Bigadda To Shutdown Social Networking – Converts to eCommerce

Bigadda, the social networking and blogging platform from Reliance Entertainment is now changing its avatar into an eCommerce portal. In a communication to the users Bigadda mentioned that no user data would be available after 15th July.

We value and appreciate your long standing support for Bigadda.com. In the past few months we explored our potential as an ecommerce portal by providing branded products at profitable deals to you and have found immense success. We are reaching newer heights everyday and hence are planning an expansion in the same arena.

We request you to download all your personal collection of blogs, audio files, video files and images from Bigadda.com as we are scaling down our Social Networking services.

Please note that all your old personal data, uploaded on Bigadda.com, shall not be available after July 15 2011.

We are unclear whether high traction properties like the BigB’s blog would also shut down.

Can Reliance Entertainment understand and crack eCommerce?

[Naman is a startup enthusiast and has worked with couple of Indian startups as Product Manager. He is the founder of FindYogi]

Employer Rating/Salary Comparison site, JobeeHive ‘almost’ shuts shop

Salary Comparison and Company rating/review portal, JobeeHive has almost shut shop (read our review of Jobeehive when they launched).

The site is down for the last 15 days and founding team has already move on (Vishwas has joined a research firm/Sandeep is with NephroPlus).

Even though the site will be back again (Vishwas mentioned that there are some DB issues which needs to be fixed and the team is moving the site to a new server), but as a business venture it is pretty much dead.
Actually, abandoned is the right word to describe this, as founders do not solely depend on this venture for their survival. If it kicks in, that’s great otherwise let it die a natural death.

What about other Employer Rating Sites?

Most of the other company review sites (Criticat, Talentty) have been abandoned as well (founders have moved on).

Apart from the fact that most of these sites went thru’ recession blues when jobs were hardly few and far in between (demand for such service was obscured by demand for jobs), there was of course a basic missing factor – that of monetization and sustainability.

All of these sites had done a good job of SEO, attracting visitors, but probably failed to create engagement. If you look at sites like Glassdoor, they have built an engagement platform and have grown owing to the sheer size of Internet market/penetration.

What’s your take on failure of ‘rate your company/compare salary’ model?

Maybe the model hasn’t failed, but its the timing that wasn’t in the favor of these companies. We just hope some of them make a comeback.

Social Media Community Pulse Service, BrandAdda to shut down

BrandAdda, a destination site to track community pulse has decided to shutdown, citing lack of success on the business front.

Founder, Tej Arora shares some of the insights/challenges they faced while running the company.

‘There were many challenges we faced in building the business, and a few we faced building the product.

  • Working without a founding partner was extremely hard.
  • Hiring quality talent was super tough.
    By and large, we found people to be risk-averse, and putting more  emphasis on cash compensation than on equity
  • Brands have not yet appreciated social media, specially in India. It was a hard sell. It was hard enough explaining the concept to them, forget selling a service. They need to first warm up to it, and then organize themselves appropriately to take advantage of it. That will take longer than we had hoped for.
  • The budget for internet marketing is a tiny fraction of the overall marketing budget.
  • BrandAdda wasn’t giving consumers something compelling or solving a pain point, so consumer adoption was poor. We were counting on Brands to be able to offer something of value to consumers, but with no traction from Brands, this never materialized
  • There was no one from the Marketing industry in the team. We were outsiders to the industry, trying to reach Brands through a well-established layer of Agencies around them. That was hard. The soft business climate made matters worse. – blog

I have known Tej Arora for quite sometime and one thing he and I have always shared is the challenge of not having a cofounder in running a venture.

Sometimes, you need validation of idea/hypothesis, a healthy argument around the venture (as well as product features), somebody to question things, to brainstorm ideas and being the solepreneur just takes you into ‘Let me try this’ loop [Read this: Successful startup needs 2.09 founders to make it big!].

Must Read: What exactly makes Entrepreneurship so hard

Personal Finance Startup, Zibika shuts shop

Update (April 20th, 2012): The site is back now!

Started by IIM alumnus, Zibika was focused on insurance space (earlier coverage) and had tie ups with Swiss-based VIG Insurance brokers, ICICI Lombard, Future Generali, Reliance Life and Bharti AXA insurance.logo[1]

The startup, owing to financial issues (lack of funding, it seems) has shut shop.

