Ideas are like magic. Either they work or they just fizzle out and die. The same concept works with startups as well. While some startups with supremely crazy ideas boom and leave you wondering about how that happened, others which should have succeeded, failed miserably. Today, instead of looking at the successful startups, here is taking a look at the ones which should have succeeded, but didn’t:
Touted to be one of the first social media websites in the World, Friendster failed to take off as well as Facebook. Founded in the year 2002, Friendster hit the ground running with $ 50 million as funding. The site was so popular, even Google wanted to buy the site for a whopping $ 30 million. However, Friendster got too confident and decided to reject Google’s offer, a move which is still considered as one of the biggest mistakes made by a startup. While the idea of connecting with friends and talking to people on a common platform was considered a novel and bright idea, Friendster failed because it refused to move with the trends. By not letting users share news, the site slowly started becoming irrelevant as people started growing bored of the simple tools. What also went against Friendster was, it was profile based and did not let you do things unless you went directly to a person’s profile. If Friendster had stuck to the trends and gone with the flow, it wouldn’t have fizzled out and disappeared so quickly. Oh well, at least other social media platforms are learning from Friendster’s mistakes!
Founded in the year 1998 by two childhood friends, GovWorks had all the right intentions, but was not worked on in the right way. Designed both to help the government keep track of its clients, and for the citizens to perform tasks like pay tickets online, apply for jobs and look for information regarding to the city in which they were, the startup grew from having just 8 employees in the beginning to 250 employees by 2000. However, because of major rifts between the two founding partners, the startup refused to take off. Furthermore, because of the founders’ inability to fix the constantly growing bugs, they had no option but to sell GovWorks in 2001. The lesson here? If you are mixing your professional and personal life, make sure you have a plan of action to not let things go bad.
Before the likes of BigBasket and other grocery delivery platforms became popular, WebVan started toying with this idea in the year 1999. Founded by Louis Borders during the dot com boom, the startup promised to deliver groceries to customers within a 30 minute time frame. Louis Borders and CEO George Shaheen believed in the online system so much, they jumped into the business with guns blazing. Despite buying warehouses full of produce, trucks to deliver the products and expensive computers to simplify the delivery process, the startup refused to make a mark. With people refusing to buy into the idea of ordering groceries online and because of the lack of internet everywhere, the owners had no option but to shut up shop in the year 2001. If they had waited for a few years later, they would have made quite a mark now!
4. Pay By Touch
While Paytm is perhaps one of the most used apps for online payment, it wasn’t the first startup of its kind. Founded in the year 2002, Pay By Touch allowed users to make online payments with the swipe of a finger on a biometric sensor. Innovative and one of the first startups of its kind, Pay By Touch rose quickly and even raised $ 340 million! However, despite doing extremely well, the Company started failing because CEO John P. Rogers was accused of domestic abuse and possession of drugs, amongst other charges. With so much bad press, the Company stopped doing well and in 2007, it had to be shut down.
Founded in 1995, WebTV was supposed to be a combination of the World Wide Web and television. Coming in the size of a VCR which promised to bring affordable internet to the living room without using a PC, WebTV grew so big, MSN bought it and renamed it as MSN TV in the year 1997. However, because of the lack of availability of broadband and the steep price of the device, the idea slowly started to die. While WebTV didn’t take off when it launched, companies like Xbox 360 and DVRs are using a similar principle now.
While each of these startups thought their ideas could work if done right, they all failed because they just couldn’t make it across the troubled waters. If you think we missed out on other startups like these, comment and let us know!
5 Successful Indian Startups Founded By Women
The workplace has undergone massive changes in the last century. At the turn of the Industrial Revolution, any workplace was dominated by men while the women were delegated to run the homes. However, with the advent of the internet and new and exciting technologies, workplaces have undergone a tectonic shift. Women are no longer comfortable staying at home and are instead opting to lead teams and organisations. As every year passes, we get closer to true gender equality, women have proven time and again that they are equally capable to get the job done if not better in some instances. Names like Wolfe Herd (Bumble founder,) Kylie Jenner (Kylie Cosmetics founder,) Masaba Gupta (Masaba clothing label founder) are just some of the names who are known for leading world famous brands with their unique style of leadership.
As the world celebrates International Women’s Day, we bring to you five women founders who run world famous and successful startups.
1) Upasana Taku-MobiKwik
If you are an Indian and are used to doing online shopping, more often than not at the time of payment, you would be directed to a payment gateway. One of these gateways would normally be MobiKwik. The startup is a well known name in the digital payments and digital wallet space. MobiKwik was founded by Upasana Taku in 2009, who prior to founding MobiKwik used to work with PayPal. Today Upasana Taku is also in charge of bank partnerships, business operations, and talent acquisition at MobiKwik.
2) Richa Kar-Zivame
An enthusiastic MBA student, Richa Kar, developed an online lingerie shopping platform in the year 2011. Currently, Zivame is India’s leading online lingerie store with a valuation of more than $ 100 million. 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 when she was working 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. Today Richa Kar could be credited with destigmatising the uneasiness surrounding lingerie shopping in India.
3) Falguna 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 many critics wrong and created a brand new place for people who love experimenting with styles, designs and colors.
