This Indian startup introduces world’s first ‘plant-based’ air-purifier

  • Home >Technology >News >This Indian startup introduces world’s first ‘plant-based’ air-purifier; all you need to know.
  • IIT Ropar’s startup company, Urban Air Laboratory, which has developed the product claims it to be the world’s first, state-of-the-art ‘Smart Bio-Filter’ that can make breathing fresh.
  • Drops from 311 to 39 in 15 minutes after using ‘Ubreathe Life’ air purified.
[Via]

Ola unveils self-drive car-sharing service ‘Ola Drive’

Ride-hailing platform Ola has unveiled its self-drive car-sharing service ‘Ola Drive’ that will allow users to rent cars for periods ranging from 2 hours up to 3 months. The service has been rolled out initially for users in Bengaluru and the company says Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi are to follow shortly.

Ola says it intends to host a fleet of 20,000 cars by 2020, which is 50% more than the fleet size of the car-share industry currently, and at a pricing which is 30% lower than the market average. Users can book an Ola Drive in Bengaluru via pickup stations located across the city with initial deposits starting at Rs. 2000.

The cars will come equipped with ‘Ola Play’ via a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment tablet, and will include safety features such as a 24/7 helpline, emergency button (which will place a call to Ola’s safety response team), real-time tracking and roadside assistance if necessary.

Zerodha Now India’s Largest Broker – Hear From Founder Nithin Kamath On His Journey

Zerodha, the low-cost tech-driven brokerage, has beaten the established bigwigs of the industry to become the largest broker in India according to NSE data. It has inched ahead of ICICI Securities which has 8.44 lakh clients to reach a client base of 8.47 lakh. Over the past 5 years, Zerodha has seen its client list grow by 200-500% annually and continues to grow at breakneck speed with its self-service app based model.

Nithin Kamath, the Founder and CEO of Zerodha, spoke at length at NextBigWhat’s UnPluggd Conference 2017 about his journey with Zerodha and how he arrived at the product as well as the lessons that he has learnt. Watch, learn and make sure to subscribe to the NextBigWhat Youtube channel for more such videos.

This Indian shoe startup uses natural renewable fiber: You stay warm in winters and cool in the summer !

Most innovations in India are usually geared towards lower price points, however here we have a startup that is focused on a premium product. Neeman’s is a shoe startup that is bringing  a distinctive style as well as a number of clever features for footwear together.

Made largely of Merino Wool, a ‘high-tech’ wool that enables breathability, prevents odour and can supposedly be worn without socks at all. Neeman’s is also touting the eco-friendly nature of the materials (recycled rubber along with plant based castor oil) used as well as the shoe’s apparent ability to stay warm in the winters and cool in the summer.

Neeman’s

Neeman’s is breaking the myth that wool is only a product of winters because it is bulky, heavy and itchy on the skin, by using a form of natural merino wool sourced from Australia which is superfine, lightweight, moisture-wicking, and breathable.

The Merino Wool fabric used by Neeman’s is developed in collaboration with Woolmark, the global authority of Australian wool. The timelessly elegant shoes are odor-resistant and sock-free, which keeps the skin cool and dry even in extreme temperatures.


New Delhi


At a price point of Rs. 7,200 – would you buy these shoes? From a relatively unknown (yet innovative) brand?

NextBigWhat profiles interesting products and startups (India + world). If you are building something interesting, submit the details here.

Livspace Acquires YoFLoor To Build 3D Home-Design Customizations

Livspace, an end-to-end home design and décor service provider has acquired YoFloor, a mobile platform that offers a virtual trial room for home design decisions.

This is the third acquisition by Livspace in the design community marketplace. Co-founders and the core team at YoFloor will now join the Livspace family to provide high-end 3D visualization tools for in-house designers and architects.

With Yofloor’s acquisition, Livspace is set to release WYSIWYG (What You See IS What You Get) productivity tool that allows designers to provide an immersive design experience in real time to homeowners.

WYSIWYG tool will allow both homeowners and designers to visualize a home’s design, before a purchase is made. Designers can customize a home’s layout to the needs and tastes of the homeowner with ease— eliminating the need for a lengthy exchange of design iterations and feedback.

