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.
How To Create An Outstanding Company Culture For Your Startup
Company culture is the collective behaviour of all the team members. Having a good company culture is quite important to keep up with the momentum of the work. It is all about supporting people who share the same mission and values with regard to the company. Why is it necessary to have a set company culture? Because a work place culture can make or break your company!
Startups often face challenges in building a culture that is in sync with the company’s codes, rules and ethics. A culture should be designed in such a way that it leads the company to its stated end goals. A productive culture should be attained in the very beginning itself. This way when the company grows, it would be easier to follow through with the same culture and values.
The key to a good office culture is to set a firm chain of command and control of tasks. Apart from that, it is important to establish clear, honest and open communication. Knowing how to share opinions, challenges, discussions and mutually agreeing to a solution is essential. If at all there are any differences then you must be able to resolve the issue. As your company grows it becomes even more important to create the right culture as it could directly have an impact on the productivity of the individuals. Lack of employee motivation could also developed due to poor startup culture. So, create a fruitful culture that not only promotes good sportsmanship in business, but also keeps the team motivated to complete their tasks. Also, treating all the employees equally helps in keeping up with the culture of the startup. If you treat your workers right, you’ll figure out how to prevent them from going to other companies. If the employees are happy, they are not looking for other jobs!
Here’s how you can create an outstanding company culture,
- Define the company’s ethical values and codes
- Hire smart employees
- Communicate more clearly
- Treat employees equally
At last you should be constantly reviewing your company’s culture. Culture may vary from company to company so, concentrate more toward creating an effective and a healthy culture from the very beginning!
Startup Ecosystem In Developing Countries
We hear about startups and their emerging stories now and then. Quite often, we observe these startups come to light from a number of developed countries like the US, India and China. In order to be a great startup you need a proper action plan that can be implemented cleverly. As far as the developing countries are concerned, there are loads of challenges that one experiences while establishing a business. Nothing is quite impossible but keeping in mind the challenges one is going to face and acting accordingly, could make it easier to set up a startup. Apart from challenges in terms of technology and infrastructure systems, one major challenge startups face in developing countries is with funding. Finding investors plays a key role in expanding your business. It has a major impact on your startup as nothing can be taken forward to without funding. Over the years, the investments in developing countries have been made in matured industries such as oil, gas, real estate and finance.
The times have changed now!
Brazil improved its rank over the last few years. The Country faces several challenges to entrepreneurship including economic downturn, investor confidence and high costs. However, of late the entrepreneurial ecosystem of Brazil is on the rise. São Paulo is by far the most mature startup scene in Brazil. It is also referred to as the Financial Capital of Brazil. Majority of the startups commence from this City in Brazil. The Country’s startups are also receiving funding from investors like Tiger Global Management and Kaszek Ventures.
South Africa’s startup ecosystem is also seeing a growth however, challenges still remain. African startups overall, saw $167.7 million in capital being infused in to 201 startups in 2017. With the startup ecosystem changing the whole scenario, South Africa is expected to notice more inceptions in the coming years. To succeed as an entrepreneur in a developing country, you could look for partners to invest in your business and expand your footprint. South Africa also received the funding amount of $ 39.60 million infused into its startups followed by Kenya that attracted an investment of $ 31.4 million and Nigeria which secured $ 24.2 million. Startups actually make the world a better place. You put your ideas into implementation and make things easier for the people around you, with your brilliance.
With the use of cutting edge technology and innovations, many global startups are changing the face of the developing countries!
Indian Startups To Look For In 2018
India is the fourth largest country when it comes to innovation and technology. With the startup industry booming in India, listed below are the companies that are definitely worth a look in 2018!
Starting off with the education technology startup Byju’s, this company joined the unicorn club with a valuation of Rs. 6,505 crores, currently. The company was founded in 2011 in Bengaluru. The Byju’s learning app was launched in the year 2015 by Byju Raveendran, the brainchild of the edtech startup. Byju’s offers a variety of learning products for students. The aim of these products is to make education and learning interesting. The learning app is used by 15 million users with 900,000 paid annual subscriptions with an annual renewal rate of 90%. Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s investment firm, The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) also invested in Byju’s. It was their first investment in the Indian startup ecosystem. Byju’s would soon be entering the global market including the US, the UK and South Africa.
It is currently India’s best funded edutech startup!
Businesses are investing billions of dollars to make shopping experiences faster and easier. From Amazon to Flipkart, everyone is focusing on scaling up the online grocery category. BigBasket is the very first online grocery store that is also headquartered in Bengaluru, India. The country’s largest supermarket was founded by Vipul Parekh, Abhinay Choudhari, Hari Menon, V.S. Sudhakar and V.S. Ramesh in 2011. The company now commands a valuation of around $ 950 million. BigBasket raised $300 million funded by the Chinese e tailer Alibaba and other investors including The Abraaj Group, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Sands Capital Ventures.BigBasket’s brand ambassador Shah Rukh Khan has also extended his contract for third year. BigBasket is currently in 30 cities and is looking forward to expand its business across the country.
The Gurugram based hotel aggregator, Oravel which is now OYO Rooms is currently valued at Rs. 8,000 crores. OYO Rooms was founded by Ritesh Agarwal at the age of 19. Since its launch in 2011, the company has grown tremendously. The startup raised nearly $ 450 million so far. It lets you book affordable hotel rooms, airport hotels and even luxury hotels in just few seconds with over 70,000 rooms in 230+ cities in India, Malaysia and Nepal. Today OYO Rooms has reached five million app downloads. OYO attracted global investors including the Softbank Group, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Sequoia Capital and DSG Consumer Partners. China Lodging also, made an investment of $10 million in OYO recently.
In January, the company also launched OYO Bazaar, a marketplace for hotel supplies in Delhi and Gurgaon. The company is only just getting started with its exponential growth!
This elogistics startup has grown enormously every year and investors have been queuing up. Delhivery is an e commerce logistics service company based out of Gurgaon. The company was brought to light by a bunch of engineers including Bhavesh Manglani, Kapil Bharati, Mohit Tandon, Sahil Barua and Suraj Saharan in the year 2011. Delhivery offers services such as last mile delivery, third party transit warehousing and more. The company was formerly known as SSN Logistics Private Limited and changed its name to Delhivery Private Limited in December 2015. As of now Delhivery raised $ 100 million from The Carlyle Group and its existing investor Tiger Global Management. The firm is valued at $ 114.5 M currently. Delhivery has operations in 800 cities and also delivers 3.2 lakhs products a day. Delhivery has done exceeding well till date.
Each of the successful startups mentioned has a unique story and characteristics that differentiates them from the others! Do let us know your thoughts about these and other up and coming you think we should consider.
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