Meet entrepreneurs who faced the dotcom bubble burst and relaunched their businesses

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It was during a vacation to South Africa that Ashish Hemrajani discovered the wealth of leisure time options that could be sourced on the internet.

International ticketing companies such as Fandango and Ticketmaster helped the 24-year-old plan his entertainment choices so well that he was inspired to launch a ticketing venture on his return to India.

Hemrajani quit his job at advertising major J Walter Thompson to launch Bigtree Entertainment a decade ago. But his dreams were shattered when he could not sustain the business after the dotcom bubble burst in 2001. He managed to stay afloat by running call centres and developing software and technologies for cinemas.

Gradually, he relaunched the brand as BookMyShow.com in 2007, when he saw a revival in the consumer market.

“It was the second coming,” says Hemrajani, who now sells over a million tickets per month. He is one among many internet entrepreneurs who rebuilt their businesses after the dotcom bubble burst. Many entrepreneurs shut shops because the idea and technologies were far ahead of their times to have market potential.

However, a few brave entrepreneurs

Industrybuying gets Rs 12 crore from Trifecta Capital

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Online business to business marketplace Industrybuying has raised Rs 12 crore from venture debt firm Trifecta Capital. Industrybuying is Trifecta Capital’s fourth investment with a holding period of 36 months.The firm which has raised Rs 200 crore in the first close ` has also backed kidney-care chain Nephroplus, b2b messaging platform HelpChat and surface logistics player Rivigo since its inception in August 2015.

With multiple investors onboard which include Kalaari Capital, which led the Rs 60 crore Series B round with participation from Singapore based Beenext, exisiting investors SAIF Partners and a subsequent round from family businesses of TVS and Murugappa groups, the choice of venture debt financing is aimed at powering the expansion plans without further dilution of equity.

Industrybuying will utilise the venture debt capital for talent acquisition and strengthening the supply chain. “We have recently ap pointed head of business, head of marketing and senior vice president of technology who will be joining on-board in a few weeks’ time. We are also looking at branding and positioning,” said Swati Gupta who cofounded the company with sibling Rahul Gupta in 2013.

She

Five tips on setting up an online business

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The domain name you pick becomes the identity for your brand.So, it is important that you go for one that is short and easy to remember. The names that are too long or ones with conjunctions like `and’ have low recall value.

Suitable Platform

The platform you choose depends largely on the number of products you intend to sell.For a limited number, a basic website can be created using HTML or other content management systems. You can add pages as per your needs.

Payment Mechanism

Set up a secure payment mechanism, via banks or third-party services. Banks offer competitive rates for high-volume business.Third-party services charge lower start-up fees for small businesses, but their transaction fees are higher.

Terms & Conditions

Terms & conditions define the rights of both the buyer and the website. Ideally, these should contain information on access to your website, description of goods and disclaimers regarding your liability.Have clauses dedicated to IP infringement.

Marketing the Website

Don’t spam with bulk emails. A good way of marketing your website is to actively use the social media like

Electronics retail chains like The Mobile Store and UniverCell are selling some phones cheaper online than store price

If you can’t beat them, join them. India’s top brick-and mortar electronics retail chains, which have stoutly resisted giving discounts in their online ventures, have seen their resolve crumble and have had to change tack, in some instances matching prices with the big three e-commerce marketplaces — Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal.

According to top industry executives, chains such as The Mobile Store, UniverCell and Sangeetha Mobiles, have started to offer devices online at prices that are up to 7% lower for some models than what’s on the sticker at real-world stores.

Some like Croma have been partnering with Amazon and Snapdeal, where products are offered at a discount. For instance, while a 16GB iPhone 5s sells at Rs 44,500 in retail chains, it’s available on Amazon from Croma at Rs 38,999. The Nokia Lumia 520 is sold at UniverCell’s own e-store at Rs 6,499,lower even than the

. The BlackBerry Z3 sells for Rs 15,200 at offline stores while on the The MobileStore’s estore it costs Rs 14,595, matching the price on Flipkart. The discounts available at ecommerce sites are driven by the online marketplaces themselves by way of reducing their own margins, said Ajit

Amazon launches Tatkal initiative for small and medium businesses

E-commerce giant Amazon today announced the launch of ‘Amazon Tatkal’, an initiative that enables small and medium businesses ( SMBs) to go online and sell products on Amazon.