“YoFloor shares with us the vision to let homeowners effortlessly see; a prospective design for their very home, before they even make the purchase. This is central to the kind of personalization and choice we want to give to home design enthusiasts in India,” says Anuj Srivastava, CEO and Co-founder of Livspace.

The Next Big Ride: Ola’s Shuttle Service To Ply In Bangalore And Gurgaon Soon

Ola has just confirmed its plan to launch a shuttle service in Bangalore and Gurgaon which shall go live by September 21 with proposals to cover 100 routes using 500 buses in total.

With its recent E series funding in April that amounted to a soaring $400 million, the company announced their  interests to launch a shuttle service in July.

The rides shall cost less than  Rs66 which is much cheaper when compared to its existing rides that averages at Rs200 – Rs400.

The shuttle will be shared between 12 to 20 people along with air conditioning, WiFi access and an in-vehicle entertainment service.

Initially the service will cover 20 routes with 100 shuttles and will either be owned by sole traders with their own vehicles or limited outfits utilizing Ola’s app to find passengers. The company intends to add more cities in the next quarter (via).

Image credit : shutterstock

Hyderabad’s GetMeFood acquired by Monocept, set to partner with DinerKonnect

GetMeFood (GMF) Hyderabad based online food ordering service has been acquired by Monocept for an undisclosed amount.

GMF was started in 2012 by Mithun Kalaga and Aravind Thodupunoori and with claims as the first online Food ordering service in Hyderabad.

The website has more than 600 restaurants in its list and plans to partner with 1500 more in the near future with plans to expand their base to newer cities.

In the third quarter, GMF launched mobile applications on both android and iOS platforms for customers, they will now help the restaurants in growing their business in both Dine-in and Online Ordering space giving it an edge over its competitors.

GMF’s acquirer Monocept in 2014 launched ‘DinerKonnect, a cloud-based software as a service solution that is being used by many Hyderabad-based restaurants. The software is a Customer Engagement and Rewards organiser tool tailored for the restaurant and hospitality industry.

Post the acquisition, Mithun and Aravind will continue to work on the joint venture with DinerKonnect which will be an improvised version of the previous platform.

“The success of DinerKonnect pushed us to explore new ways to improve our offering and Online Food Ordering seemed like a logical extension to our product. We looked out for local Food ordering websites that we could get associated with and GetMeFood fitted the bill perfectly. ” said Manav Gaur, CEO of Monocept.

 

Ola introduces free after school coaching for its drivers’ children

Aimed towards improvement of lives and social stature of its drivers, Ola has recently launched a free after school program named ‘Gurukul’, intended to empower the children of its drivers to perform better in board exams.

The school program is formed in association with Avanti Learning Centres and the first batch shall have 500 children from 9th and 10th standards taught at the learning centres of Avanti.

The program shall be extended to other cities like Bangalore, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad shortly and aims to get over 5000 children registered by the end of the year from 1 – 12th standards.

Apart from being bearing all the expenses of the program for the first 3 months, Ola also plans to provide free stationery, books, course material to top performing children.

“A lot of these kids do not receive proper support after school as both their parents work leaving nobody else to coach them. Avanti has done brilliant work over the past few years and we hope together we can equip far more kids to perform better at school,” says Pranay Jivrajka, Chief Operating Officer at Ola.

Proklean Technologies Raises Rs 3.5cr From IIMA’s Cleantech Fund Infuse Ventures

Chennai-based Proklean Technologies has raised Rs 3.5 crore in exchange for an undisclosed amount of stake from IIMA CIIE’s sustainability and cleantech fund Infuse Ventures.

ProKlean

Proklean manufactures probiotic products that can replace chemicals in industrial and commercial applications like leather processing, textile processing and household cleaning.

Selling products under the name Proviera, the startup uses a unique probiotic technology which makes products 100% biodegradable, natural and non-toxic.

Apart from the obvious benefits to the environment, Proklean claims its products are cost and  performance competitive compared to traditional chemical products.

The firm already counts Vardhaman Group, Raymond, Mafatlal, Welspun, RSWM, Kapoor  Industries, JK  Mills, AVT, Super House and Upper India as customers.

