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62 Posts authored by: Vibhor Bansal

Join the League of Product Champion

NASSCOM has opened nominations for the NASSCOM Emerge 50 2016 Awards, India’s biggest platform to recognise 50 the most innovative product companies. NASSCOM Emerge 50 is an initiative to identify, showcase and support emerging companies that are redefining the benchmark of software product, market and business excellence in the IT industry. Emerging companies that have developed innovative products in SMAC, IoT, Security, Next Gen Commerce, vertical specific emerging technologies, Smart Infrastructure etc can apply to the NASSCOM Emerge 50 2016. The nominations is also open to companies that have witnessed accelerated growth, or have identified a niche for themselves, with a strong foothold in the market.

NASSCOM Emerge 50 is NASSCOM's annual marathon search that brings up the Top 50 high-potential emerging companies. These companies then benefit from NASSCOM's visibility, credibility, connects and showcase; which propels them into achieving greater business success.

NASSCOM Emerge 50 2016 awards will focus on:

  • Product Excellence: Emphasis on Innovation, Technology, Value Differentiations, Design.
  • Market Excellence: Understanding of Markets & Target Audience with Focus on Customer Opportunities
  • Business Excellence: Co-founders' Credibility, Growth Parameters & Attractiveness to Investors.
  • Vertical Excellence: Focus on Industry Specific Products, like FinTech, HealthTech, AgriTech, EduTech, AdTech etc
  • Technology Excellence: High calibre usage of latest technology, AI, Big data, VR, IoT…

 

OPPORTUNITIES GALORE!

  • Worldwide Recognition of Your Innovative Excellence
  • Felicitation and showcase at India’s biggest software product event - NASSCOM Product Conclave, 26th – 27th October, Bangalore (http://productconclave.in/)
  • Showcase of companies to the CXO and Investors community
  • Regional, National & Industry-wide media coverage
  • Opportunity to participate in trade delegations.

ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA

  • An Indian Registered Company
  • Having a Commercialised Product (not an idea or plan)
  • With Turnover < INR 50 Crore

 

For More Details, please Visit:

http://product.nasscom.in/emerge50.php

For queries, please write to: vibhor@nascsom.in

Dear Community Members,

 

You would be aware that the TRAI has invited inputs towards a consultation paper on free data (attached). As you are aware, this is the third in the series of consultation on the issue of net neutrality. NASSCOM has been actively engaging with the Govt and Industry stakeholders as we share our inputs on a critical issue which can have a long term impact on Society, Technology and Business environment.

 

We would like to invite your inputs and suggestions to the questions posed by the TRAI in the consultation paper and possible response. NASSCOM is working on a response to be submitted to TRAI and we would be finalizing it based on inputs received from stakeholders.

 

Since the paper and our response is short, we hope you will be able to respond quickly to allow us adequate time for a compilation. You can mark your responses to policyquery@nasscom.in for timely incorporation in NASSCOM's response.

 

Looking forward to your timely inputs,

 

Team NASSCOM

We wish to invite you to an exclusive Business Connect Program organized by NASSCOM at Mumbai on 18th Feb 2016.

 

It is interesting to see how mature companies are exploring different collaboration models with the young companies in order to meet their innovation needs, add value to existing offerings & stay ahead of the competition.

 

The NASSCOM business connect program will be a curated session to ensure that Indian software product companies spend quality time interacting 1:1 with the invited CXOs. The product companies will also have the opportunity to present their products to the CXOs and NASSCOM will endeavour to match the CXOs area of interest with the product company.

 

Corporate buyers are being invited for this session and if you wish to present to these corporates, we would like to cordially invite you for the same. Please share information about your products on this form: https://www.esurveycreator.com/s/BizConMumbaiFeb-16.

Product companies will be chosen based on the requirements submitted by the corporates.

 

Last date to apply for this business connect session is 31st Jan 2016.

 

For any query, clarification, please contact product@nasscom.in

The NASSCOM Product Council perceives that the Product ecosystem has evolved and is growing rapidly - from local to global. In order to facilitate a product company to expand to international avenues considerable amount of deliberations have taken place.

 

While developed nations like US, Europe and Australia are always favoured target, it requires a considerable amount of resources - both human and financial, time, effort and energy to make a dent in these markets. It is therefore, an attempt of the Product Council, to reach out to smaller, nearby yet strong markets and help our product companies penetrate into these regions with limited resources.

