnab Goswami

Arnab Goswami ,the most outspoken journalist of current times put the entire nation in shock when he announced his exit from Times Now. Arnab’s ‘Newshour’ debates on TimesNow TV have been quite controversial but extremely popular among the people. His supporters were upset with him leaving the high-rated primetime show and are eagerly waiting for him to make a return.

Arnab has announced that he is returning shortly with a new venture called REPUBLIC. He recently shared his thoughts on HOW HE IS GOING TO DISRUPT THE MEDIA? with his 'independent media. Here are those 7 disruptors that Arnab wants to use it to change the conventional outdated media.

The reason we covered this story is we like disruptors and we consider REPUBLIC as media startup

DISRUPT #1  Ask the Toughest questions to the most important persons
At the most the worse outcome would be the person may not give an interview next time.

DISRUPT #2  Don't believe in Neutrality. Don't be Neutral
Neutrality is a 17th century outdated concept, media is not a wikipedia to present both sides of a story, or act like a town crier.

DISRUPT #3  Doorstep Politicians & VVIP's
Media shouldn't play safe anymore, time has come to take chances.

DISRUPT #4  What is News & What is not News ?
Who decides the order of priority of News ? Why Politics , External Affairs on First Page or Headlines?

DISRUPT #5 Pin Prick in Society for a sustained time

Debate on a subject consistently over a period of time if you want to see a change.

DISRUPT #6 Persistence & Tenacity
It's all in the name of the story that you cover. Go to the nub of the story, dont be subtle , be direct with people in power.

DISRUPT #7 Stop creating HolyCows in the Nation
Why shouldn't a Parliamentarian who was once a Legend Cricketer be asked questions on his attendance?



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Bots vs Apps: Beginning Of The Next War


We all know that Chatbots are now used almost everywhere whether it is receiving weather updates on your smartphone or gathering latest news articles or for picking up grocery. Bots are omnipresent :-)

Also, UK-based online football community, Copa90 which has more than 20 million followers, launched its first Facebook messenger chatbot for UEFA 2016. Yes, the world is touting chatbots to be the next big thing after mobile apps. There is even a Chinese chatbot that will talk to you when you are lonely.

Much like mobile apps, chatbots will soon be holding capabilities in domains like testing, development experience, distribution, management or discovery in order to experience mainstream adoption. The initial adoption of chatbots has focused on consumer scenarios and now we are seeing iterations of enterprise chatbot solutions.

Let’s see how chatbots adoption is helping enterprises:

Chatbots In The Enterprise
While there is increasing adoption of voice and messaging technologies so does the potential for chatbot solutions. Readily adopted by enterprises, the chatbot platforms offer capabilities in domains like integration, security, monitoring and management. Such areas are essential elements of enterprise solutions. An enterprise-ready chatbot platform offers capabilities like:

Natural language learning system
Monitoring system
Testing
Integration with messaging platforms
Security
Integration with enterprise systems

Why Bots Are Adopted By Enterprises?

1 Integration with messaging platforms – Get socialize a little more
Latest data shows that messenger apps are more used as compared to social networking apps. You would be surprised to know that more than any other social networking platform, you prefer using messaging platforms like Slack, HipChat, or Skype for communicating with your colleagues at work or you would talk to your closest friends on Facebook in messenger.

Such enterprise chatbot platforms can provide a consistent development experience which could seamlessly integrate with different messaging platforms. Chatbots can be built into major chat product like Facebook Messenger and that is where people really love to spend time. You will probably want to be where your users are.

2. Bots speak the real language – More personalization
With chatbot, you can be more expressive and more demonstrative while expressing yourself. Precisely explaining, the language of our apps are technological single-word or commands which are like ‘sign up’, ‘log in’, ‘download’, ‘click’, ‘fill in’. It is more like a formal language and there is less of social language as “please”, “hello”, “sure”, “how is it going?”.

This we can term as that our businesses suffer from a social communication disorder. But unlike apps, with chatbots, you can express anything you want and your customers will value you. Such engagement will be more interesting and will make people stay with you and chit chat for a bit longer.

