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Inshorts: From A Facebook Page To A Rs.600 Crores Company!

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News insights from across the globe on one platform in just 60 words which is crisp and quick, is this not interesting and easy to go through for most of us? Categories like national, business, sports, technology and what not are displayed on Inshorts. The very famous Inshorts which started off as News In Shorts is a content discovery platform provider for both Android and iOS users.

So, how exactly did the idea of InShorts come to life? Like many other Facebook pages, Inshorts started off with the purpose of sharing information about the latest news. It was difficult to become popular by doing just the basic things. The founders of this interesting app came up with the idea of presenting news within 60 words and bang! This very simple yet unique idea changed the fortune of the masterminds behind this company.

The brainchilds of Inshorts includes Azhar Iqubal, Deepit Purkayastha and Anunay Arnav who back then decided to start off the firm during their last semester at IIT Delhi.

In an interview Azhar Iqubal said It was really easy to set up. Unlike other startups where it takes months to get off the ground, we were up and running in 3 days flat. The premise was deceptively simple they would provide their fans with snappy, 60 word updates of happenings around them.

It was initially available only in English, but they have recently launched in Hindi and based on its success, the app will soon launch in regional languages as well. During their college days, the three buddies observed that not many loved the idea of consuming news every day and came up with the idea of launching a news “in shorts.” Azhar along with his mates created a facebook page and in just a little span of time, they received an enormous interaction to the tune of more than 1,00,000 fans. Within a few months of the launch, the app fetched more than 10,000 downloads. Within a year, these entrepreneurs entered into the Forbes’ 30 under 30 lists, bagged the award for the Best Innovation App by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). Founded in 2013, this app now has more than 3 million downloads. The next step was obvious and the masterminds developed an app. By mid 2015, they had hit a 1 million users mark. Is that not huge?

To recreate the unique experience of reading a 60 words snippet, the news features an image as a card on the mobile screen. If readers would like to read the entire story, they can do so by following the link to a publisher’s website within the app. By the end of 2015, the ecommerce giant Flipkart showed keen interest in the idea of Inshorts and invested $ 4 millions. At the same time, Tiger Global Investors also invested a whopping  $ 20 million dollars.

Inshorts generate around 140 stories a day. The user interface is simple yet attractive, the user just have to swipe to go through the latest news and happenings around the world. The app will soon incorporate multimedia like videos, infographics, podcasts, blogs and others.

 

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Sanskriitii – A Saviour For Indian Artisans?

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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.

Overview

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.

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WhistleDrive Think. Whistle. Move.

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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.


Rakesh Munnanooru, Founder.

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.

Masked employee details, pick up location and live tracking.

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.

Employee live tracking.

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.

Pick up details.
Employees of WhistleDrive along with founder,
Rakesh Munnanooru.

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.

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Emerging Startup Stories

Sabyasachi Mukherjee: Inspirational Story Of An Indian Fashion Designer

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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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