 

Proposed Countries: Vietnam and Philipines

 

Proposed Dates: Mid April 2016

 

Objective:
The key objective of this delegation is to:

 

  • Help develop partnerships for Indian prod companies with their Vietnamese / Philippine counterparts
  • Explore business opportunities
  • Determine sources of inward investment

 

 

We would request you to share your expression of interest, feedback and suggestions on this Simple and super quick 1 minute form (https://www.esurveycreator.com/s/5af9073).

"We are profiling nearly one-fourth of smart phone users in India on a monthly basis. That is the extent of our scale".
--Raviteja Dodda, CEO, MoEngage

 

Founded by Raviteja Dodda, MoEngage helps App companies know their customers better, engage with them and retain them through personalized and targeted messages.

 

MoEngage was conceived by Raviteja at a time when he was already running a mobile app company that helped people discover offers and coupons of local retailers. "We scaled this quite well, until we saw certain problems with all mobile app companies that we felt needed resolution. It was then that we began talking about MoEngage", informs Raviteja.

 

Even before MoEngage was launched and the company had a product in place, Raviteja and his team began speaking to customers who needed solutions. "We adopted a lean approach, building a product based on feedback from customers. We basically showed them a prototype and asked  them to give  us their views  on it".

 

The company is currently working with premier consumer Internet ventures in the areas of travel, e-commerce, entertainment and content development. "We are profiling nearly one-fourth of smart phone users in India on a monthly basis. That is the extent of our scale", informs Raviteja.

 

Speaking about the challenges that Indian start-ups face today, Raviteja  says that even now there are only a few good VCs that understand the B2B space well. "We have been fortunate to have good backers. Quality talent is another issue and we have been lucky in acquiring excellent people. We have nine batch mates from IIT Kharagpur, who through their network, have helped us hire others", he adds.

 

According to Raviteja,  the real start-up  gets off the ground only when the product is out there in the market. "That is when you get user feedback. The idea is not to focus on a one-day launch. It is important to look at the unique thing about the concept, introduce a first version, capture feedback and evolve the product", he says.

 

"It takes a lot of persistence to succeed in the start-up space. We have taken four years to get established. You need good, high quality mentors for feedback and get them to invest in the company, so that they have skin in the game. Both first and second time entrepreneurs need good mentors", he comments.

 

Talking about how he views MoEngage two years from now, Raviteja says he expects it to be one of the largest marketing automation platforms for B2C companies.  Regarding NASSCOM's role in the start-up realm, Raviteja adds that the organization has launched good initiatives that are encouraging young companies to target global markets.

The environment is different today with funding becoming easier for new, first-time entrepreneurs with unproven business models".
--Anuradha Acharya, CEO and Founder, Mapmygenome

 

Indian genomics pioneer mapmygenome.com has recently raised USD 1.1 million from angel investors, a sign of its growing maturity and success. The molecular diagnostic company, set up by Anuradha Acharya, will use the fund to scale its operations and expand distribution locally and globally.

 

We will expand our team, leadership, sales and marketing and genetic counselling network", Anuradha says. Mapmygenome is Anuradha's second start-up (the first being Ocimum) and the result of a realization that the quantity of data on India's genetic pool, is very small.
"We wanted to use genomic technology to reach consumers directly-to help them know more about themselves. Once people understand their genes as well as lifestyles, they will develop more healthy habits and save themselves from diseases instead of being treated for them", Anuradha states.

 

Anuradha, an IIT Kharagpur alumnus, moved back to India from the US at a time when the start-up scene was in a very nascent phase.  In her opinion, the environment is different today with funding becoming easier for new, first-time entrepreneurs with unproven business models.
According to Anuradha, start-ups need to treat life as a marathon, recognizing that there is a bigger, more long-term goal of the journey. "I am glad I persisted and did not give up at the first chance. In a new and difficult environment this attitude played a critical part", she adds.
Today, Mapmygenome has two main businesses including a personal genomics part which is more people-oriented. "We reach out to path labs and have tied up with hospitals to cater to corporates and individuals", Anuradha informs.

 

Mapmygenome also conducts tests for Tuberculosis, a business that has picked up well.  While the genomics business has touched 3,000 people, TB tests have been conducted for around 400-500 patients.

 

Going forward, Mapmygenome will continue to work at getting high quality data on the samples being processed. "We will additionally perform research on the database we are trying to build by getting a large amount of samples. On the personal genomics side, with informed consent, we want to build data that will enable us to look at the Indian genome more carefully", Anuradha adds.

 

Speaking about the support the company has received from NASSCOM since its early days, Anuradha says the chamber has been catalyzing the growth of product companies. "It has been a fantastic experience for us. NASSCOM has played a key role and the products piece has been a great success. Companies need to say a big thank you to NASSCOM for helping drive innovation and guiding start-ups", Anuradha shares.

