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Zivame: Founding Story

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Back in the day, talking about lingerie was a taboo in India. However, times change and so do people!

An enthusiastic MBA student, Richa Kar, developed an online lingerie shopping platform in the year 2011.

The company had so far, raised $ 9 million from IDG Ventures India, Kalaari Capital and Unilazer Ventures. Alongside, Zivame counts Ratan Tata as an investor. Now that is big! Currently, Zivame is India’s leading online lingerie store which offers a variety of 5,000 styles, 50 brands and 100 sizes with a valuation of $100 million.

 

Zivame is probably the first in the online lingerie platform in India!

 

From then to now!

 

Richa Kar completed her engineering from BITS, Pilani, followed by her management studies from Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies in 2007.

Later, she worked for SAP Retail Consulting during which she found herself working for the famous lingerie company Victoria’s Secret.

The brilliant idea for her own lingerie business came to light when Richa tracked Victoria’s Secret’s sales, who was one of her clients at SAP. She observed the lingerie sales figures reached peaks overseas but, Indian women were not provided with the similar innerwear. While Richa was studying the Indian lingerie market, she realized the social embarrassment in India surrounding lingerie shopping. It was causing several problems for women as well as retailers.

Richa researched many lingerie stores and found out that women were uncomfortable buying inner wears as the stores had male salesperson.

 

In order to solve the issues, Richa came up with Zivame!

The name Zivame comes from a Hebrew word radiance. So, the main motive of this young lady Richa, is to help women understand their lingerie needs and purchase them without any kind of embarrassment.

 

Post the launch of the website, there were questions raised on the image of Richa’s family in the society. Her friends and family members wondered if she had to admit she was selling bras and panties on the web in the typical Indian language. Initially, Richa faced a lot of pressure but that didn’t stop her from achieving her goals!

 

There were a lot of people who also made fun of her business!

Richa couldn’t even find a place on rent because the landlords asked her what she was doing and she had to tell them she sold clothes online.

 

Richa says,

If you are strong, focused and passionate about what you want to do, everything falls in place.

Zivame also partnered with several media channels that launched Zivame bra advertisements that created awareness among women!

Alongside, the website also provided customers with the option of returning the products as well! With time, Zivame started getting positive response from its buyers!  

 

Richa’s first client was a man from Indore who bought materials worth Rs 7,000 and from then there was no stopping! Since the inception of Zivame, it grew from a small firm to a company of more than 200 employees. With her dedication toward her idea and work, Richa built Zivame which is now worth more than Rs. 681 Crore.

The online lingerie shopping platform Zivame, claims growth of 300% yearly! The company received its first funding of $ 3 million in May 2012, followed by another funding of $ 6 million in Dec 2013 and $ 40 million in 2015.

 

Zivame.com, now have more than 5 million followers and more than a million visitors per day.

According to Richa,

Worldwide, lingerie is the most exciting category in the women’s apparel segment. The Indian woman, who is more confident than ever before is indulging herself in lingerie to express her individuality. Zivame is the catalyst of this change; using technology to understand her better and providing her an unsurpassed lingerie experience.

 

So, If you have zeal like Richa Kar, you can achieve anything and everything!

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Emerging Startup Stories

How KhataBook Grew From Simple SMS App To Leading FinTech App In India

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How KhataBook Grew From Simple SMS App To Leading FinTech App In India

If you are an Indian citizen living in any of the urban cities of the Country, you might not have heard of this application until recently when the Indian Cricket Team Captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, invested in a startup called KhataBook.  The question that was on many minds when Dhoni invested in this startup was what is KhataBook doing that has made Dhoni, one of the most popular celebrities in India, invest in this finance technology.  However in order to answer this question, we need to understand how KhataBook came into being and what it is today.