Starting with New Delhi, Amazon Tatkal will traverse the country, engaging with thousands of entrepreneurs, artisans, manufacturers and sellers and help them sell online on the spot, the company said in a statement.

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t said Amazon Tatkal is a specially designed studio-on-wheels offering a suite of launch services including registration, imaging and cataloguing services, as well as basic seller training mechanisms.

It will enable thousands of interested sellers to start selling on Amazon in real time and experience the benefits of launching an online business, the statement added.

The company said Amazon Tatkal will visit seller-dense pockets across multiple cities in the country and engage with local businesses over the next several months.

“We are very excited to see the high level of interest and enthusiasm from sellers to get online and benefit from the digital economy. Amazon witnessed a growth of 250 per cent (YoY) last year,” Amazon India Director and GM (Seller Services) Gopal Pillai said.

With demand for online shopping luxury brands like Swarovski Furla and Armani join e commerce

Big luxury brands have mostly stayed away from the online world on concerns of discount-driven business models impacting brand equity, but with more and more Indians taking to online shopping some labels including Swarovski, Furla and Armani, have come forward to test the waters.

If Austrian jewellery brand Swarovski and American clothing brand Brooks Brothers have started selling their expensive products in the e-commerce space, online premium products retailer Elitify.com will soon start selling brands like Paul Smith, Furla, Emporio Armani and Armani Exchange in partnership with Genesis Luxury, which has the rights to market and retail these brands in India. “It is interesting to see luxury brands approaching us,” said Amit Rawal founder of Elitify.com, which sells products of over 400 brands, Rs 3 crore per month. He said the initial apprehension the brands had with regards to fakes, brand dilution and discounts given online, are fading away, as they feel the need to reach out to a larger audience and do more business that was restricted because of unavailability of real estate.

Vivek Ramabhadran, managing director of Swarovski’s professional business in the country, said, “In India we are now pushing the online business to

Lenskart to set up 500 stores to ramp up offline presence

Prescription eyeglasses e-tailer, Lenskart is planning to add 500 brick-and-mortar stores across the country within next six months as it looks to beef up its offline presence.

The company, which currently has 70 stores operating through franchisees in 29 cities, said the shops will “compliment” its online business.

“We are planning to launch 500 new shops through the franchisee route within the next six months. Out of this, 100 will be exclusive stores and the rest will be shop-in-shops,” Lenskart CEO Peeyush Bansal told PTI.

He added that these shops will complement its e-commerce business.

The company is also aggressively expanding its in-home eye check up business, which helped the City-based firm garner more than Rs 2.5 crore in revenue from the service.

“We partner eye specialists for the in-home checkups and we are rapidly scaling this up. This is an untouched market. We want to take up the number of eye-check ups per day to 5,000 by this year end,” he said, adding that the firm will invest more than Rs 1.2 crore in the coming months.

The company will fund its expansion plans from the money it had raised earlier

Online marketplaces like Voonik VioletStreet others increasingly bring on board offline stores

Online marketplaces are increasingly bringing on board offline stores, boutiques and brands to boost their offerings as well as margins.

Sequoia-backed Voonik is running a pilot to onboard merchants, while VioletStreet has pivoted to showcase offline boutiques only and Wooplr is in the process of evaluating its merchant base to bring sellers on board in phases.

The app-only route taken by online fashion store Myntra saw close to 10,000 SKUs (stock keeping units) going off the site,” said Jayadeep Reddy, chief strategy officer at VioletStreet, which has onboarded 45 boutiques across three cities and processes 10-15 orders a day on average.

Reddy said, “It has been two months since we started focusing on offline boutiques only. We showcase premium wear, which results in much higher margins.”

VioletStreet also hosts a sizing tool that predicts how the garment will look on the user after alterations.