3. Better interaction with users – High synergy levels
Chatbots are growing stupendously. They solve the asymmetry information flow. Till now they are considered as the best tool for keeping users on a certain platform for longer and keeping the content flowing. This happens because it starts and maintains the conversation. Chatbots show only a bit of information at a single given time and the interaction advances at each specific point. This entails a progressive and recurring interaction between a machine and a human communication.

4. Simpler interface which is easy to use – Simplicity supersedes
Simplicity is what helped most successful brands win hearts of their customers. Content is king, therefore a well-placed content attracts all. Chatbots are usually a blend of text, images, and unified widgets which make them easy to start the interactions. Just like another messenger app, these Chatbots are simple to use and behave exactly how users want them to. Without much clumsy, fancy and redundant features and keeping clarity intact chatbot is conceptualized in a very simplified way and that’s why they are doomed to success. No, ‘destined’ for success.

Race For The Enterprise Chatbot Platforms
The chatbot market is just taking a rise and, consequently, we are observing the emerging startups in this space. The race for the dominant enterprise chatbot platform promises to be an incredibly exciting one at that. As of now, the entire market is divided majorly into three main groups. These vendors are uniquely positioned in order to provide strong enterprise chatbot solutions.

Messaging platform vendors: Enjoy extremely vibrant communities on Slack, Facebook, Skype, HipChat.
Voice platform vendors: Platforms such as Siri, Cortana, Amazon Echo, or Google are some main catalysts in this domain.
Chatbot platform startups: With more and more hot technology movement, we are observing many startups who are trying to become the platform of choice for many chatbots developers.

Lead By Example
Bots automate a lot of mundane tasks, augments human abilities, weed out inefficiencies and help employees to focus on tasks which really matter and helpful for accomplishing major goals. Some real application of few bots are discussed here:

Assistants like x.ai and Clara manages your meeting schedule tasks.
Zoom, a multi-platform assistant, offers a full-fledged support mechanism for employees irrespective of their positions in the organizational hierarchy.
Slackbots like CareerLark, Lattice, and Growbot aims at automating feedback loops, check-ins, and work recognition.
Data-centric bot products like Birdly and Statsbot brings forth information layers from data-gathering tools like Google Analytics, Salesforce, and MixPanel to team communications in Slack. They also enable people to have quick access to data while making crucial decisions in real time.
E- Will Bots Kill Mobile Apps?

By now you must have seen the capabilities of bots and their applications along with undying relevance in various segments of an enterprise.

So here comes a thought provoked. Are they killing mobile apps?

Change is inevitable and history justifies that new channels can become complementary instead of displacing existing channels. Websites have not killed physical stores, and mobile apps haven’t killed websites. Rather it can be more positively perceived that there is a makeup of an ecosystem where every channel performs a different work for the customer whilst co-existing with the other channels. A quadratic channel scenario is what I vision – an ‘omnichannel’ of physical, web, app and bots floating together working at a speed never achieved before acting in sync dynamically reading behaviors and giving those accurate responses to the extent of redefining the very word ‘interaction’, as we all know today!

About the AuthorAjeet Singh@ASingh
Ajeet is Co-Founder & Director of Business Management at Algoworks

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9 TIPS TO GET LEADS WITH TWITTER


Twitter is an incredible tool to get more leads.
You might be thinking, “how can I get leads with Twitter? Is Twitter even suitable for businesses?”
Heck yes it is!
Can I prove it?
Sure can. Here are some data to back it up:
– 66% of customers have discovered a new small or medium-sized business (SMB) on Twitter
– 94% plan to purchase from the SMBs they follow
– 69% bought from an SMB because of something they saw on Twitter
Still not convinced? Let me tell you, as someone who’ve been on Twitter for a long time, I’ve bought my share of things based on tweets I’ve read and have subscribed to many businesses through my interaction with them and the tweets I’ve read.
So, without further ado, let’s talk about how to get leads with Twitter!

