All posts by Ashish Sinha

Ashish Sinha is founder of Pluggd.in, now known as NextBigWhat. He can be reached at: ashish (at) nextbigwhat.com.

Everything You Need To Know About The Biggies Awards

The Biggies Awards promises to be a program that brings discovery to an amazing number of startups and importantly, showcase India’s strength to the world!

biggiesawards December 26th is the last day to apply for startup awards and like we have shared earlier, we will be extremely transparent with teh awards and here is the first step – we are sharing the criteria against which we will be evaluating the award nominations.

The Selection Criteria

Each and every awards category will have its own selection criteria. But here is what we will essentially be looking forward to: 

1. Best Bootstrapped Startup Of The Year.

Yes, you are bootstrapped – by choice and NOT because you couldn’t raise money. The most important criteria in this category would be the impact you are creating (to customers), irrespective of the backstory and the challenges you are facing.

2. Best Debut Startup Of The Year

You should have started up in 2014. You are growing and growing massively ! That’s a debut. That’s like hitting sixes in the first ball of your cricket career!

3. Sexy Enterprise Startup Of The Year

Enterprise business is boring – but sexy founders make it sexier ! We are looking for startups who have scaled / shown immense focus irrespective of the challenge they are facing from globoal players.

4. Best Internet Startup Of The Year

Ofcourse, we are looking for companies that have shown great scale which translates to sales/revenue and at the same time a strong focus on building a great product (irrespective of whether you are targeting local or global markets).

5. Categories : Education / Mobile / Healthcare Startup Of The Year

Similar to Enterprise and Internet category, we are looking for path breakers in these categories.

6. Best Overall Startup Of The Year

This is a very special category. The ones that will make it (to the top list/finals) are the companies who have demonstrated great execution, built a world class product and are hungry for more!

7. Coolest (Product) Launch Of The Year

Irrespective of whether you are a startup or a big corporate, we are looking for some of the sexiest and coolest product launch of the year 2014.


NOTE : Except for ‘Bootstrapped Startup Of The Year’ category, all the other categories are also open for companies who have been in business  for few years (irrespective of the incorporation timeline).

We have loosely used the word ’startup’ in awards categories,  but have actually called the awards as BIGGIES Awards (not StartupAwards), celebrating the rising entrepreneurial spirit and making BIGGIES more realistic and a level playing field (for the industry).

Go ahead and apply right away! And yes, you can nominate your favourite startup as well !

In A New Low, Government Wants Matrimonial Websites To Use Aadhar Card Authentication

How do you stop crime in the country? Take control of stalkers. How do you do that? Ask matrimonial sites to authenticate using aadhar card!

That’s the new new logic by Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi.

“The minister has suggested using Aadhaar card details to authenticate profiles and by early next year all matrimonial sites will have to comply. She has also asked them to crack down on fake profiles. “

What’s next? Dating sites too would be asked to use aadhar card ? Ofcourse, aadhar has its own benefits and is a great fit for utility services, but how is an intent (of rape etc) related to an authentication tool?

Where is governance? Is governance all about blocking new tools?

#MakeInIndia – but #DONOTSELLININDIA, that’s what the government wants the entrepreneurs to do.

Read : Dear Government : Before #MakeInIndia, We Need #SellingInIndia Reforms!

[via]

Dear Government : Before #MakeInIndia, We Need #SellingInIndia Reforms

The Modi government is focusing a lot on making India the next manufacturing hub. Several initiatives have been announced – right from Government’s IoT policy to business registration in a day.

All good.

But what about those who are already doing a business in the country?

Selling In India Is TOUGH!
Selling In India Is TOUGH!

Take a look at what has happened in the last few days:

#1. Flipkart’s BillionDay Sales

The government issued a fine of INR 1,000 crores for ‘Sales Violation’.

#2. Uber Is Banned (Plus Others).

