SpaceX and Blue Origin are in the race to make the best use of rockets which are a part of NASA’s suborbital reusable launch of vehicle flight contract. Yes, you heard it right! Not so long ago the idea of a man going to the moon or outer space was considered a fantasy! With the latest happenings and technology enhancements, people could now think of travelling and catching up flights to visit Mars and explore the outer space. One of the greatest news for the space travellers enthusiasts flourished, this week. Blue Origin, the reusable rocket company founded by Jeff Bezos announced that it will begin selling tickets for suborbital commercial space flights next year. According to reports, Blue Origin began to test its space vehicle successfully eight times, with the latest being on April 29, 2018. With Elon Musk revolutionizing the transport system on earth and space as well, this tech billionaire is also geared up! Space Exploration Technologies Corp., known as SpaceX is a private American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company headquartered in Hawthorne, California. Elon Musk led SpaceX is hitting all the headlines on future space travel, while, Jeff Bezos owned Blue Origin is catching up fast. At the AWS public sector summit, the Senior Vice President of Blue Origin, Rob Meyerson said Setting up colonies on the Moon and other planets are our primary target and we will need large payloads for surface landing. We are building the appropriate technology for that. However, Elon Musk led SpaceX has postponed its plans to send space tourists this year to circle the Moon due to technical and production challenges. SpaceX plans to start building mining, power and life support infrastructure to prepare for the first settlers that could arrive as soon as 2024. A Blue Origin Executive said the suborbital space tours will make a good market for us and our customers are very excited. Once we become the most-skilled reusable rocket company in the low-orbit, we can plan to go further, deeper into space.
There are speculations that the prices would be lower than the prices of Elon Musk SpaceX’s for carrying people to the moon in 2022. The cost of the SpaceX flight is around $ 35 million. Two people have apparently booked it, Musk didn’t say much about the two unidentified passengers. SpaceX is planning to make an uncrewed flight of its Dragon spacecraft to the space station this year and its first crewed flights are expected to happen in mid 2018. However, there are no further updates on this!
Currently, Blue Origin’s focus is on its New Shepard which is a fully reusable vertical takeoff, vertical landing (VTVL) space vehicle, consisting of a pressurised capsule atop a booster that can be reused for at least 25 times. The vehicle is named after the first American who went in space, Alan Shepard. It can carry six astronauts to spend approximately three minutes in a high quality, microgravity environment at an apogee of over 100 km. April 30 marked the company’s first test flight of the New Shepard in 2018 and second flight of the New Shepard 2.0 spacecraft. Meyerson said Right now, we are living in a world where we need to throw away rockets within a year to ocean floors and millions of dollars go down the drain. With ‘New Shepard’, we can reuse the vehicle multiple times to significantly lower the travel cost.
Speaking about the remarkable developments, Meyerson added space travel is a marathon, not a sprint. We are on the right track to write another chapter in the history of space travel.
However, Blue Origin isn’t the first company to go live with the tickets. Earlier, Virgin Galactic, a space flight company has booked hundreds of reservations for tickets at $ 250,000 each, while flight dates are yet to be confirmed! The story is different with Blue Origin, the company announced a policy of not taking reservations until its New Shepherd suborbital vehicle is ready for flights.
So, when are you grabbing your seat to the journey to space? Will it be SpaceX or will it be Blue Origin? Share your views in the comments section below!
Discover Kheyti, The Startup Changing The Lives of Farmers In India
Farming has been an integral part of India’s history and culture for ages. It’s been the foundation of the Indian economy, supporting millions of people with food and jobs. Crops and agriculture hold immense importance in Indian society, not just in terms of money, but also in terms of culture, community, and spirituality.
Farming is a way of life for many people in India, but it can be a difficult and unpredictable business and farmers face a number of challenges, from erratic weather patterns to low market prices for their crops. Kheyti is a social enterprise founded in 2015 by Saumya, Kaushik Kappagantula, and Sathya Raghu. The organisation provides sustainable solutions to small farmers in India, helping them overcome challenges and improve their lives.
Kheyti’s flagship product is the “Greenhouse-in-a-Box,” a low-cost modular greenhouse that allows farmers to grow high-value crops year-round, even in unfavourable weather conditions. operates on a subscription-based model, where farmers can purchase a “Greenhouse-in-a-Box” kit or sign up for crop advisory services on a monthly or annual basis. Kheyti.com also earns revenue by connecting farmers with markets and buyers, taking a small commission on sales. They work to keep the costs low by partnering with local manufacturers to produce their products and leveraging tech to provide personalised crop advisory services at scale.
They also provide crop advisory services to farmers, offering personalised advice on crop selection, planting, and management. In total, The company has helped over 6,000 small farmers increase their incomes by an average of 300%. You call them small farmers, Kheyti calls them Smart farmers!
While there are other companies in India that offer similar solutions to small farmers, Kheyti stands out for its focus on sustainability, innovation, and community involvement. It works closely with farmers to develop tailored solutions that meet their needs while focusing on sustainable farming practices. Through its efforts, Kheyti has improved soil health, reduced water usage, and increased yields of various crops.
Looking ahead, Kheyti plans to expand its reach to more farmers in India and beyond and aims to continue developing new products and services that can help small farmers overcome the challenges they face. With its commitment to sustainability and innovation, The visionaries at Kheyti claim it has the potential to transform the agricultural sector and contribute to a more equitable future for all.
Imagine the joy and hope Kheyti brings to struggling farmers in India. With Kheyti’s help, over 6,000 small farmers have transformed their lives, becoming Smart farmers who handle challenges and succeed. With sustainable solutions, Kheyti is not only revolutionising agriculture but also spreading hope for a brighter future.
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.
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