Diwali is a festival of bright lights, sweets and family. If you missed out on the major news celebrating the win of good over evil, here’s our weekly wrap up.
APPLE EYES LOCAL PARTNERSHIPS TO LAUNCH PAYMENTS SERVICE
The technology giant is all set to enter the online payments field in India to boost their presence in the country. Senior Vice President of Apple, Eddy Cue said India has some great payments mechanisms today which can be leveraged by the company to launch their payments arm. Apple Pay will integrate multiple payment options to make the entire online payments process easy and safe. Along with the payments platform, two new Mac Labs will also be launched in Chennai and Mumbai to help identify and unearth talented musicians in the country.
MICROLENDING STARTUP KRAZYBEE RAISES FUNDS FROM XIAOMI, SHUNWEI CAPITAL
Bengaluru based microlending firm KrazyBee has raised $ 8 million in a Series A funding round, led by Xiaomi Technologies and Shunwei Capital with participation from E city Ventures and RK Group. Through this equity and debt financing round, the company plans to strengthen their risk model and core algorithm to cater to new market segments and focus on product diversification. A portion of the funding will also be spent on geographical expansion of their existing segments. The company plans to expand to six other cities apart from their current operations in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Vellore, Pune and Mysore. KrazyBee was founded in 2015 by E. Madhusudan and Wan Hong and is operated by Finovation Tech Solutions Pvt., Ltd.
ESSENTIAL SUED FOR ALLEGEDLY STEALING WIRELESS CONNECTOR TECHNOLOGY
Considered to be the father of Android, Andy Rubin recently launched his own smartphone company Essential Products. The Essential smartphone is their flagship product which comes equipped with modular connector pins on the back of the phone. These pins allow the company to build accessories and smart home devices, such as the 360 degree cameras that can be connected to the device. However, the company is being sued by the wireless technology company Keyssa Inc., over allegedly stealing their connector technology and trade secrets and for breaching their nondisclosure agreement. One of the most defining factors of the smartphone rests on this lawsuit from Keyssa.
FLIPKART PLANS ON INVESTING IN BOOKMYSHOW
India’s ecommerce giant Flipkart is in talks to invest in the Mumbai based online ticket booking company BookMyShow. The move comes after the market saw a recent rise of the Alibaba backed startup, Paytm. A partnership with Flipkart will allow the company to offer a wider range of services to its customers. Post this potential investment, BookMyShow may be valued between $ 500 million to $ 700 million. At present, BookMyShow accounts for a majority of India’s $ 2.5 billion online ticketing market. Insider, MeraEvents, BookMyEvent, TicketGenie and Kyazoonga are some of the other major eticketing platforms.
WHATSAPP INTRODUCES NEW FEATURE TO SHARE LIVE LOCATIONS
Global messaging service Whatsapp has introduced a new feature that lets all users track the locations of their friends and family and keep a tab on them until they reach their destination. Whatsapp, which is owned by Facebook, will make this latest feature available on both Android and iOS devices very soon. The Live Locations feature allows users to share their live locations for a certain period of time and is equipped with end to end encryption. Shared locations can be seen in Satellite and Terrain view and the feature also shows live traffic data as an overlay.
‘FLIPKART FIRST’ RELAUNCHED TO BATTLE AMAZON PRIME
Homegrown ecommerce giant Flipkart relaunched their loyalty programme ‘Flipkart First’ to provide consumers with more value added services. The loyalty programme was launched in an attempt to compete with Amazon Prime by providing consumers with free fast delivery, discounted same day delivery and priority customer services. Although the programme failed to gather public attention when it was first launched in 2014, the company wants to ensure they do not miss out in an area where there is potential to grow a huge base of loyal customers. Amazon Prime, which was launched last year, currently accounts for the largest chunk of spending on ecommerce sites.
GORAKHPUR GETS ITS FIRST COWORKING SPACE
Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh got its first ever coworking space Startup Cafe, where people can think, ideate and create. Located in one of the prime areas of Gorakhpur, Startup Cafe provides more than just the basic amenities including 24 hours electricity, unlimited high speed internet, meeting room with video conferencing facility, fully airconditioned office rooms and a cafeteria. At present, the Cafe is self funded and can accommodate 7 people. Started by Arunn Gupta and Vibhore Jaiswal, the ultimate goal of Startup Cafe is to build a space that helps bring people from different communities together.
APPLE SUED BY JAPANESE SOFTWARE COMPANY OVER ANIMOJI TRADEMARK
The smartphone touted to change the mobile industry, iPhoneX is facing a trademark infringement lawsuit. Technology giant Apple was sued by a Japan based software company emonster k.k., over the trademark for the term “Animoji.” According to the lawsuit, Emonster’s CEO Enrique Bonansea registered a trademark for his texting app Animoji in 2014, whereas Apple announced their animated emoji in September 2017. Emonster also alleged, Apple made the conscious decision to try to pilfer the name for itself and pretended to the world that ‘Animoji’ was original to Apple. The iPhone X uses an A11 Bionic camera to analyze over 50 facial muscle movements to animate them to a dozen different “Animojis.” The phone is scheduled to be released in November this year.
That’s all for this week! Subscribe to our portal to never miss updates from the startup world! If your startup has an exciting announcement coming up, you can even write to us at i[email protected]. Catch up with the highlights of the week with our The News This Week section.
Leher Versus Clubhouse: Which Audio Listening Startup Would You Choose?
Clubhouse is a new type of social networking platform which is an audio only platform. This means every conversation takes place through audio where users speak to let their thoughts known. Users can create and host rooms where speakers will talk about a particular topic. Originating in the Silicon Valley, Clubhouse attracted some major names onto its platform like Elon Musk, Evan Williams, Reddit co founder Alexis Ohanian, former Y Combinator President Sam Altman, AngelList co founder Naval Ravikant, Ashton Kuthcer, Oprah Winfrey, Drake, Kevin Hart and many others are some of the influential personalities who are on Clubhouse. There is however a catch as Clubhouse is currently limited to iOS.
