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Controversies That Shook The Startup World



Controversies in Startup World, Controversies That Shook The Startup World, Featured, Indian Startup World, Indian Startup World Top 4 Controversies, Recent Controversies in India 2018, Snapdeal Flipkart Merge Disaster, Startup Ecosystem, Startup News India, startup stories

With growth comes change and with change comes a huge responsibility: the responsibility of building a reputation and keeping it clean and untarnished. Like with everything in the world, the startup life is no different. As people keep having new ideas and new thoughts, it seems but natural to have things go more wrong than right. With the increase in the number of startups, the number of people fighting for the same positions also increase. As things progress at an alarmingly fast pace, it comes as no surprise that there are more controversies than positive things in the startup world. To prove just this point, here is looking at some of the highly talked about controversies of the past couple of years.

1. Snapdeal Flipkart Merge Disaster 

Quite possibly one of the most talked about controversy, the Snapdeal Flipkart merger failure was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Back in the year 2016, Snapdeal was one of the Indian startups with a really high valuation ($ 6.5 billion.) However, despite reaching the pinnacle of success, the company did not have the capacity to sustain at that level for much longer. With Snapdeal struggling to make its relevance felt, SoftBank proposed a merger between the homegrown e commerce platform, Flipkart. What made this deal hit the headlines was several rumours floating around about Snapdeal firing employees. Furthermore, the Snapdeal founders made multiple public statements about their disapproval of the merger.

Post the breakdown of merger talks, on August 1, it was reported the Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal-founded startup was gearing up to dismiss close to 80% of its employees. Durimg the second week of the same month, former and current employees of Snapdeal anonymously sent the founders a letter, addressing it to the PMO, accusing the company of not letting the merger go through for ‘personal motives. With all this going on, Flipkart saw no option but to back off, leaving Snapdeal all by itself in the dust.

2. Ola and Uber sue each other 

The March of 2016 was an interesting year, atleast in relationship to Ola and Uber. The two rivals had just entered the big leagues in the cab sector, with each at the other’s throat for the first place. Uber started off the feud by suing Ola. According to Uber, Ola was using fake accounts and booking rides on Uber, with the sole aim of cancelling them once booked. According to reports, Ola created over 94,000 fake accounts and booked over 4 lakh rides. Not only did this disrupt Uber’s business, it also prevented genuine riders the chance of getting a cab.  Ola replied to Uber’s petition saying the lawsuit was filed in an attempt to bypass the laws of the land by foreign companies who run their operations in this country for profit without due regard for the applicable laws.  Uber retorted though they are established in San Francisco, they have a hyperlocal team solving problems that are locally relevant. “Like our competitors, we received most of our funding from ‘foreign’ investors,” Uber said in response to the accusation! As bystanders, this war was entertaining as hell, with the only drawback being that I did not really get cabs on time!

3. PayTm accused for propagating a political agenda 

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced demonetization and the absence of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 currency notes, PayTm put out a full page advertisement. The ad thanked Mr. Modi with a message saying the Prime Minister had finally taken a decision in favour of the growth of the country. Post the advert and the announcement, PayTm’s revenue saw a growth of 200% in terms of revenue, with more than triple the number of app downloads. Fintech in India responded strongly to this move, questioning the ethics and moral conduct, with PayTm’s every move put under scrutiny! What made the entire issue all the more controversial was Arvind Kejriwal’s comment about how the country was moving towards the Dark Side of Digitisation. After a lot of frenzy on Twitter and other social media platforms, the issue only quieted down when Vijay Shekhar Sharma (PayTm CEO) put out a public statement saying it was not only PayTm benefiting through the move but the entire country as well! Who knew free speech was only a law in the Constitution and not a civil right?

4. The Qarth and Ola misrepresentation scandal! 

Qarth Technologies, founded by Perit Shrivastava and Aditya Shrivastava, skyrocketed into the headlines for stealing identities through a self developed “Aadhaar e KYC verification” mobile app. While this in itself was a scandal, what made the entire affair all the more interesting was Ola’s involvement in the issue. Founded in the year 2012, Qarth was bought over by the home grown cab aggregator, Ola, in an attempt to increase the efficiency of its mobile wallet.