Investor interest in these platforms has been on the rise globally. Wish, a US and UK-focused social shopping platform raised $50 million from Founders Fund last year. Closer home, app-focused social shopping platform Roposo recently raised $15 million from Tiger Global. “The branded apparel space online has been taken

Gurgaon based Delhivery becomes one stop logistics solution for e commerce

Logistics and supply chain management is one critical area giving headache to e-commerce companies. Online market places struggling to rein in logistics are spending a significant share of revenue into it annually. Realising the problems being faced and the loopholes of logistics industry, Gurgaon-based Delhivery claims to have all the solutions.

Started in 2011, with the focus on simplifying logistics for online businesses, Delhivery is one of the firsts, in providing end-to-end supply chain solutions for e-commerce. Its umbrella of solutions include Omni-channel (e-com technology), store management, fulfillment (warehousing) and logistics services.

Omni-channel services enable retailers to provide a seamless customer experience across sales channels – web, mobile, in-store, TV, e-mail etc. This solution is part of the modular suite of commerce technologies, that provide the sellers, a way to develop and manage their entire online channel including store-fronts, channel integration, distributed order management system, catalogue management, global inventory, payments, social media engagement et al.

“We realised that e-commerce logistics space was facing huge challenges around delivery timelines, cash and returns management and parcel-delivery for e-commerce was a nascent segment within logistics space and there was a clear lack of a specialised player,” emphasises, Sahil

Paytm eyes Rs 4 000 crore revenue from fastest delivery service

E-commerce firm Paytm is starting a new service ‘Fastest Expert Delivery’ that will ensure that products are delivered within two hours from receiving the orders from customers.

The online shopping portal is planning to make an initial investment of Rs 100 crore to start this service and expecting to garner an additional revenue of Rs 4,000 crore in next one year from this platform.

We are starting Fastest Expert Delivery ( FED) programme with The MobileStore under which we will get mobile devices delivered to customer through an expert of the product within two hour of getting the order on our platform. We will spent Rs 100 crore in the next six months to popularise it,” Paytm Associate Vice President Amit Bagaria told PTI.

Under this programme, the expert delivering the product will also be able to demonstrate the features of the product purchased by the customer, he said.

“This is the first innovative delivery strategy which will not require us to invest on logistics as we will use their logistics to reach out to the customers. This is a mix of online and offline business where we expect many brands to come on

Industrybuying gets Rs 12 crore from Trifecta Capital

Online business to business marketplace Industrybuying has raised Rs 12 crore from venture debt firm Trifecta Capital. Industrybuying is Trifecta Capital’s fourth investment with a holding period of 36 months.The firm which has raised Rs 200 crore in the first close ` has also backed kidney-care chain Nephroplus, b2b messaging platform HelpChat and surface logistics player Rivigo since its inception in August 2015.

With multiple investors onboard which include Kalaari Capital, which led the Rs 60 crore Series B round with participation from Singapore based Beenext, exisiting investors SAIF Partners and a subsequent round from family businesses of TVS and Murugappa groups, the choice of venture debt financing is aimed at powering the expansion plans without further dilution of equity.

Industrybuying will utilise the venture debt capital for talent acquisition and strengthening the supply chain. “We have recently ap pointed head of business, head of marketing and senior vice president of technology who will be joining on-board in a few weeks’ time. We are also looking at branding and positioning,” said Swati Gupta who cofounded the company with sibling Rahul Gupta in 2013.

She added that the company has so far invested close to 40%

Oxigen Services in talks to raise Rs 1300 crore plans to hive off online business

Payments solution provider Oxigen Services plans to hive off its online business that runs Oxigen wallet into a separate company, which will be called Phi Enterprises, and is in talks with investors to raise $200 million (about Rs 1,300 crore) to build the new brand.

Phi Enterprises will operate the online business while Oxigen Services will manage the Noida-based firm’s offline activities such as remittances and act as a business correspondent for banks that do not have a footprint in the hinterland.

The move is aimed at preventing the online business from eating into the profits of the company’s offline model, which works through 200,000 touch points across the country, chairman and managing director Pramod Saxena told ET.