Update: Date to submit feedback on guidlines have been extended, you may please send in your feedback by 8th Jan 2016.

The long awaited guidelines on determining the Place of effective management (POEM) are released by CBDT. You can assess a copy of the guidance note from here : http://www.incometaxindia.gov.in/Documents/POEM-note-for-uploading.pdf

You would recall that the provision of residency norm as POEM was introduced in the Finance Act 2015 and NASSCOM had in consultation of the industry made suitable recommendations to the MOF. While the draft guidelines seek to provide a detailed set of factors to be considered for determination of POEM there could be some more parameters / comments for determining POEM required for an effective implementation.

Some of the noteworthy proposals are as follows:

1. Process of determination of POEM will primarily be based on whether the company is engaged in active business outside India.

2. A company can be said to be engaged in active business outside India if the following cumulative conditions are satisfied:

  • Its passive income (income by way of royalty, dividend, capital gains, interest, rents and income from purchase/sale of goods from/to associated enterprises) is not more than 50% of its total income;
  • Less than  50% of its total assets are situated in India;
  • Less than 50% of its total number of employees are situated in India or are resident in India; and
  • Payroll expenses incurred on such employees is less than 50% of its total payroll expenditure.

3. Two stage process for determination of POEM for companies that are not engaged in an active business outside India:

  • Stage 1 involves the identification of the persons who actually make the key management and commercial decisions for the conduct of the company's business as a whole;
  • Stage 2 involves determination of the place where the decisions are in fact being made

4. Factors that are not determinative of POEM:

  • The fact that a foreign company is wholly owned by an Indian company 
  • The fact that one or some of the directors of a foreign company reside in India
  • The fact that local management is situated in India in respect of activities carried out by a foreign company in India
  • The existence in India of support functions that are preparatory and auxiliary in character

We seek your comments and inputs on the guidelines.  Please share your comments by 29th December 2015 to Shweta Bhutan at shweta@nasscom.in.

Look forward to your response.

 

Team NASSCOM

Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) wish to invite Tax Accounting software product companies to the first consultative workshop on implementing 'GST System'. The proposed workshop will be the first step towards ensuring that Tax Accounting Software Products are GST ready before 1/4/2016. This interaction will also help GSTN to understand companies' needs and challenges.

In order to understand the offerings of Tax Accounting software companies, GSTN seeks some specific information about Tax accounting products and companies on this form: https://www.esurveycreator.com/s/ffabb0a

Please Submit your product and company detail on this form latest by 2nd January 2016.

It would be really good, if you can forward this mail to your colleagues working on this domain.

Objective:
The NASSCOM Led industry interactions played a big role in creating GST System. With business processes getting finalized by the Government, they need to engage with Tax Accounting Software Product fraternity with following objectives:

•       Expose them to processes under GST which need to be captured by their products.
•       How they can automate upload of invoice data and filing of returns without need to go to the GST Portal. APIs to be opened soon which could be used to develop required modules. 
•       Expose them to high-level design based on Open API,
•       Tell them the timelines when they could participate in feedback on the APIs,
•       Tell them the timelines they could expect test environments,
•       Understand how much time they would take to deliver beta versions etc.

Background:
As you may be aware, the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which will replace present indirect taxes e.g. State VAT, Central Excise, Service Tax and a few other indirect taxes, will be a broad-based, single, comprehensive tax levied on goods and services. Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) has been made responsible to build and operationalize the GST system as the only national agency. GSTN has embarked on a journey to implement from ground up a modern, automated, fully digital tax infrastructure also called as "GST System".

The GST System is being developed by M/s Infosys, who have been selected as our Managed Service Provider (MSP) for the project. M/s Infosys shall develop the GST Core System, provide required IT infrastructure to host the GST System and run and operate the system for five years. The GST System will have a G2B portal for taxpayers to access the GST Systems, however, that would not be the only way for interacting with the GST system as the taxpayer via his choice of third party applications, which will provide all user interfaces and convenience via desktop, mobile, other interfaces, will be able to interact with the GST system. The third party applications will connect with GST system via secure GST system APIs. All such applications are expected to be developed by third party service providers who have been given a generic name, GST Suvidha Provider or GSP.

With this objective in mind, GSTN wish to interact with IT Companies which might be interested in joining the GST eco-system. In its first such interactions, GSTN wish to invite IT companies who have an existing Tax accounting software product developed and offered by them to customers in India.  The first interactive workshop with Tax Accounting Product companies is tentatively scheduled around mid of January 20016 at Bangalore. The exact details shall be provided in due course.

