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Women Entrepreneurs Ruling The Indian Startup Game

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India as a country, has been the victim of patriarchy since men decided they just had to have the last word. Ironically, there have been only a smattering of women in power and it has been only now that the times have finally changed. The 21st century brought forth a new wave of growth, change and ideas.  Women started revisiting their inner potential and are moving forward with renewed vigour.

Spanning diverse fields like food, fashion, technology and education, these women have challenged the startup game from being housewives to creating a brand new niche for themselves. Here is a list of women who have set the ball rolling for a brand new path in innovation and creation.

1. Shubbra Chadda – Chumbak 

Shubbra Chaddha took a while to realise her dream and when she finally knew what it was, boy, did she make a splash! Shubbra’s brand, Chumbak, took the country by a storm by becoming one of the first companies that sells funky and creative designs, with a wide array of accessories, bags and nick nacks. A store that resonates with class, style and easy sophistication, Chumbak has set the stage for those who dare to dream.

2. Chiki Sarkar – Juggernaut Books 

After heading major publishing houses like Penguin India and Random House India, Chiki Sarkar decided the time had come to branch out into the world of smartphones. With this in mind, she began Juggernaut Books, the country’s first smartphone publishing house. Through this platform, Chiki Sarkar plans on expanding the number of books available to the world. As one moves into a world governed by technology, this company comes as a refreshing change for growth.

3. Suchi Mukherjee – Limeroad 

When Suchi Mukherjee returned to India from the United States, after a gap of 17 long years, she wanted to create something that was truly wonderful. However, her road to success was not easy. Armed with a goal in mind, the path to achieving the impossible was not a simple task. With a dream in hand and a world of opportunities in front of her, Suchi created Limeroad in 2011, an online shopping platform for those who did not have the patience to go shop in actual stores. A fashion portal that uses social discovery to stand out from competitors with features such as personalised stylist recommendations and scrapbooking to customised looks, Limeroad is every shopper’s dream come true!

4. Suchita Salwan – Little Black Book 

A foodie with a desire to look for new places set the ground for Suchita Salwan’s Little Black Book. Established platforms like Just Dial, Zomato and Swiggy failed to satiate her continuing hunger pangs. With the aim of creating something out of the ordinary, Suchita founded a platform which caters to a very niche and exclusive clientele. The rest, as they say, is history.

5. Richa Singh – YourDost 

Richa Singh saw people continuously facing negativity which more often than not, would lead to depression. When a fellow hosteler ended their life, Richa realised empathy and compassion are what is needed to make the world a better place. With this one thought in mind, Richa Singh started YourDost, a platform that not only gives you a friend for life but also gives you an opportunity to get over all the problems one faces on a regular basis.

6. Kanika Tekriwal – JetSetGo

The saying, “the sky is the limit” perfectly suits Kanika Tekriwal. The founder of JetSetGo, India’s first private planes chartering service, Kanika succeeded with flying colors. This company lets people book private planes for everything from weddings to business purposes. Often described as the Uber of the skies, JetSetGo boasts of having the largest fleet of aeroplanes.

7. Falguni Nayar – Nykaa

After a long stint as an investment banker, Falguni Nayar founded Nykaa.com in the year 2013. An online one stop shop for beauty products from Indian and international brands, Nykaa changed the world of online shopping. Who would have ever thought buying makeup online would be so easy? Falguni Nayar proved all of us wrong and created a brand new place for people who love experimenting with styles, designs and colors.

8. Sairee Chahal – Sheroes 

Sheroes is the first website of its kind, giving women the chance to work in the field about which they are really passionate. If you are a woman looking for a career change or a new workplace, then Sheroes is the perfect platform for you. Sairee created this website solely dedicated to women. Besides connecting businesses and interested employees to each other, Sheroes provides mentorship and support to career oriented women.

9. Shahnaz Husain – Shahnaz Herbal Inc 

Despite being married off at the very young age of 16, Shahnaz Husain realised where her true passion lay. With a major interest in everything related to fashion and beauty, Shahnaz turned her dream into reality with Shahnaz Herbal Inc. Best known for creating herbal skin care and cosmetic products without animal testing, Shahnaz has grown like never before. With over 400 clinics in 138 countries across the world, Shahnaz has been bestowed with the Padmashree Award in 2006 for her commendable effort in making the world of cosmetics a better, cleaner and healthier place.

