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Story of Rovio Entertainment, Makers of Angry Birds Franchise

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If you are a smartphone user, chances are you have seen or played the hit game Angry Birds at least once.  The game became a phenomenon due to its fun gameplay featuring ‘angry’ birds with powers and pigs which try to steal the eggs of the birds.  However, the creators of the game, Rovio Entertainment, almost went bankrupt before coming up with the idea of Angry Birds.  While Rovio Entertainment may look like an overnight success story, in reality, it really was not.

Beginnings

Rovio Entertainment was founded by three Finnish students, Niklas Hed, Jarno Väkeväinen and Kim Dikert, belonging to the Helsinki University of Technology, after they won a mobile game development competition sponsored by Nokia and Hewlett-Packard in 2003.  Rovio was initially named Relude. Later, the name was changed to Rovio in 2005 before finally becoming Rovio Entertainment in 2011.

Rovio Entertainment was focussed on making games which targeted niche audiences and concepts like science fiction and horror.  They released 51 games to not a lot of success and realised they would go bankrupt if they continued on the same path.

Development of Angry Birds

When the first iPhone was announced in 2007, the entire smartphone industry was disrupted, leading to the development of new ecosystems.  Mikael Hed, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Rovio Entertainment, saw an opportunity to create a game which echoed with the millennial mindset and attention spans.  He wanted to come up with a game which was easy to load, simple to play without any tutorial and could be played at any time.

While the team of Rovio Entertainment was experimenting with different concepts, one designer pitched a concept art showing a group of birds which were cross for no reason and the design stuck.  The game was developed around these ‘angry birds’ by creating a storyline and antagonists. For the antagonists, the developers settled on pigs because of the swine flu epidemic which was in the news at the time.  Angry Birds was the fifty second game to be developed by Rovio Entertainment and was developed at a cost exceeding 100,000 euros.

Capturing the market

The developers realised they could not compete on the Apple App Store in the United States of America and the United Kingdom, which hold the largest market share with other games, as the response to Angry Birds was lukewarm.  Therefore, the developers released the game in smaller markets like Finland, Sweden and Denmark before capturing Greece and the Czech Republic.  The larger markets began to take note and the App Store in the United Kingdom finally put it on its featured games list, thereby catapulting the game into limelight and making it the number 1 game on the U.K. and the U.S.A. App Stores.  Angry Birds reached its one billionth download in 2012 and two billionth download in 2014.

Rovio Entertainment showed what it means not to give up and stick to an idea if it is endearing.  The success of Angry Birds is a testimony to the perseverance of the studio behind it.  Angry Birds successfully spawned a franchise, with multiple games on offer, merchandise and Hollywood movies to its name.

Read about the story of Electronic Arts here : The Story of Video Gaming Company Electronic Arts (EA)

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Hershey’s Founding Story

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Hershey’s Founding Story

The name Hershey’s is synonymous with chocolate and it is rightly so considering The Hershey Company is one of the largest chocolate makers in the world.  Hershey’s however is not just into making chocolates as they even sell cakes, milkshakes, cookies and many more products.  The Hershey’s Kisses are one of the most well known chocolates to be ever made by Hershey and the bite size chocolates are a favourite globally.  However, Hershey’s was not always a chocolate company and was manufacturing something entirely different when it was founded.

Founding Story

The Hershey Company was founded by Milton S. Hershey in 1894, but the company traces its roots back to 1873 when Milton Hershey opened a candy shop in Philadelphia after an apprenticeship.  After running the candy shop for six years, Milton Hershey apprenticed with a confectioner to learn how to make caramel following which in 1886 Milton founded the Lancaster Caramel Company.  

Milton Hershey saw a chocolate making machine for the first time in 1893 at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and decided to make chocolates thereby founding The Hershey Company in 1894.  Before the chocolate making machines, chocolate was a luxury item and was time consuming to make.  Milton Hershey saw an opportunity and built a milk processing plant so he could create and refine a recipe for milk chocolate candies.  Milton Hershey’s first thought was to manufacture chocolate bars covered in caramel but the chocolate bars became such a huge hit, Milton ditched the caramel.  He began manufacturing Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bars, also called Hershey’s Bars or Hershey Bars.  This would go on to become America’s favourite candy bar in its brown and silver wrapper.  Milton Hershey sold his caramel business in 1900 for a million dollars to focus on making chocolate.

