Archive for the ‘startups’ Category

Web 3.0 by Sramana Mitra

September 27, 2007

Recently found a very interesting blog by Sramana Mitra…an internet veteran with a very impressive profile.

She has given her overall perspective on where web is going…and calls it Web 3.0…a very attractive title indeed for all aspirants who think that they’ve missed the Web 2.0 bus… 🙂

Her formula is as follows –

3C = Content, Commerce, Community | 4th C = Context | P = Personalization | VS = Vertical Search

Web 3.0 = (4C + P + VS).

Traditionally, Content and Commerce have always been separate…Community and UGC are latest fads…and they earn revenue by advertising content to relevant users (context and personalization)…where a lot of advertisers are eCommerce players…

Amazon is the only company I see around, which has a good focus on each of the above…they have great recommendation system…that always encourages discovery of new content (good for eCommerce)…they have great personalization and context…they have flawless eCommerce…but all the content they have is UGC…they don’t themselves create expert content (book reviews etc.)…and there is not as much focus on community, though there are community features like ListMania…

Doesn’t it sound too ambitious? Imagine a CNet + Wize + eBay…

But theoretically…there is nothing wrong with having an eCommerce site that gives you great SN features and great content…may be it’s just that we are habitual of having separate providers for content and commerce…and some great player will change our perceptions…

Sramana has also written some posts about important verticals…like travel and jobs from Web 3.0 perspective…very interesting ones indeed…


Dharmesh on startup conflicts…

August 24, 2007

Startups, is an immensely high involvement activity…just like marriage…

In a marriage, a natural bond present between heterosexual beings keeps couples together…in up’s and down’s. In a startup, it’s the passion and ambition of creating something worthwhile and different that keeps diverse people together…

Dharmesh Shah has written an excellent article about the typical issues almost every co-founder would face because of being in such a high involvement activity, with everyone betting a very important part of their lives on some mission…of course you might create your best friends there, but there is obviously the other side to the coin…

He doesn’t give you any guidelines though…may be a sequel will follow… 🙂

Even the comments are definitely worth reading…

Indian Tech Starups…a roundup…

August 10, 2007

First blog on my new home… 🙂

A roundup of Indian tech startups…a gist of what I have been reading for past few weeks…


What they do
Burrp, JustDial, Mkhoj, Onyomo, MGinger, Myzus, Moveo, ValueFirst Local search. Burrp is more lifestyle services oriented. All are getting into mobile/SMS based services. JustDial is more into call centre interface and certainly have a head-start. mKhoj is primaily into localized deals and discount offerings. Onyomo is primarily local search. mGinger is trying to apply chain marketing to SMS media. They pay a few bucks for every SMS Ad read by a user. Not sure how willing an advertiser would be, when he knows his ads might be getting read just for the sake of a few bucks. Also, this will be popular only in young not-earning-but-want-to-spend crowd (say age 16-20). Moveo is into mobile VAS applications.

Ticket booking & Movie rental
Bookeazy, Movietell,
Ticket booking online. Bookmyshow is recent entrant from the house of Media giant TV18. Others will have a very tough time competing with them.
Seventymm, Madhouse DVD rental online (Indian Netflix). Madhouse has been acquired by Seventymm. They also have very good funding. With a clear-cut revenue model, they look set for a big success.

MakeMyTrip, Yatra, TravelGuru ,Ezeego and so on… Travel services online. Biggest revenue category, dog fight going on. All are very similar to each other.
Travenues (iXigo), Zoomtra, Inasra Travel search engines. They parse all the above sites and give users structured output. I believe they work on lead generation revenues. Inasra is focusing on Hotel bookings.

Financial services
Apnaloan, InsuranceMall Apnaloan connects borrowers with banks. The site looks very crappy to me. 😐
InsuranceMall is an insurance selling site. They are part of some insurance brokerage firm called Bonsai. I dont know why, but they dont sell life insurance online. IRDA restrictions?

Real Estate Search

99acres, Jaidad, IndiaProperty
Real Estate B2C classifieds.
Is there some scope for a vertical search engine here? 🙂

SpotEazy, ShoppingTadka, OffersForShoppers Shopping deals search engines. Most of these are present only in a city or two right now…but all of them intend to expand nationwide very soon…ShoppingTadka yet to launch.

Global players
SlideShare Share PowerPoint presentations. They now have the one & only, Guy Kawasaki, on board. Look very much set for success.
Web office suite. Their products are superb, and are certainly ahead of their Google counterparts.

Social Networking
MingleBox, Yaari, Sixer.TV, BigAdda, SERaja Social networking. MingleBox has early mover advantage. BigAdda is a late entrant from Reliance. SERaja is events-based networking.

Photo sharing & printing
Picsquare, iTasweer Photo sharing and printing. There are several other players here. Very crowded. iTasweer has struck a deal with Microsoft for having their service integrated with Vista.
Komli, Tyroo, Ozone Ad networks. Yahoo picked up stake in Tyroo. Komli is working on a product in this space.