Further, it also caters to overseas markets such as U.S.A., Brazil, Mexico, South  Africa, Germany, Spain, Hungary, Turkey, Thailand, China, Philippines, Australia and Bangladesh.

SEBI Names Narayana Murthy To Head Startup Funding Platform Panel

N R Narayana Murthy (Image: Wikipedia)
N R Narayana Murthy (Image: Wikipedia)

Infosys founder N.R. Narayana Murthy has been picked up to head SEBI’s panel for a new funding platform for startups in India.

The panel, Alternative Investment Policy Advisory Committee (AIPAC), will set up rules for the funding platform and will advise markets regulator SEBI on capital market policies.

The 18-member panel includes private equity and venture capitalists like KKR India Chief Executive Sanjay Nayar, Piramal Group Chairman Ajay Piramal and Devinjit Singh, Managing Director of the Carlyle Group India, and Saurabh Srivastava, Founder of Indian Angel Network.

Apart from that the panel will also include representatives of SEBI, Reserve Bank of India and the Finance Ministry.

Recently, SEBI has been planning to revamp the policies to make listing of startups easier in India. It has plans to exempt startups from lock-in period clauses while listing on the stock exchanges.

“Mentally dropped out of IIT in 2nd year” : Housing’s Rahul Yadav On Sequoia, IIT And Porsche Cayenne

Housing’s Rahul Yadav did an AMA on Reddit and here are some of the interesting questions (and answers). For sure, he is on a roll !
What was the deal with Sequoia Capital? For science, Can you tell us what ‘other bad things’ were you referring to in your email to the VC?

We decided a slided deal between 10-15% (depending on performance)for 1mn$. After 2 months of due diligence, when they realised we were running out money, they said they want to do a flat equity deal. I said ‘Okay. Let’s do it at 12.5%. They said 14.75%. When I requested more, they said “Let’s not waste each others’ time.” We were left with no option.

Rahul Yadav
Rahul Yadav

I came to know they have done it with lots of other ventures (TFS, Ola, Dexetra, LetsBuy..)

So to cut it short, I think they’re culturally a very cutthroat VC and sometimes I think that’s why they’re more successful than others. But I still condemn their practises because I feel they’re inhuman and for me, people are the ‘why’ for everything I do.

So Do you watch chota bheem ?

Bhai pichle 11 saal se TV nahi dekha hai.

I have never read any book in my life

Our entire tech team (~100%) consists of freshers

I ‘want’ to buy and media made it ‘bought’. I use a rented car.

What made you ask Bhavish of Ola and Deepinder of Zomato to ask them to allot half of their shares to employees

Success of a venture is a team work. Although all startups give ESOPs to their employees but the problem is it’s not PROPORTIONAL to the value creation. Value is being created at x rate and is being given to the employees at y rate. x not being equal/proportional to y is the real issue. So these two names came up in my mind and I just nominated them.

What you would be doing, if you have left Housing.com ?

Never thought about it. But I love animation and visual effects and wanted to pursue it from Vancouver Film School but couldn’t afford their high fees at the time.

Would you ever be a VC? 😉

I don’t like money at rest. Putting money to work is very important. And I’ll keep doing so in whatever roles/formats are right at the moment.

If you are here to solve problem then why you wanted to quit before solving it.

It was just a well calculated tactical move.

I think I mentally dropped out of IIT in 2nd year. Physically in my 4th year. And on papers, I think I’m still an IITB student. 🙂

What is your opinion about Deepinder Goyal and Zomato?

A company scanning menus from last 7 years and doing no innovation. And the CEO says ‘Aww. So cute.’

Do you think investors your back your next startup after all the controversies?

I think they will but it really doesn’t matter.

– Link to AMA

Also see: Deepinder’s AMA

SEBI To Go Easy On Listing Norms For Startups; Is Trying To Be Investor Friendly

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), is likely to exempt startups from lock-in period clauses while listing on the stock exchanges.