ALSO READ: Dropbox Founding Story

Growth

Milton Hershey decided to build a town called Hershey in Pennsylvania where he would manufacture chocolate.  The plots of land Hershey chose were close to the Berks and Dauphin Turnpike, as well as the Reading and Philadelphia Railroads. There was a massive labor pool of rural families who were ready to work, and it was also close to one of his factory’s main ingredients which is fresh milk.  The Hershey’s Kisses were introduced in 1907 and were a huge success in the market.  The Kisses were followed by the introduction of some popular brands which are still famous today like  Mr. Goodbar (1925) and Hershey’s Syrup (1926.)  One of Hershey’s most iconic brands, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, was purchased by Hershey’s in 1963 and in 1969, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups became The Hershey Company’s top seller.

Hershey’s is now present in 60 countries worldwide and is still continuing to grow in leaps and bounds.  Thousands of people visit Hershey town every year to visit Hershey Park and also to know the history of the famed chocolate brand.  It is safe to say Hershey’s has changed the way chocolate is consumed and will continue to do so in the future.

 

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Six Innovations By Elon Musk

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Six Innovations By Elon Musk

Elon Musk is perhaps the boldest business leader, thinker and entrepreneur of this generation.  Elon Musk dabbled in multiple ventures over the years and most of them might seem like they are straight out of a storybook.  Elon Musk’s perseverance to achieve his dreams have paid off and he now owns several highly successful companies.  Elon’s ambitions are bold as he is determined to send humans to Mars, offer highly subsidised or free internet to the world and develop the world’s fastest mode of transportation with his ventures.  

We give you six innovations conceived by Elon Musk which prove he is a true visionary.

1) Tesla

Tesla is a car manufacturing firm which mainly focuses on cars which run on electricity powered by batteries.  The company name Tesla, is a tribute to Nikola Tesla who was an electrical engineer.  Elon Musk’s Tesla pioneered the concept that electric cars can look and feel like premium cars as well as powering their vehicles with powerful artificial intelligence which lets its drivers to sit back and relax while the autopilot does the driving.  Tesla cars are only sold online as Elon Musk believes a traditional dealership will have conflict of interests while selling electric vehicles.  Tesla is the first automaker that sells cars directly to consumers while the rest use independently owned dealerships.

2) SpaceX

Space X is perhaps the most ambitious undertaking by Elon Musk as he believes colonising Mars is the future of humankind.  SpaceX is also short for space exploration and has drastically reduced the costs of undertaking space missions as Elon Musk figured out a way to reuse the rockets.  Unlike most rockets, which are expendable launch systems, since the introduction of the Full Thrust version, Space X’s Falcon 9 is partially reusable, with the first stage capable of re entering the atmosphere and landing vertically after separating from the second stage.  This feat was achieved for the first time by SpaceX in December 2015.  A 2011 NASA report “estimated that it would have cost the agency about US $ 4 billion to develop a rocket like the Falcon 9 booster based upon NASA’s traditional contracting processes while “a more ‘commercial development’ approach might have allowed the agency to pay only US $ 1.7 billion (sic.)”

3) Hyperloop

Hyperloop aims to be the provider of the fastest mode of transportation on the planet.  Hyperloop is a sealed tube or system of tubes with low air pressure through which a pod may travel substantially free of air resistance or friction.  The Hyperloop could convey people or objects at airline or hypersonic speeds while being very energy efficient. In aerodynamics, a hypersonic speed is one that greatly exceeds the speed of sound, often stated as starting at speeds of Mach 5 and above.  Mach 1 is the speed of sound which is 1234 kmph.  The Hyperloop Genesis paper conceived of a hyperloop system that would propel passengers along the 350-mile (560 km) route at a speed of 760 mph (1,200 km/h), allowing for a travel time of 35 minutes, which is considerably faster than current rail or air travel times.

ALSO READ: Five Interesting Facts About Elon Musk’s SpaceX 

4)  Starlink

Starlink is a satellite constellation being constructed by SpaceX  to provide satellite Internet access.  The constellation will consist of thousands of mass produced small satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO,) working in combination with ground transceivers.  SpaceX intends to provide satellite internet connectivity to underdeveloped areas of the planet, as well as provide competitively priced service to urban areas.   

5) Boring company

The Boring Company is a tunnel services company and Elon Musk cited difficulty with Los Angeles traffic and limitations with the current two dimensional transportation network as his early inspiration for the project.  Musk claims the tunnel trip will take five minutes, compared to above ground driving which takes 45 minutes in normal traffic to go from LAX to Westwood.  These trips were planned to be implemented by placing a car on an electric sled and traveling at 120 miles per hour (200 km/h) through tunnels.