Yes, Uber and others are at a fault for going callous on driver checking. Apparently, it just takes a few thousand rupees bribe for drivers  to get character certificate ! ?

But now there is a blanket ban on all online cab operators – we really wonder what was the transportation department doing when they issued permits to these companies ? Why is there so little check internally?

Worst is that Uber GM was slapped by a *political activist*,  essentially sending a notice that the law and order is still handled by a selected few individuals (and one can get away with anything).

#3. Xiaomi banned from selling phones in India  : Ofcourse, there is a patent issue here and as with any patent issue, it’s not all that straightforward. Not just Xiaomi, but several other companies have received such notices from Ericsson and the court needs to have more clear process/timelines for appealing and applying for stay order.

#4. Amazon’s warehouse in Karnataka banned from selling.

#5. Kerala government has banned ecommerce companies; Punjab government is following them.

There is no clarity on Octroi/ GST. SAAS companies cant’ sell in India because of RBI policies (ALL Indian SAAS  startups have moved their HQ to US).

6. Digital (advertising) players have to pay service tax (while print / offline advertising do not have to).


The issue here is simple – selling in India is getting tougher by the day and government has no clear policies and protection for private players. Most of the regulations aren’t in-tune-with-the-time and do not help new new players who are trying to disrupt an established space.

While the government’s focus is on bringing more foreign money, unless #SellingInIndia becomes easier, you won’t win the trust. The needle wil not move.

Grow The Domestic Market..Or Else, Go Home

One of the most significant reasons why startup ecosystem is growing in India is because of the growing domestic market. Look at China’s Internet growth story and you get the drift. The government has very little role to play in the growing domestic market – but least and I repeat, least that they should do is stay away and be the enabler [please read : What Should Be The Role of Government in Promoting Entrepreneurship? Stay Away. But…]

If at all, the government’s #MakeInIndia campaign is to move beyond social media ‘likes’ and PR-announcements, #SellingInIndia needs to be made much more easier.

Till then, these are just false promises and lofty announcements by a government which is giving into lobbying and can ban anybody and everybody who is currently selling in the Indian market.

If you resonate with this, go ahead and tweet this to Mr. Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

Talking about bans and more bans, the radio sings.

Announcing : The Biggies ! [Indian Startup Awards]

Indian startups are growing and roaring to go – not just locally, but globally as well!

And its time to celebrate and felicitate some of the real doers in the indusytry! To celebrate this important milestone, NextBigWhat is super proud to announce The Biggies Awards!

The Biggies Awardsis a reflection of India’s growing entrepreneurial spirit  and promises to be a program that brings discovery to an amazing number of startups and importantly, showcase India’s growing startup ecosystem to the world!

We have seen several awards functions, but most of them are opaque and do not do a real justice to the startups. We at NextBigWhat promise to be extremely transparent with the awards and we are totally open for feedback and suggestions (email : team@nextbigwhat.com).

biggiesawards

The Biggies Awards Process : How Does It Work.

The Biggies Awards is a multi-stage process :

Stage 1 : From December 11th till 20th 26th, we will be accepting the applications/nomination for startups/companies under the different categories.

We will select a list of 5-10 companies (under each category).

Stage 2 : From 26th December till January 10th, public voting will be accepted.

Stage 3 : Jury selection.

The BIGGIE award winners will be selected from a mix of public voting and jury decision.

Fineprints:

1. There are no fees for nomination / awards program at all.

2. Company may be nominated for multiple awards categories.

3. The winners will be announced during the awards ceremony held in 2015 (dates are to be announced, but tentatively January end).

Got questions? Ask here (in the comment section) or simply email us : team@nextbigwhat.com.

GO ahead and apply for the Biggies Awards now ! [the deadline is December 20th].

After Uber, Delhi Government Bans All Online / App Cab Services [Ola/TaxiForSure]

After banning Uber, Delhi government has banned all online cab operators : Olacabs, TaxiForSure etc, except radio cab services.