10. Rashmi Sinha – Slideshare

Rashmi Sinha, a PhD holder in neuropsychology from Brown University, co founded SlideShare with her husband in 2006. Within just a couple of years, the website was so popular, it got acquired by LinkedIn for $ 100 million in the year 2012! Ranked number 8 in Fortune’s Most Powerful Entrepreneurs List, Rashmi was also named as the World’s Top 10 Women Influencers in the world of web.

From the accomplishments of these pioneering women, one thing stands out. The times, they are a changing. Women know what they want and what needs to be done to get what they want. They are here. They are now. They are finally coming into their own and soon, the world is going to be a much better place.

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How Do IPL Franchises Make Money

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How Do IPL Franchises Make Money

If there is one thing that every Indian and every cricket fan waits for all year, it is the Indian Premier League, which is the world’s biggest cricketing league.  Professional cricket players from all over the world vie to get selected by one of the eight franchises which compete in the league.  The entire league is a star studded affair and Indians manage to forget their differences and band together for all the time the league is aired.  Each franchise boasts of a loyal fan following who have supported their teams through thick and thin ever since IPL was inaugurated in 2008.  While the entire league is a melting pot of entertainment and competition, have you ever wondered how the franchises make money in IPL?  In this article we will decode the business models behind the IPL teams and how they earn money.

Franchises need to bid for players every year before the start of the IPL season in an auction.  Each franchise has a maximum spend limit of Rs. 80 crores to buy players in the auction.  Apart from buying players each franchise also needs to bear the cost of travel, support staff and logistics.  The following are the different avenues from which franchises earn money.

1) Sponsorships

Franchises earn a major chunk of their revenue from sponsorships, but they do not get the money from sponsorships directly.  The IPL governing council gets money from sponsors and in the case of this year it is from Dream 11, which is the title sponsor while VIVO was the title sponsor last year.  All the money which is earned from sponsorships is divided into a ratio of 60:40 with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) retaining 40% of the sponsorships.  The remaining 60% is distributed among the ten franchises.  BCCI owns and operates the IPL in India.  The ratio of distribution might change in the coming years depending on the decisions taken by the BCCI.

2)  Media rights

Broadcasting companies bid for the media rights and the winning bid will get to air the IPL on their channel.  Star India bagged the media rights for IPL with a bid of Rs. 16,345 crores for five years (2018-2022.)  The money from media rights are also distributed in the 60:40 ratio with BCCI keeping 40% and the franchises getting an equal distribution from the remaining 60%.

3) Franchise sponsors

Each franchise has its own dedicated sponsors which pay a huge amount of money to the franchise.  The logos and names of the companies which you can see on the sporting attire of every IPL team are actually the dedicated sponsors of their respective franchises.  The profit from dedicated sponsors depends on the deal the franchise has made with their sponsor. The income generated from dedicated sponsors might differ from team to team.

ALSO READ: 5 Cricketers Who Are Entrepreneurs

4) Sale of tickets

Each franchise can choose a home ground from the available venues in the BCCI roster like Sunrisers Hyderabad, choosing Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders choosing Kolkata.  Only the home franchise can fix the price of tickets for the matches happening in their home ground.  Bigger stadiums with large seating capacity earn the most from ticket sales.  Kolkata Knight Riders home ground Eden Gardens has the highest seating capacity in India and therefore KKR earns the most from ticket sales.  

5) Merchandising

Each franchise makes some money by selling official jerseys, caps, wrist watches, souvenirs etcetera.  The merchandise is sold through the official franchise websites.

6) Prize money

Franchises battle it out in a long season to become the winner of the IPL season.  The winning team also wins a hefty prize money which is an additional source of revenue.  In 2019, the winning franchise won Rs. 15 crores while the runner up won Rs. 10 crores.

IPL is a big stage for franchise owners to earn their revenues as well as the perfect opportunity for players to make their mark and win big auctions.  This is how franchises earn their revenues from the IPL.  As this year’s edition is off to a flying start, IPL has been a blessing in disguise for millions of Indians in the gloomy times we currently are experiencing.  

