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Quibi : Startup With A Billion Dollar Launch To Shutting Down All In Six Months

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While we see many startups doing exciting things, one should not forget the world of entrepreneurship is riddled with more failures than successes.  Hundreds of startups go bust without even making a mark every month while some go on to make a mark and go into oblivion once the consumer no longer needs their business model or products.  However, Quibi, short for quick bites, definitely takes the cake for going big with a billion dollar launch and shutting down, all of which took place in a span of six months.  So how did a billion dollar startup founded by some big names and partners with some of the biggest names in the world end up going bust?  Read ahead to find out the interesting story of Quibi.

Beginnings:

Quibi was founded by Dreamworks Animation co founder Jeffery Katzenberg and former Hewlett Packard Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman, both of whom have deep roots in the technology and Hollywood industries as well as having a wealth of experience running billion dollar corporations.  Quibi was launched on April 6th 2020, as a content provider which is delivered in ten minute episodes called Quick Bites on mobile phones.  Quibi’s target group was mainly a younger demographic.  It is important to remember the fact that the founders decided to launch Quibi in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and when the American public were locked in their homes.  The founders did not anticipate this act of god to severely derail their entire plans.

Problems:

While the founders decided to go ahead with Quibi, one of the major problems was the content could only be streamed on mobile devices as the resolution was curated for a mobile viewing experience.  The subscribers began complaining about not  being able to watch the content on the big screen in their homes.  It also launched without simple, easy ways to share or meme its shows on social media thereby decreasing the chances of talk being spread by word of mouth.  Quibi had a subscription model which began after a 90 day free trial and it cost  $4.99 a month with ads and $7.99 a month without ads.  The number of subscribers for Quibi did not go according to plan as the numbers fell way below their forecasting and also due to the presence of streaming giants like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus and HBO Max.  Since the pandemic had already begun to cripple employment, subscribers were forced to choose wisely on where to spend their money.  There is also YouTube which is free and also has free ‘quick bite’ content meant Quibi’s chances of succeeding were becoming slim.

Jeffery Katzenberg initially hoped Quibi would be immune to the pandemic’s effect as people would want to consume more content.  However, he later went on to blame the COVID-19 pandemic for everything which went wrong with Quibi.  In an open letter both Whitman and Katzenberg wrote “Quibi is not succeeding.  Likely for one of two reasons: because the idea itself wasn’t strong enough to justify a standalone streaming service or because of our timing.  Unfortunately, we will never know but we suspect it’s been a combination of the two (sic.)”

Since the launch of Quibi, the application quickly fell out of the top 50 most downloaded apps within the first week.  

Star Studded Signings

Quibi has recruited a who’s who of stars to work on its programming, including Chrissy Teigen, Lebron James, Dwayne Johnson, Reese Witherspoon, Chance the Rapper, Kevin Hart, Jennifer Lopez, Idris Elba, Zac Efron, Tina Fey, Liam Hemsworth, Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner.  Some of the biggest names in Hollywood were roped in to make the series and they include Steven Spielberg, Guillermo del Toro, Antoine Fuqua, Catherine Hardwicke and Ridley Scott.

ALSO READ: Most Followed Influencer Accounts On Instagram

Shutdown:

Both Katzenberg and Whitman raised $1.75 billion to tackle the growing digital video market with Quibi.  However, due to the mounting pile of problems and the lack of diversity in viewing choices forced Quibi into shutting down and began the process of selling assets.  Quibi, which employed 265 people, plans to use its remaining cash of about $350 million to pay back investors.  On October 21, 2020, just six months after Quibi’s launch, The Wall Street Journal reported that the streaming service was shutting down.  This news was confirmed by the Quibi founders Jeffery Katezenberg and Meg Whitman.

The story of Quibi tells us that no one is immune in the cutthroat world of startups and entrepreneurship.  While Quibi set out to take on the content streaming giants, it probably fell to its own Hubris by asking consumers to subscribe for unknown new content over already established content giants like Netfllix, Disney Plus and Amazon Prime Video.  

