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In the News

30 December 2013 by Smita

One97 and Paytm have been in the news recently. Here’s a news digest from December 2013.

One97, SingTel to launch gaming platform in India

Mobile-internet firm One97 has tied up with Singapore Telecommunications to launch its gaming platform in India. One97 has also integrated its payment portal with billing systems of leading mobile phone companies including Vodafone and Idea to create an in-app purchase and billing mechanism.

Read more here

Paytm clocks shortest customer service response time – A study

A study on responsiveness to customer queries was done by Airwoot, and Paytm emerged on the top! The study says: 90% of the time Paytm responds back within 30 minutes

Read more here

About One97 Mobility Fund

One97 Mobility Fund: An early stage tech investment arm formed by One97 in association with its private equity investor SAIF Partners. The fund typically invests $500,000 to $5 million across seed and early stage opportunities, and has invested in 12 startups so far. While the fund had been investing in startups with niche products and was sector-agnostic; in June 2013, it moved away from being sector-agnostic and is now focusing only on the mobile space.

More here

Comments | Categories: Press, Media & Events

Advice to Start Ups – 7

18 July 2013 by Smita

Exit Plan

“One question that I often come across when I’m having conversations with incredible entrepreneurs is – ‘Where is exit, and when is exit?’, and I have an answer to this magically, which is, we invested in a company WaveSecure, which was out of Singapore and they created a smartphone security product, right! And, with that, you remotely could wipe your data or create backup or lock the phone, track the phone – all those features; incredible use case in smart phone era. Now this company, when it was creating this product, was one of the few companies in the market and they got a high tide. Soon, this product started to get competition in the market and they needed lot more money to raise than the money they had raised from us. So, the guy made a phone call to me at 11:30 in the night in one of those days when he was visiting San Francisco, and said that he was wondering if he should raise more money and if yes, then how much? – My favorite question, by the way! And I said, how much is the need? And instead of answering that, he started quoting to me that other people have raised 20 million dollars, 35 million dollars and they are also working on this and so on, and I was just nodding my head during the whole conversation. And then he put a very interesting question forward that Vijay, do you think we should sell our company? And I said, what happened? To which he replied, well the point is that this money being raised is so large in the market and I was having a conversation with McAfee and they might be interested in buying our company. I had a very simple question to ask and I said– Do you think you should sell your company? To which he said – Yea, I think we should sell our company. I said you’ve an answer, why do you want me to answer this, right? So, when should you exit? in your mind, you have your answer! You might need somebody to equate with, you might need somebody as a bouncing mode to get an answer of it, but the answer will lie in your head. When you know this is the end of your this journey of start-up, you’ll know in your mind. Sometimes, we are fatigued; remember it is a warning alert that fatigue is not the indication of that you’re exiting or should exit! We all are intelligent in the business we’re doing, right? So, the logical conclusion to when it is about that it should end is that you should have some bouncing mode discussions and then do it. No other person will tell you that this is the exit but yourself. Every other person can be acting like a bouncing board and may you choose wisely!”

This is part of a video series in which our founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma advises Start Ups on several crucial aspects in a NASSCOM initiative - 10000 Startups, which aims at incubating, funding and supporting 10,000 technology start-ups in India over the next 10 years.

Comments | Categories: Ideas and Discussions, Press, Media & Events, Uncategorized, Vss

Advice to Start Ups – 6

18 July 2013 by Smita

PR and Marketing Plan

“One of the most important things that you must know is that there is a tech-talk that you should listen to, which is about the Law of Innovation Diffusion. Right! This says there are Innovators in the world, there are First Movers in the world. Now, you first as a start-up should market only to these people, don’t go to main stream. Main stream is for resource-rich, in other words, cash-rich companies. So, over the top advertising can help you get mainstream, but if you’re not filthy rich like that, then you’re better off with reaching out to ‘Innovators’ and ‘alpha-users’, because those people are the network influencers, and then they influence other people to get to your product. Now how do I reach out to them? They’re fairly easy intelligent people. You just write your blog posts, you just write again on social media, you can do a little bit of advertising at fairly niche targeted places, is speaking at conferences, go out at conferences and see the effect. I even suggest that even putting a standee in a conference at a very cheap rate or barter with the conference organization is an equally effective method for a start-up.

