The past couple of years have been extremely integral for India with regards to the digitization of practically every industry. Carving a niche for itself, digital marketing has stood out as one of the pioneers of Digital India and has become a booming career option for millennials. In this transformative age, small companies along with large corporations have begun integrating digital marketing into their company culture to craft digital solutions for diverse industries.
Capitalizing on the opportunity provided by the developing digital marketing industry, Rohit Prasad and Vikram Kumar launched SRV Media in 2011, with no seed funding. Starting with the aim of providing industry wide digital solutions along with creating strong business impact and drive organizational performance, SRV crafts various digital solutions for diverse industries with their team of experts.
Featured in the top 50 list of Google Partner’s Game On International Contest, SRV Media is an end to end digital solution provider whose services include social media marketing, search engine marketing, designing and branding, mobile application development, website development, video and filmmaking and all their subsets. From having one client to expanding their clientele to more than 120 clients, Rohit Prasad and Vikram Kumar speak about their journey, their challenges and how they overcome the tough life.
“When we started doing business, trust was a major issue. We do not come from IIT’s or IIM’s so hiring employees and acquiring customers was a major issue especially due to competitiveness. However, we did not lose hope. We stayed connected to people who even said “No” to us. We started with small projects like SEO for Symbiosis University for a ticket size of Rs. 80,000. However, after being connected to them and seeing our work and performance they gave us more work. On the contrary, we also started working on technology solutions ourselves which could help our customers to automate processes on digital platforms. This helped us to get our first eureka moment where we bagged our biggest contract from an international customer. Moving further, we started building resources and slowly we started to scale. The biggest problem we solved in this business for our customers was “reliability.” Most of the digital marketing firms were not reliable. We work (sic) for hours every day and even on Sundays to ensure our customers get what they want, irrespective of what money is being poured into that effort. Our primary objective from day 1 has been retention of our customers. We still take strict action on employees who are not able to work proactively for doing more for our customers. We have now successfully grown to 120 employees with this attitude from a mere 2-3 customers to about 100+ PAN world.”
Five years into launching the digital marketing company, the duo decided to venture into the Payment Gateway market in 2016 with respect to the changing times. They launched ‘Easebuzz’ to solve the major problem in the current industry of payment gateway. Catering exclusively to small and medium sector enterprises, Easebuzz makes the process of setting up a merchant account easier to understand and execute.
“Easebuzz is a payment aggregator which allows you to go online with your business in just 24 hours. Easebuzz as a name was incorporated as we wanted every business to go online (Digital) with ease! Our prime motive is to provide a platform by which the smallest of business can go online. The on boarding process is very simple. You just need to upload your PAN card and a bank proof online with few business details during sign up. Once done, we verify and then your account is approved.”
Easebuzz also provides the opportunity for every homepreneur to scale their businesses without paying additional costs for hosting, setting up or as an asset management company (AMC.) With maximum payment options and the opportunity to customize payments, at Easebuzz, merchants can sell physical products, digital goods, memberships, services and event tickets.
In order to protect their clients from fraud, the team has also integrated Aadhaar to their system. “Aadhar is a major breakthrough for linking and transparency of bank accounts. We look at this move very seriously and we have also included Aadhar within our KYC on Easebuzz for our merchants. We feel Aadhar could help to track down fraud and could help to prevent you from unnecessary hassles of money laundering and transaction frauds. This is actually protecting the payment players from being cheated on transaction related fraud done by an end user,” the founders added.
Working hard to become India’s number 1 firm as an enabler for digital solutions, SRV is now venturing to data analytics with the aim to grow 5 times than its original strength in the next five years.
Sanskriitii – A Saviour For Indian Artisans?
Founded by Mr. Anil Tripathi and Ms. Lata Pathak in 2017, Sanskriitii is a startup that deals with arts and crafts and hence works with a vision to empower Indian handicrafts which do not generally get the appreciation they deserve. A team of engineers, management professionals and philosophers have joined hands at Sanskriitii to make hotel decor, corporate gifting and home decor more interesting by incorporating contemporary design into artefacts.
What Sanskriitii does
Sanskriitii brings a whole variety of Indian handicrafts under one roof. These varieties include Dhokra art, Marble Inlay, Stone Jali, fusion product line and many more. Their products are mostly offered to large chains of hotels for the interiors of their rooms and lobbies as well as to restaurants and large corporates for bulk gifting.