6) Neuralink

Neuralink is a neurotechnology company founded by Elon Musk for developing implantable brain machine interfaces.  Neuralink announced it was working on a “sewing machine like” device capable of implanting very thin (4 to 6 μm in width) threads into the brain, and demonstrated a system that read information from a lab rat via 1,500 electrodes.  The company is centered on creating devices that can be implanted in the human brain, with the eventual purpose of helping human beings merge with software and keep pace with advancements in artificial intelligence.  These enhancements could improve memory or allow more direct interfacing with computing devices at broadband speeds.

While some of the companies and their vision might seem far fetched, Elon Musk is adamant on making them a reality.  Elon Musk and SpaceX successfully made history as being the first private organization to transport astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS.)  The entire operation from launch to docking at the ISS has been live streamed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and was watched by millions from all over the world.  Neuralink’s progress was displayed recently as a pig named Gertrude had a chip implanted in her brain which tracked her neural activity and was publicly displayed to everyone.  

We at Startup Stories hope Elon Musk will continue to push the boundaries of science and imagination for as long as he can and make an indelible impact on humanity.

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TVS Motor Story : A True Blue Indian Motorbike Company

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TVS Motor Story : A True Blue Indian Motorbike Company

India as a nation has a preference for choosing a two wheeler over a four wheeler.  It is quite easy to see the Indian roads packed with motorcycles and mopeds zipping away and snaking their way through the notorious Indian traffic.  Almost every household has some form of a two wheeler at home which they use for travelling with whole families .  The entire two wheeler market segment is flooded with gearless mopeds like Activa, Jupiter and budget geared vehicles like Passion, Splendor and Victor.  There is a vehicle for every economic requirement in India.  

The Indian market is majorly ruled by Honda, Bajaj and TVS all of which have a plethora of models available for the market.  Let us take a look at the story of TVS Motors, a true Indian company which makes vehicles for the Indian sensibilities.

Beginnings:

T.V. Sundaram Iyengar began with Madurai’s first bus service in 1911 and founded T.V.S., a company in the transportation business with a large fleet of trucks and buses under the name of Southern Roadways.   This is also the first company to run buses in Delhi and with their large number of buses, TVS quickly began to rule the transportation market in Delhi.  After the death of Sundaram Iyenger in 1955, his sons took over the business.

Sundaram Clayton:

In 1962, Sundaram Clayton came into existence.  This company was a collaboration of the Sundaram company and Clayton Dewandre Holdings of the United Kingdom.  Sundaram Clayton started making products like motors, bike brakes, compressors and other automotive products.  For about a decade, the company was engaged in the same work , they were manufacturing automotive products.

In 1978, they set up a plant to manufacture mopeds at Hosur, Tamil Nadu.  They began with TVS50 which was also India’s first two seater moped.  Sundaram Clayton then entered into a collaboration with Japan’s Suzuki Limited as a joint venture in 1987.  TVS and Suzuki shared a one year long relationship that was aimed at technology transfer for design and manufacture of two wheelers specifically for the Indian market.  TVS Suzuki introduced many models such as the Suzuki Supra, Suzuki Samurai, Suzuki Shogun and Suzuki Shaolin.

After a fruitful relationship, the collaboration finally came to an end in 2001 following which TVS signed a moratorium for 30 months during which Suzuki promised not to enter the Indian market with competing two wheelers.  TVS was then renamed to TVS motors.

Recent Past

TVS Motors entered the racing bike category with the Apache model and the budget and mileage friendly segment with the Jupiter series.  In early 2015, TVS Racing became the first Indian factory team to take part in the Dakar Rally, the world’s longest and most dangerous rally. TVS Racing partnered with the French motorcycle manufacturer Sherco, and named the team Sherco TVS Rally Factory Team.

In 2016 TVS started manufacturing the BMW G310R, a model co developed with BMW Motorrad after their strategic partnership in April 2013. 

TVS Motors also has a list of firsts in India which is to be the first to indigenously produce a four stroke motorcycle.  The list of firsts from the firm include: India’s first 2 seater moped – TVS 50, India’s first Digital Ignition with the TVS Champ, India’s first fully indigenous motorcycle – Victor, and the first Indian company to launch ABS in a motorcycle with the Apache RTR Series.

TVS Motors is currently the third largest motorcycle company in India with a revenue of Rs. 20,000 crores.  With a strong history and a proven track record for innovation and its commitment to making the lives of Indians better, TVS Motors will only look forward to releasing more models into the market and become the market leader in India.

 

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