"Can we have a one click checkout for all e-commerce transactions? We want to reach that next frontier of user convenience".
--Gaurang Sanghvi, CEO, Instakash

Lack of innovation on the financial services front led Gaurang Sanghvi to set up Instakash, a Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) committed to offering loans to people with low or no credit scores.

Gaurang decided to launch a mobile data analytics organization that applies Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to create new financial products. Focused on consumers and Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs), the company is simplifying financial access for the next generation of users.

"I felt there weren't too many financial products in India and barely any innovation on the customer side. Financial institutions, I realized, were not looking at the user experience. Finance is not about capital only", Gaurang adds.

Instakash is offering loans to those in need, and also creating credit scores of its own based on the online activities of users including payment of utility bills, e-commerce purchases and social-media behavior.

The company has explored other relevant forms of data including a user's banking history, behavior, social graph, background, etc. "We said let's create different risk models based on alternate data points and change the way consumers and businesses view loans. What we are doing is simplifying and automating the processing of loans approval by assessing at least 100 data points", Gaurang states.

Today, Instakash is trying to create a match between what banks are offering and what consumers want. The company is in discussions with some of the big banks to make online lending a normal procedure. Instakash's lending meanwhile, is a totally on-line, end-to-end process.

Speaking about the challenges that Instakash faces, Gaurang says they include collecting and authenticating data. "It is difficult to collect the right data points seamlessly and within a short time. Our USP is that we have the data points and are building credit models for them. This is what differentiates us and enables us to do lending at scale".

Another challenge for the company is working with the banks as getting them on board at scale remains a problem.

In Gaurang's view is that in order to survive and thrive, every start-up needs to think mobile first and acquire good mentors. "Finally, companies need to be at it continuously, even if everyone says ‘No'!" he advises. 

Commenting on the role that NASSCOM has been playing to catalyze the start-up revolution, Gaurang  says the association is creating a unique eco-system that is not even seen globally. "It has become a true evangelist for start-ups and is connecting these companies with the government and industry. This is the need of the hour", he says.

"We have conducted many Hackathons, with participation from thousands of people. They have helped us reach out to developers who are in turn wanting to reach different domains!"
--Sachin Gupta, Co-founder and CEO, HackerEarth

The story of Hacker Earth began in 2012, when Sachin Gupta, an IIT Rourkee alumnus worked on the idea with a friend and decided to launch a company in Bengaluru. The Founders of HackerEarth were keen to create a platform and network for top developers across the world that would expose them to coding challenges that they would then have to solve.

That was the beginning. In 2014, HackerEarth started introducing other elements into its solution. It created a section within the platform where subject matter experts could share tech content.

The next logical step was to enable people to build end-to-end products-basically different applications for different spaces. "For that, we created a platform to host Hackathons. Since early this year, we have conducted many Hackathons, with participation from thousands of people. The Hackathons have helped us reach out to developers who are in turn wanting to reach different domains!", Sachin informs.

According to Sachin, all developers want to become better programmers and the company is helping them achieve this through its platform. "We help them improve their skills on an ongoing basis, network with each other and jointly solve problems. We are creating a skills graph (core technical skills) for developers where they come and solve problems and earn a score", he says.

HackerEarth is also connecting these developers with organizations that need to recruit programming talent or want to create awareness about the technology they have. "Facilitating recruitments and solving the outreach problem for tech companies is a core business model for us", Sachin comments.

Speaking about some of the challenges faced by the company since its inception, Sachin says they included creating a team and finding people who were as passionate about HackerEarth.
According to Sachin a key learning for the company during its journey has been the need to change and let go. "What you start out with is a thought. You need to mould yourself to the changing environment and react to the response of the market. We have morphed from what we were doing by being receptive to market feedback", Sachin states.

Speaking about the future, the CEO says the company is very bullish about the years ahead. "We want to establish a presence in the US and be 10x of what we currently are", he says.
The company incidentally has an interesting facet to its profile where it is nurturing an active campus program. "We want students to become campus ambassadors and want to offer institutions a platform free of cost where they can host their own competitions and conduct their own Hackathons to promote and establish the culture of coding among students. That in fact is our key achievement. We have over 200 students as our campus ambassadors", Sachin says.

NASSCOM PRODUCT CONCLAVE (NPC) 2015 from October 13th - 15th October, 2015

 

DEATH BY LEAPFROGING - THE platform for startups with BIG & BOLD DREAMS, for letting a budding start up with 0 exposure or experience, take that huge leap towards realizing your product in real life, meeting prospective investors, showcasing your bombastic idea to the rest of the community and basically watch and learn and grow.