ALSO READ: Zivame: Founding Story
4) Sabina Chopra-Yatra.com
Yatra.com is a popular Indian website for making flight and hotel bookings. Sabina Chopra was instrumental in identifying the potential for travel commerce in India and people moving towards cheaper or easier travel. By the time, people started looking to make bookings, Sabina made sure Yatra.com was already in place. Sabina was the former Head of India Operations of eBookers, which is also an online travel company based in Europe. Along with this, she was also working with Japan Airlines which further adds to her experience in the travel industry.
5) Rashmi Sinha-SlideShare
SlideShare allows people to upload and access their presentations online. While this feature is presently available everywhere, SlideShare was one of the first players in making this happen. Rashmi Sinha was one of the founders of the presentation sharing platform SlideShare. The company became so successful that in 2012, LinkedIn acquired the company for an amount of $100 million.
Let us know in the comments if you know any other wonderful women who have become leaders of their right or have started up and are doing extraordinary things. We at Startup Stories wish a wonderful Women’s Day to all the women in the world who are changemakers.
5 Reasons Why Telegram Founder Pavel Durov Thinks Whatsapp Is Dangerous
Pavel Durov, the founder of Telegram Messenger, is no fan of Whatsapp and he believes Whatsapp is dangerous and not safe. Elucidating more on the topic, Durov made his reasons known in a blogpost he published in late 2020. Here are the five reasons why Pavel Durov thinks Whatsapp is dangerous.
1) If Jeff Bezos’ phone can be hacked via Whatsapp then nobody is safe.
One of the richest men in the world and the founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos’ phone was allegedly hacked by Mohammed Bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. Some of Bezos’s private communications and images were taken during the hack following which Whatsapp’s security was questioned.
2) The United Nations recommends its officials to remove Whatsapp from their devices
The United Nations recommends its officials to not use Whatsapp because it thinks Whatsapp is not a secure mode of communication. In June 2019, a U.N., spokesman Farhan Haq said, “The senior officials at the U.N. have been instructed not to use WhatsApp, it’s not supported as a secure mechanism (sic.)” This directive came when independent U.N. experts found a possible involvement of Mohammed Bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, in the alleged cyber attack of Jeff Bexos’ phone in 2018.
3) End to end encryption does not guarantee security.
Durov says “in their marketing, WhatsApp uses the words “end-to-end encryption” as some magic incantation that alone is supposed to automatically make all communications secure. However, this technology is not a silver bullet that can guarantee you absolute privacy by itself (sic.)”
4) Chat backups on Android and Apple cloud are not encrypted.
Pavel Durov does not believe chat backups in the cloud are safe and says “Users don’t want to lose their chats when they change devices, so they back up the chats in services like iCloud – often without realizing their backups are not encrypted. The fact that Apple was forced by the FBI to abandon encryption plans for iCloud is telling (sic.)”
5) Backdoors continue to exist in Whatsapp
“There are backdoors. Enforcement agencies are not too happy with encryption, forcing app developers to secretly plant vulnerabilities in their apps. I know that because we’ve been approached by some of them – and refused to cooperate. As a result, Telegram is banned in some countries where WhatsApp has no issues with authorities, most suspiciously in Russia and Iran (sic,)” claims Durov in his blogpost.
As data privacy is becoming more and more important in the current day and age of the internet, we wonder what messaging application is totally safe.
Five Free design Tools For Startups And Students
Creative design is an integral part of any organisation as it is used for various purposes and by various functions within an organization. Be it for sales brochures, marketing collateral, presentations and product labels creative design is an integral part. Creative designs help tell a story or a narrative better with images or videos. For students, design can be used in their project thesis, dissertation defence, creative resumes and many more.
However, design tools are usually expensive and require an expensive hardware setup to render the final product. This means a lot of expenditure for students or startups looking to make creative designs. However, there are various alternatives which do the same job with almost the same quality which can be a blessing for startups and students.
In this article we give you a list of five free design tools for startups and students. Read below to find out the list of free design tools.
Canva is a graphic design platform which comes with preloaded templates and can be used to create posters, documents, presentations and other visual content for free. Paid subscriptions can be purchased for additional functionality but the free version does a good job.
Pixlr is an online photo editing tool which lets users edit pictures for free. Pixlr’s photo editing is intuitive and is complemented by artificial intelligence for quick and personalized editing.
PicMonkey is another free online editing tool which can be accessed via a web browser. Free users can access most of the features and tools while a membership is needed for accessing the entire design workflow. PicMonkey lets users access design templates for wedding invitations, announcements, thank you cards, business cards and many more.
ALSO READ: 8 Best Free CRM Solutions For Startups
Crello is a tool which offers both video and graphic editing for free. Crello can help you create visuals for social media in just a few minutes, design a business card or a flyer, create marketing collateral for print, social and blogs, as well as create long-form content like presentations.
5) Gravit Designer
Gravi Designer is a vector based design tool which works on both online and offline platforms. Gravit Designer is highly preferred for Linux users and the developers are known to listen to feedback from users and integrate good suggestions onto their tool. Gravit Designer can be used to design websites, or create interfaces, and also to make illustrations or design the artworks of entire games.
This concludes the list of top free design tools for startups and students. Let us know if you are already using any of these design tools or plan on using them in the future in the comments below.
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