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Google Developers Launchpad Build Selects 11 Women Entrepreneurs



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The global search and tech giant Google has selected 11 startups for their Google Developers’ Launchpad Build mentorship program. These women led startups will be trained under their Launchpad Accelerator Program to achieve rapid progress in a short time. The Developers Launchpad Build event was hosted in Bengaluru and explored the challenges of being a startup leader. 

The digital world today is seeing a lot of women stepping out to pursue their dreams and ambitions. This program gives the selected women entrepreneurs a chance to build successful startups through focused, one on one mentorship from Google and other industry experts.

According to the Google Launchpad website, this edition plans to support women entrepreneurs from startups across various stages. Different expert areas including Product Strategy, UX/UI, Marketing with a special focus in Technology covering Android/Firebase, Web and Cloud were taken into consideration for this program.

This program will include leadership workshops driven by Google and was organized in collaboration with Google’s Women Techmakers Initiative and Google’s [email protected].

Here are the 11 entrepreneurs that will receive training from Google and industry experts.

1. Mishipay:
A new retail payments startup founded in 2015, Mishipay uses new technology that eliminates queuing from the point of sale. Their technology allows shoppers to pick up a product they wish to buy, scan the bar code with their phone, pay through their phone and simply walk out. The goal of this startup, cofounded by Mustafa Khanwala and Tanvi Bhardwaj is to reduce queue times and facilitate faster checkouts.

2. Guvi Geek Network:
Guvi Geek Network was initially started as a YouTube Channel with more than 400 technical videos in vernacular languages. It was incorporated as a startup in 2014, as an online tech skill accelerator in vernacular languages. This startup, incubated in Madras, seeks to help users acquire new skills in vernacular languages, sticking to their motto ‘Learn in your native language.’

3. Evibe Technologies
Evibe is an online platform for hassle free party planning service. They offer services ranging from private farm birthdays to themed wedding cakes and even offer drone proposals and chauffeured Audis. This Bengaluru based startup was founded in 2014 by B. Anjaneyulu Reddy and Swathi Bavanaka who aspire to touch millions of lives with their skill and expertise.

4. LetsEndorse
This Bengaluru based startup builds holistic ecosystems and acts as a digital market network dedicated to social development. Cofounded by Monika Shukla and Varun Kashyap, this venture enables intelligent knowledge harnessing of practicable social models and builds collaborations for co-creating and scaling up of solutions. The startup, backed by Social Alpha and incubated as part of NASSCOM 10 k Startups, brings together social change makers and mobilizes funds and resources through a mix of crowd funding.

5. Fundamentor
Fundamentor is a Bengaluru based edutech startup that uses methods which children enjoy to ensure effective cognitive aptitude development. Founded in 2014 by Bhargavi A.R., it is an innovative product that improves logical reasoning, Maths, English and creative thinking aptitude in children aged 8 to 15. The platform helps develop life skills to bridge the gap between academics and professional success. They claim to have more than 5000 subscribers and 16,000 parents and user community.

6. Talking Street
This startup, founded by Maheima Kapur is a ‘local foodie helpline’ which helps travelers and foodies experience and discover the most popular eateries that are frequented by the locals. Their content is created with the help of foodies in the city and so far have a presence in 24 cities.

7. Clinikk Healthcare
Founded by Bahvjot Kaur, Clinikk is a personalized health concierge for blue collar workers and their families. The startup provides a centralized, convenient, trustworthy and top notch quality healthcare experience ensured by an internal medical monitoring platform. This health assistant is the single point of contact for an entire subscribed family for any medical need.

8. CampusTime:
CampusTime helps universities and colleges set up private social networks that enable students to connect with everyone on the campus. This Bengaluru based startup founded by Amrutha Desai, helps students connect and get access to part time jobs and internships.

9. Omnify:
A new age scheduling and ecommerce platform for small businesses, Omnify was founded by Kabandi Saikia and Manik Mehta in 2016. It is a global Saas platform centered around helping businesses manage their schedules, sell omnichannel and improve engagement with their customers.

10. PlexusMD:
Online professional network exclusively for medical professionals and healthcare organizations, PlexusMD was founded by IIM alumni Rohan Desai and Binal Doshi along with Kinnar Shah. The startup helps doctors create their professional identity in the web, stay updated on the latest news and developments in their specialty, find and connect with other medical professionals. They claim to be India’s fastest growing online community of healthcare professionals with 75,000 doctors across 25 states and over 300 hospitals across 120 cities.

11. PregBuddy:
Week by week pregnancy tracker, PregBuddy is a comprehensive health monitoring and concierge platform for women around the world. Founded by Subhadeep Modal and Sivareena Sarika in 2016, it provides personalized care via health experts and doctors during the years of pre-conceiving to early years of motherhood.

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Leher Versus Clubhouse: Which Audio Listening Startup Would You Choose?



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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.

Which Audio Listening Startup Would You Choose?

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Why Are Ads On Digital Media Failing To Reach The Right Audience?



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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.)”  

ALSO READ: How Digital Marketing Is Impacted Due To The COVID-19 Pandemic

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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Facebook Launches BARS For Creating Raps To Counter TikTok’s Growing Popularity



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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