This is what the homepage reads:

Dear Zibika Users,

On account of financial issues, we regret to announce that Zibika.com will be offline on an indefinite basis.

Under more conducive market conditions, we intend to make a comeback and serve you fully online to meet your insurance and banking needs.

With Regards

Vivek Doraiswami, CEO

on behalf of

The Zibika Leadership Team

Hat tip

Digital Out of Home Company vJive Networks shuts shop(?)

Digital OOH company vJive, which was started in 2004 has shut shop, as mentioned by a reliable source (though company declined this news).

vjive network
vjive network

The company raised close to $5mn from Matrix Partners (in 2006) and tied up with retail outlets (like Subhiksha) as well as BFSI outlets for expansion.

Vjive Networks created a paradigm shift in the Out of Home (OOH) signage by replacing static signage with dynamic audio visual media across the nation; and had roped in advertisers like Ariel/Dove/Lux/AXE etc.

Vjive technologies include VJIVE Engine, an Internet based broadband media streaming engine that was used as a carrier to transport ads in real-time to digital screens.

While we don’t yet know the real reason, a few earlier rumors mentioned the tiff between the team and investors that caused the company to shut operations.

Will be updated with details, as we get them.

Update: VJIVE declined this article and mentioned that they aren’t shutting down operations.

We will update with more details later.

Webaroo morphs into SMSGupshup..to move office to India

Webaroo has decided to morph into it’s portfolio product, SMSGupshup – the site now redirects to smsgupshup’s site.

Webaroo started an application that will enable users to search and browse web pages without an Internet connection. Its use is especially targeted towards laptops and mobile devices.

Timelines:

  • Released a beta version of their software in the second week of April 2006 for use to the general public.
  • Launched smsgupshup in April of 2007,
  • Raised $11mn funding (July 2008), realized that webaroo’s sitedownloader is not working and it seems they have decided to kill the sitedownloader and focus all energy on SMSGupshup.

Also, we have learnt that webaroo is moving the entire team to India – those who aren’t moving over are moving on.

Movie ticketing site, BookEazy shuts shop – Founders to focus on Lipikaar

BookEazy, Pune based online movie ticketing service has shut shop and the founders will now focus on Lipikaar, the language transliteration startup.
‘There has been a significant shift in the way Multiplexes view their customer-facing partners, starting with discomfort to a full-blown lack of faith. They now see ticket-booking as a premium service and have enforced policies to tilt the economics away from aggregators towards the owner of the inventory.

This is where BookEazy is unable to fit in – the genesis of our concept being the same ticket price to the movie-goer, independent of the purchase channel. It has become necessary for BookEazy to go in to hibernation and seriously look at a ground up change in how it works.’ – blog

Well, given bookmyshow’s (and other deep pocketed players) aggressive marketing and partnerships with multiplexes, independent vendors will have a tough time forging deals with theatre owners.

Business Model

BookEazy launched ‘pay-at-the-multiplex” service in 2006 and served as an aggregator. Lets look at their business model:

  • Subscription Fee (upfront) of  Rs. 595/ as deposit fee (unlike their competitors) – to check on abuse.
  • Revenue model – They used to charge multiplexes Rs 100/- for every 16 tickets (and Rs 200/- for every 36 tickets) – Once you book the tickets, BookEazy will send you a mobile coupon that you need to show @ the theatre (to buy the ticket).
  • No transaction at the site – this is where you lose all your bargaining power, if you are just another channel for tickets (replacement to standing in queue?).
    Moreover, if they had enabled transaction on the site, they would have easily moved away from charging deposit fee and gained a lot more users.
  • Value of the service to the users? Very low, if I can say this. Compare the service with a self-service bookmyshow and you will know what I am talking about.
  • Smart Competition – right from offline services (you call them and they deliver ticket at your doorstep) to self-service websites (complete the entire transaction), booking tickets is a vendor-agnostic and one is ready to pay a premium for the extra service (like delivery).

Block deals/Owning inventory is the key in the ticket booking business and that’s where BookEazy, in my opinion failed.