"But this might actually result in the death of your STARTUP SHYNESS - never again will you fear approaching unknowns with your dream!

 

DEATH BY DISCUSSION - SUMMITS & CONCLAVES.
SUMMITS talk about Growth Hacking, Design, Internet Of Things & Cyber Security.

 

CONCLAVES will host Keynote Sessions by global leaders & experts.
This actually might cause your DOUBTS ABOUT ENTREPRENEURIAL ABILITY to die a sad death.

 

DEATH BY A MOONSHOT - Solve for X Moonshot Design Sprint is NPC 2015's hack for one big global problem. It's your opportunity to solve a complex global problem through existing science or technology.

"By the way, this mega challenge might kill the adage of the dwarf touching the moon."

 

DEATH BY DATING - This is a big threat to your STARTUP COLD FEET. NPC 2015 has a session where you get to SPEED DATE INVESTORS. Meet them, wow them & woo them!
This session, the first of its kind in India, might actually kill your fears of convincing prospective investors.

 

DEATH BY DEMIGODS - What if I tell you that the President and COO of Softbank Group, Nikesh Arora, Chief Data Officer of Deutsche Bank AG, the CTO & SVP of Walmart Labs, the Mayor of Menlo Park, the Founder of PayTM, the CTO of Intuit, an Executive Director of Xprize and a host of other tech luminaries are going to be at NPC 2015 just to inspire you. But wait, these successful demigods of innovation might actually KILL YOUR DOUBTS about your startup dreams.

 

DEATH BY DESIGN - Ever had a brilliant product idea that failed just because you lacked the infrastructure or ecosystem to support your production and design?

 

NPC 2015 has got the MINI MAKER FAIRE to KILL THAT LACK OF EXPOSURE for your million $ idea - dream, plan, build, show the future to the attendees and win your way to success.

 

DEATH BY A KIOSK - Ever stood behind a counter and tried selling your dream to a crowd? Owning your Kiosk for a day @ NPC 2015 will for sure kill your DISABILITY TO SELL.

 

And what if we tell you that you can even pitch to industry leaders for Strategic Partnerships?

 

DEATH OF EXPENSIVE REGISTRATIONS - In case you are a startup set up within the last 3 years, for only 5,500 INR, you get an all access pass to NPC 2015. But the dirt cheap rate will kill the need to SHELL OUT TONS OF CASH for every event you attend and your bragging rights too. Here's where you Register!

 

KILL ALL YOUR FEARS and enjoy the grandeur of NPC @ Vivanta by taj, Yeswantpur, Bengaluru!!!

 

 

 

Article Courtesy: WWW.BONGFeed.COM

"Hiree now wants to be the ‘fastest tech-driven hiring platform and is on its way to do this in India already".

--Abhijit Khasnis and Manjunath Talwar, Hiree.com

Hiree.com is a company whose founders are people with significant industry experience, especially in the HR and hiring space. Having built and worked with large teams in their previous organizations, the founders of Hiree had been constantly involved in hiring, beyond their normal work.

Therefore, when they decided to a start a company of their own, and were looking for a problem that needed resolution, they gave hiring top priority. While both Abhijit Khasnis and Manjunath Talwar gave deep thought to ideas such as social networking and payments, it was eventually hiring that they settled for.

"We picked hiring as our solution since it was a problem we had known for long. We had domain expertise in this segment, which is why it was our first choice", informs Manjunath.

According to both the founders, a significant impetus was provided to their start-up by NASSCOM's Warehouse, an important pillar in the chamber's 10,000 Start-ups initiative.

"Well after we kick-started our project, we were told by many people that hiring was a tough space in terms of receiving VC funding. We heard about how VCs didn't offer funds to Recruitment Agencies.", says Abhijit.

An excellent workspace, which did not look in any way like a garage, the Warehouse appealed to the duo as it also had other start-ups operating out of it. "It was a great place for us to start off. NASSCOM's Warehouse motivated and inspired us and made us feel comfortable about being a start-up", he adds.

Funding however, was a challenge. The company was trying to create a new product and VCs and investors were keen on ideas that they were sure would work in the market and could be benchmarked.

The light at the end of the tunnel for hiree.com turned out to be former colleagues from Yahoo.com who decided to invest in the start-up. Quickly, the company received its first round of funding, which was followed by a second round, when IDG also put in money into the fledging venture. "NASSCOM made us feel comfortable with the idea of entrepreneurship and helped us to connect with customers and funding agencies", states Manjunath. 