Myntra User created designs (T-shirts, Mugs, Caps etc.). Goos that these guys have a clean & simple revenue model, especially because advertising model has not yet generated a lot of money in India. I didnt get the name though…is it a twist to ‘Mantra’?
Maps & GPS
RouteGuru Road directions, the good old way, using landmarks. Very ‘Indian’ way of solving the problem.


Similar to Google Maps. I guess they act as content providers to a lot of other sites.

Sulekha Sulekha has an early mover advantage here.

Marc says, you don’t need to plan too much…

August 1, 2007

In the 7th article of this series…Marc is trying to assure the aspiring entrepreneur, that he does not need to, rather he possibly cannot, figure out exact details of the business plan or revenue model, all upfront…I was slightly disappointed at the post though…as it focuses too much time on the story (How Edison accidently invented the phonograph)…but too little on actual concrete analysis…unlike his previous more elaborate posts.

India Tech Startup scene – Social Networking

June 15, 2007

For last few weeks, I was following indian tech startup scene…started by reading some excellent articles by Paul Graham and Guy Kawasaki…got particularly interested after reading a detailed report in Business Today (3rd June issue)…VC investments in India shot up from $17 million to $166 million in 2006…the scene is certainly red hot

Here is a brief summary of web 2.0 (or just web…hell with this 2.0 or 3.0 crap) companies…I will cover it categorywise…

Social Networking: MingleBox would of course be the first name coming on top…especially after getting that sumptuous sum of $7 million from Sequoia. Then there is yaari, Jhoom, Fropper, DesiMartini, Indyarocks and not sure how many more…everyone is ‘Web 2.0’ with all the latest features of sharing photos, videos, blogging, yada yada yada. Find Amit Ranjan’s (of take here. There are some who are trying to find a niche. for cricket fans, or saffronconnect for music for example. It will be interesting to see who wins…there should not be more than 2 or 3 players in general category when war is over. Minglebox is tapping into the college campuses, by creating readymade college campus groups…really smart move…that will make the new generation stick on Minglebox after we all being taken by Orkut…
Orkut looks so passe with these agile newcomers…I wonder why on earth orkut was successful in India, in spite being nowhere in US…It will be interesting to see how the newcomers use mobile connectivity to a good effect. That can prove a main driver for people to switch from orkut…right now, the only reason I am active on orkut is that I have my friends there…the fundamental reason behind the term ‘critical mass’.

Don’t know if there are clones of variants like Fanpop (fan-following-social-network) or twitter (find-what-I–am-doing – the original purpose of weblog) in india…may be some people are working on those already…it doesn’t take long to have such clones these days, with internet minimizing geographical distances and spreading knowledge unbelievably fast…one more innovative venture is Ning…by Marc Andersson of Netscape fame…it allows you to create your own social network… of course it won’t be much better than creating groups inside a normal social network as of now…you won’t be able to really edit it the way you like…beyond adding a few widgets…but they will evolve…Facebook application platform is the latest buzz in this space, and is attracting huge crowd within very few days.

By the way, Marc Andersson is a fantastic read for people like me (startup aspirants)…a series of articles on life-of-startups here. There are 6 excellent articles in this series so far.

P.S. Reliance is also getting into this space with BigAdda…so the action is getting hotter day by day… 🙂

Internet Advertising Economics

June 13, 2007

With web 2.0 startups popping up everywhere like mushrooms these days…it is getting difficult to distinguish real diamonds from the fake ones. Everyone is offering a great free, consumer friendly, lightweight, AJAXified, ultra modern Web 2.0 service, and expecting to make it big with Advertising revenues.Total indian Advertising industry would be a minuscle 100million$ as compared to app. 16 billion $ market of US. Find an interesting discussion here. Moreover, it’s not only about advertising. Advertising is a mirror of industry depth. For example, a business model like RearDen, a company focusing on business travel, would be useless in a country like India as of now, as we are far from being habitual in using internet for day-to-day needs. Moreover, we can afford to hire a person as a secretary, which Rearden tries to get away with. So, the complexity and depth of industry, especially the industry that heavily relies on internet is nowhere near US.

Even among current internet userbase of 20 million, it would be very interesting to know what is the amount of money being spent per person on internet, on e-shopping, or ticket booking. Of course, the internet awareness will increase very fast. Today’s college goers are very net savy, even in small towns. They are tomorrow’s earners and comsumers. So, picture after 10 years might really be radically different.

Quite a few startups have come up in online ad networks space.

Tyroo sold their stake to Yahoo very recently. They also have an Ad agency, Quesar media, under the same umbrella (Smiler interactive group). So, it might be their key USP.

Komli, is another one, started by Amar Goel, an ex-microsoft. They, I believe, are focusing on optimization of delivery, using behavioral targeting as their key USP. But, statistical methods and optimizations would be helpful when one already has a big portfolio of media and advertisers available. Google can show extremely relevant ads, based on geography and content type, only because it has a huge footprint among advertisers, as they say, ‘the long tail‘ or ‘bottom of the pyramid’. By the way, does anyone know what this name, ‘Komli’ means? 🙂

There is one more, called Ozone media, but not sure what they are upto.