Delhi Bans App / Online Cabs
Delhi Bans App / Online Cabs (via)

A knee jerk reaction? Ofcourse, these are banned because they were flouting the government norms, but why do you need rape(s) to happen for government to wake up?

Recommended Read : A Look at T&C Of Online Cab Operators [Nobody Cares. Nobody Will Own Up]

Read up : Uber Blames Government For Lack of Policies; But Uber’s Driver Onboarding Is Totally F**ked Up

Uber Blames Government For Lack of Policies; But Uber’s Driver Onboarding Is Totally F**ked Up

Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick has published an official statement on the Delhi rape case

“We will work with the government to establish clear background checks currently absent in their commercial transportation licensing programs. We will also partner closely with the groups who are leading the way on women’s safety here in New Delhi and around the country and invest in technology advances to help make New Delhi a safer city for women.” [blogpost]

The problem with Uber is very fundamental in nature : The company is just looking at tick marking the legal rules.

First, it’s not about New Delhi. This can happen anywhere. You can’t localize these serious problems and run away by taking a higher position (“to help make <blah city> a safer city for women.”).

Secondly, Uber’s driver onboarding is totally fucked. Here is how:

1. There is NO background check of driver. The background check is only for the owner. 

Normally, an owner owns 3-5 car, and hire 5-6 people in shifts. Drivers sometime hand over cabs to other drivers/share cabs as they are highly incentivized to keep the show vehicles running (you get Rs. 1,000 if you do more than 10 trips).

Customers, on the other hand trust Uber (and similar companies) assuming that the drivers are checked for criminal offence. In fact, security is and SHOULD BE the least of worry.

But in case of most of the online cab companies, safety seems to be the last priority and is mostly used as a marketing tool.

Uber : Safe, Safe ? Fuck You!
Uber : Safe, Safe ? Fuck You! [credit]
2. Everything is based on phone app, which one can easily shutdown or can be shutdown, which is what happened in the Delhi case.

In case of other operators like Olacabs, the phone is fit in the fleet itself.

In the case of Uber, it is at driver’s whims and fancies. There is no call center / support number to reach out to incase an untoward incident happens. That is, a faceless and contacless organization!

3. Uber pooling is a JOKE on security.

There is no verification of user!!

You can pool & get robbed (or whatever) anytime by anybody.

Ofcourse, one can’t blame Uber for all – a large part of blame lies with the government and lack of policies on background checks (lack of online/central repository).

But having said that, technology is meant to improve our lives and CANNOT be the vehicle for us to compromise our lives in the name of ‘convenience’.

To Uber and others, it’s time to get human and own up. You are charging a premium in the name of ‘safety’ and that’s just a fucking eyewash.

– Read : A Look at T&C Of Indian Cab Operators.

For now, you are better off buying your own car!

A Look at T&C Of Online Cab Operators [Nobody Cares. Nobody Will Own Up].

So who owns the responsibility of the rape case that happened Uber cab? For sure, it is not Uber and the company cannot be held liable for this.

Cab Operators : High On Speed, Low On Care?
Cab Operators : High On Speed, Low On Care?

Their terms and conditions clearly state they can’t be held responsible for anything that happens between the driver (the third party) and the passenger.

“UBER WILL NOT PARTICIPATE IN DISPUTES BETWEEN YOU AND A THIRD PARTY PROVIDER. BY USING THE SERVICES, YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU MAY BE EXPOSED TO SITUATIONS INVOLVING THIRD PARTY PROVIDERS THAT ARE POTENTIALLY UNSAFE, OFFENSIVE, HARMFUL TO MINORS, OR OTHERWISE OBJECTIONABLE, AND THAT USE OF THIRD PARTY PROVIDERS ARRANGED OR SCHEDULED USING THE SERVICES IS AT YOUR OWN RISK AND JUDGMENT. UBER SHALL NOT HAVE ANY LIABILITY ARISING FROM OR IN ANY WAY RELATED TO YOUR TRANSACTIONS OR RELATIONSHIP WITH THIRD PARTY PROVIDERS.”