“My offline business has been cashpositive for the last four years. I would not want the online business to eat into that,” said Saxena.

The online model has a longer gestation period, he said, which is why he is looking for investors who would be ready to pump in money right now. “The fresh funding will allow me to build the online brand through online marketing and consumer communication,” he said.

The company plans to

How women entrepreneurs are gaining big from the online retail revolution

“Minimum investment, Maximum profit guaranteed, Make money from home” – seen those ads? On pink oryellow or dirty green leaflets? Well, you can wipe off the incredulity. A different kind of operator, more evolved, is actually making this work, especially for women. As India sees a revolution in its $300 billion retail industry with the emergence of online marketplaces such as Amazon, Snapdeal and Flipkart, thousands of women are gaining financial independence by selling products across categories such as health care, home furnishing, jewellery, handicrafts, and fashion apparel.

These women now constitute about 20% of the 1 million sellers on platforms that form the $12 billion online retail industry. They are gaining prominence in a country where the percentage of the female workforce has fallen from 39% in 2010 to about 30% currently. The shift is also empowering women who were formerly largely employed in sectors such as farming, textiles, and construction. Take for instance Namita Jain, a former homemaker who saved about Rs 4 lakh to invest in starting Neerav Stores on Delhi-based online marketplace Snapdeal.

Every morning Jain gets up to check emails of online orders from across the country on her smartphone. She

Salman Khan and Delhi Khan Market head towards a conflict over a website

There’re some things that just Khan’t be confused. Like a certain muscular Bollywood Khan and the genteel if uberexpensive, colonial-era market in New Delhi that only coincidentally bears the latter part of his name. The point is moot, though, about which entity is more famous — Salman Khan or Khan Market — as the traders associated with the shopping centre think that khanmarketonline, the new portal opened by the star, would impinge on their collective brand. Neither’s fans are entirely discrete, so determining the bigger Khan would be difficult. More so as both obviously have plenty of muscles to flex and are capable of drumming up celebrity endorsements to press their cause. However, the star may want to think twice before heading into another court case just as a long-running one has finally ended.

Of course, the Dabangg actor could have gone to court with a gripe of his own on a similar count: the arrival in India of his Bangladeshi-American namesake with his hugely successful online educational venture, Khan Academy. Instead, the Khans, number-cruncher and villain-cruncher, met and bonded. Hopefully, the Khan Market traders can take that cue and reach a similar entente: perhaps by persuading

To create portfolio for online sales to be 15% of overall business

For the long run, we feel that brick and mortar business will still be our main business. Online is going to become perhaps 10-15% of the overall business. Online may not be a big business for us at least but it is still too important for us to ignore. So our strategy is that we are going to have a different range of items available online.

In terms of pricing, it will be within the range of brick and mortar stores. We are not giving any special discounts. In online, many players are buying goods at a particular price and sell them at a loss to gain a market share. That cannot sustain for long. The only thing we are ensuring for our online business is good service and availably for the convenience of customers.

ET Now: What has the performance of consumer durable segment been in the first nine months? How was the off take in the festive season?

Shekhar Bajaj: Our quarterly results are out on February 10 and therefore it will be difficult to talk about that in terms of numbers. But what I can say is that this time at least

Beauty e commerce portal Nykaa raises funds to expand online business

the beauty e-commerce portal owned by investment-banker-turned entrepreneur Falguni Nayar and her banker husband Sanjay Nayar, has raised funds from investors including a big business family, underlining the strong demand for growth opportunities offered by fledgling online firms.

The two-year-old venture will use the funds to expand its online business and set up offline retail stores.

Nykaa plans to set up its first offline store at Terminal 3 of New Delhi’s airport, as it attempts to capture a slice of the growing customer demand for luxury beauty brands.

“We have raised funds from investors. We will now grow more aggressively. We are targeting a turnover in excess of Rs 100-120 crore over the next two years,” Falguni Nayar said.

She did not disclose the terms of the transaction or name the investors, citing confidentiality clauses in the agreement.

She, however, said that new investors will together hold close to 20% in the ecommerce venture. An e-commerce industry expert close to the transaction said a big business conglomerate’s family office and a hedge fund invested in the company.