Since its launch, the growth of the service has been phenomenal. "This week, the number of job seekers who have registered on hiree.com, basically owing to our own marketing, has crossed two lakhs!" Today, most top companies are already customers of hiree.com or in discussions with the company to be its customers.

"A key support has been the fact that NASSCOM is with us. We are incubated in NASSCOM and it has been supporting us as a start-up. The backing of the NASSCOM name, has given credibility to our work". Even hiring for its own needs became easier for the company with NASSCOM by its side.

"People got impressed with the NASSCOM Warehouse. We could attract people for interviews and give them a feel of the excellent workplace. In that sense, NASSCOM helped us to hire quickly and scale rapidly", he comments. According to the founders, the timely support it received from NASSCOM, investors and IDG, played a great role in its success. 

"Our own experience of being in this business with Yahoo and the various products we had launched earlier, added to our confidence levels. Abjiit, who had managed large teams across companies and was a hands-on and people friendly person enabled us to approach entrepreneurship differently", Manjunath adds.

Improvements in the overall start-up eco-system, where they were more VCs, angels and support mechanisms, further enabled hiree.com to stay on the fast track. The company decided that it wanted to grow fast and scale fast. It took decisions quickly and aggressively. "Our philosophy was that if you have to fail, fail quickly! However, go full swing into your effort".

Hiree.com was additionally big on advertising and began investing in brand building even before the beta version of its product could be out. The company spent on radio and Digital. "We felt we had a decent product and needed to go-to-market fast, gain feedback, make corrections and reach out to our customers", says Abhijit.

According to both Manjunath and Abhijit, maintaining clarity was important as well. Hiree had an idea and stuck to it. It held on to its own beliefs without getting influenced by anyone and stayed on course.

Having come this far and disrupted the recruitment space in India, Hiree now wants to be the "fastest tech driven hiring platform" and it is on its way to do this in India already. It is now looking to reach the US and over the next five years, build a global presence. While in terms of the job seeker base the company is essentially focused on India, its recruiters however, are spread across the globe.

"Over the next few years, we will continue to build on our USPs. Currently, we are the only portal that has active job seekers. We remove people after their notice people has expired. This has improved hiring efficiency significantly. Once job seekers sign up, we find out how soon can they join, and how long they have to serve their notice period. The passive guys are removed from our list, only the active ones remain. Their number may be small, but it is of high quality and value. It is essentially people who want to talk to you", Abhijit comments.

Improved hiring lead times and the increase in hiring efficiency have drawn the recruiters as well. The company is addressing the needs of 14,000 recruiters who are struggling to hire quickly and efficiently. "Going forward, we want to do a lot more in the space that we are invested in right now. We will work on creating new things, new innovations", Manjunath says.

"Having mastered tracking, we now want to get buyers and sellers into a marketplace where they can transact".

--Deep Krishna, Managing Director, DKG Labs

A winner of NASSCOM's 2014 Emerge 50 award for Enterprise Application Software, DKG Labs is a start-up specializing in the Internet of Things platform, with solutions targeted at the mining and logistics industries on tracking.

"We own the product portfolio of software and mobile applications related to tracking. DKG has tried and tested this product in the mining and logistics vertical, in a wide range of organizations such as Tata Steel, Vedanta, Coal India, NMDC among others".

The company was incepted in mid-2010 when an IIT-BHU Alumnus and experienced member of the Indian IT industry, with stints in companies such as TCS, GE, KPMG and Mahindra Satyam decided to start something on his own. Deep Krishna, who had worked in various roles across the value chain, and had a background in mining engineering, conceived the idea of a solution for the mining sector. "I thought we should begin with mining and then, with our plug-and-play offering, pitch the product at other segments, especially logistics and transportation. We used the mining vertical as our training ground", Deep says.

Recipient of BSE-SME National Award of Excellence and Hot 100  winner  2014  among other accolades, DKG Labs realized early in the game that rather than selling a product developed over the years, it was better to get it whetted from the industry, especially the bigger players, right at the start. "We picked an industry and the top five corporates in that sector and tested our product in the complex environment of these organizations. We did a thorough research before we picked our idea and then got the industry to whet it. The next step was capturing feedback and incorporating it in the final product", Deeps adds.

According to Deep, success for the company was the result of the fact that it was not just a GPS/VTS applications provider. "Rather, we positioned ourselves as a solutions provider, a company that understood the problems facing the industry and followed a solutions approach", Deep states.