We looked at T&Cs of Indian startups / companies and here is how it reads (emphasis is ours).

Olacabs : Terms and Conditions

All vehicles registered with the Company are continuously tracked using GPS for security reasons only. It is expressly made clear to you hereby that the Company does not own any taxis nor does it directly or indirectly employ any drivers for the taxis. Taxis and drivers are all supplied by third parties and the Company disclaims any and all liability in respect of the drivers and the taxis alike.

The Company shall not be liable for any conduct of the drivers of the taxis. However, the Company encourgaes you to notify it of any complaints that you may have against the driver of any taxi that you may have hired using the Company’s Services. [link]

TaxiForSure : Terms and Conditions

No clear policies regarding TPSPs (third party service providers).

However, under no circumstance accepts liability in connection with and/or arising from the transportation services provided by the TPSP or any acts, action, behaviour, conduct, and/or negligence on the part of the TPSP. Any complaints about the transportation services provided by the TPSP should therefore be submitted to TFS for escalation to the TPSP [link].

MeruCabs : Terms & Conditions

Please note that we are not responsible for the behaviour, actions or inactions of drivers of taxis, quality of cab which you may use (through us or otherwise). Any Contract for the provision of taxi services is between you and the driver and not us and we simply provide a platform to introduce drivers and passengers.[link]


So essentially, when you book an Ola, a TaxiForSure, Uber or Meru – you are booking a brand and NOT a service.

Nobody owns up for driver’s misconduct!

Nobody owns anything that happens in the cab.

If anything happens, they will ONLY act as a mediator and surely NOT own the situation.

Nobody cares as long as they have your $$s.


Cool ?

Raises an important question : What business are companies like Ola/TFS/Uber etc are in? Branding or Service?

Women Entrepreneurs : We Want You To Attend UnPluggd [60% Off For You]

Why do we have so less women entrepreneurs attending startup conferences?

Ofcourse, there are conferences that are dedicated to only women, but they are silos and do not really help the cause (in my opinion).

And yes, you can run a panel discussing Women In Tech and the audience could look just like the below pic from a ‘Womens Conference’ held in Saudi Arabia.

Womens Conference @Saudi Arabia
A Pic From Womens Conference @Saudi Arabia ! [Courtesy: Huffpo]

At UnPluggd, we have always planned for a discussion oriented towards women entrepreneurs, but never really managed to execute that.

More than having just a discussion, we’d want to take the first step, i.e. have more participation from women entrepreneurs and doers!

This discussion with Zainab and Ashwini actually got us to rethink and atleast take the first step (thank you girls!).

So here it is : We are giving away 60% discount to women entrepreneurs for the upcoming UnPluggd conference.
All you need to do is fill up the form below and we will share the further details*.


Women Entrepreneurs @UnPluggd

Women Entrepreneurs @UnPluggd

Ofcourse, we expect you to not buy your male colleague tickets using the special discount code we share with you. The idea is to have more of you (you = the women entrepreneurs and doers) and here is a small step towards reducing the friction.

UnPluggd Details

Date : December 6th.
Venue : Hotel Park Plaza, Marthahalli, Bangalore.
Speakers/Agenda : Announced!
Registration details : Hop here.
Discount: Use the code NEXTBIGWHATTWO to grab 20% discount!!
Got questions? Ask : team@nextbigwhat.com

* : For those who have already bought the ticket, we will adjust the same in any of the NextBigWhat conference you’ll attend in future.

Exclusive : Bluegape Shuts Down Due To Copyright Issues

Online merchandise store Bluegape has shut down its merchandise business due to copyright issues.

Started by students in 2012, Bluegape raised angel funding in 2012 and raised INR 1.5 crores in January, 2014.