The moment Qarth’s illegal activities hit the headlines, Ola promptly denied any involvement in the matter, stating they had no hand to play in Qarth’s criminal activities. However, despite the government’s stringent search into Ola’s history with Qarth, no direct link could be found between the two companies and Qarth was left to pick up the pieces on its own.

The startup world is exciting, motivating and invigorating. With growth comes great responsibilities and great expectations. However, when these cannot be met, things fall apart, resulting in chaos. If you think we missed out on some truly shocking controversies in the startup world, feel free to comment and let us know!

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Top Ten

Best Mother’s Day Campaigns So Far



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Every year in May,  Mother’s Day is celebrated not just by the average citizen, but also by brands all over the world. As we move closer to the day which celebrates mothers and love, here is looking at some of the best  Mother’s Day campaigns:

1. Google – ‘Here’s To The Moms’

Apart from coming up with a traditional Mother’s Day banner, Google always goes the extra mile to celebrate this day. By partnering with Whirled, Google came up with a campaign called Here’s To The Mom which highlighted everything  moms do for their children. What came across really well in this campaign was Google used this video to not only pay homage to the mothers, but to subtly showcase its products as well! Two birds, one stone!

2. Hallmark – ‘Put Your Heart To Paper’

As a part of its Put Your Heart To Paper campaign, Hallmark asked adults to tell their mothers how they feel without using the words “I love you” or “thank you.” For a while , Hallmark was synonymous with cheesy, soapy ads but this particular ad, with a strong message to its name, made Hallmark stand out. Part of an eight part series, the video was done so well, it brought out the unconditional love people have for their mothers!

3. Barneys – Love Mom

Barneys took influencer campaigns, influencers and  Mother’s Day to an entirely new level. Using the help of the mother daughter duo behind the extremely successful Scout the City campaign, Barneys photographed mothers and daughters paired up and having fun in their Madison Avenue store. Realising the powerful value influencers have right now, Barneys capitalised on this marketing strategy by giving people real pictures. By using the #instabarneys tag, the store also asked people to engage with them in conversations. Not only was this a great campaign in terms of showing love for mothers, it also increased Barney’s social media reach.

4. Clarins – Voicemail for the win

What would you wish for your mother? Clarins asked its customers the same question and asked them to record what they wanted through the Chinese message sharing and recording app, WeChat. Shoppers who recorded and sent their messages then got free gifts for their mothers from a Clarins store over the Mother’s Day weekend. The takeaway here is that not only was this a great way of promoting Clarins, it also made people aware of WeChat!

5. Tanishq – ForYou

As a brand, Tanishq started creating advertisements which not only make you remember the brand, but  also give you happy feelings. With their campaign dedicated toward Mother’s Day called ForYou, Tanishq brought out the beautiful relationship between a mother and her daughter. For Tanishq, this wasn’t the only campaign which pulled at one’s heart strings. With advertisements based around topics like remarriage and appreciating those with dark skin, Tanishq always goes the extra step to connect with its audience.

Mother’s Day is all about showing the importance of a mother and what people can do for their mothers. Campaigns like these were created not only to drive this message home, but to also make you as a customer remember them better. If you think we missed out on any other campaigns like these, comment and let us know!

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Entrepreneur Stories

Richard Branson Unknown Facts



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Richard Branson, owner of the Virgin Group, has quite a reputation. Since the year 1970, Branson has made a strong mark on the world positioning himself among the top ten successful entrepreneurs in the world. While there are a lot of facts known about this serial entrepreneur, there are still quite a few unknown facts. Check them out here!

1. He is dyslexic

Did you know that while most people shy away from admitting they have dyslexia, Branson credits his success to his disorder? It was because he discovered this disorder at a young age that he was able to learn how to delegate his tasks and start learning to be the leader he is today.

2. He created a submarine

While most of us just dream of one day owning a submarine, Richard Branson made his dream come true. Called the Necker Nymph submarine, Branson’s submarine is a treat for his visitors. Not only does the man have a private island, he also designed his own transport to and from his private island. How cool is that?