1. Build a targeted Twitter audience
There’s no avoiding this step. If you want to get leads with Twitter, you absolutely have to make sure you’re building a targeted Twitter following.
As I shared earlier, 94% of customers plan to purchase from the SMBs they follow. That is IF you’re connecting with the right people.
If you don’t, you’ll only be promoting your tweets to people who aren’t interested in what you have to offer – not a great strategy.
So how do you grow a targeted Twitter following? By following the people you want as customers.
One effective method is to follow people who are tweeting and retweeting about a topic relevant to your business. This is because these users are your target market – these are the leads you want! I talk about this in my blog post on how I grew a following on a zero budget.
To take things to the next level, I recommend automating this process. Following manually will take you a lot of time so I would only recommend that if you are on zero budget. Automating this process will allow you more time to focus on other important tasks, like engaging with all your new follower!
This tactic works because people are likely to follow you back if your tweets are aligned with their interest.
I recommend Social Quant as a tool you must have in your toolkit. What differentiates Social Quant from other tools is their proprietary algorithm that targets the best prospects for your business.

2. Know the 3P of marketing
If you follow my work, you know I’m all about the 3Ps of marketing. They are essential for every social media platform.
The 3Ps of marketing are:
– Purpose: Tweets that adds value to your followers
– Personal: Personal tweets about you and your business.
– Promotional: Tweets that sells, sells, sells.
You see, people don’t follow businesses because they want to be sold to. Give your followers something that they can learn from, earn their trust, and  eventually they will buy. Add personality to your tweets to connect with your audience.
sample-tweet
In fact, just a few days ago I purchased from a company after seeing their tweets and reading one of their blog posts.
Understand the 3Ps then find a ratio of your tweets that that fits the 3Ps and works for you.

3. Launch a contest
Okay, who doesn’t love contests?
NO ONE! Everyone loves a contest! The best part about contests is they require (or should) entrants to share their email.
With third party platforms like Wishpond, you can easily create entry forms that require users to give you their email address to participate.
Contests just work!
I know for sure because I used to work for a company that does contest platforms. Many businesses saw significant results from using them.
Plus you can introduce a viral component. People are likely to tweet and retweet if they know it will double their chances of winning your contest. Photo contests will make people want to share on social media even more (especially Twitter).

4. Utilize Twitter ads
Twitter ads are a great way to generate more leads. They allow you to focus on your target market and get in front of them instantly.
But before you go out and start creating ads, start doing some diligence in preparation.
I found this blog post by adespresso incredible useful. In their blog post, they analyzed over 7,700 Twitter ads.
Here’s the summary of their findings:
– Almost all Twitter ads use an image
– Mentions aren’t popular In Twitter ads
– Using just one hashtag in Twitter ads is most effective
– The most popular number used in Twitter ads is 5

5. Respond to tweets quickly
As a social media manager for many years, I found this trick to WORK.
If someone mentions your brand on Twitter, make sure that you respond to the tweet ASAP.
It doesn’t matter if it’s positive or negative. Answer it as soon as you see it.
People love it when businesses respond to them quickly. It shows that they are heard, that you care, and it shows appreciation for your followers (potential or current customers).
The best type of tweets are when people are comparing your product with your competitors. That’s a golden opportunity just soft-balled in to you –  definitely be the one to respond to these tweets first.

6. Tweet relevant people about your product
For some, this approach may be spammy. However, if you’re short on time and want to increase leads, this method can work for you.
What you can do is tweet relevant people about your business, product or service. The key is making sure you’re varying those tweets and not sending the exact same one over and over.
Check out these tweets for an instance. It’s a great example of what I mean.
twitter-leads
Noticed how he’s tweeting so many people? He changes it up, so it looks different. If I were him, I would spin it 20-30 different ways. What I’ll do next is tweet each personally, use their name and say something like:
@askaaronlee Hey Aaron, we’ve created a new _____ that ________.
That way it looks more personalized and, most importantly, human.
You might be thinking, does this method work?
Yes!
Here are some of the responses he got.
twitter-tips
Not bad! The best part is it cost him nothing.

7. Include a Call To Action in your bio
People are visiting your profile, folks! And if you’re following relevant people, they’re going to read your bio. It’s just how it works, they see the have a new follower in their notifications and it’s just natural for them to cruise on over to your profile and check you out.
lead-generation
Think about what will interest your target market, then GIVE it to them for free.
Give away eBooks, samples, etc. Find out what your customers want. If you don’t know what they want, ask your current subscribers and find out what they want. Create a short survey to find out. Compile what you learned and give that away.
Offer something exclusive or compelling. Add a call to action in your bio, and boom!
This method will work better than the usual ‘subscribe to my blog here’ method that I see many do.