Bluegape : Sad But True
Bluegape : Sad But True

Cofounder, Sahil shares that the company was recording a monthly revenue of INR 1 crores, but their focus on Fanart is leading to copyright issues.

Currently, Fanart accounts for more than 70% of revenues for Bluegape and since Bluegape has mostly been retailing at Amazon, Snapdeal and Flipkart, these ecommerce companies probably blocked them due to several questions around copyright raised by artists  (case in point : Flipkart too received few notices on the sales of fanart on their website).

Bluegape’s Email To Fanstore Owners

“Dear Fanstore owners,

We are facing a lot of challenges in running the merchandise business in India. While we are doing a healthy business of a crore+ per month of revenues, but we are stuck at something.

Indian copyright act is very unclear on the sale of fanart. Fanart is like creation of something from the inspiration from somewhere. All our 500+ designers were making crazy stuff with us and we were proud of that.

We built a simple model where we focused on bringing designers and retail them through flipkart, amazon and snapdeal.

Flipkart and Amazon have got few notices on the sale of fanart on their website. AlthoughSociety6.com is a very big company in Australia and retails designer driven fanart. But they take down the designer when there’s any notice from anyone.

In our case, we didn’t have that freedom because we were retailing at Flipkart, Amazon and SnapDeal. Flipkart and Amazon don’t want to take any risk by retailing fanart on their website. There’s a lot of negative media going on in e-commerce and no one wants to take a bet on this.

Under all these problems, it’s getting super tough to continue the merchandise business as fanart is more than 70% of the total sale. We discussed the issue in length with Flipkart & Amazon in last one month and we are unable to reach to a solution.

We want to pivot at this point. Trust us, after spending 3 years doing merchandise business, It’s been a really tough call for us.

All of your due fanstore payouts will be cleared on 7th December,2014.

I know it would have been really hard for you to read this email. I appreciate the kind of trust and confidence that you have shown in bluegape.

Thanks
Sahil and Ayush”


The founding team however is sticking together and is working on another idea under the brand name, Bluegape.

Here is wishing the team very best!

- Thanks Vijeeth for the tip.

Between Ola And TaxiForSure : Two Amazing Marketing Campaigns

They both are competitors and have done some very cool marketing activities that are worth sharing.

‘s Jingle

What’s the support /call center number for TaxiForSure? Anecdotally speaking, a lot of people who have heard of the TaxiForSure jingle recall the number 60601010. The jingle has a very high recall value and what’s amazing is that TaxiForSure spent only Rs. 25,000 on the jingle*.

The jingle helped TaxiForSure create branding in the initial days and drive up numbers as well !

Ola Money’s Diwali Campaign

Ola timed the launch of Ola Money extremely well. And not just the launch, the 50% freebie that they gave is a masterstroke in marketing world (the diwali offer ensured that for every money you deposit in the Ola wallet, Ola deposited the same amount in yours).

The offer has worked very well for them. They have not just locked in their existing customer base, but have also snatched customers from competitors. Anecdotally speaking, a lot of people in my network ended up adding Rs. 5,000 to the Ola wallet and now that they have Rs 10,000 in the wallet, they are obviously inclined to use the Ola service before others.

It’s a big win for the company and interestingly, they keep running new offers on the wallet pretty frequently (as we speak, there is a 50% off on Ola wallet).

For Ola, wallet is now the next marketing vehicle and as long as they keep adding inventory, they have an edge over others.


What’s your view of these marketing campaigns? Know of such interesting campaigns? Do share!

*Video : TaxiForSure Cofounder, Aprameya sharing TaxiForSure story.

Coming Up : The Big Battle Between Funded Taxi Startups And The Rest.

In the last 6 months, startups ended up raising big rounds.

UberGo Vs. Auto
UberGo Vs. Auto

TaxiForSure raised Series C  (amount not disclosed, but expected to be ~$40mn). Ola raised Series D ($210mn) recently.

The total funding (excluding Uber and Meru’s undisclosed numbers) surely stands at more than $350mn (close to ~INR 2200 crores).