 

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Sonu Sood’s Startup Pravasi Rojgar Secures 250 Crores Funding

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Actor Sonu Sood has been in the limelight since the last six months and has become a kind of messiah for the migrant workers in India.  It all began when the Indian Government imposed a strict nationwide lockdown in order to check the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  This led to an exodus of migrant labourers from cities like Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai to leave for their hometowns in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.  Since public transportation was also not operating, these migrant labourers decided to walk to their hometowns.  This led to a lot of accidents on roads, deaths due to hunger and lack of proper basic resources.

Sonu Sood stepped in to help the migrant workers by arranging private buses and food and ensured these workers returned safely to their homes.  Sonu Sood also arranged for private flights to rescue Indians stranded in countries like Dubai and Philippines.  Sood helped thousands of people in need by reaching out to them on social media and offline.

In the face of all this adversity, Sonu Sood saw an opportunity and it led to the birth of Pravasirojgar, a startup which aims at getting jobs for the migrant workers.  Pravasirojgar aims to provide jobs and career progression to applicants through upskilling services, financial, healthcare and social security services.  The job search platform secured a Rs. 250 crore funding from the Temasek Holdings backed, Goodworker.

ALSO READ: Indian Actresses Who Have Made Recent Investments In Startups

Launched in a partnership with the edtech startup Schoolnet India, in July this year, Pravasi Rojgar helps migrants to find skill based jobs across sectors and has 10 lakh job seekers and employers including Amazon, Max Healthcare, Portea, Sodexo, Urban Company etc.  Goodworker provides blue collar workers with a digital and verifiable profile to make their job search easier and also to make their credentials authentic which will make employers more likely to hire the workers.

Sonu Sood at the launch of Pravasi Rojgar said “I came in touch with a lot of migrant workers during the lockdown and they all had one concern, how to get a job after the lockdown and support their families.  With the blessing of these workers and their families and other well-wishers, I tried to get the right-minded people and partner with Schoolnet for Pravasirojgar.com (sic.)”

We sincerely hope Sonu Sood continues to keep doing the good work he is doing for migrant workers.  Sonu Sood has gone on to prove how opportunity can be found in the toughest of situations and also contribute to the upliftment of the needy.

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The Story Of Milkbasket And How It Navigated The COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown

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India as a nation is primarily agrarian and most of the economic contributors are agriculture and dairy.  Indians consumed a whopping 77.7 million metric tons of cow milk in 2019 alone and that puts it at the largest consumption in the world.  The next largest milk consumption was in the European Union with a consumption of 33.4 million metric tons.  Therefore it is only natural for a startup to utilise the opportunity existing in the delivery of milk and that led to the founding of Milkbasket.  Subsequently, the market was flooded with players like Ninjacart, BigBasket backed RainCan and Swiggy  backed SuprDaily.

Founding:

While Milkbasket currently operates in cities like Delhi, Gurgaon, Ghaziabad, Noida, Bangalore and Hyderabad, it was not always the case.  Milkbasket was founded in 2015 in Gurugram by Yatish Talavdia, Anurag Jain, Ashish Goel and Anant Goel.  Milkbasket originally began by delivering milk and other essentials in Gurugram to around 15,000 families before expanding into various cities.  However, Milkbasket did not dive into the business just because they saw an opportunity,  instead they did a lot of research into consumer purchasing and psychology, before coming up with a business model and this research yielded some interesting insights.

Research:

The crux for the business model was the quintessential question in every Indian household which is “Child, what do you want to eat for tomorrow?”  This led the founders to understand that Indians usually plan their meals for the next day between 7 P.M. to 10 P.M. the previous day.  Therefore Milkbasket decided to offer their deliveries before 7 A.M. in a contactless, easy and pre paid manner.    Moreover, the four founders studied the newspaper chains who made a profit even when selling for a low cost.  Furthermore, the founders interacted with various grocery store owners and found out although milk contributed to a large volume of sales, there was not much profit margin there.  However, these grocery stores made a profit by selling other products along with the milk.  The idea was the milk attracts the customers but it led them to purchase other products along with the milk.  Therefore Milkbasket also decided to do the same, which is to sell milk but also hold an inventory of other staple products.

Milkbasket set itself apart from other players by offering no minimum cost delivery and also streamlined delivery in a manner which creates the least disturbance for the customers.  From low shelf life products such as milk, fish, and fruits to daily essentials such as wheat, rice, and pulses, Milkbasket fulfils households complete grocery requirements.

