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Flipkart: From A to Finish First

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Close to 11 years ago, when the Indian ecommerce ecosystem was still in the nascent stages, one company, with an investment of Rs. 4, 00,000 did not know it would become India’s leading ecommerce player. Launched by IIT Delhi alumnus Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, today, Flipkart is valued at $11.6 billion. Slowly but surely, the firm gained investors such as Tiger Global Management, Tencent Holdings and Naspers.

But, the company faced some major competition in these ten years. From Snapdeal to eBay, the Bengaluru based ecommerce firm fought tooth and nail to gain a majority of the Indian online retail market. After a long drawn out battle, last year Flipkart and India’s next ecommerce major Snapdeal almost joined hands to become one entity. However, the deal didn’t come through as the Gurgaon based startup, Snapdeal, wanted to pursue an ‘independent path.’ The silver lining of this merger was Flipkart gained one of it’s biggest shareholders after ending the merger talks with Snapdeal.  With backing from Japan’s venture firm SoftBank, US based Microsoft and eBay among other investors, Flipkart was finally prepared to take on the world. However, the company faced a bigger threat in the form of the American retail giant Amazon led by Jeff Bezos.

The Flipkart versus Amazon battle was always present from the very word go. The real war, however, started back in 2015, when both Flipkart and Amazon decided to move into the online smartphone market. At that point, Amazon lost its foothold in the Chinese market, with other ecommerce platforms figuring out they could do what Amazon was doing in a faster and cheaper way.

With that happening on the side, founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, decided to do whatever it takes to keep their foothold strong in the Indian market. This included signing a cheque worth $ 2 billion to anyone who stood in its way! While this matter in itself was worrisome for Flipkart, the fact that Amazon was entering into the world of smartphones made things exciting.

Over the years, the Flipkart and Amazon war gave rise to a lot of exciting eyeballs, making everyone stand on edge with excitement. Flipkart wanted to be the reason Indians bought products on the Internet. Its focus on technology to solve product ecommerce for the domestic market put it in a league of its own. Even the storied Indian IT and BPO industry derived nearly 90% of its profitable revenues from global enterprise clients.

What makes the two ecommerce platforms stand neck to neck is the fact that the number of coders, as well as the technology used by both the companies. Refined to its core, this battle is a classic “homegrown pioneer vs. giant multinational” story on the grounds of  Nirma vs. Hindustan Lever, Thums Up vs. Coca Cola, or Mahindra & Mahindra vs. Toyota Motors; with technology as the mid ground. Flipkart has the scale and local footprint. Amazon has staying power and a platform it has seasoned globally for 21 years.

With SoftBank’s recent investment into Flipkart, the battle stands at an interesting level. As of 2017, the homegrown ecommerce platform raised $ 3.9 billion in two rounds of funding from SoftBank and Tencent. At such a time, even the idea of a potential investment from the biggest retail giant, USA based Walmart would give the boost it requires to beat Amazon once and for all. However, before that could happen Amazon decided to show its hand in the game as well.  The Seattle based company recently offered Flipkart a breakup fee of $ 2 billion to convince it to discuss an offer which analysts say would bring with it substantial antitrust challenges, as Flipkart and Amazon dominate the online shopping space in Asia’s third largest economy. Furthermore, Amazon is interested in buying about 51 to 55 % stake in the ecommerce platform. Whichever way the deal plays out, it is safe to say Flipkart has garnered a great deal of attraction from the international ecommerce marketplace.

Whether the deal goes through between Flipkart Amazon.com Inc., or with Walmart and Flipkart, it will be the biggest deal made by a US based company in terms of buying out another similar online platform. Regardless of how this flips, it would also be a win win situation for the Indian ecommerce company!

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Technology

Top Technology Skills In Demand

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In today’s world, change is the only constant.  Technology is now evolving at such a rapid speed, a technology which was in demand a few months ago may be replaced with a new one even before you realise it.  The only way you can succeed in this ever changing world of technology is by learning constantly. So, if you are a student looking for a tech job or an aspiring tech entrepreneur, here is a list of tech skills you must learn to stay alive in the market.

 

1) Machine learning

Machine learning is an internal part of AI.  Machine learning provides the system with the ability to learn and improve from experience without being programmed constantly.  A platform like Netflix uses machine learning to provide recommendations to its users.

Considering its advantages, machine learning is now being incorporated into a variety of sectors and there is a huge demand for skilled professionals.  Within machine learning, we also have subskills like neural networks, natural language processing and deep learning.  Each of these subskills, provides opportunity for specializations.

With this skill, you can get hired at top tech companies as an AI architect with an average salary of $ 150,000.