And the biggest positive to this is great affordable service (people will pay anything to not-haggle-with-an-auto-rickshaw-guy) and availability of cabs (a better lifestyle).

The biggest negative impact? None to consumers, but the overall industry is suddenly seeing massive drops in the fare rate, similar to what Ecommerce has done to offline retailers.

Loaded with investors money, Ola/TaxiForSure/Uber are able to reduce the price in order to acquire customers while for the offline ones, it’s business-as-usual (they can’t think out-of-the-box, they were never forced to!)

Coming Up : The Big Battle.

Earlier, Ola became part of election campaign agenda and now that companies are positioning themseleves as ‘alternative to auto rickshaws’, an imminent battle is about to happen.

What’s really happening is that companies are poaching drivers (and cabs) from the competition by giving away monetary incentives which are unheard in this space. I spoke to few Ola drivers and they said why they moved away from other competitors (Reason # 1: incentives are better. Reason 2 : Ola doesn’t fine drivers, unlike others who fine drivers Rs. 500 for not keeping the cab clean).

“This move by private operators will prove suicidal for auto drivers. In the city some of the private operators have reached an agreement with auto drivers stating that operator would credit Rs 10,000 every month into drivers’ account, give them a mobile phone and other benefits.All the auto driver has to do is run the auto at the fare fixed by the operator, say Rs 10 per kilometer. This agreement is illegal and questions the authority of the transport department that issues the permit.
Though offers look fancy for auto drivers in the beginning they will be deceived by the operators.If the state government fails to take action we will definitely act against the injustice.” [President of auto association/source]

This is India’s version of what happened to Uber in other countries. We certainly hope that these battles don’t result in physical fights (which, I am sure will happen), but for sure these are defining times in the history of India’s transportation industry.

The winner will not be decided in the next 5 years, but in the next 10-15 years.

Who do you think will survive the next 15 years? Ola? TaxiForSure? Uber (India)? Meru ? Others?

300 million Internet Users in India By Dec? Grossly Wrong [10+ Questions to IAMAI]

One month and India will have more Internet users than US!!

Don’t believe me? Well, that’s the prediction from IAMAI and IMRB’s recent report.

Excerpts their report (emphasis is mine)

The number of Internet users in India would reach 302 million by December 2014, registering a Y-o-Y growth of 32% over last year.

In October 2014, there were 278 million internet users in India. Currently, India has the third largest internet users’ base in the world but it is estimated that by December 2014, India will overtake the US as the second largest Internet users’ base in the world. China currently leads with more than 600 million internet users while the US currently has estimated 279 million internet users.

According to the report, the number of internet users in urban India has grown by 29% from October 2013 to reach 177 million in October 2014. It is expected to reach 190 million by December 2014 and 216 million by June 2015. Significantly, compared to last year, in rural India, Internet users have increased by 39% to reach 101 million in October 2014. It is expected to reach 112 million by December 2014 and 138 million by June 2015.

As on June 2014, 31.5 million (61%) in 35 cities were using Internet on a daily basis. The daily user base has gone up by 51% from June 2013. 96% of the Internet users are accessing Internet at least once a week. Out of these, 18% access Internet 4 to 6 times a week and 14% access Internet 2 to 3 times a week.

 

Internet Users In India 2014
Internet Users In India 2014

The numbers are not just grossly wrong, but misleading as well. A look at Google and Facebook dashboard clearly tells that there is a potential of 120-140 million users at the maximum and we just want you (the entrepreneur/decision makers/CXOs/agencies) to be realistic about it and not be part of the hype creation cycle.

Questions to IAMAI and IMRB

1. Who do we call an Internet user?

– By tenure of usage

– By frequency of usage

– By place of access

– By device on which accessed internet

– Paying vs. Non-paying (mobiles on only free office wifi)

– Who is active? Who is occasional? Who is regular?