It was also able to grow quickly owing to the fact that it did not stick to a particular industry. It developed  engines and algorithms which worked across industries, so that it did not have to begin from scratch when entering a new vertical.

"We picked tracking as our domain, which we felt could work around mining and transportation. We matured our solution in the mining sector. Our model is scalable. We have been approached by Wipro and have forged a deal, where the company is using our products for its customers in the mining industry", Deep informs.

What DKG is basically doing is working with the larger companies, letting them run the restaurant and managing the kitchen itself. "By doing this we have created a new revenue stream for DKG".

Breaking even has also become easier in Deep's view. Typically, a software product takes more time to break even, which is why DKG has thought beyond just software development and at solutions instead. "While we have taken the more complex route, the long shot, it is the more sustainable and long-term business model", Deep says.

Speaking about the challenges that the company faced in its initially years, Deep says funding was a problem. "The product was ready, the trails done and we had the references. However, getting the funds to expand market reach was a challenge. With boot strapping, you can put in place two sales people for two regions. With funding you can have ten people working on ten territories!" , he adds.

Another problem was dealing with government projects and getting paid for the work. "The government needs policies for start-ups that encourage them to pitch for tenders. While they have the capabilities, start-ups fail to deliver as they are unable to provide bank guarantees to receive an advance payment".

Finding the right talent, however, was not an issue for DKG, which hired people with an entrepreneurial mindset, put them on to products, and once they matured, got them to work on projects. In this way, it skilled them in the right manner for its products as well as customers.

Advising other start-ups on how to create a winning market strategy, Deep says, they must form an advisory board at the very start of their journey and follow its advice.  Thinking of the target customers and from their frame of reference is additionally critical.

Speaking about the future plans of DKG, Deep says the company is set to launch a platform for the logistics and transportation industry. "Having mastered tracking, we now want to get buyers and sellers into a marketplace where they can transact. We also want to innovate more in the tracking area, basically move to the next level with more applications in tracking, GPS, RFID, etc. The idea is to take the apps on the mobile platform.

Over the next three years, the company is looking to increase its market share in other industry verticals. In terms of geographic footprint, DKG has already begun activities in Australia and is looking for funds  to target the continent.

"As Analytics business partners, we focus on providing value to our customers by bridging the gap from information to insight to impact and striving for operationalization of Analytics".

--Prithvijit Roy, CEO and Co-Founder, BRIDGEi2i

BRIDGEi2i was set up in 2011 by Analytics industry pioneers and veterans from GE and HP. Prithvijit Roy, the CEO and Co-Founder of BRIDGEi2i says, "In our previous organizations, we had exposure to the value systems and robust processes and we did not have to reinvent the wheel; here in BRDIGEi2i, we are in a process of building a large enterprise and therefore we have to create our own value system and we have to create processes that would enable us in scaling up."

Prithvijit, popularly known as Jit says, "There is a larger need for Analytics as the enterprises across the world have started to realize the power of data. There is a need for monetizing data for achieving top and bottom line impact."

The three founders decided that BRIDGEi2i would have a clear focus on providing value to customers by bridging the gap from information to insight to impact and by operationalizing analytics for businesses.

Today, the rapidly growing firm based out of India and US, is partnering with enterprises across the world to deliver sustainable business impact based on actionable insights derived by leveraging big data and analytics. It has emerged as a trusted partner more than 10 Fortune 500 companies and helped them achieve accelerated outcomes by simplifying and embedding analytics in their DNA.

BRIDGEi2i has developed domain and function-specific solutions with technology acting as an accelerator to build and deploy its solutions.  Jit says, "We have created solutions that are technology enabled which companies can adopt easily. We focus on personalization and optimization techniques."

Driving datascience in Marketing by creating a Marketing Science Centre; enabling Sales Acceleration, focusing on Supply Chain Excellence; helping drive Compliance Risk and Model Monitoring and using data to address HR challenges are a few focus areas for the company.
"We need not start from scratch, we have algorithms to capture and process the data and the front-end layer to use that data." says the CEO.

While the company has gained considerable traction in its chosen markets, the initial days were fraught with the usual challenges. It was tough to convince companies, especially large enterprises, that as an early stage organization BRIDGEi2i was a serious player. The company's approach, therefore, was to give them comfort, with a well-articulated value proposition and proof-of-concepts in their particular area of business.

"We learnt to play with uncertainties, every small win provided satisfaction. We learnt something even with the lost deals and these helped us win the next deal", Prithvijit comments.
Given their experience of working in top analytics shops, the company always focused on finding and grooming the right talent who would share their vision and values.

