Yet another marketplace?

IndiaMart, India’s largest B2B marketplace is planning to launch online retail marketplace Tolexo. Now before we start jumping to conclusions and speculate on the increased competition with Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal, Tolexo will not be competing with them. The company insists that they will be selling a different set of products. Word is out that it might sell home, office and industry supplies.

Image

IndiaMart, the parent company, has over 1.6 million users with daily 9.3 million page visitors. The site has sellers registered in categories from cosmetics to industrial design to clothes and pharmaceuticals.

The reason for setting up Tolexo is foraying into the B2C market and claiming a share of the pie already expanded by Flipkart and Amazon. In addition to that, the company is planning to focus on the products which currently not considered so ‘hot’ by the consumers, but are necessary as well. The marketplace model also allows easy FDI into the company.

The company plans to raise $100mn over the next 2-3 years. The Tolexo website is expected to go live in next five weeks.

 

Related readings

IndiaMART to launch e-commerce marketplace Tolexo.com

http://www.nextbigwhat.com/indiamart-marketplace-tolexo-297/

 

Calling all women, #YesAllWomen!

In the aftermath of the Elliot Rodger’s killing spree in Isla Vista, California, which killed seven people and injured many more, women have tuned to Twitter to share their experiences of harassment, fear and sexual assault under the hashtag #YesAllWomen. In the matter of 3 days, the hashtag has been attached to 1.2 million tweets peaking at 61,500 tweets on May 25.

Image

The reach of the tag has truly gone global, witnessing participation from countries like Pakistan, Indonesia and Qatar. Women from across the globe are bonding over shared stories of inequality and violence, sometimes right from childhood. It is something that evey women has experienced at some stage in life and have grown stronger from it.

The hashtag has been active only on Twitter- which is designed for strong declarative sentences. It is quite effective as a communication medium between a mass group of people, able to bond over similar experiences.

Related readings:

http://mashable.com/2014/05/26/yesallwomen-hashtag/

http://mashable.com/2014/05/26/yesallwomen-hashtag/

 

 

Looking beyond the surface – Exploring Deep Web

ImageAfter reading about it around 5 years, the concept of Deep Web continues to fascinate me. The Facebook, Wikipedia and all form just 4% of the World Wide Web. The rest 96%, tens of trillions of pages, not reachable by any search engine forms the Deep Web or the Invisible Web. The content may range from boring statistics to sale of human organs on the black market. In fact, in October 2013, FBI shut down Silk Road, a popular online black market where everything from ammunition, drugs to assassins could be bought.

The concept behind the Deep Web is not as dark as it seems. The reason is simple – Google, Bing and all search engines use crawlers to traverse the web. They follow the links from one page to another and are able to collate all the static pages. The pages which are generated directly in response to some stimuli are not captured. Around 54% of the websites are databases and thus not captured.

There are other pages which are available only on the intranet/private networks and thus not captured.

Then there is a hidden part of the web called Tor, that requires specialised software to access it. It is used so their web activity cannot be traced. It runs on a relay system that bounces signals among different Tor-enabled computers around the world.

Well that’s about Deep Web. Lets look at the importance of Deep Web.

  • A search engine that can crawl the entire Web can be used for Big Data analysis providing more accurate information on climate, finances etc.
  • The deep web contains 550 billion documents compared to one billion on the surface web.
  • Deep web contents is highly relevant to every information, need and market
  • 95% of the content on deep web is freely accessible information, not subject to fees or subscription

Companies are doing their best to mine into this treasure trove of information and coming up with new methods of search for this.

 

Related Readings

http://bgr.com/2014/01/20/how-to-access-tor-silk-road-deep-web/

http://money.cnn.com/2014/03/10/technology/deep-web/

http://money.cnn.com/2013/04/08/technology/security/shodan/?iid=EL

bgr.com/2014/01/20/how-to-access-tor-silk-road-deep-web/

http://quod.lib.umich.edu/j/jep/3336451.0007.104/–white-paper-the-deep-web-surfacing-hidden-value?rgn=main;view=fulltext

The E-Commerce War is On in India!

ImageImage

Source: http://news.entecity.com/flipkart-acquires-myntra/

These are some exciting times for E-commerce in India. Today, Snapdeal raised $100mn in its latest round of funding and Flipkart acquired Myntra for reportedly $300-330 mn. It is yet to be announced whether Myntra will work independent or merge with Flipkart. Lets look at the major repercussions of the acquisition –

  • Myntra claims to be the biggest fashion portal in India’s e-commerce industry. In case of merger of the two identities, it will be adding Myntra’s customers to its current set. This is important since Flipkart’s customer acquisition cost is quite high.
  • Flipkart has presence in a lot of categories but was a later entrant in the apparel market.
    Apparel is one of the largest categories online with estimates varying from it being Rs 1,200-1,500 crore a year – See more at: http://www.businessworld.in/news/economy/5-reasons-why-the-flipkart-myntra-deal-makes-sense/1372822/page-1.html#sthash.wXXUEYho.dpuf
    Apparel is one of the largest categories online with estimates varying from it being Rs 1,200-1,500 crore a year – See more at: http://www.businessworld.in/news/economy/5-reasons-why-the-flipkart-myntra-deal-makes-sense/1372822/page-1.html#sthash.wXXUEYho.dpuf

    Apparel is one of the largest categories online value at Rs. 1200-1500 crore. It will gain an easy stronghold in that category.

