Controversies That Shook The Startup World
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!
Top Ten Most Used Apps During The COVID-19 Lockdown
2020 would go down as an unusual year in this century as no one would have predicted the amount of change which would happen in such a short amount of time. While the year began normally like any other in the past, things began to go haywire when news about a new virus without a cure, began afflicting people in the Wuhan province in China. While the rest of the world thought the virus was an isolated incident, little did anyone guess the same virus would go on to cripple the world economy and medical infrastructure.
As governments across the world tried to race against time in a desperate effort to check the spread of the COVID-19 virus and declared nationwide lockdowns and curfews, consumer interests and dynamics underwent a drastic change. The lockdowns meant the crippling of various industries like transportation (Uber, Grab,) events industry (parties/music events,) hospitality (tourism) and logistics (airlines, hotels) to name a few. The people had to make do with what they had available in hand at their homes which is a smartphone, television, computer and an internet connection.
Social media platforms, fitness applications, gaming applications, video conferencing applications, news applications and grocery delivery applications saw a drastic increase in the downloads as well as usage. In this article we bring to you the top ten most used applications during the lockdown period. This list is compiled in no particular order and we also understand the list might not apply to everyone.
TikTok ended up being a favourite pastime for millions of Indians as well as other nationalities. The viral app allows users to create short videos which can be shared across multiple platforms. Following the lockdowns Indians were at their creative best on TikTok till the viral app was banned by the government citing data security concerns.
When the entire country was in lockdown it meant, workplaces and offices were closed. So how did organisations adapt to this change? They conducted meetings both internal and external on the video conferencing app called Zoom. The video conferencing was so widely used worldwide that its stock price grew by a whopping 170% by June 2020.
The fun app is a social networking application which lets users gather around in a virtual conference call in order to socialise. Houseparty had over 10 million downloads on Google Play Store and even more on Apple Store (Apple would not divulge the exact number.) Houseparty is currently the third most downloaded app on the iOS app store in the United States, behind Zoom and TikTok, and comes top in the United Kingdom during the lockdown.
4) Aarogya Setu
Aarogya Setu was an app designed by the Indian government to trace the COVID-19 virus and to analyse the spread of the virus. The app reached more than 100 million installs in 40 days since Prime Minister Narendra Modi made it mandatory for it to be installed on smartphones of Indians. The app also provided useful information about nearby hospitals, quarantine protocols and nearby COVID clusters and hotspots.
The social networking application saw its screen time jump by almost an hour on average. Before the lockdown an individual used to spend on an average of 150 minutes on Instagram and Facebook. However, after one month of lockdown this jumped to 280 minutes a day according to a survey done by Business Today.
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Twitter, although a social media platform, is quite useful to learn about the latest news. Anything latest happening can be first found on Twitter and a quick hashtag will direct a user to the news. This was the reason why Twitter saw a lot of usage as people all over the world tried to stay on top of how the world is coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.
PUBG was India’s most loved game during the lockdown. PUBG was played by a whopping twenty two lakh people in the month of June 2020 according to Hindustan Times. The battle royale game was enjoying a great run before the Indian Government banned it citing data security concerns. The game developers have since then opened a new corporate office in India as well as data centers and will re enter the Indian market again.
Whatsapp is probably the most widely used texting platform in the world. Data from insights and consulting firm Kantar revealed a 40% increase in usage that grew from an initial 27% bump in the earlier days of the pandemic to 41% in the mid phase.
Netflix usually enjoys a lot of screen time as people tune in to watch their favourite shows to while away their time. However, with the lockdown, people ended up being cooped up at homes and ended up binge watching a lot of content. According to a pan India study conducted by Velocity MR, Netflix saw a 65% rise in subscriptions.
10) Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video is a part of the Amazon Prime package which gives customers access to a ton of content and is also the biggest competitor to Netflix. According to a pan India study conducted by Velocity MR, Netflix saw a 67% rise in subscriptions.
Let us know if we missed out on any other applications which you think should be included in this list in the comments below!
5 Best HR Softwares for Startups And Small Businesses
Human resources are the personnel of a startup or small business and make up for one of most valuable assets for any organisation. Additionally startups often have a dedicated vertical or function which looks after human resources and various other functionalities which come with it like payroll, compliance, hiring, grievances and many more. Over the years, human resources has evolved from just one aspect of hiring to covering a broad spectrum of functions like learning and development, improving productivity and culture in an organisation. Therefore. human resources can become tedious with a lot of manual work involved in payrolls, interview scheduling, leaves and grievance management and therefore tend to take a lot of valuable time which could be used elsewhere. Therefore automating these processes can free up time as well as streamline the entire processes.
This is where a Human Resource Management System (HRMS) comes into play. HRMS refers to a platform which helps the HR department in planning, organising and controlling the workforce, recruitment, staffing, payroll, announcements, policy changes as well as functioning as a repository of important human resources information.
We have compiled a list of five best HRMS softwares for startups and small businesses. Read more to find out about them.