8. Pin your tweets to the top
If you follow my blog posts here, you’ve probably heard me say this a gazillion times. Pin your tweets to the top.
Remember, people are visiting your Twitter profile. When they do, the first thing they are going to see is your first tweet. Just like in step 7, you can offer them something of value for free – well, in exchange for their email address of course.

9. Start a blog to compliment Twitter
Recently I wrote on Mark’s blog on how to become an influencer. In the post, I spoke about the need for a blog to add substance to what you’re doing.
Mark calls this “rich content.”
Just having a Twitter account isn’t going to cut it. You need to continue to add value. That’s what I learned after creating my Short of Height brand from scratch. Twitter is only limited to 140 characters and that’s not enough. With a blog you can provide long-form posts that provide true value and establish you as an industry expert that people will want to do business with.
Creating a blog allows you to share in-depth. Like this article that you’re reading. When people like what you’re reading, they are more likely to subscribe to what you have to offer because they’ll want more.
It’s pretty simple. Give them what the value they want, and they will give you what you want.

Source: Aron Lee

India's astonishing start-up boom – all you need to know in 5 charts


India is in the midst of a start-up boom. Supported by a range of government initiatives, new companies are popping up all over the country.

In fact, for the sheer number of new tech outfits, India is now the third largest tech start-up hotspot in the world, according to a report by NASSCOM and Zinnov. Investment is rising, with the surge generating employment and providing solutions in areas from healthcare to agriculture.

The government’s Start-up India initiative promotes entrepreneurship and innovation across the country. It aims to turn India into “a nation of job creators instead of a nation of job seekers”.

These five charts explore the Indian start-up boom.

1. India is the third largest tech start-up location globally
India has moved to third on the global list, and now has more tech-driven start-ups than Israel and China. Only the United Kingdom and United States stand ahead of it.



The number of new start-ups is rising every year. By 2020, there are projected to be around 2,100 in the country altogether.

2. Indian start-ups are going global
As this chart from March 2016 shows, Indian firms are now breaking into global lists. Flipkart, the e-commerce company headquartered in Bengaluru (also known as Bangalore), takes ninth place on the list, with a 2015 valuation of $15 billion dollars.

3. Funding is concentrated in just three urban areas
In the first half of this year, well over three-quarters of financing was towards just three urban areas – Bengaluru, the National Capital Region (NCR), which includes Delhi; and Mumbai – saw over $2 billion in the first six months of 2016.


4. Two-thirds are in three cities
The bulk of Indian start-ups is also found in these three places. Over a quarter are in Bangalore, 23% in the National Capital Region, and nearly one in five in Mumbai.



5. Founders are young – the youngest in the world
demography startup founders india

Nearly three-quarters of start-up founders in India are younger than 35. Over a third come from an engineering background. However, as the graphic shows, only around 9% are women. There is some good news, though: according to the report there was a 50% rise in the share of female entrepreneurs between 2014 and 2015.

Source WEF

Solar Roadways - A killer Startup Idea for 2017


Idaho-based startup wants to turn the U.S.’s four million miles of roads into solar panels. In December, it started converting the parking lot of a Missouri rest stop into energy-harvesting photovoltaic cells. Streets and highways are next.

An Idea
The Solar Roadways® journey began on an ordinary day as most life changing adventures do. Scott and Julie had known each other since they were small children, in southern California in the 1960’s when roads and highways looked, well – just like they do today!

Years later, married and living in Idaho, Scott and Julie were working in their garden and were feeling very concerned about climate and environmental issues. Julie wondered aloud whether roads could be made out of solar panels. We’d been contemplating buying rooftop solar panels out of concern for the environment. Suddenly, an image popped into Julie’s mind of solar panels on the driveway and the road. She asked Scott’s opinion of this idea, but he just laughed and said that would be impossible – the fragile solar panels would be crushed by cars.