 

2) Cloud computing

Cloud computing is a term which includes delivery of a variety of services through the internet including data storage, databases, servers, etc., without actual management by the user.

Cloud  computing jobs are only increasing because more and more companies are making the transition from classical servers to cloud servers and the pay cheque for skilled professionals is only getting fatter by the day.

 

3) Digital marketing

In simple terms, digital marketing is the science of marketing products and services using various digital media.

Employers are looking for people with digital marketing skills so as to improve their company’s online presence which, in turn, can attract a lot of customers.  Digital marketing can be a useful skill to learn if you are job seeker.

On the other hand, this skill can also help you if you are aspiring to start your own business.  You can use Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) skills to market your own company.

 

4) Internet of Things

Internet of things (IoT) is basically an interconnection of physical objects which are accessible through the internet.  A smart home is a real life example of internet of things. Apps like Fitbit and Lyft also use IoT.

With so much of scope, IoT is the future.  Skilled professionals with an understanding of IoT can get highly paid jobs, develop their own applications or start their own businesses.  This is a must learn skill for tech savvies.

 

5) Augmented reality and Virtual reality

AR and VR are two technologies capable of changing the way you look at the world.  Augmented reality creates an enhanced version of the reality using technology, whereas virtual reality uses computer technology to create a simulated environment for the user.  The popular game Pokémon Go is an example of augmented reality.

AR and VR find applications in various fields, including gaming, entertainment, education and marketing.  Learning these skills can be extremely useful if you are looking to start a business or develop your own games.

 

Though there are several emerging technologies, these 5 technologies have a sustainable future and can provide a secure career path.

Comment and let us know if you think any other technologies can be added to this list.

 

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Facebook Reveals Details Of Its Cryptocurrency Libra

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On the 18th of June, Facebook revealed details of its brand new cryptocurrency called Libra.  An alternative to cash, this cryptocoin can be used to buy things or send money to people with close to no fees.  The cryptocurrency is going to be launched by an association called The Libra Association, which consists of a group of companies interested in getting Libra out into the world.

You can use Libra to buy or cash out your Libra at local stores like grocery stores and through third party wallet apps.  To make using Libra an easier task, Facebook owned Calibra Wallet will be built into WhatsApp and Messenger, thereby simplifying transaction processes.  Although certain countries have banned the use of cryptocurrencies, Facebook is trying to break new ground with the launch of Libra.

While Facebook is launching Libra, the social media giant is not going to be in complete control of the cryptocoin.  The coin will be controlled by a consortium consisting of its founding members, Visa, Uber and Andreessen Horowitz. The three companies have invested at least $ 10 million each into the creation of this cryptocurrency.

Customers interested in holding or transferring the newly acquired token will be given multiple options to do what they wish.  To further simplify matters, Facebook will let customers access transactions through this cryptocurrency via a special app designed for iOS and Android.

To protect the identity of its users while making transactions through the new app, Facebook won’t require you to share personal details.  “The advent of the internet and mobile broadband has empowered billions of people globally to have access to the world’s knowledge and information, high fidelity communication, and a wide range of lowercost, more convenient services,” the Libra Association said in a paper announcing the cryptocurrency.

Libra will be made available to the world during the first half of 2020.  As of now, Facebook is focusing on building relationships in international waters.

Stay tuned for more updates.

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Funding

Facebook Invests In Indian Startup Meesho

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On the 13th of June, social media giant Facebook announced, it invested an undisclosed amount in Indian startup Meesho.

A Bengaluru based startup, Meesho works with resellers and emerging brands using social media.  This is the first time Facebook invested in a startup based in India. Through this investment, Facebook aims to increase its commitment to the Country’s vibrant internet ecosystem.

“Facebook is an ally for India’s economic growth and social development. We are excited about India and its rapidly rising Internet ecosystem. With this investment in Meesho, we want to fuel a business model that can result in rapid job creation and the rise of a female entrepreneurial class in India,” Ajit Mohan, the Managing Director of Facebook India, said in a statement.

It was two primary factors which made Facebook invest in Meesho.  The first reason was how the startup is growing outside the Tier II and III cities, where new users are present.  The second reason is, Meesho has a larger user base, 80 % of which are women.

So far, Meesho has raised $ 50 million from a Series C funding round in November last year.  According to industry reports, the startup helps people using its service earn close to Rs. 25,000 every month!  With WhatsApp playing a crucial role in the app’s growth, it comes as an added blessing that Facebook invested in this particular startup.

Through investments like these, Facebook is capitalizing on the social media boom happening in India.

Stay tuned for more updates.

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