Beginnings

KhataBook was founded by Ravish Naresh, Dhanesh Kumar, Vaibhav Kalpe and Ashish Sonone in 2018.  The idea for KhataBook however has been on the minds of the founders for a long time before 2018.  It all began when Ravish Naresh along with his friends began a digital spending manager app called Kyte.ai in 2016.  The app lets a user understand their spending patterns by making use of the transactional SMS alerts.  The initial traction for Kyte was good but the growth was not reaching the scale the founders had in mind.  After researching the user data they realized that most of their users are based out of metro cities.  Upon digging deeper the data revealed that first time online users did not deal in digital transactions. They were still relying on traditional ‘khata,’ or ledger books. That is when the idea for KhataBook materialised for the Kyte team in 2018.  ‘Khata’ simply stands for account in Hindi.  

Growth

In 2018, the Kyte team decided to work on a simple cash management application called KhataBook on the premise that a real life ‘Khata’ can be replaced by a digital ‘Khata.’  The idea was to shift the focus of small time traders and businesses to move their accounts to digital platforms.  The team also included Kyte’s SMS checking mechanism to track data and provide free SMS updates on a user’s customer transactions.  This feature has ensured a three times faster return on credits for their users. The app has recorded $ 5 billion+ cash transactions by November 2018.  What makes this app attractive is that it employs artificial intelligence to track SMS alerts for transactions and use that to keep a track of accounts and spending.  With the internet penetration Reliance Jio offered, it was easier for KhataBook founders to target users in smaller cities and towns.  KhataBook is unique in the finance technology sector and has no major competitors.  However, OkCredit and Vyapaar app are the closest competition KhataBook has in the market currently.

ALSO READ: How One Indian Startup Is Tackling The Problem Of Floral Waste

Kyte is still an ongoing process for the founders of KhataBook, but KhataBook has managed to record 100x of Kyte’s users.  KhataBook currently has 5.5 million active users per month and the startup aims to reach 20 million active users by the end of 2020.

Upon reaching a quick growth KhataBook got its first big publicity push when Dhoni invested an undisclosed amount in the startup and also became its brand ambassador.  KhataBook is now being used in more than 5000 cities and the users range from kirana shops, merchants, recharge shops.  The app currently supports eleven languages and even has users in Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

 

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Emerging Startup Stories

How Ewoke, A Sustainable Fashion Brand, Is Doing Their Bit For Frontline Forces During Covid-19?

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How Ewoke, A Sustainable Fashion Brand, Is Doing Their Bit For Frontline Forces During Covid-19?

Founded by a National Institute Of Fashion Technology (NIFT) alumnus, Shruti Rawal, Ewoke is a fashion brand for women to make every day wardrobes eco friendly.  Ewoke was founded with the vision to empower women with the clothes they wear while making a positive impact on the environment.  Fashion is the second largest polluting industry in the world. It takes approximately 2500 litres of water to make a simple white cotton shirt.  That is enough water for one person to drink for three and a half years. If a simple cotton shirt can cost us so much, wonder how much the environment has paid for our wardrobes of cotton and polyester?

This striking thought is what inspired the birth of Ewoke.  Having worked with designers such as Gaurav Gupta and Shriya Som, Shruti quit her job to follow her conscience.  She says, “Our efforts at Ewoke are a work in progress but it will always be you and us together making an impact for this beautiful planet of ours (sic.)”

 With the spread of COVID-19, Shruti noticed that the police officers around their home were without masks.  The shortage of disposable medical grade masks created a need for non medical masks for non medical frontline workers.  Shruti knew she wanted to help with the resources available and she had some hemp fabric available from work, but she was not sure if it was the right choice of fabric for making masks.  She started cold calling doctors and medical practitioners and realized that it was an ideal fabric for non medical grade masks. It is hypoallergenic (unlikely to cause an allergic reaction,) naturally resistant to bacteria, Ultraviolet (UV) rays, and gets softer with every wash.  Another important factor in making hemp masks was that it saves the planet because hemp is biodegradable and uses almost no water during production.  Reusing these masks would reduce the strain on using polyester masks which would end up in landfills. The real challenge was to find a medical grade elastic and due to the unavailability amidst the lockdown, Shruti decided to make the masks with strings.  This made it possible for the masks to be adjusted to any size.