SEBI_Bhavan
SEBI Bhavan, Mumbai headquarters

The exemption will facilitate the startups to sell shares to the public through the proposed alternative capital-raising platform from the mandatory promoter’s holding lock-in period, enabling to raise funds easier and, also investor exits.
Under the existing norms, a minimum 20% (post-issue capital) of promoter’s contribution is locked in for three years from the date of commercial production or date of allotment in public issue.
The newly proposed listing norms with regard to the exemption of lock-in period for promoter’s holding will help the startups to access to capital in India by selling the shares. This will allow the investors to exit their holdings easily as well as draw the attention of new investors without getting their investment locked in for a given period.
Furthermore, the exemptions will also enable initial investors of startups an opportunity to sell their holdings.
The final listing guideline for startups is expected to be announced by next month.

Flipkart Leases 2 Million Square Feet Office Space In Bangalore [Flipkart Campus]

flipkart-logoAs part of consolidating it all offices under one Flipkart Campus, the company has leased 2-million-sq-ft office campus in Bangalore with a seating capacity of 20,000 people.
The office space leasing was done as a part of company’s strategy to expand its operations as well as its workforce.
The duration of the deal is for 20 years and comes at a cost of Rs. 50 a month per square feet. The new campus will set up as a part of Embassy Tech Village on the Outer Ring Road at Devarabisanahalli. The property is owned by US private-equity firm Blackstone and Bangalore-based builder Embassy Group.

Between Startups, Founders And Investors : Are Employees Being Neglected?

We all have heard stories of multi-billionaire companies, their founders and investors. Some get published in TIME magazine, others go viral and a few get a movie done on their founders. It is all like a movie, where the leads (CXOs) get most traction, then the director/producer/musician (VCs). But what about a bunch of other people who are equally important and without them the movie was impossible to make? Who are they? Where are they? What role do they serve in making a movie? No one knows that or ever wonder about it.

My post is not regarding anyone of the mentioned ones but for the one who never got mentioned by any magazine, article, news agency, movie, wiki, FB, Google, Twitter. Employees. Yes, employees are foundation of any success story. They are the rocks and pillars that goes into solidifying the growth of any company. No one ever talks about them. But when it comes to hiring or firing the mentioned ones make sure to turn every stone.

Employees risk their careers with a startup, their future and what do they get, a reckless CEO: Rahul Yadav.

Everyone must be aware of the famous Housing saga. To the ones who aren’t, Housing.com is a real estate startup, trying to bridge the gap between retailers and real estate. Having got funded for $90 mn, they are the talk of the town in India. Since then, lots have changed, including the branding of Housing (look up). But well, that’s not a story. Story is when an email between the CEO and investor got leaked and there were buzz all around. People in industry gave their opinions, had discussions and debates. Just when everyone thought it to be an episode of past, here comes Rahul again. He resigned with a big mouthed email, which was shared to media by the investors. Well, I personally feel there is something wrong with the name Rahul (if you know what I mean). So, how does this kinda thing affects the employees, who joined in seeing a man’s vision & mission, and made it their own. Suddenly that man calculates the time left in his life and decides to change course. Though he joined later and apologized. But that doesn’t make it cool.

Employee Engagement
Employee Engagement

It is time that all employees joining a startup, shall ask few questions that might make the founders uncomfortable. I mean why not? The startups do not shy away in asking questions that might not seem remotely relevant to the job, but a candidate is bound to answer that.

So why not the other way round too? After all, an employee is the one helping an insensitive, immature, reckless entrepreneur realize his/her dreams. Hence, the article. I was sad and angry on the way the entire episode of Housing took place. Yes, there is one angle here, that I might not know. What if it were the investors who made Rahul to do so. What if Rahul is an immature and polite kid, unaware of the politics that goes into the ecosystem.

Since a prospective employee only meets the founders and rarely the investors before joining, so these questions shall go to who ever an employee gets an opportunity to be with face to face, in an interview:

  1. Who the investors are? ( Do a homework here, instead of asking. And also try to research, in what all startups the said investors have invested)
  2. What if the investors pull out the money?
  3. What if the founding team quits?
  4. What if the startup gets acquired?
  5. What is the revenue model?
  6. How much traction the company has currently?
  7. What is their 3 & 5 year plans?
  8. How do they value their employees?
  9. What perks ( not salary) are they offering?
  10. Do they plan to shift office to a new city?
  11. Are there any ESOPs?
  12. What if the startup fails?
  13. Know more about the founding team.
  14. Know about employees, with whom you gonna work.