Gusto HRMS offers customised services for each business. The HRMS platforms handles payroll, insurance, onboarding, employee finance tools and time tracking. Gusto is not just any simple HRMS tool, and what sets them apart is their financial advisors which let startups plan their insurances and taxes according to the budget they have in mind as well as a handy service which lets employees manage their finances better.
Namely is a HRMS provider who prides itself on being able to cater extensively to medium sized businesses by streamlining their HR processes. Namely believes in enabling startups and mid sized businesses to make data driven decisions in all aspects of their HR functions. Namely can cater to organisations who have employees from the range to fifty to a thousand.
3) Zoho People
Zoho People is an online Human Resource Management System designed to manage and access all your employee data from a centralized location. Zoho People does not need a separate software which needs to be installed and instead operates from the cloud. Zoho People provides modules for Employee self service, leave management, timesheets, attendance management and HR automation to name a few. Zoho People even offers a thirty day free trial in order to convince startups on their HRMS tool.
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4) Bamboo HR
BambooHR is designed with small and medium sized businesses in mind. This HRMS tool offers modules for onboarding, hiring, compensation and a special module for culture. The culture module provides a new approach to performance management and the latest tools for measuring engagement and driving organisational behaviour. Bamboo HR also provides a free trial for startups and offers pricing depending on the size of an organisation.
Zenefits simplifies the process of curating, and providing great benefits to employees from comprehensive healthcare plans to useful perks like commuter benefits. Zenefits also provides a fourteen day free trial for startups with most of its features available in order to convince the organisation to opt for their HRMS.
This concludes the list of Best HRMS platforms available in the market for startups and medium sized businesses. Let us know if you are already using any of these HRMS tools or plan on using them in the future in the comments below.
8 Best Free CRM Solutions For Startups
A startup has to face many hurdles in the beginning due to bootstrapping, scalability and identifying market needs and fit for their product or service. Normally a startup has very little manpower in order to reduce their burnout rate (tracking the amount of monthly cash that a company spends before it starts generating its own income.) This means every member should don multiple hats and oversee multiple responsibilities. A good startup and its founders would make the wise decision to find processes which need automating and will make the shift so as to give them room to employ skills elsewhere. For example, if a startup relies on high volume sales from a regular customer, it makes sense to automate the process of invoicing and sales. Payroll and attendance can be linked and automated on a common dashboard. This is where customer relationship management (CRM) comes into the picture. To a layman, CRM is a tool or a strategy which helps businesses organise or strategically manage their customer data. Data was previously stored in databases on single computers but with the advent of the internet, digital marketing and cloud computing, accessing data has never been easier, thereby making life easier for startups.
A CRM platform or a tool in the current era is a software which connects different departments from front office to back office and organises notes/data, metrics, analytics into one smooth and cohesive ecosystem. Every user has direct access to real time client and internal data which lets startups add a personalized approach to clients. For example if a startup has recurring monthly salessale from an individual customer, the tool can generate an invoice monthly as well as allowing the freedom to include a gift on special occasions for recurring customers.
In this article we give a list of 8 best and free CRM solutions for startups looking to scale up.
Hubspot is a CRM tool which offers complete toolkits and integrations which lets startups increase leads, accelerate sales and streamline customer services. They have a CRM offering for sales, marketing, services and content management which lets startups choose what works best for them.
2) Zoho CRM
Zoho CRM tool lets startups customize their requirements to suit specific needs. The CRM is designed for individual functions like process management, sales automation, marketing automation, predictive sales and many more letting the startups choose the best tool for their organisation. The CRM tool can be used by startups from any kind of industry and is used by some of the world’s largest organisations like Amazon and Ola.
Insightly prides itself on being the best CRM tool for startups which rely on G Suite and Microsoft Office 365. Insightly provides CRM software for businesses of all sizes across a range of industries such as manufacturing, consulting, professional services, media and advertising, non profit, technology and others.
Flowlu offers CRM solutions for businesses by providing essential tools for efficient business management from projects to sales and marketing. Instead of having a different program for lead generation, accounting, and human resources, Flowlu puts everything on the cloud.The CRM also offers tools for financial management.
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Freshworks or Freshsales as it iswas formerly known, is a CRM provider with powerful integrations. Startups would benefit from this CRM as they have a free offering and also by providing the option to upgrade the services. This option shows the kind of trust Freshworks has in its CRM platform.
6) Really Simple Systems
Really Simple Systems makes CRM software targeted at small businesses which follow a business to business (B2B) model. Their free offering is aimed at startups looking to manage and track their leads and customers. What is even better is this feature is free for startups forever.
7) Agile CRM
Agile’s free CRM is targeted at small and medium sized startups and is free for the first ten users. The CRM offers tools for increasing sales and for automating marketing.
8) Suite CRM
Suite CRM offers unlimited users in its free version for thirty days allowing startups to have ample time to think onabout the CRM tool. Following the thirty day free trial startups can make a purchase from three plans which will suit their business needs perfectly.
This concludes the list of free CRM tools which are currently the best available in the markets for startups. Let us know if you are already using any of these CRM tools or plan on using them in the future in the comments below.
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