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Arunachalam Muruganantham: India’s Social Entrepreneur And Menstruation Man

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While a majority of men and women in many urban cities of India still consider the menstrual cycle a taboo, this man from Coimbatore changed the perspective of millions of women in rural India. Arunachalam Muruganantham, also know as PadMan, in an effort to impress his wife decided to produce sanitary napkins himself. Little did he know that a few years down the line, his whole world would be turned upside down, from almost getting a divorce to becoming the first man to wear a sanitary pad.

The initial idea seemed simple enough. Buy cotton, cut it in the size of a regular pad and wrap it using a thin layer of cotton. However, the feedback he received from his wife was devastating. His homemade pad was useless and she would rather continue using old rags. He did not stop there. He first enlisted his sisters to test his pads. When they refused, he visited a local medical school and asked the girls studying in those colleges. When they also eventually stopped helping, he created a makeshift uterus using a football bladder and goats blood to test the sanitary napkins himself.

When the neighbours started complaining about a foul smell and stained clothes, his wife left him and went to live with her mother. But, it was no longer about helping his wife anymore. Arunachalam was on a mission to produce low cost sanitary pads for all the girls and women in his country.

A school dropout from Coimbatore, Arunachalam challenged an age old taboo and changed a fiercely competitive industry with his cheap and affordable good quality sanitary napkins. After years of research, lots of sacrifices, a great deal of hard work and the willpower to succeed, he successfully created a low cost machine for the production of sanitary pads. His easy to use machines, priced at $ 950, created a revolution in India challenging the $ 500,000 imported machines. More than a decade later, his single product has helped employ more than 7000 women in rural India, selling 1,300 machines to 27 states in India and 6 countries.

However, the man behind the ‘Second White Revolution’ is still as humble as ever. Startup Stories had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Arunanchalam Muruganantham about his surreal journey. Speaking about his experiences and his journey, he says, “I feel grateful for what has happened so far it is what has made me what I’m today.” Despite changing the lives of over 3.5 million women in rural India, Arunachalam feels there’s still a long way to go. “Awareness is missing. But things do have changed compared to 2 decades before.. still a long way to go.” He further adds, “Menstrual hygiene is totally connected to a women’s health and lifestyle. Sanitary pad does play a role. We have over 80+% women not taking care of themselves. A lot of efforts needed to make them use hygienic practice.

However, Arunachalam feels the Government can help boost this movement forward. “Tax has increased the price of pads. But still. Cost is one side of the coin. Government can make it tax free – the loss they might incur is not a loss at all as making pads affordable and accessible will make more women healthy – that is a greatest asset of the nation. Women strong – country strong.”

We could not agree with him more! India is a country that has seen some extremely powerful women in the leading roles. Nevertheless, like they say, there is strength in numbers and only when men and women work together, will this revolution be validated.  It takes a lot of strength, courage and determination to take such a brave step forward. Startup Stories wishes Mr. Arunachalam Muruganantham all the best for his dream of making all the women of India use sanitary napkins.

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Iconic Power Couples At The Top Of Their Game

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Iconic Power Couples At Sports,Power Couples at Top Of Their Game,Startup Stories,Ultimate Couple Goals,Celebrity Power Couples,most prominent power couples,Top Influential Power Couples,Famous Couples 2020,Iconic Power Couples History

Corporations run the world in ways like never before.  They provide technology, healthcare, innovation and development across the world.  Some of these corporations are headed by influential leaders who changed the course of technology and quality of life over the years.  The head of the corporation may be a man or a woman, but it is no secret that what they achieved can be credited to their special someone as well.

Let us have a look at some of the most prominent power couples at the top of their game.

Bill Gates and Melinda Gates

Bill and Melinda Gates run the world’s biggest private foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Bill Gates founded one of the world’s largest software companies, Microsoft. He decided to dedicate his life to philanthropy and with his wife, he started the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Bill Gates pursues issues related to climate change, while Melinda Gates’s focus is on gender equality. In an interview, Melinda Gates revealed it is important to have a spouse who views you as an equal, a quality which she credits to Bill Gates and their successful marriage.

Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan

Mark Zuckerberg runs Facebook, one of the largest technology companies in the world.  It is no secret Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, who is a pediatrician, were already in love before Facebook launched.  Priscilla Chan was one of the earliest users of Facebook when it was just starting out as an online social networking platform.  A day after Facebook went public, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan got married. Soon after Facebook became one of the largest technology companies in the world, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan started the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to promote equality in the fields of health, education, scientific research and technology.

