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.
Impossible Foods – Achieving The Impossible With Plant Based Meat
Plant based meat is an oxymoron in every way, yet a startup called Impossible Foods Inc. is doing just that. They successfully created a plant based meat which looks, feels, smells and tastes like actual meat. This is no easy feat and it required years of research and development to come up with a product like this.
The world is seeing increasing greenhouse emissions every year and it adversely affects the climatic conditions throughout the world. Cattle and livestock make up for 10 % of greenhouse gases and in the United States of America alone, countless amounts of water and land is used to breed cows.
Impossible Foods was founded by Patrick Brown in 2011. Patrick Brown is a renowned personality in the field of microbiology and holds a Ph.D. As a pure vegetarian and having cut dairy from his diet, Patrick Brown set about to think what the largest environmental problem is and settled down on the production of meat from cattle. He held a conference to raise awareness about the issue, only to have it make minimal impact. It was then Patrick realised the need to offer a competing product on the free market.
Patrick Brown then immersed himself in research about what makes meat endearing as food and began to develop a process which isolates compounds that make meat feel like meat. After attracting an initial investment from venture capitalists, he started his venture Impossible Foods Inc.
How Impossible meat is made
After a few years of research, Patrick Brown realised the key to the unique taste of meat was the availability of ‘heme,’ an iron based molecule present in abundance. Patrick and his team then set out to search for the availability of heme in plants and found it is present in soy plant roots.
Patrick Brown figured out a way to isolate this heme from soy plants and inserted them into a yeast which replicated the heme compound. This method cut down costs in terms of land and cultivation of soy plants to extract the heme compound. After this, the team decided they need to replicate the flavour, texture, smell and taste of a beef patty and decided to engineer it from scratch.
Impossible Foods employed the use of a mass spectrometer to isolate smells which made a cooked patty delicious and replicated the same in their Impossible patty. Coconut oil chips, with the coconut flavour extracted, were used to replicate fat which melted upon heating the patty. Potato protein was used to replicate the effect which meat undergoes when it is being cooked and for the taste, Impossible Foods turned to the heme. This patty was used to create the Impossible Burger and the makers claim it has very less total fat, no cholesterol and fewer calories than a normal burger.
Growth of Impossible Foods
Upon the development of the Impossible Burger, it made its debut in the Momofuku Nishi restaurant, which is owned by David Chang in New York. Since then, it has featured on the menus of Michelin star restaurants. Burger chains like Bareburgers, Umami Burgers and Whitecastle added the Impossible Burger to their menu. Since the release of the Impossible Burger, Impossible Foods has worked to refine the Impossible Burger patty to more closely match an actual meat patty and they came up with the Impossible Burger 2.0.
Upon the launch of the Impossible Burger 2.0, Burger King did a test sale in select restaurants by offering the Impossible Burger on their menu and it was a success, which led to it becoming a standard offering on Burger King menus of all their locations in the United States of America. This demand led Impossible Foods to increase their production capacity to one million pounds a month.
Impossible Foods is now planning to expand their product range and conducting research to further their offerings. While Impossible Foods is trying to achieve the impossible, the technology they use in their development process will definitely find its use in the future if land and water become precious commodities due to unchecked global warming trends.
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The Story Of Live Video Streaming Startup Twitch
The advent of esports, online gaming and the plethora of games available to choose from spawned multiple ecosystems and industries. Computer gaming, especially, gave rise to million dollar industries in the form of merchandising, esport championships and live streaming. Players are now able to broadcast their gameplay and monetize their live stream while doing it and this is where Twitch enters. Twitch is a platform where users can showcase themselves on a live stream and earn money in the process.
Twitch was founded by Justin Kan and Emmett Shears, two childhood friends. Before Twitch began, Kan and Shears worked on a web calendar app called Kiko, but the app did not really find the traction for which they were hoping. The founders decided to sell the app on eBay and it sold for a surprising $ 258,000. Using that for an investment, they decided to start a live streaming startup called Justin.tv, which streamed the life of Justin 24×7. The idea attracted more users to their site, who eventually complained the site could offer alternate streams as well. That is when the founders pivoted on to the idea of letting users broadcast games. As the streams in the gaming section attracted more users than all of the different streams combined, the founders decided to start TwitchTV, which streamed gaming content exclusively in 2011.