 

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From A Contestant To A Judge On Shark Tank, The Journey Of Ring Founder Jamie Siminoff

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From A Contestant To A Judge On Shark Tank, The Journey Of Ring Founder Jamie Siminoff

Shark Tank is an American reality show where hopeful entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of investors.  It is a great show from which entrepreneurs can learn a great deal about how to secure investments for their venture.  The reality show is based on a concept where aspiring entrepreneurs present their business ideas to a panel of investors and convince them to invest in their startups.  Ventures like Tipsy Elves, Simple Sugars, Scrub Daddy and Bombas are some of the successful companies which benefited from Shark Tank.  However, Jamie Smininoff and his company Ring takes the crown for the best ever Shark Tank product even though Jamie Siminoff could not secure an investment from any of the sharks.  Jamie Siminoff and his company Ring have ever since grown by leaps and bounds so much so that Ring was acquired by Amazon for one billion dollars.

Backstory

Jamie Siminoff founded Ring, a startup which is a Wi-Fi enabled video doorbell company, from his garage.  While spending long hours in his work space, he became frustrated that he was unable to answer the doorbell without being interrupted.  Siminoff began looking for a doorbell that rang to his phone and was surprised to find that there was nothing like it on the market.  It was then Jamie began working on his idea to make a product which will enable a homeowner to see who is at their door on their cell phone.  Jamie was rejected by more than 200 investors when he pitched his idea for Door Bot as Ring was then used to be called before being rebranded.  By the time Jamie decided to go to Shark Tank, he had zero dollars in his bank account and everything was riding on his pitch to the Sharks.

In 2013, an acquaintance gave the email id of a Shark Tank producer to Jamie and he eventually decided to send a cold email without any hope for a response.  However, the response did come, Siminoff and the DoorBot went through a legal review, then were vetted thoroughly by the producers of the show.  They then went to filming, but Siminoff was told not to get his hopes up because only a small percentage of the products actually make it on the air. DoorBot, however, made the cut.

But, none of the Sharks invested in Jamie’s idea and talking about the incident Jamie said “I was convinced going on that I was going to get Mark Cuban to invest. and he was just like, “Jamie, it’s great, but I’m out.” And I was like, “Oh.” And then it kind of went down the line and everyone went out, and I went back to my garage broke and broken.  It was a tough day (sic.)”

ALSO READ: Lessons Every Entrepreneur Can Learn From Shark Tank

Way Forward

However Jamie Siminoff’s appearance on Shark Tank worked wonders in terms of brand visibility and advertising.  Jamie said “The credibility and the awareness that Shark Tank brought was probably worth $10 million of ads.  It really launched us (sic.)”  Jamie’s first break came when a Ring owner visited billionaire Richard Branson’s private island.  Branson watched, with fascination, when the guest remotely talked to a delivery person standing at his doorstep at home through Siminoff’s doorbell.  Branson got on a call with Siminoff and invested an undisclosed amount of money.  However, Ring’s biggest boost came in the form of Basketball star Shaquille O’Neal who moved to a new house in Atlanta.  Shaq was looking for a big security company but upon being overcharged he looked on Best Buy and ended up stumbling on Ring.  A few years later Shaq formally met with Jamie Siminoff at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and after some discussion ended up being the spokesperson for Ring.  Since then, Ring has cornered the doorbell market in America.  Shaq and Jamie used to go around to personally install Ring devices and it made a huge splash in the news.

But Jamie Siminoff’s crowning achievement arrived in February 2018 when Amazon announced the purchase of Ring for one billion dollars which was a shock for many investors including the Shark Tank Judges who declined to invest in Door Bot.  Siminoff said he sold to Amazon because it was a good fit for all involved, as backing by the tech giant means that Ring can further its mission of creating safer neighborhoods.

In what can be called a full circle, Jamie was once again invited to be a part of Shark Tank but this time as a guest Shark.  Talking about the experience Jamie said “Yeah, and it’s a funny thing, because I am now a shark on Shark Tank, and I was on both sides, and so I feel the empathy for peoples’ businesses, but at the same time, I’m also a real investor there, and it’s my money, so from the numbers side, if I’m going to invest $800,000, or whatever, in a business, that’s real money, and so I need to see what is really going on with the business (sic.)” 

“Overall, this is a full-circle moment (sic,)” Siminoff said.  “I now get the opportunity to give back to the very platform that allowed me to achieve my American dream (sic.)”

Despite Amazon owning Ring, Jamie still continues to steer the company until his vision for safe neighbourhoods is fulfilled.  This is the story of Jamie Siminoff who has against all odds achieved his American Dream and will inspire new entrepreneurs to never give up on their ideas.

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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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