Having achieved significant growth over the last four years, BRIDGEi2i is planning to expand its presence in verticals such as Retail, Telecom, Healthcare, Hospitality and Consumer Care. It believes that the opportunity in these segments will get bigger as analytics shifts from just being a buzzword to actually delivering value. India too is drawing attention as segments like Financial services and Telecom are now thinking of analytics to provide them with the value and competitive edge they are seeking. The company will also be looking to increase its "depth of solution", to enhance its usability in the business scenario.

Success for BRIDGEi2i has been always been a combination of focus and patience. Jit believes that being all over the place in terms of ideas cannot create success. As he says, "Real success is like cricket test matches; it is all about the patience and evolution in winning the match, one over at a time."

"We want to be the one-stop place for cards".

--Nikhil Wason, Co-Founder and CEO, Cardback

With credit and debit cards gaining popularity in India today and emerging slowly as the preferred payment option for people especially in the country's metros, Cardback, a mobile app is on strong turf and creating waves.

Cardback not only helps decrease information overload from all the offers and rewards that each piece of plastic offers, it also enables customers to make more informed decisions about when, where and how to use their credit, debit and loyalty cards.

Founded by Nikhil Wason and Nidhi Gurnani, the location-aware mobile product was an idea born after multiple iterations. For Nikhil, this was his third start-up, for Nidhi, her first.

Nikhil-who was always fascinated with the thought of being an entrepreneur-decided to launch a start-up in 2009, when following his education at Columbia University in the US, he came back to India. Despite excellent job offers in hand, Nikhil opted to do something on his own. While he did not enjoy success with his first two efforts, Cardback was different.

"With CardBack it was all about building on an idea that solved a problem, one that say, even I was facing personally. The idea also had to be something that did not involve us having to tie up with a big company. As a two-member team, this was a challenge. Cardback fulfilled that requirement", says Nikhil.

The duo wanted to launch a product that was secure for users, not just in terms of certifications, but dealing with their mind sets. "We therefore came up with a model where users did not need to share their card numbers-only the basic information, the meta data of the card. The technology we built gathers the information needed", Nikhil adds.

Breaking the mould, the company introduced the public version of the product in September, 2013, initially on the Android platform. At that time, the mobile phenomenon wasn't as big as it is today. The company went against the flow by being mobile first.

Later, in October, 2014, it also made available the service on all popular mobile planks. Since then, Cardback has been building mind share in India and capturing the imagination of users based on the fact that it enables people to get the best out of their credit, debit and loyalty cards when they are out shopping, dining, fuelling up or doing any of the things they normally do on a daily basis.

It enables them to discover offers and rewards on their cards and mobile wallets and know about the best way to pay before they are about to make a payment. "Cardback is based on multiple factors, not just deals. It can tell you which features of the card you should use, and the reward points accumulated. It makes recommendations on the basis of the cards you hold. Sometimes if you forget to open the app, you receive a notification. It is very highly customized, which is one of the USPs of the offering", Nikhil states.

In Nikhil's view Cardback's success is based on the fact the company had weighed its pros and cons before introducing the product, ensuring that it fitted the needs of users. It chose its platforms properly as well. "While we began with Android, we decided to go beyond, and try iOS and Windows".

Recognizing that carefully choosing the team and co-founder was of the utmost importance, Cardback focused on the people it hired. "Initially, when we hired, we had to fire too, but that was part of our learning. Thereafter, we have been hiring right. We are a core technology company, where nearly 70 percent of us are techies", Nikhil informs.

Speaking about the future, Nikhil says that he would like Cardback to be the payment recommendation platform of choice.  "We are already close to touching one lakh users and going forward, want to be present whenever there is a payment about to be made. We want to be there to tell people what card they must choose".

Since Cardback is a self-learning platform, the more users deploy the service, the more useful it becomes. "We plan to integrate a rewards system which will tell you how best to redeem the points you have accumulated on your cards. Basically, how to make better use of your points. That is coming over the next few months-air miles and points-and will make Cardback a holistic solution", Nikhil says. 

In his view, once Cardback gains greater acceptance, it will become a platform to manage everything related to cards and digital wallets. "We want to be the one-stop place for cards", he adds. Cardback is additionally talking to the big players in the market such as banks. "We are building analytics and Business Intelligence products for the banks and adding support for mobile wallets. The idea is to go beyond just cards'" Nikhil informs.

As one of the NASSCOM Emerge 50 2014 company, Cardback is appreciative of the work that the chamber has been doing to connect it with players in the industry that may be of benefit to it.

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