Once you have done a little bit of marketing which is about spending money on getting your buzz, PR kicks in immediately. Sometimes you can get a massive good PR in advance, but once people know you little, they are Comfortable to do this PR because startups need a little bit of differentiation when a PR guy or the blog is writing about you. So, PR requires you to do some things extra ordinary nifty. As One97, we’ve done something called ‘Calendar’. We propagated the philosophy that every influential person in the country should carry One97 as a brand on their desk, and once they know what One97 is, people coming to meet them will know One97. So we created a nifty feature called Calendar and every year we work hard to create our calendar. Now you could create some of those differentiated unique things which are associated with yourself, you know! You might say that what could this be; is it about giving free USB drives and pen with your logo? The answer is no, it’s not about that! Answer is that you could create research reports which are coming regularly on a topic and people pick that up and write about you, you know! You could talk about good or bad ugly practices or how to overcome them and similar kind of articles and again go out in the market and PR will love to talk to you. Once you build this credibility sorts, then people start following/calling you as an opinion leader. So, first you have to build an opinion stand and then once you are an opinion leader, people start coming to you, and that’s exactly where the PR is, that you’ll be written on the topic/that you’ll be the topic of writing.

So, I think the answer lies in a Hindi song that says – ‘Mera naam karega roshan, mera rajdulara.’ So, for your company, your product is your thing that will help you claim your name, right! So, you shouldn’t bother about your company, you should bother about your company’s outputs and the people who are using it. Emotions will come if the product is incredible, not when the company is credible. Company is for stakeholders called shareholders and employees, at a world large level, no press wants to read about your company unless there is a great product, guys!

Let’s say, you’re a company which has a couple of products, so which products should you promote is another problem that you could go with. You’ve to remember that you have to reach out to the influential. In your PR and Marketing Plan, you should have – I’m going to create Brand ambassador’s theory, and then they’ll create the network effect. Now, can they create it by Your small niche products or buy your big bumper products – the choice is yours! If you’ve a large rich product which gets you a lot of money but is not very popular or is nearly equal to everything else, your small niche product can be that differentiating thing or vice-versa, that you’re putting all your money on the big brands. Coca-Cola does this; they put Coke on to a very different mission statement, and fight every other peer or average company on their small niche brands. So, the choice remains yours that which one makes you want to create as a brand that is where your long term association will come in. And, I believe in that creation of a repeat brand value. So, pick up one name which Can get associated, like Times gets associated with Times, Airtel gets Associated with Airtel; imagine, Airtel landline – how oxymoronic is that as a name, an Airtel TV, again! But sometimes, we have to have these oxymoronic Names together because the first tagline or the name we’ve learnt and built over a period of time can give its rub-off effect on our second product. So, I suggest creation of aiming of Airtel, not Bharti or not a separate brand for different product. Single focused brand across all things is a better product and marketing strategy anytime.

Whenever in doubt whether you should promote your company name or your products’ brand name, it is products’ brand name. Sunil Bharti Mittal doesn’t promote Bharti enterprises, he promotes Airtel, right? So, everybody promotes their brand name, the reason for that is you can repeat brand name usage while your company name might get changed. Sometimes in different countries, you might run a different company name, but your brand name might be the same. So, the company name is something which is back end and product name or product is something which is front-end. So, sell the front-end!”

This is part of a video series in which our founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma advises Start Ups on several crucial aspects in a NASSCOM initiative - 10000 Startups, which aims at incubating, funding and supporting 10,000 technology start-ups in India over the next 10 years.

Comments | Categories: Ideas and Discussions, Leadership, Press, Media & Events, Uncategorized, Vss