“The main challenges faced by craftsmen these days are creating new designs suitable to the present day lifestyle, market demand and financial limitations to pull off bulk orders. Due to these reasons, most of the craftsmen give up on handicrafts and move out of their villages to other nearby towns to find some other random jobs to earn a living for themselves and their families. Sanskriitii plays a vital role in helping craftsmen overcome these challenges. It not only provides craftsmen with capital and raw material, but also builds an ecosystem around them which enables them to deliver the finished products to the customers.” as shared by Ms. Pathak .
Due to the changing lifestyles of the consumers and their lack of appreciation for traditional goods, a startup like Sanskriitii is determined to create its own market space.
Challenges faced by Sanskriitii
“With readymade, easily available and branded products ruling the market, handcrafted products can easily be left behind because their gestation time is comparatively larger and clients generally do not prefer waiting for such long periods to get their products delivered. In addition, the industry as a whole is yet to accept and understand handmade products. Lack of awareness among people about handicrafts is yet another challenge Sanskriitii is trying to overcome.” Mr. Tripathi emphasizes.
At Sanskriitii, a wide range of handcrafted products are designed and made, which suits the present day lifestyle and yet have a traditional touch. The added advantage with handmade products is, no two products are exactly the same. These products are also eco friendly. Team at Sanskriitii stay focused to their vision of empowering Indian handicrafts and small scale entrepreneurs. Although the delivery time is much longer than that of regular products, these handicrafts are worth the wait.
WhistleDrive Think. Whistle. Move.
The world is no stranger to AI driven applications. Almost every other piece of technology features AI as a part of their specifications. From smartphone features to taking interviews, the field of technology has grown exponentially using AI applications. Almost everywhere in this busy world of technology, companies are striving to reach the top of the food chain and it is amazing to see how much of this world is left to be conquered.
From this crowd of companies exploiting AI, stands out a transportation technology company known as WhistleDrive, which offers a wide range of services including AI driven, location based applications. Founded by Rakesh Munnanooru in 2015, the Company concentrates on being a part of the location based services family. Based out of Hyderabad, WhistleDrive built a very strong infrastructure, which pilots 27 major companies and provides services to over 12,000 employees every day. To understand the environment of the business, the market and to provide custom solutions is the hallmark of this Company. WhistleDrive was able to raise a Series A funding of Rs. 5 crores from Colosseum Group in April 2018.
WhistleDrive provides automated employee transportation solution, supported by AI driven analytics and equipped with best in class location tracking. WhistleDrive has proven itself to be a customer and employee centric company. This is what sets WhistleDrive apart in the marketplace. With technology on one side, the Company concentrates a lot on its connection with its customers and employees. It would be the first company in India to introduce blockchain technology to employee transportation, which can ensure huge transparency in terms of data. By using blockchain for data authentication, the entire network involved in the transportation process can contribute and validate data is difficult to tamper. This is a huge initiative and will add a lot to the trust the customers have towards the Company.
WhistleDrive did not stop at delivering authentic and transparent data. They are also working on predictive AI. Though it’s not functional yet, it promises to eradicate a major part of logistical disadvantages. This AI function would analyze real time data like weather conditions and traffic, alert the respective teams, driving partners and customers about any changes in the schedule or delays of any sort. Security of the customers is a subject of high priority for WhisteDrive. With regard to this, the Company provides special features like number masking and SOS alerts, which adds to how safe and secure it is to travel using their vehicles and driver. Apart from that, the live tracking dashboard used by WhistleDrive provides an eagle eye real time location view of all the cabs. Expanding to cities like Bangalore and Chennai, WhistleDrive operates over 700 vehicles, providing services to MNCs like ADP, Invesco, L&T and many more.
WhistleDrive also brings an option to hire a driver to drive you around in your own car. This is one of the services that has a lot of potential in its respective market. The Company tied up with numerous pubs where people would be delighted to have someone drive them home in their own car after a party. WhistleDrive has served close to 15,000 customers with their “Driver on Demand” services.
With WhistleDrive constantly expanding in the field of AI driven technologies, there is no end to exploration. The reach of technology is higher than we can ever anticipate and this is the beauty of such developments. WhistleDrive, along with concentrating on geographical or technological expansions, also looks to use its experience in solving inefficiencies in intra city logistics, particularly in e commerce and fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) channels.