Narayana Murthy and Sudha Murthy

Narayana Murthy is the founder of Infosys, one of India’s largest information technology companies.  However, Narayana Murthy and his wife Sudha Murthy are most often known for the simple and humble lifestyle they follow.  An interesting piece of information is they met through a mutual friend, G.K Prasanna, who is now the global head of Wipro.  Sudha Murthy dedicated her life to social causes and was a trustee at Infosys Foundation, a position she used to establish libraries and offer scholarships to students.  Narayana Murthy and Sudha Murthy are an inspiration to many even today and their love for each other has not diminished over the years.

Donald Fisher and Doris Fisher

Donald Fisher and Doris Fisher are the founders of the iconic apparel brand GAP.  Initially, Donald Fisher leased out some space to Levi Strauss & Co. to sell their jeans.  Donald then realised Levi’s only had a limited number of sizes in their line up and saw the need to open a store which carried all styles and sizes under one roof.  Donald and Doris Fisher opened their own store named GAP. The concept was a success and soon after, GAP filed for an IPO. Before Donald Fisher’s demise in 2009, Donald and Doris Fisher were active in philanthropy in educational areas of interest.

The above mentioned couples remind us the world is a better place because of love.  Let us know about any other power couples who inspired you!

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Best Valentine’s Day Campaigns Run By Famous Brands

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Best Valentine’s Day Campaigns, Famous Brands Valentine’s Day Campaigns, Featured, Latest Business News 2020, Marketing Campaigns, startup stories, Top Brands Marketing Campaigns 2020, Valentine’s Day Brand Campaigns, valentine’s day campaigns 2020, Valentine’s Day 2020, valentines campaigns 2020

With Valentine’s Day right round the corner, every brand and organisation is scrabbling to have a strategy in place to increase their brand visibility and awareness.  Needless to say, the advent of technology and digital platforms gave us some unique campaigns over the years. Some simple, some extravagant, but each one of them special because they all came together to celebrate love.

Let us have a look at some memorable Valentine’s Day campaigns we witnessed over the recent years.

1. Cadbury

Cadbury is a brand known all over the world mainly due to their bestselling chocolate, the humble Dairy Milk.  It comes as no surprise Cadbury decided to theme their Valentine’s Day 2018 promotions around chocolate. The campaign, ‘Pop Your Heart Out With Silk,’ aimed to celebrate love in all forms.  For the campaign, Cadbury released exclusive Dairy Milk Silk chocolates which had a heart shaped chocolate piece which could just be nudged out. The chocolate is a part of a gift hamper which contained two such Dairy Milk Silk bars and two Dairy Milk Silk Oreo bars, a customised greeting card and a photo frame.

Watch the video to know more about the campaign.

 

2. Dunkin’ Donuts

One of the world’s favourite desserts, the unassuming donut, also got a campaign of its own for Valentine’s Day 2017.  Whether it is simply glazed, sprinkled or with toppings, the donut comes in many shapes and forms. Leading donut chain Dunkin’ Donuts did a campaign themed around Valentine’s Day by creating a contest named ‘Dunkin’ Love.’  The campaign urged users to show their love for the brand by sharing photos of the brand on Instagram. Lucky winners had the chance to win a year’s worth of free coffee, donuts and a cash prize of $ 2,500. The campaign also made use of geolocation so that exclusive Valentine’s Day content could be viewed at Dunkin’ Donuts’ stores.  This year, Dunkin’ Donuts is running a campaign named #ValentinesDaySweepstakes, where anyone can tag a friend with the hashtag to get a chance to win a year’s worth of free donuts.

3. Uber

Taxi hailing giant Uber did their own version of a Valentine’s Day campaign by branding it ‘Romance on Demand.’  Uber has its own creative ways of running campaigns. For example, on Pride Day, Uber changed the colour of the car icon on its app to a rainbow colour theme.  However, for Valentine’s Day 2013, Uber turned into a rose delivery service. Users could just log into the Uber app to request a bouquet of roses, which were delivered to their special someone’s address by a driver in a suit.  Although the service was expensive and was priced anywhere between $ 100-150, it became popular and encouraged app downloads. In the year 2016, Uber teamed up with the Kisses brand of Hershey’s to run a campaign named #UberSerenade.  Users could request a serenade for their loved ones, wherein a person would go to the address given and sing songs about love.