Growth & acquisition
As more and more streamers started getting on the platform, by 2013, there were over 43 million viewers on the site every month. Owing to the large traffic, streams began to experience lag and low frame rates, leading TwitchTV to increase their servers and come up with a solution to streamline the content. It became clear to the owners that TwitchTV was becoming a major source of revenue, prompting them to take note of its importance by renaming parent company Justin.tv to Twitch Interactive.
As the number of users began growing, Google took note of the startup and hoped to acquire TwitchTV for a billion dollars through YouTube, its subsidiary. However, the deal did not fall through due to antitrust concerns, which meant Google could court trouble if it monopolized video streaming. Once Google backed out, Amazon acquired Twitch for $ 970 million.
After the acquisition, Twitch started offering Twitch Prime, which was a part of Amazon Prime and offered ad free streaming and discounted games. However, this was discontinued, with users now having to opt for a separate subscription named Twitch Turbo to get the perks which were earlier availed under Twitch Prime.
Twitch is now a leading live streaming platform, with games like Overwatch, Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Fortnite, League of Legends, DOTA2, Hearthstone and Player Unknown Battlegrounds (PUBG) attracting the most users and viewers. The platform now has 15 million unique daily visitors.
With the internet industry seeing a shift towards more content oriented needs, this startup made sure it is on the top of its game by putting its community first and tailoring experiences which revolve around its stakeholders.
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Pappco Greenware – How The Startup Is Bringing Eco Friendly Cutlery To India
Plastic, polythene and styrofoam are seeing increased usage in India owing to their nature of being cheap and disposable after use. However, what people fail to take into account is the damage these materials cause to the environment. In a country with an estimated population of 134 crores, single use plastics see a lot of use everywhere—from food packaging, covers and bags to cutlery. India, which is primarily an agricultural nation, sees a lot of agricultural waste fit to be used to create products capable of replacing single use plastics. Pappco Greenware, an Indian startup, is trying to change this trend by introducing high quality cutlery which aims to replace single use plastics with products that are durable and look aesthetically pleasing to the eye.
Pappco Greenware was founded by Anil Agarwal and his two sons, Abhishek Agarwal and Aadesh Agarwal, in 2011. On a trip to Singapore, Abhishek Agarwal came across bagasse products and wondered if the same could be injected into the Indian markets since they are compostable alternatives to plastics. Bagasse is the dry pulpy residue which is left after the juice is extracted from sugarcane. Upon some research, the founders realised the best bagasse products originate in China and went there to explore various factories and their products as a part of their research and development. After doing this, Pappco Greenware was established.
Once the Company was established, the sales were negligible. The difficulty was to get vendors on board to purchase their products. In order to make the vendors understand the existence of the demand for Paapco’s products, they went on to educate potential customers about the importance of the products they were selling and the negligible environmental impact they have. Another major hurdle was the similarity in appearance the bagasse products have with styrofoam, making it difficult to distinguish one product from another. The Company bootstrapped in spite of losses and finally managed to penetrate the market.
Products and raw materials
Pappco currently has multiple products in their inventory like plates, cones, glasses, bowls, boxes, straws, baskets, cutlery and many others. The products are made entirely from bagasse, a material which is available in abundance in India due to sugarcane and bamboo maturing every two years. The products offered by Pappco Greenware also eliminate the need for cutting down trees and petroleum oils used in the manufacturing of styrofoam. The raw materials used by Pappco are compostable and durable, meaning they are harder than styrofoam and able to withstand high temperatures, making them capable of being used in microwaves.
Pappco aims to aggressively capitalise on the current trend where awareness about sustainability and the environment are increasing among the public and many states are banning the use of single use plastics. Pappco Greenware partnered with brands like Curefit, Reliance Retail, Marriott Hotels, Taj Hotels and Future Group, to name some. With products like these in the market, everyone can choose to make a difference in reducing the carbon footprint.
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