Leher is an Indian made alternative to Clubhouse and is a similar audio sharing and listening startup. Leher also has video support unlike Clubhouse and is also available for both Android and iOS. However, Leher does not have the biggest names in the world on its platform but it does have significant micro influencers and is growing at a rapid pace. Within 180 days of its beta version launch, the company claimed to have its users spend about 44 minutes every day and 250,000 minutes per month for live video sessions.
We at Startup Stories are curious to see which among Leher or Clubhouse would our readers choose to take part in a virtual discussion. Please let us know your answer in the poll below.
Why Are Ads On Digital Media Failing To Reach The Right Audience?
If you are a regular user of social media platforms and also a fan of consuming content on the digital medium, then there is a very high likelihood that you have seen ads on pages you are reading or watching something. There would be times when you have been targeted by an ad which feels like it was wrongly targeted at you. Imagine if you are a vegetarian by choice and while browsing online, if you are targeted by a food delivery app which shows ads about chicken dishes. The ad would only serve to spoil the mood of the online user instead of serving its actual purpose which is to push the user to buy a chicken dish.
These wrongly targeted ads might be the side effects of performance marketing or a weak brand marketing. Performance marketing means advertising programs where advertisers pay only when a specific action occurs. These actions can include a generated lead, a sale, a click, and more. Inshort, performance marketing is used to create highly targeted ads for a very specific target audience at a low cost. Performance marketing usually means high volume for a very specific cost.
Brand marketers on the other hand believe in narrowly defining target audiences but end up spending a lot of money on ad placements. Gautam Mehra, CEO, Dentsu Programmatic India & CDO, Dentsu International Asia Pacific said, “You’ve defined a persona, you know the emotions you want to elicit, but then you buy a YouTube masthead and CricInfo sponsorships because IPL is up. If brand advertisers look at audience-based buys more deeply than just placements, you will see more relevant ads (sic.)”
Performance marketing is more of a sales function rather than a marketing function and is about meeting the cost of acquisition. This is a reason why budgets are usually high for performance marketing. Mehra goes on to add, “the fact is that an engineer can out-beat FMCGs on performance marketing. Advertisers who have cracked this are spending 10x and are on an ‘always on’ mode (unlike time-bound brand campaigns.)”
There is always the case of supply and demand, with the supply usually exceeding the demand on digital platforms. Ultimately, it boils down to the choice between no ad versus low relevance ad and it is quite easy to guess that having a low relevance ad is better.
Arvind R. P., Director – Marketing and Communications at McDonald’s India (West and South,) said “McDonalds’ for instance, has seen its share of spends on digital grow from 20% levels a couple of years back to over 40% at present. Outcomes of this journey have been encouraging, proven by our media-mix-modelling and other key metrics. We have seen best results from an optimal mix of Television plus digital (sic.)” Moreover, Arvind also believes performance marketing only approach could turn out to be more suited to short term, versus a more consistent full funnel effort. The latter ensures adequate emphasis on building consideration, as well as growing transactions. Arvind feels digital is a complex medium which needs investment in the right talent who could use the right tools. Brands which underestimate the need for the investment are often disappointed from the return on investment from the digital medium.
With the constantly changing consumer dynamics marketers are now shifting to unscripted marketing which frankly needs more insights into the consumer mindset. The lack of marketers to do the proper research is why digital medium is plagued with irrelevant ads.
Facebook Launches BARS For Creating Raps To Counter TikTok’s Growing Popularity
Facebook is leaving no stone unturned to tackle the surging popularity of the Chinese video making app TikTok. As part of its redoubled efforts Facebook is launching a new app named BARS which could be used to create and share raps. The core idea behind the app is rappers could focus on creating content without having to worry about investing heavily in production and equipment.
Facebook said, “Audio production tools can be complicated, expensive and difficult to use. With BARS, you can select one of our professionally-created beats, write lyrics and record yourself dropping bars (sic.)” The company also added, “BARS auto-suggests rhymes as you’re writing to keep your flow going. You can also jump into Challenge mode and freestyle with auto-suggested word cues. Choose from a variety of audio and visual filters to take your creations to the next level (sic.)”
The app is now available in the Apple App Store in the United States of America. The invites for using BARS would be sent out in batches beginning in the USA and then expanded worldwide.
This would be the second app which Facebook is launching to counter TikTok’s growing popularity. Instagram Reels was the latest offering from the photo sharing platform Instagram (owned by Facebook) and was launched as a replacement for the video sharing application TikTok. TikTok was enjoying an unrivalled popularity in India as it became a means to keep boredom at bay during the nationwide lockdown which was imposed in light of the COVID-19 virus. However, the Indian government announced that it would ban 59 Chinese applications in which TikTok was one, along with WeChat, Helo, Cam Scanner and many others. This left a sudden void in video making applications, and Instagram realised the need for urgency to capitalize on this void. Therefore, Instagram immediately pushed their latest feature Instagram Reels which lets its users create 15 second videos with music from Instagram’s database. These videos look very similar to the ones made on TikTok and has gained a lot of popularity in India where Tik Tok continues to be banned.
ALSO READ: 4 Things To Know About Instagram Reels
Google also took advantage of the Indian Government’s ban of the viral application TikTok. Google introduced a new feature on YouTube called YouTube Shorts. The feature for all intents and purposes mimics the same features TikTok used to provide. The new feature mimics many of TikTok’s most popular features, allowing users to make and post 15 second videos with built in creative tools encouraging them to add licensed music and more.
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