4. Coca-Cola

In 2015, the iconic brand, with its red and white colour theme, came up with a very unique Valentine’s Day campaign which aimed at getting people to interact with and get to know strangers at bus stops.  Two consecutive bus stops were set up with screens, cameras and a mic. People could see who is at the other bus stop and interact with them. The distance between the bus stops offered safety and was intended to make people shed inhibitions and converse with strangers.  The people who interacted were in for a shock when the person with whom they interacted got onto the bus at the next stop. However, the conversations resumed once they greeted each other.

Watch the video here.

5. Starbucks

Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee brand, created a fun campaign for Valentine’s Day 2015.  Starbucks partnered up with Match.com, the United States of America’s leading matchmaking platform, to run a campaign.  A feature named ‘Meet At Starbucks’ was added to Match.com and users could use this feature to send out an invitation for a coffee date.  Users who clicked the button could email each other and meet up at a nearby Starbucks.

We hope these campaigns made for a fun read.  With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, let us know of any other fun campaigns like these which make for a good read about marketing strategies.

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The RAW Pressery Story -Juices Without Preservatives On A Shelf

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The RAW Pressery Story,RAW Pressery Juices Without Preservatives,Startup Stories,Emerging Startup Stories 2020,Real Fruit Power,RAW Pressery,RAW Pressery Success Story,RAW Pressery Founder Anuj Rakyan,RAW Pressery Juices,RAW Pressery History

Being a tropical country, India is home to unique and exotic fruits people all over the world have come to savour.  Mangoes, ice apples and custard apples are just some of the fruits which are unique and found in India. Fruit and vegetable juices have always held a place in the Indian culture and civilisation in the form of medical remedies or coolers.  From the humble lemon juice to the exotic mango juice, Indians love to make them a part of their daily routine.

Juices in India sold at supermarkets or retail stores always have preservatives added to them in order to increase their shelf life and keep them safe for consumption.  A relatively new player, RAW Pressery, broke out on to the market by advertising their juices as preservative free and all natural, to take on established market brands like Tropicana and Real Fruit Power.

Beginnings

RAW Pressery was founded in 2014 in Mumbai by Anuj Rakyan when he realised there were no preservative free juices available in the market.  Anuj Rakyan began experimenting in his kitchen with various juices and ingredients to come up with a product. After investing INR 80 lakhs from his own pocket and borrowing money from friends and family, Anuj was able to pool INR 1.5 crores to start RAW Pressery.

Growth of RAW Pressery

Once Anuj Rakyan was able to successfully develop juices, he began to deliver the juices himself to his initial clients.  All this had to be done before any bacteria formed in the juices, therefore time was important. As his nutritional and fresh juices started seeing more demand, Anuj Rakyan employed the famed Mumbai dabbawalas to deliver to his clients in Mumbai.  The juices saw their demand surging and before long, RAW Pressery added Pune to its market base.

Godrej Nature’s Basket and Foodhall became retail partners to sell the juices on shelves across their retail locations.  Anuj Rakyan got his big break when investment firm Sequoia Capital decided to invest in RAW Pressery. A cold press was later added to increase the production of juice and also to increase the shelf life of products to 21 days.  A cold press is a technology which avoids oxidation and preserves the nutritional value of fruits, vegetables and nuts.

With the growing demand, the product offerings shot from just six to eighteen present now and divided into four categories—Benefits, Basics, Boosters and Shooters.  Bollywood actress Jacqueline Fernandez was roped in as the brand ambassador for RAW Pressery.

Shelf life and beyond

The juices have a shelf life of 21 days and RAW Pressery makes sure the juices do not go to waste.  Seven days before the shelf life expires, the juices are recalled to be sold at events while it is still safe to consume them.  RAW Pressery also recycles their plastic bottles by collecting them from shops and homes and turning them into polyester fibre. This fibre is used to stitch school uniforms and distributed for free to poor students.

This is the story of a startup which, under the leadership of Anuj Rakyan, was able to capture the market with its strong and original products.  Although RAW Pressery still has a large market to capture, it continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Therefore, it comes as no surprise RAW Pressery saw its valuation grow from INR 5 crores to INR 250 crores in just under four years.

Also Read: How a startup is recycling soap from hotels all over the world

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