Two weeks in and after a lot of prototyping, shruti had her first batch of masks ready.  She knew exactly to whom she wanted to give them –the police force risking their lives to protect the citizens every day.  The feedback received from the police was very promising and after incorporating some recommendations, the team is making more masks to cover all the police officers on duty in Hyderabad.

The team is currently working with hemp fabric, which is an expensive raw material in comparison to that of polypropylene used in surgical masks.  They are planning to start making masks out of another sustainable fabric, Tencel (a type of cellulose fiber) which is less expensive than hemp, when purchased in much larger quantities.  Shruti believes fashion has always had a purpose. Today, it is being repurposed to protect us from an infectious disease. However, people need to be aware at all times with respect to anything that they consume and the origins of what they are consuming as this would force everyone to be sustainable and ethical. 

If you would like to be a part of this movement, you could contribute or get in touch with Shruti on their Instagram handle.

https://www.instagram.com/ewoke.studio/

 

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Emerging Startup Stories

Zoom Video Conferencing App Downloads Dethrone Whatsapp And TikTok In India

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Zoom Video Conferencing App Downloads Dethrone Whatsapp And TikTok In India

The Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 virus was classified as a pandemic and has spread all over the world.  Governments across the world are currently focussing their efforts and resources towards stopping the spread of the virus and to find a vaccine.  The virus has affected the economies all over the world and forced many businesses and organisations to lay off their employees. This impact on the world economies,  by the virus, can only be gauged after we survive this ordeal. However, amid all this economic wreckage, there is an unlikely star who is thriving in the present economic conditions.

Zoom, a remote video conferencing service based out of the Silicon Valley in America.  As many countries across the globe are imposing lockdowns and shutting down schools and colleges, business and schools have quickly adapted and shifted to the remote conferencing app, Zoom.  More and more users are thronging to the app store to install Zoom because it is the only app currently available which is able to have more than 10 users on a single call. Zoom is currently ranked number 1 on the Google Play Store in India, dethroning popular applications like WhatsApp, TikTok and Instagram. Even though Whatsapp has 400 million monthly active users and TikTok has 119 million active users in India, Zoom managed to beat both these apps in terms of popularity.   Zoom currently has more than a billion downloads on the Google Play Store and 50 million downloads in India alone were done just this month. The global daily active users on the Zoom App rose upto 67% since January 1st, 2020. Microsoft Teams App has over 10 million downloads. Google’s Hangouts advanced features were made free till the month of July which usually cost 25$ per user while Zooms pricier offering sits at 19$ per user per month. Google Hangouts offers upto 250 users per single meeting while Zoom can host up to 500 users in a single meeting without experiencing latency issues.

When the users quickly started increasing, Zoom stepped up to the challenge effortlessly taking on all the bandwidth and usage it is currently experiencing.  Zoom has also removed time limits for the conference calls and made the entire suite free of cost for schools and businesses in the affected regions across the globe, thereby further increasing its popularity.  Students or teachers who fill out an online form using their school email addresses and are then verified by Zoom will have any accounts associated with that school’s domain also gain unlimited temporary meeting minutes. The free Basic accounts are also available by request in Austria, Denmark, France, Ireland, Poland, Romania and South Korea.  When Zoom made its debut on the stock market in April 2019, it was valued at 15 billion dollars, but it is currently valued at 38.5 billion dollars due to the rise in its demand. Zoom founder and Chief Executive Officer Eric Yuan said, “I told the team that with any crisis like this, let’s not leverage the opportunity for marketing or sales.  Let’s focus on our customers,” and “If you leverage this opportunity for money, I think that’s a horrible culture.”

The rise in popularity of zoom, which is a cloud enterprise, gives an insight into the future of cloud computing.  More companies and organisations will now look to make the shift towards cloud based models and integrate them into work flows. 

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