Advice to Start Ups – 5

18 July 2013 by Smita

Retaining Customers

“Drop box is one of the world’s top storage for people. We know that as a brand name and most of us have a brand name account at that. Think about how commodity and competing it is, there is Box, there is Google Drive and there is obviously Apple site drive and Amazon drive and many other companies. Does it buy only one product marketing strategy called ‘Referral’? Their cost of customer acquire is much below 1 dollar in such a harsh and competing global market of storage in the cloud. It is because they have created an incredible Referral machine. Go check that out, no better example for you to follow if it is consumer marketing that you’re chasing – that’s no. 1 and number 2 is – Look, when you’re talking about customers giving you referral or endorsing your customer and retaining, because any business model cannot exist or survive if we were to believe that one transaction and customer will give you that value back. Alright! Because if a customer is coming at your doorstep and buying a 100 bucks product, there is a cost of customer acquire, there is a cost of servicing the customer. So, unless this customer comes back again, you are not actually in business. So retaining and customer refers are the best matrices and I’ll go back to tell you that internally at Paytm, we are very proud to measure these two numbers and one latest number that we’re measuring after seeing these 2 numbers great is ‘Net Refer Percentage’. Will you refer this product to someone? Apple and Amazon enjoy top slot in the world at 80 %, so 80% of the people who use their products say that I will suggest someone to use it. You know what is a good number? It is assumed that +40% is a good number. Can you believe it? Did you check yours? Go today and check whether people are referring you to others actively, pro-actively and then add like masalas that Dropbox have added, so that it can get better!”

This is part of a video series in which our founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma advises Start Ups on several crucial aspects in a NASSCOM initiative - 10000 Startups, which aims at incubating, funding and supporting 10,000 technology start-ups in India over the next 10 years.

Comments | Categories: Ideas and Discussions, Leadership, Press, Media & Events, Uncategorized, Vss

Advice to Start Ups – 4

18 July 2013 by Smita

Attracting Employees

“You’re asking here that how do I get great employees to work with me when I’m a start-up? Incidentally, given everything equal, people will not work for a company which they don’t associate with. They work with a company whose mission is what they associate with. So, most intelligent people will go agnostic to the salary being equal or less, places where they want them lives’ purpose identified. Ok! People who are not sure of what they want in Life is not necessarily the best employees you need in the early days; you want employees who are very motivated to the purpose that you are associated with. You don’t have to sell your company to the people; you will sell the purpose! Let’s create a dent in the universe and people will come towards it or let’s say, let’s create the best experience for online commerce, people will come for that; let’s create a kick-ass analytics so that we can give consumers this. When you speak ‘this’, this polarizes people and then they’ll join you or they will refer people who can join. Don’t sell your company, sell your vision, sell your purpose, sell your end goal, and once you’ve decided that you’re heading there, people will flock together for that journey! You know, it is an incredibly interesting thing to know that when Martin Luther King, when he was mobilizing mobs, or let’s say mobilizing large number of people, they did not have network effects and re-tweets As we have today, he was able to do because he had a tagline called ‘I have a dream’. So people came because he had a dream which they were identified with. So, you should have that, and people will identify that, and today’s social media and places are great places to impute that you have a dream and what is that dream, and people will associate with it. So, answer lies in having your fundamentals that why you are in it clear and then telling others that you are in it for this purpose, and then people will come. Intelligent people do not want to work on mediocre products; they want to work on something extra ordinary, unachievable. So, his moot shots make him attract incredible amount of talent and then, once that talent arrives, it has a rub-off effect of more people coming in. So again, your purpose is what people come for!”

This is part of a video series in which our founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma advises Start Ups on several crucial aspects in a NASSCOM initiative - 10000 Startups, which aims at incubating, funding and supporting 10,000 technology start-ups in India over the next 10 years.

Comments | Categories: Ideas and Discussions, Leadership, Press, Media & Events, Vss

Tax filing gets less taxing at Paytm

18 July 2013 by Smita

It is our constant endeavour to make things simpler for you. With the last few weeks left for filing Income Tax returns, we knew we had another problem to solve on our hands.

The intention was to offer an e-filing service that is as simple, fast, clean and as focussed on design as we strive to offer to you. Once we put these filters on, the search became very simple.

Our latest offering of e-filing of Income Tax Returns comes as a result of our partnership with ClearTax. They focus on helping customers navigate through the the maze of taxes so that it feels like a walk in the park.

To start e-filing your tax, all you need to do is click on the ‘Income Tax Returns’ tab on Paytm, fill your e-mail address and chose either of the two options:

1. If you have a soft-copy of your form 16 available, it’s a simple one click upload.
2. Alternatively, you can go through the step-by-step guided process of filing at cleartax.

To make things even sweeter, we are offering this facility free of cost to Paytm users.

Stay tuned for many such offerings coming up on Paytm!

Comments | Categories: Initiatives, Paytm, Press, Media & Events, Uncategorized

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