This list of questions might not be a perfect/complete one. But it’s a start and will definitely help any candidate to know more about a startup, their culture, values, financials, etc. And also might help in filtering job offers.

I am not asking to make this your bible but to make yourself more extrovert when it comes to joining a startup. No job referral portal or company review portals can tell you about a startup. Thus, it might be good to know from the horse’s mouth.

Don’t wait for someone to tell you, go and ask for yourself.

Period.

[Image credit : shutterstock]

CommonFloor Launches 360 Degree Walkthrough For Rent & Resale Properties

commonfloorThe online real estate platform, CommonFloor, has launched ‘Live-in Tours’ with 360-degree virtual tour for the rental and resale realty market in India.
The feature allows the user to get a complete perspective of the rental, resale & new properties listed on the website.
The company is planning to introduce this feature across 18 major cities by March 2016 and as well as to have five lakh properties listed with Live-in Tours.

“Given the boom in the rental and resale property market in India, this new offering is our endeavour to create tools and technology that makes property search easy and hassle-free for the end-consumers,” says Sumit Jain, Co-founder & CEO, CommonFloor.

Live-in Tour functions as a filter and helps the users shortlist prospective properties of their choice and eliminate the need of physically visiting the properties to a great extent. The offering is live on CommonFloor and is absolutely free for the end-users. It currently has over 1000 properties from three key cities: Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai.

The Woman Who Chose To ‘Startup’ In Her Sixties

Inspiring, to know about someone who at the dawn of her 60th birthday chose to start her own venture, even more refreshing that she chose to go the eCommerce way.
Meenakshi Datta is the CEO & Founder of Thread Turner and a makeover expert who started her apparel & fashion ecommerce platform at age 60.
Meenakshi gave up her job to devote her time to bringing up her children and once they flew the nest, that’s when she got started. She took an active interest in honing her skills and joined theatre workshops, did voiceovers, conducted communication skills workshops, held sessions as a motivational speaker and created initiatives to empower underprivileged women. Every step was learning for her, which all put together culminated in her starting up Thread Turner.

Meenakshi Datta, the
Meenakshi Datta, the

Captian Nair- The Inspiration

A year ago, on a home-bound flight, Meenakshi came across an article on Captain Nair and was surprised to know that at age 65 he started the Leela Group of Hotels. That really got her thinking that age is just a number. This was inspiration enough for her to turn into an entrepreneur.

Overcame the challenges

eCommerce, for one, was a completely new domain for her, something way beyond her comfort zone. She recollects always being at the edge of her seat as she underwent the training program to setting up the website – all the jargons, parameters, softwares.
“I always knew the great potential eCommerce held and a few days into training, I discovered its beautiful nuances and also the power of technology.”
The formalities and the wait for clearing the license process was a tedious task which demanded a great deal of patience, optimism and determination.

Unmatched Family Support

“The family has always supported each and every initiative of mine but of course working out of home was a new thing for them. My meetings with craftsmen would be monitored by the family and would take place in between rustling up an evening snack. My conference calls used to be punctuated with ‘Do you have any clothes for ironing?’, ‘Can I take the car out?’…to my mother-in-law insisting I join her for tea.”

Success Mantra

Her success mantra seems to be simple, she says, never sit on a problem for more than 24 hours. Connect with the youth & young people; surround yourself with the energy and buzz.

A glimpse from Meenakshi Dutta's collection of sarees for office going women.
A glimpse from Meenakshi Dutta’s collection of sarees for office going women.

Designing & Conducting Makeovers- It Just Happened

Her artistic and cultural sensibilities in making over of home, personal wardrobe as well as her aesthetic dressing sense has caught the eyes of celebrated designers at fashion weeks. Though, designing was a logical evolution, all her experience of conducting workshops with corporates on personal grooming is what eventually led her to conduct makeovers.
Meenakshi’s Vision for Thread Turner is all about seeing the brand Thread Turner being the fashion choice of every independent, enterprising and empowered woman.