Basically, who are these 300million people (in terms of their activity)?

2. Where are they coming from?

– Urban vs. Rural India (by Census definition of Urban vs. Rural)

– Town classes by population?

– Age groups?

– Gender?

– Socio-economic class

– Percentage of computer users

– Percentage of mobile users

3. Methodology ? How did you arrive at these numbers?

– What is the methodology?

# Did you do a survey or Did you look at the current data?

# Did you count the subscriptions/connections (wired — lease line/cable/broadband/ethernet, wireless-mobile/dongle connections)?

# Did you count the subscribers from the operator reported data? How did you count?
How did you arrive at the average subscribers per household/connection? Average users per Office connection vs. Home Connection vs. Cyber cafe vs. Mobile connection? What’s the source?

# Did you look at the userbase of 20% websites of the long tail? Which are these websites?

# Did you look at the server logs of the ISPs/Gateways?

# Did you count the IP addresses?

– By the way, which one is the best method, in absence of a census data? (Indian Census 2011 didn’t really ask people whether they use Internet or not).

Wrong Way. Go Back, Please?
Wrong Way. Go Back, Please?

4. If you did a survey, please help with these questions:

– Where did you do the survey? (was it a mix of online and offline?)

# How many towns & villages?  Which are these towns and villages?

# How & Why did you select these towns and villages, not any other? Is the selection complete statistically random process? (Note: Statistically random is what www.random.org defines as random) Basically what is the rationale?

# Once you selected towns & villages, how did you decide which locations to go in the town and village? (e.g., Dehi has 2635 colonies, and 272 words and some 2300+ election polling stations/booths — which ones did you go to within Delhi?)

5. Who did you meet in the survey?

– How did you decide to meet a particular person in a survey? Who is your respondent?

– If you went to an office who did you meet?

– If you went to a household, who did you meet? Why did you meet this person and not anyone else?

– What percentage of your respondents are head of household, housewives, adult males, adult females, kids, mobile users vs. mobile non-users, internet users vs. internet non-users?

– How many of your respondents are Internet users? Who reported the total number of internet users in the household — an internet user or a non-internet user? What devices do they carry?

6. How did you project the survey to the population/universe figures?

What did you considered as the so called homogeneous cell, did you assume that all male and all females are 2 groups in India or you assumed that in a state, within a town class all people from a particular socio economic class, in a particular age, within a age group, with mother tongue as preferred language are homogeneous. Basically, how many cells did you divide whole urban and rural India into?

What’s the basis for you to arrive at the estimates of population for this universe or cells?

7. How did you verify that your estimate is correct?

– Can you tell us how some of the other numbers coming out of your estimate, like number of HHs in India with electricity is same as what Census India 2011 told us?

– Please share how the numbers you are coming out are verifiable, comparable to that of numbers coming from other sources?

8. Overlap, anyone?
Can you tell us what is the overlap between :
(A) Users accessing internet on PC/Laptop vs.
(B) Users Accessing Internet on Mobile Device (with data plan activated)
(C) vs. Users Unknowingly Accessing Internet through Operator WAP portal (like Airtel live, vodafone services, aircel pocket internet, tatadocomo dive-in)

– Basically, can you please show a Venn diagram of AUBUC? :) [We just hope that AUBUC != A+B+C]

9. How do you project numbers to different year or time period?

– Do you draw a trendline? Or you use some complex proprietary tool? Many a time BODMAS is the black box ;)

# What function in the trend? — liner, exponential, logarithmic, Why?

# Do you know, the estimates for 2015 in 2011 is never same as the estimate for 2015 for 2015m, because no one cares in 2015 usually there is an estimate for 2020 :)

And finally:

10. According to you, what are those couple of big things that has happened in Indian Internet that justifies the 32% y-o-y growth over the last year?

– Has the internet access opportunity (wired – ISP, wireless – mobile data network coverage) gone up?