Julie dismissed the idea, but Scott’s engineering mind just couldn’t let it go. About a week later, he said, “If we can design a protective case, then you might be onto something about that solar roadway idea.” We decided to brainstorm. Many hours were spent on a couch getting more excited as realization after realization flowed into us:

“We could add heating elements and roads would always be snow free.”
“We could make road lines out of embedded LEDs.”
“This would generate SO much renewable energy.”
“Those ugly wires could go into some kind of compartment alongside the roads.”
“We could use the panels for parking lots too.”
“And sidewalks.”
“And driveways.”

Idea to Lab (Pilot)
The rest stop, along Route 66 in Conway, Missouri, will include about 50 solar panels covered in durable glass. To start, the panels will be used on the sidewalk, with the goal of powering the building at the rest stop. If this phase is successful, the next step for the pilot could be to try the panels in the rest stop's parking lot, then the entrance and exit ramps. The eventual goal is to move onto streets and highways.

Idea Funded
The company previously raised $2.2 million through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, and it received a $750,000 contract from the U.S. Department of Transportation to conduct tests in 2011. The Conway test pilot is part of Missouri's Road2Tomorrow initiative to create futuristic highways.

Why Solar Roadways?
While homeowners can use solar energy to power their houses, governments need to come up with their own solutions to produce clean energy on a massive scale. This often requires large, open spaces and additional disruption to the landscape to create large solar panels or wind turbines.

How does this Solar technology solve the Winter problem?
The roads would heat themselves meaning little to no work to maintain them in winter.

Whats the revenue Model?
Governments can monetize the roads providing a second revenue beyond Tolls.

Phases of the Solar Roadways Project
Phase 1 - Parking Lots
Phase 2 - Streets
Phase 3 - Highways

10 Most Popular revenue models being used by startups today

10 Most Popular revenue models being used by startups today

Here are some of the most common revenue models being used by startups today.

Product or service is free, revenue from ads
This is the most common model touted by Internet startups today, the so-called Facebook model, where the service is free, and the revenue comes from click-through advertising. It’s great for customers, but not for startups, unless you have deep pockets.

Freemium model
In this variation on the free model, used by LinkedIn and many other Internet offerings, the basic services are free, but premium services are available for an additional fee. This also requires a huge investment to get to critical mass, and real work to differentiate and sell premium services to convert users to paying customers.

Cost-based model
In this more traditional product pricing model, the price is set at two to five times the product cost. If your product is a commodity, the margin may be as thin as ten percent. Use it when your new technology gives you a tremendous cost improvement. Skip it where there are many competitors.

Value model
If you can quantify a large value or cost savings to the customer, charge a price commensurate with the value delivered. This doesn’t work well with “nice to have” offerings, like social networks, but does work for new drugs and medical devices that solve critical health problems.

Subscription model
This is a very popular model today for Internet services, calling for monthly or yearly low payments, in lieu of one value or cost-based price. Startup advantages include a more stable revenue stream, easier customer retention, and increasing customer investment over time. The customer advantage is a lower entry cost.

Product is free, but you pay for services
In this model, the product is given away for free and the customers are charged for installation, customization, training or other services. This is a good model for getting your foot in the door, but be aware that this is basically a services business with the product as a marketing cost.

Product line pricing
This model is relevant only if you have multiple products and services, each with a different cost and utility. Here your objective is to make money with the portfolio, with high markup and low markup items, depending on competition, lock-in, value delivered, and loyal customers. This one takes expert management to work.

Tiered or volume pricing
In certain product environments, where a given enterprise product may have one user or hundreds of thousands, a common approach is to price by user group ranges, or volume usage ranges. Keep the number of tiers small for manageability. This approach doesn’t typically apply to consumer products and services.

Feature pricing
This approach works if your product can be sold “bare-bones” for a low price, and price increments added for additional features. It can be a very competitive approach, but the product must be designed and built to provide good utility at many levels. This is a very costly development, testing, documentation, and support challenge.

Razor blade model
In this model, like cheap printers with expensive ink cartridges, the base unit is often sold below cost, with the anticipation of ongoing revenue from expensive supplies. This is another model that requires deep pockets to start, so is normally not an option for startups.


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Why are good tech startups failing?