Having started with just a hundred products in its inventory, Milkbasket now has 9000 products on its platform and caters to 1,50,000 across the country.  The startup delivers 80,000 litres of milk and 100,000 kg of vegetables and fruits daily.

ALSO READ: The Story Of Bose ; A Company Which Changed Sound Forever

Navigating the COVID-19 lockdown:

India declared a nationwide lockdown on March 24th, 2020 which extended till the end of August.  The lockdown saw thousands of businesses go bust because of logistical issues and also due to the almost zero demand from consumers.  During the initial period when the lockdown was first imposed to curb the spread of the virus, Milkbasket witnessed a surge of 200-300 % in order volume from its customers.

Milkbasket took two important decisions to cater during the lockdown with the first one being an inventory cap for every customer purchase so their customers do not hoard products.  The second one being the decision to stop onboarding new customers and instead serve their existing customer base.  This has also led to strong customer loyalty as well as improvement of sales from existing customers.

Milkbasket goes on to prove that customer satisfaction should always be at the forefront of any business.  If Milkbasket does not lose sight of their goal then it is only going to grow from here on out.  

 

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Indian Actresses Who Have Made Recent Investments In Startups

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Any startup which begins with an idea will look to nurture it and develop it into a viable product.  This is followed by lots of testing with focus groups, until a final version of the product is ready.  However, most startups are more often than not bootstrapped and therefore run on a very stringent budget.  Therefore, startups often look to attract an investor for a fresh influx of money and also to scale up.  While there are many venture capital firms which are always on the lookout for exciting startups, Indian movie celebrities are also known to invest in promising startups.  

In this article, we give you a list of leading Indian actresses who have invested in startups recently.

1) Deepika Padukone

Deepika Padukone is one of the most alluring actresses of this generation.  Deepika invested in the popular yoghurt company Epigamia last year.  Her latest investment is into the learning and communication platform Frontrow.  The actress was joined by marquee investors like Lightspeed and Elevation Capital to invest $3.2 million in the startup.  Frontrow’s learning platform focuses on creative arts and sports and that is what attracted Padukone’s investment in this startup.

2) Kajal Aggarwal

Kajal Aggarwal picked up a stake recently in the gaming platform called Okie Gaming.  Kajal will be helping the startup in its promotions, marketing and PR and to attract new users to the platform.  Aggarwal picked up a 15% equity stake for an undisclosed amount of money.

3) Alia Bhatt and Katrina Kaif

Alia Bhatt invested an undisclosed amount in the beauty and cosmetic startup Nykaa.  Earlier in May 2020, Nykaa raised Rs. 100 crore ($13 million) from Steadview Capital, one of its existing investors.  Katrina Kaif also invested in Nykaa and also has her own line of products called Kay Beauty.  

ALSO READ: 5 Cricketers Who Are Entrepreneurs

4) Aishwarya Rai Bacchan

Aishwarya has been ruling the Indian movie industry since a long time, but has taken a step back from the limelight after her marriage to Abhishek Bachchan.  However, the actress has not been idle and has instead redirected her efforts to invest in promising ventures.  Aishwarya Rai Bachchan along with her mother Vrinda became angel investors in 2019.  They invested in Ambee, an environmental intelligence startup, which monitors air quality by gathering data– and have already installed over 100 sensors in Bengaluru.

5) Priyanka Chopra Jonas

Priyanka Chopra invested in the social networking and dating application Bumble in 2018 which was before Bumble had a presence in India.  While Bumble’s parent company MagicLabs was acquired by American based Blackstone, it is not confirmed whether Priyanka Chopra’s stake was bought out.  Priyanka Chopra continues to be involved with Bumble for their branding assignments.

6) Shilpa Shetty

Shilpa Shetty invested Rs. 1.6 crores in the fast moving consumer goods company Mamaearth which produces and sells skincare, haircare and babycare products. 

While this is just the list of actresses who have made recent investments in startups, there are a lot of movie celebrities who have invested in startups across the globe.  The startup ecosystem in India can take heart from the fact that movie stars are willing to align their brand with startups.  The future most definitely holds exciting prospects to see into what startups celebrities will be investing.

 

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