# TRAI network report?

– Has internet access price gone down (wired – ISP, wireless – mobile) drastically?

# Number of new wired & wireless users added (Balance sheet of service providers)

– Has internet access device market has changed drastically?

# Shipment of access devices

# Internet connections activated

– Has local language computing environment changed?

# What has happened in local language computing space?

# Even if we believe touch will help us leapfrog from keyboard issue, how many with Non-SIM or SIM based tablets sold in India (are we assuming 100%) of them activated internet

Importantly, if this 32% growth has happened, then why is it not showing up in the revenues of the service providers and other players, their monthly unique users numbers and revenue?

Where is the money then? Let me ask again, Where is the money then ? What’s the impact of this growth in industries?


We hope IAMAI and related research agencies repsond to these queries and share this data (we aren’t sending any email to anybody and request no PR calls).

If you are an entrepreneur/decision maker/agency and you have started to rework on your business plan (pivoting?) with the new new 300 million userbase data, HOLD ON.

The numbers aren’t true.

On a practically positive note, start with 120 million userbase (go through this tweet conversation) and yes, please feel free to share this piece with peer entrepreneurs.

The 300 million is far far away from the reality. This euphoria isn’t really needed. India is a growing market and we will grow – but let’s be honest about the numbers and let’s not mislead our entrepreneurs and decision makers.

PS : If you are a senior leader/researcher and wish to share your opinion/insights on these numbers, please connect with us (ashish@nextbigwhat.com)
Image credit : shutterstock

After Frrole, Deck Opens Up And Shares Data. Now It’s Your Turn?

After Frrole’s transparent sharing of company data, Deck founder Sumanth too has shared some useful data about the company.

Transparency : Thinking Out of Box?
Transparency : Thinking Out of Box?

- Raised $500K at a pre-money valuation of $2.3 million. Deck had previously secured a convertible note of $100k from Qualcomm by virtue of winning the Qualcomm QPrize and as per the conditions of that investment, it was converted to equity in the seed round at the same rate as the new investment.

“It’s been a year since we closed our seed round. In this period, we have grown to a 30+ member team and have crossed the $50k MRR figure. Approximately half the funding is still in the bank and while we could be profitable if we wanted to, we are currently ticking along at a burn rate of around $10k per month which we are comfortable with.” [from Sumanth’s blogpost]

Now It’s Your Turn

We are inspired by the founders of Frrole and Deck and as a platform that brings founders together, we have put up the form below for founders to share data (anonymously as well). To those who believe in ‘paying it forward’, please use the form below.

We will collate the anonymous data and share the same with fellow founders.


  • How Much?
  • At ? E.g. Deck Raised $500K at a pre-money valuation of $2.3 million.
  • After you signed the term sheet, how many days/weeks/months did it take for money to hit your bank account?
  • Founder's Salary

  • CTC (IN INR).
  • IN CTC (e.g. Frrole founders are taking 12 L p.a.)
  • IN CTC
  • ESOP POOL?

Now Order Auto Rickshaw From Ola. Availability Anyone?

Ola has now added auto rickshaws to its inventory.

Ola-auto

This surely explains why Ola dropped Olacabs from its branding (rant : it has anyways become difficult to find cabs in Olacabs). The bigger impact to this new addition of adding auto rickshaws to its inventory is that (hopefully) auto wallas will not look at these companies (Ola/Uber/TaxiforSure etc) as a competition and if Ola plays it right, could result in a win-win situation.

If They Play It Right..

Another startup mGaadi too has been trying the same and while all of this looks good in-paper, the ground execution is far far away from reality. The auto-mafia is difficult to break through and that has stopped some of these companies to even enter some of the hot areas like Whitefield (Bangalore).

It’d be interesting to see how Ola executes this piece – the inventory so far has been a huge mismatch vs. the marketing efforts the companies has put in (including Taxiforsure/Uber).

Read : Own A Car or Rent One ? The End of Car Ownership In India Has Begun?