Just because you have an idea in mind doesn’t mean you can build a business empire around it right? Is just the idea really enough? A few of the primary reasons why startups bleed out is incompetence to:
  • Identify if the idea is market worthy
  • Carry out sufficient competitive analysis of the industry
  • Analyze if the product/service they are looking to offer is exclusive
  • Identify a value bracket
  • Categorize budget restraint and why it’s crucial to stick to the resources at hand
If you ask entrepreneurs whose startups have failed at one point, you are likely to get many different answers, every one of them telling their stories from their personal experiences.

Few other insights why start-ups are faltering on their way up the ladder
  1. Inadequate Networking and Connections
  2. Lack of Managerial Experience
  3. Not Knowing Your Industry And Your Competitors
  4. Diminished Finances And Poor Cash Flow
  5. Inadequate marketing (not enough analytics)
  6. Poor IT infrastructure
  7. Marketplace Deterioration
  8. Lack of administrative experience
CASE : Why Food Tech Startups Fail? (Source: Som Speech)
1.The cost of last mile delivery was not properly understood (fail in unit economics)
2.Dependency on human is very very high in Food space, the technology will only help the business identify consumer however the people management is taken for a toss as the founders lack experience handling the day to day challenges.

Some of the greatest innovations have occurred as a result of individuals who are not afraid to try again with a new idea.


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.

Startup for Cancer diagnosis at the earliest possible stage


Grail wants to develop a test for cancer at the earliest possible stage. Illumina, the maker of DNA-sequencing technology, teamed up with a group of Silicon Valley investors to develop a blood test for any kind of cancer at an earlier stage than previously possible.

Using Illumina's technology, a new company called Grail will look for a way to measure circulating nucleic acids — bits of DNA that circulate in the blood outside blood cells. While most of our DNA is inside our cells, scientists use CNAs to test for cancer and other diseases noninvasively. Its ambitious mission: Develop a universal cancer-screening test.

Funding: 
$100 million from investors, including Arch Venture Partners, Bezos Expeditions, Bill Gates, and Sutter Hill Ventures. Illumina remains majority shareholder.




Tags: MedTech startups, DNA, Cancer, Oncology, Illumina,

Startup Trends 2017 - FinTech & Agri Tech attractive Startup domains in India


Year 2017 will see birth of lots of FinTech and AgriTech startups in India as it's attracting most VC's investments.

Why FinTech?
Governments aggressive financial reforms (demonetization) has paved a way for lots of opportunities in Banking and other Organized sectors. India is going for cashless economy and this would turn out to be the best time for FinTech Startups to evolve. In December 2016 Govt. of AndhraPradesh has started a FinTech valley Park in Visakhapatnam which shows how governments are leading as front-runners for partnerships and investments.

Why AgriTech?
Agriculture, with its allied sectors, is unquestionably the largest livelihood provider in India, more so in the vast rural areas. It also contributes a significant figure to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Sustainable agriculture, in terms of food security, rural employment, and environmentally sustainable technologies such as soil conservation, natural resource management and biodiversity protection, are essential for holistic rural development. Indian agriculture and allied activities have witnessed a green revolution, a white revolution, a yellow revolution and a blue revolution. Currently, around 51 per cent of India's total workforce is engaged in agriculture and its allied sectors, like forestry, fisheries, and so on. For most of the 21st century India is expected to remain an agricultural society. One cannot underplay the role of agricultural growth in improving rural incomes and securing India's food and nutritional needs.

2017 will see new startups evolving in GrainTech, DairyTech and 'MeatTech. Farmers of Telangana are already using an app called Plantix, built by Progressive Environment and Agricultural Technologies

Do you have a point to add on AgroTech & FoodTech Startups Leave a comment



Four Books that have changed My Entrepreneur Life


My life as an entrepreneur has been a fantastic journey of ups and downs. Through it all, I’ve learned a lot in the trenches – living it every day, burning the midnight oil, and then repeating the process over and over again.  Sometimes when you’re ‘in it’ that deep, you crave some perspective. Which is how I also came to be a voracious reader. I can’t say it enough - reading is one of the most cost-effective and most impactful investments you can make in your entrepreneurial journey.

