Why Has Kalaari Invested Rs 30 Crore in Swipe Telecom?

Kalaari Capital, an early stage investment firm, has invested Rs 30 crore in an Indian tablet maker Swipe Telecom. The Pune based company plans to utilize the funds raised in expanding sales in the Indian market and invest in research and development.

Swipe lists a total of 23 devices, a combination of tablets and phablets, all based on Google’s Android operating system. According to a report by the Economic Times, it also plans to introduce tablets on Microsoft’s Windows Platform, which is quite ambitious.

Swipe’s tablets are priced between Rs 3,999 to Rs 14,999. Essentially, these are low end tablets, which translates to little margin for the company. Low end tablets are already infamous in the country. When companies like Micromax introduced low end tablets, a lot of people bought them. It turned out to be an horrendous experience because of the cheap components used in them. The next wave of tablet buyers, are either going to upgrade their tablets or won’t be buying it at all. In any case, low end tablets does not seem to be an appealing market to address.

This is one of the reason why Micromax has introduced its Turbo series. It’s trying to move away from low end market where it dominated, to provide a better experience to its users and to gain more margin.

Either Swipe Telecom is soon going to pull a rabbit out of hat or it has already done so by managing raise the fund.

Things businesses can learn from people commuting in Mumbai locals

Thanks to Vodafone India’s shitty 3G network, I hardly get any access to the internet when I am commuting in locals. This has forced me to observe surroundings. And yeah, I’ll be getting an additional Reliance number for 3G network. 

However, there are two important things I have observed that businesses can learn from people commuting in Mumbai locals.

1. Presentation: Since I have started working on ClassMatrix, one thing is damn clear that your ability to get clients depends on how you present your content.

Just the other day I observed a hairclip seller, was working on her clips stand, for the lack of proper word, to make it more presentable. What she was essentially doing is, filling the gaps created from the clips that she sold with clips on the top of her stand. When I looked at her puzzled, she simply said “aisa acha nahi dikhta, kam maal nazar aata hai.”

I was impressed. This lady prolly knows more than I do about sales. It’s another thing that I know ghanta about sales, but that’s a topic of discussion for next time.

2. Creating right environment to sell: 

While I was getting back home from a meeting, like a normal person, I was listening to songs and working on my to-do list, our compartment was invaded by these young girls. Not more than 25 years, they started telling us about a kid who has cancer, how his family is poor and can’t afford to pay for his treatment. After the less than 2 minute pitch, they started asking for donations.

Of course, more than 80% who donated, donated it cause they didn’t want to appear too mean. The trick of creating a social pressure worked wonders. Lets say, everyone in the compartment donated an average of Rs 20, considering that there were at least 100 donations that’s like Rs 2000 collection in mere 5 minutes.

More for next time. Although at some point of time I would like to commute from my own car, until then I’ll try to connect these things to business and sales. Do share your experiences.

Why Nimbuzz needs to stop doing too many things

Last week I attended Nimbuzz bloggers meet. It’s a service that does chat, games and other stuff from within the app. I wouldn’t blame you if you don’t remember this company but it was launched in 2007 and was quite successful in the Symbian era of smartphones. It had gained popularity as it also catered to those java phones. Quite useful at that time.

When I met the marketing manager last week, I got a feeling that the company was still stuck in its last years of prominence. I’ll explain why I felt so. Feel free to disagree.

Nimbuzz as I understand is predominantly a mobile app. Only 3% of their 150M users access the service through their desktop apps. Yet they haven’t understood how mobile apps work. Mobile apps, at least on smartphone, just do one thing and they do it right. Take for example Instagram. It takes photos, adds filters, post them, and let’s you browse others feed. This is again one of the reason why Facebook has come up with multiple apps, Facebook app to browse your feed, messenger to chat, Paper to read news. Nimbuzz tries to do everything from their app.

The marketing guy again talked of multitasking within the app. I understand where he’s coming from. Back in 2005-7 internet on mobile were accessed from non smartphone, which used to take time to connect to the net and disconnected when one closed the app. Those days! However, these days with smartphone we can easily switch between apps. Our smartphones are always connected and switching between the apps is extremely easy. While writing this post, while I’m commuting, I’ve tweeted, sent an email, made a call, and have got back to writing. All seamless.

In my opinion, Nimbuzz needs to find their USP, the one that’s making them money and stick to it. I recognize their voice chat service is quite good and the cheapest. I’ll be giving it a try over the next month to make international calls. Will write about my experience then.

Happy birthday twitter

Twitter turns 8 today. And what a journey it has been for me!

All throughout my professional career, I managed to get projects, assignments, job, and more through Twitter :)

Here’s my first tweet, which sounds pretty lame. But hey, I was still in college. 

Here’s how you can find your first tweet https://discover.twitter.com/first-tweet#unitechy Just replace your username after the hashtag.

Communicate if you want to build a successful business

Communication is the key to everything. It’s more true than I would like to believe. When an ex co-founder and I started working on idea, the communication rapport between us was great. We jointly decided on everything, and it felt good. We launched our website, and things were fine for couple of months.

Then suddenly things didn’t seem to be going that well, and instead of communicating, my co-founder decided to not communicate instead. It left me with hours of frustration — I couldn’t understand whether it was because I was doing something wrong, or he had lost interest. Either way, I wanted to know as my career was dependent on this.

Without any proper communication we went on for an year and I felt that things weren’t going well. I decided to say ‘enough is enough’ and chose to move on. Fast forward 2 years and things are really great.

I work with a bunch of people who keep on updating and communicating on things that we need to know. I don’t have to bang my head against the wall to know what is going on. It saves me a lot of time guessing what could be the reason the way any emails/calls were not replied back.

When you have to keep guessing why something happened or why something didn’t happen as it were expected, your overall productivity also reduces.

Now I know exactly, what my colleagues are expected to do; they know what I am expected to do. We can follow up on each other, if something doesn’t happen on time and need not waste time and energy to follow up with what the other person is working on.

Communicating clearly and updating your peers is such an easy task — it doesn’t even take 1 minute to drop an email or update the CRM if you have any in place but it’s clearly one of the most misused tool.

Some of the tools used by us to keep a track on
1. Asana: This is one of the best tool to keep a track of bugs, enhancements, to-dos and so on. 
2. Hipchat: In my previous company, we used Yammer to communicate with colleagues. For a while it worked great. Since Yammer replicated the one of the famous social networking features, everyone used it for a while. After some time the enthusiasm waned. Hipchat works great, as you can chat with your colleagues one to one and create department groups. The best part of Hipchat is that it documents, files and links. I can go back anytime and get my links back.
3. Email: Nothing can beat email even in this age. If you have a message to send, email works the best and a lot of time a reply is guaranteed. Tip: mention in the email if a reply is expected. A lot of emails go unanswered as the reader has no clue what s/he is expected to do. 

Please reply how you communicate within your organization.