What’s your take? Did you use their service (and later moved to some other providers?)? We would love to know your experience.

All one can say is that it’s damn easy to point out mistakes, once the sprint is over – difficult to point out the mistakes, when one is running.

We wish the team all the best for their second venture, Lipikaar.

TechTribe (Deadpooled) founder to launch TenMarks? [Grapevine]

Mr. Grapevine tells us that Techtribe founder, Rohit is working on a new startup – TenMarks

A look at whois gives some information: Registrant:   Rohit Agarwal,   117 Mallorca Way, San Francisco, California 94123, United States.

More than the information from whois, what we really know (since the last 3.5 months) is that the Techtribe was under serious pressure to perform – and Canaan might write off the investment (as some of you already pointed out) or sell it off.

What about Techtribe?

Joins our shortcircuit pool. Well, check out the alexa traffic:
Why do you think the Techtribe’s online recruitment model failed? Was it too BD (i.e. business development) heavy? Or due to lack of any significant user engagement? Well, they raised $2mn in 2007 (from Canaan Partners) and as far as I remember, they did spend a good amount of money on adwords.

So, do you need real techies to drive such system? What’s your take?

The new venture, Tenmarks, it seems is an inspiration from doostang? Too early to say.

Update: Seems that media (and other bloggers) have started writing about Techtribe’s deadpooled state now. To keep things in perspective, the decision to cloes Techtribe was taken around August 2008. We have been aware of this, but decided to let things unfold by itself.

Video Startup TinselVision out of sight – shuts shop

Internet video startup, TinselVision has closed it’s operations and the site now throws 403 error.

Tinselvision closed $6mn last year and their video-on-demand service was targeted towards South Asian communities in the US, UK and Canada.

They had struck online distribution deals for television content with STAR TV, Zee TV, Zoom TV (BCCL group co) and Bollywood film content from Yash Raj Films, but the market conditions and some troubles with its investor led to the closure of the company in September this year – source

Does this talks of state of online video in India? From what we have heard, another ‘well-funded’ player too has laid off 20 employees last month, citing cash crunch and limited revenues.

TripMela shuts shop – on sale @ eBay

Travel lead generator, TripMela has decided to shut down their operations and the site is on sale @ eBay.in

Tripmela’s business model revolved around lead generation (via travel newsletters) and has an opt-in email database of 80,000 subscribers.

We’ve done everything we could, but we don’t see an end in sight to the slowing travel and advertising market, and we simply don’t have the cash to ride it out.
We have put the business up for sale on eBay India to sell both tripmela.com and searchmela.com. What I think is more valuable is our database of more than 80,000 subscribers, which is on sale too – Tripmela CEO (source)

I believe, this is a classic case of being beaten by new players especially meta search engines – and a failure to reinvent the business model (they were heavily dependent on two businesses for their success – online advertising as well as travel).

What’s your opinion?

What will be your bidding price for Tripmela? Check out the eBay auction (current action @ Rs. 1200)

Ninemotion, Online SMB Exchange Marketplace shuts down – Founders share insights/experience.

Ninemotion (read our review), Bangalore based online marketplace/exchange for SMBs has decided to shut down it’s service.

Deepak Vinchhi, co-founder of ninemotion shares his insights/experiences:

“The only real failure in life is the failure to try.”

nineMotion Story, The End, Learnings

We started nineMotion more than two years back. The idea was to capitalize on a fast growing SMB outsourcing market of USA & Europe. Over the first 6 to 9 months, we developed a pretty good online product with key differentiators in connecting buyers and providers of services, helping them manage their offshore engagements, minimize risks, (more…)

OrderMonger shuts the service

Hyderabad based OrderMonger (read our earlier review), has decided to shutdown their service.

“We regret to inform you that OrderMonger.com will cease all operations from Oct 1, 2008. This decision has been taken predominantly due to non-viability of the business while maintaining the high Service Standards we intended to provide. However, we will honour all (more…)

TriedPool..not DeadPool

Over the last few days, you must have noticed few posts on shutting down of few Indian startups – while it disturbs some of you, the reality is that it’s a representation of market dynamics.

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.” – Edward De Bono

We used to call them deadpool of startups, but Sameer corrected (more…)