Sabyasachi Mukherjee: Inspirational Story Of An Indian Fashion Designer
Almost every girl dreams of wearing a Sabyasachi outfit!
Back in 2012, Oprah Winfrey visited Sabyasachi store in Mumbai, ignoring all other designers. Carving a niche for himself in a world of fashion, Sabyasachi Mukherjee is one of the Associate Designer Members of Fashion Design Council of India and the youngest board member of the National Museum of Indian Cinema. Sabyasachi, which started off as a local fashion label in 1999 with a workforce of three people, is today a renowned name in the fashion industry. Sabyasachi is the only Indian designer to be invited to showcase his label at the Milan Fashion Week 2004. When one thinks Sabyasachi, one thinks sarees. As of now, the brand has flagship stores located in Kolkata, New Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad. Limited pieces are also showcased by other retailers in various parts of India, as well as select international retailers in California, Atlanta, London and Dubai.
The journey of Sabyasachi Mukherjee so far!
Since the very beginning of his childhood, Mukherjee had a keen interest in handicrafts and craftsmanship. He was born in a middle class Bengali family. His mother was a professor in a Government College and his father had an average job. Growing up he always took the famous designer Rohit Khosla as an inspiration. At the age of 15, Sabyasachi decided to express his interest in fashion. However, at the same time his father lost his job. His parents refused to support him in his decision and they had no financial sources to pay for his further studies.
He ran away from home and worked as a waiter in Goa for a short period as his parents refused to give him the money for his NIFT exam. Being determined about his passion, Sabyasachi then sold all his books and solely paid for his education through relentless hard work. After graduating from NIFT in 1999, he decided to come up with his own label with a Rs. 20,000 borrowed from his sister. The store started off with only three employees at hand. He used to fix beds in the workshop and made his work his life. He would work on his designs through the night sometimes and this trend continued relentlessly for about five years. Sabyasachi debuted at the Indian Fashion Week in 2002. The Women’s Wear Daily praised and proclaimed him as the future of Indian Fashion and this encouraged him further to follow his dreams. Going forward, he made his first international runway debut in 2003 with the Grand Winner Award at the Mercedes Benz New Asia Fashion week in Singapore. The man was receiving immense praise from everyone and this was just the beginning. Sabyasachi went on to represent his label in several fashion events and 2006 was the turning point of his career. He was asked to showcase his collection The Nair Sisters at the prestigious Oxford University annual black tie charity dinner fashion show. That is when he grabbed everyone’s attention and people across the globe started recognising him. He represented his exquisite range of designs at the New York Fashion Week, London Fashion Week, Bridal Asia, Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week, Miami Fashion Week and the list goes on. Sabyasachi definitely knows the art of making an outfit look striking and phenomenal. In the year 2012, the designer styled a calendar for which Bollywood actress Neha Dhupia dressed up as famous painter Frida Kahlo who has been the designer’s inspiration. Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s Autumn Winter 2015 collection at Amazon India Couture Week (AICW) was a collaboration with French luxury footwear and fashion designer Christian Louboutin.
Apart from his national and international ventures, Sabyasachi works for a cause as well. He started a project called Save the Saree, where he retails hand woven Indian sarees on a nonprofit basis priced at Rs. 3500 and the entire proceed goes to the weavers of Murshidabad.This initiative is also strongly supported by Bollywood divas like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Vidya Balan.
He made his fashion label Sabyasachi’s debut in the film industry with Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film Black for which he won the National Award in 2005 for the Best Costume Designer for a feature film. Impressed by his incredible designs, many Bollywood films featured Sabyasachi’s label in their films including Baabul, Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, Raavan, Guzaarish, Paa, No One Killed Jessica and English Vinglish.
Recently, Anushka Sharma wore a pale pink lehenga and Virat Kohli wore an ivory raw silk sherwani designed by Sabyasachi at their not so high profile wedding.
Apart from these celebrities, Sabyasachi’s clienteles include Samantha Akkineni, Aliaa Bhatt, Rani Mukerji, Sridevi, Tabu, Shabana Azmi, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, Shraddha Kapoor, Sushmita Sen and Kareena Kapoor Khan and several other actors.
Apart from our national beauties, International actresses who opted for Sabyasachi are Renée Zellweger and Reese Witherspoon.
For the last 15 years, Sabyasachi Mukherjee has pioneered the use of Indian handlooms in his designs. His iconic Khadi, cotton and silk handcrafted outfits have won the hearts of people from all over the world.
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