The Nayars had invested $2 million in the company and controlled a roughly 95% stake.

plans to hive off online business

Payments solution provider Oxigen Services plans to hive off its online business that runs Oxigen wallet into a separate company, which will be called Phi Enterprises, and is in talks with investors to raise $200 million (about Rs 1,300 crore) to build the new brand.

Phi Enterprises will operate the online business while Oxigen Services will manage the Noida-based firm’s offline activities such as remittances and act as a business correspondent for banks that do not have a footprint in the hinterland.

The move is aimed at preventing the online business from eating into the profits of the company’s offline model, which works through 200,000 touch points across the country, chairman and managing director Pramod Saxena told ET.

“My offline business has been cashpositive for the last four years. I would not want the online business to eat into that,” said Saxena.

The online model has a longer gestation period, he said, which is why he is looking for investors who would be ready to pump in money right now. “The fresh funding will allow me to build the online brand through online marketing and consumer communication,” he said

The company plans to

Marriage brokers facing decline in clients as business gets hijacked by online players

Recently a group of marriage agents in Chennai came together to conduct a ‘Thirumana Mela’ a one-day camp for those looking for wedding alliances. People could walk in and register for a small fee so that in a few days the agents would get back to them with ‘suitable’ matches. The agents took a wedding hall for rent and waited for a crowd to walk in as during earlier times, but ended up collecting just a handful of profiles.

The number of attendees for such camps has been decreasing ever since the alliance-seeking business was ‘hijacked’ by the online players, notes K Murugan, an agent who was part of the camp. He has been in the matchmaking business for over 30 years. But there has never has been a tougher time for him than now.

Matchmaking, which plays an important part of the Rs 3.4-lakh crore wedding industry in India, according to experts, is witnessing a paradigm shift. Marriage “brokers”, as they are popularly known, are facing a downswing with their online counterparts turning suave. Many admit to witnessing a considerable slowdown in last one year with the emergence of matchmaking apps and adoption of big-data

Amazon launches Tatkal initiative for small and medium businesses

E-commerce giant Amazon today announced the launch of ‘Amazon Tatkal’, an initiative that enables small and medium businesses ( SMBs) to go online and sell products on Amazon.

Starting with New Delhi, Amazon Tatkal will traverse the country, engaging with thousands of entrepreneurs, artisans, manufacturers and sellers and help them sell online on the spot, the company said in a statement.

It said Amazon Tatkal is a specially designed studio-on-wheels offering a suite of launch services including registration, imaging and cataloguing services, as well as basic seller training mechanisms.

It will enable thousands of interested sellers to start selling on Amazon in real time and experience the benefits of launching an online business, the statement added.

The company said Amazon Tatkal will visit seller-dense pockets across multiple cities in the country and engage with local businesses over the next several months.

“We are very excited to see the high level of interest and enthusiasm from sellers to get online and benefit from the digital economy. Amazon witnessed a growth of 250 per cent (YoY) last year,” Amazon India Director and GM (Seller Services) Gopal Pillai said.

The new mantra for online business to attract customers

Aditya Chidurala, a real estate manager based in Mumbai, was ordering lunch through restaurant aggregator TinyOwl for the first time, paying through his Paytm mobile wallet. For his Rs 150 meal, he received cashbacks from both TinyOwl and Paytm, effectively earning him Rs 77.

“Most people aren’t too attached to a brand, so they are going to shop wherever they get cashback,” he told ET. “I don’t know how long the companies can sustain this kind of programme, but from a customer point of view, it couldn’t be better.”

Chidurala is a beneficiary of the growing cashback trend in what was otherwise an industry fueled by deep discounting. In this scenario, customers are not directly saving money as they would in the case of discounts; they are saving for their next purchase on the same site. The concept of cashback is far from new, having been embraced by credit card loyalty programmes and, more recently, being used extensively by taxi aggregators when the market was maturing over the last year. Now cashbacks are being used by mobile wallets PayU, MobiKwik, and Paytm, as well as food aggregators and ecommerce companies to “gain currency” with customers.