Over the past 20 years, I’ve read hundreds of books. (My wife will diplomatically confirm that we house literally hundreds of books.) In those hundred, a few stand out for their profound impact on not only my career, but also the way that I manage my life.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz
The Hard Thing About Hard Things is the first book I read that so accurately portrayed life in a startup. (I’ve read it twice more since the initial reading.) Why does this book matter so much? Horowitz shoots it straight telling it like it is - the real-down-and-dirty view of a business that is fighting to stay alive despite the odds.

On an even more personal level, this book mirrored my psychological experience in startups more than any other book that I’ve ever read. I believe that much of my success and positive outcomes were driven by my sheer will to win – to keep pushing, to never give up. And this book tells that story – a high-growth business fighting to win and making it happen. This book continues to support you as you make your way through the journey, too; I’ve found myself referring back to it for “advice” in tough times - firing people you care about, making tough decisions, communicating with your board or investors. All the “stuff” no one really talks about.

It’s a powerful read that I strongly endorse for entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Only the Paranoid Survive, Andy Grove
I bought Only the Paranoid Survive early in my entrepreneurial career. I was young, inexperienced, and still struggling to figure out how I felt about startups – the challenges and the success. In this book, Former Intel COO, CEO, and Chairman, Andy Grove, warns us (‘us’ being any of us, really – not just entrepreneurs) about one of our culture’s biggest threats - the danger of complacency and arrogance.

When companies of any size start to succeed, they experience a tendency to lean into what’s working. They feel like if they’ve found their rhythm, they might as well stay there.  But, as we know, the innovative young will gobble up the old and comfortable; the fast and nimble will eat the slow and steady.  Grove’s book infused an appropriate amount of paranoia into my early career; the kind of paranoid that helps you to stay innovative, fast, nimble - ahead of the curve.

My biggest takeaways from this read: Never sit idle. Never assume you’ve made it. When you start to feel safe and steady and comfortable, double your efforts. Innovate. Think. Rethink. Smart paranoia will help drive your success.

The Monk and the Riddle, Randy Komisar
I’ve practiced “lifestyle design” most of my working life. Early in my career, I boldly and unequivocally made decisions to prioritize important, life priorities - family, travel, and flexibility. I’ve cared about "where and how" I work. I’ve asked myself "why" I do what I do.

I’ve never been great at “balance” – but, I’ve always been good at “fusion”, fusing together different areas of my life around my priorities. A great example: I’m writing this from my back porch with my dogs at my feet and my wife 10 feet away in the middle of a workday. The Monk and the Riddle is the book that helped me frame this way of work life.

This book is part fiction, part personal experience, but it is a complete manual of sorts that forces you to really think about work and really like about life design.

If you want to crush it AND do it while living a great life - this is a MUST READ.

The Purple Cow, Seth Godin
As a thought leader, Seth Godin is just the best. I’ve been a fan of his through much (if not all) of my entrepreneurial life. He wrote smart books, taught smart classes, and published smart blogs as I was starting my first tech companies in the mid to late 1990s, so I was digesting and implementing his advice early on.

I recommend any (all, really) his works and his daily blog to any aspiring entrepreneur, but it was The Purple Cow that had the greatest impact on my career, and here’s why: I’m a big believer in brands and a strong advocate for powerful design, and The Purple Cow opened my eyes to the simplicity of what’s possible when you pair brand with design. You should always position yourself and your company so that your product will BE the marketing. It’s really that simple. Make great products. Period.

This served as a foundation for much of our work launching Mountain Khakis. In a retail landscape where we were trying to differentiate the seemingly generic khaki pants, we shifted our thinking to just that – the seemingly generic khaki pant becoming GREAT.

I carry Seth’s lessons from company-to-company, but, most importantly, I will always shout from the rooftops that we need to build amazing products. The fact that he is the only writer here that I feel comfortable referring to by his first name is proof of another lesson that digs a level deeper into The Purple Cow– you are your best brand; you design your own brand. Buy this book.

Now, I want to hear from you - what books have shaped your entrepreneurial journey, your lifestyle design, your own brand?


Post By Mac Lackey Entrepreneur & Investor

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