3. He Cried When He Sold His First Company, Virgin Records

The first thing you create is always your baby and when you sell it, you experience a pain like never before. Branson also felt the same way when he sold, Virgin Records, the company which began his empire. Despite selling the Company for a billion dollars to keep the Virgin Group afloat, the loss of his first baby made Branson bawl like no one could imagine. Ouch.

4. He is not a part of any boards

Unlike other owners, Branson is not a part of any of the boards of the companies he owns. Despite owning more than 200 companies under the Virgin Group, Branson always stays away from being a part of the Board of Directors. Why? Because he believes he is not a businessman but a creator and visionary!

5. He has been knighted!

Richard Branson is perhaps the only entrepreneur in the world to be knighted by Queen Elizabeth 2 in the year 1999. Sir Richard Nicholas Branson received a knighthood for his relentless services for entrepreneurship. Did you know that Branson is the only entrepreneur who backed more than 18 startups? A deserved knighthood, no? Incidentally, apart from being knighted, Branson was also awarded by the United Nations (UN) for his contribution to the environment and humanitarian causes, earning him the title of The United Nations Correspondents Association Citizen of the World Award.

6. Adventure could easily be his middle name

Apart from building his very own submarine, Branson is an avid hot air balloon lover. Did you know that Branson is the first and only person in the world to cross the Atlantic in the largest hot air balloon? He loved the thrill so much, he broke his own record in the year 1991 by crossing the Pacific in a hot air balloon made by Virgin. Clearly no one else thought they could beat his record.

7. Television loves him

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Television loves Branson. Apart from making special appearances on shows like FRIENDS and Baywatch, a lot of other shows like The Simpsons and Monty Can’t Buy Me Love have created entire characters around the man behind the Virgin Group!

Richard Branson gave the world the Virgin Group and everyone lessons for a successful life. If you think we missed out on any other facts about this man, comment and let us know!

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Gmail – Tips And Unknown Facts



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Arriving as an invitation only platform, Gmail has today become the largest email service provider. Despite being used by almost everyone around the world, there are still facts and tricks which even the most avid Gmail user has today forgotten. Here is making your week better by taking a look at unknown facts and tips about Gmail:

1. Driving directions from Gmail

While Google Maps is a dedicated app which gives you directions and helps with navigation, Gmail can also help with this service. By detecting your current addresses and the location of where you want to go, Gmail creates a link and asks if you want to map the path. Apart from giving you the route to and from a place, Gmail also helps in tracking your orders and packages!

2. Gmail almost didn’t have a logo

Right till the night leading up to its launch, Jim Davis wasn’t sure if he wanted a logo to go with the email service. An entire team of designers worked to reinvent the way the logo looked and came up with the final design shortly before the launch. If they hadn’t gotten it right, Gmail would have been logoless.

3. Everything has a shortcut

If you thought only Windows or applications like Excel had shortcuts, think again. To help people use Gmail better, Jim Davis and team installed a shortcut within the app. To see what we mean, press “Shift + ?” to see the complete list. You can thank us later!

4. Read receipts

Just like every communication service, Gmail also has the option of giving you a read receipt. By adding extensions like Bananatag Email, Sidekick and Intelliverse Email Tracking, you can now get notifications when people read your mails. Worry no more about delayed responses and wrong IDs because Gmail has your back now.

5. The Gmail Server Status

Unlike other apps, Gmail lets you take a look at when the app crashes. While Gmail doesn’t go down very often, the Gmail Server Status helps in keeping users up to date about the crashes. All you have to do is check the App Status Dashboard and you can get all the details about when the app is down and when it is expected to go live again! You’re welcome.

6. Online while offline

Forget issues related to no internet because Gmail lets you send mails even when you are offline! All you have to do is enable the app Offline Gmail Google Chrome and voila! From reading mails to writing new mails and responses, the offline mode is basically your best friend for life, at least when it comes to Gmail!

We bet you didn’t know these things about Gmail. If you think we missed out any other facts and tips about Gmail, comment and let us know!

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