  • The acquisition will increase the barrier of entry by helping Flipkart establish itself as a major Indian player. If the FDI gets into e-commerce, the local players will have to compete with the global ones.
  • While it seems like a zero-sum game, Myntra also has its benefits from the merger. It receives access to Flipkart superior supply chain. In addition to that, it gets chance to access more funds which would have been denied if it had disagreed to the acquisition. The acquisition was being pushed by Flipkart and Myntra’s common set of investors – Tiger Global and Accel Partner.

In the meanwhile, Amazon is also gearing up for the war. The marketing budget for Amazon this year rivals those of Indian retail giant Future Bazaar. It has gone on an advertising blitzkrieg with full page advertisements, TV spots and outdoor hoardings.

Snapdeal is also getting ready to wage the digital war backed by some heavyweights – eBay Inc, eBay Inc., Kalaari Capital, Nexus Venture Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, Intel Capital and Saama Capital.

We have our ears to the ground. The troops are lining up and we hear the echo of the drums. Let the battle begin!

Related readings:

http://tech.firstpost.com/news-analysis/flipkart-acquires-online-fashion-retailer-myntra-for-rs-2000-crore-224118.html

http://www.bgr.in/news/flipkart-acquires-myntra-snapdeal-raises-100-million-to-compete-with-amazon-in-india/

http://www.businessworld.in/news/economy/5-reasons-why-the-flipkart-myntra-deal-makes-sense/1372822/page-1.html

http://www.iamwire.com/2014/04/4-reasons-flipkart-myntra-stop-flirting-married/#_am05hx12

Next Destination – India!

Facebook, Google, Twitter are looking to India now! And no, not for nirvana. Its to fuel their future growth story! Facebook’s India user base is nearly 100 mn now, making it the second largest market after USA. So why this sudden interest in India? Below are a few reasons –

Image

Source: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/drishtikone/2013/03/rise-of-social-media-use-in-india/

Is it going to easy? No ways! Why?

  • Internet Penetration in India is way below other countries.
  • Different languages in different regions. Content will have to be tailored for that region
  • Not yet comfortable using it for advertisements and such
  • Our government wants social media sites to police their networks for objectionable content

India is an Alibaba’s cave waiting to be opened. Hope these tech giants guess the correct password!

Information Management? What is that?

Before I start my ‘musings‘, I figured that at least a background to Information Management is required.

As every MBA or MBA-aspirant knows, S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research offers 4 specializations to the students – Finance, Marketing, Operations and Information Management(IM) as part of its PGDM course.

Now, everyone worth its salt knows Marketing and Finance. Unfortunately, Operations and IM are still lesser known( but just as awesome!).

So the top five responses that I received on saying that I do a MBA in Information Management.

  1. Is it I.T. Management? Beta, you have done Computer Engineering. Why do you wish to do it again? In fact, my courier from home says-  Prakruti Hindia, IT student each and every time, regardless of how many times I call home and explain the difference. They still ask me whether they should transfer the second year fees or not!
  2. So you doing MBA from IIM? (IM ~ IIM)?
  3. With sad look in their eyes – Beta, didn’t you get admission to Finance or Marketing? That is where the money is, these days.
  4. Their eyes glaze over and they just nod. Need to ask my Kunal/Riya, what this is.  I mostly get this from my not-crazy-about-MBA relatives.
  5. So will you be studying about DBMS, SDLC all over again? People who know IT Engineering but not MBA.

All said and done, nothing beats Information Management if you love your IT and technology. Forget Java, C, Unix or Tomcat, we look at the Business side of IT now. And the best part? Your life will not revolve around Balance Sheets, Distributors and Supply Chain Logistics.

Jumpin’ onto the social media bandwagon

Image

“Amazon buys Goodreads for $150 million”

“Flipkart acquires WeRead”

Some of the biggest acquisitions in the recent years have been of social media sites or apps. Why are companies suddenly interested in social media and willing to shell out good money for it?

Reason #1: Feeling the pulse of the customer

The question can be answered by another question. What do we do before purchasing a book, a cellphone or a laptop? Don’t we Google the reviews? Ask friends on Facebook and Twitter? The answer to the previous question is the same – access to the pulse of the customer.

More and more customers have started relying on word-of-mouth rather than advertisements and banners. Image

Source: http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/04/the-simple-reason-why-goodreads-is-so-valuable-to-amazon/274548/

Amazon’s recommendation engine is now powered by the ratings and reviews of Goodreads users, making it much more accurate.

Reason #2: Mobile presence

“Watsapp is on the path to connect 1 billion people. It processes 50 billion messages a day across seven platforms.”

The potential displayed by mobile apps- Watsapp and Snapchat to connect the people in developing countries like India and Mexico has encouraged erstwhile social media companies to jump onto the acquisition bandwagon.

Reason #3: Complimentary Products

Vine – a six- seconds video sharing site was acquired by Twitter since it went hand-in-hand with its philosophy of short and crisp content. Microsoft acquired Yammer to add it to its suite of Enterprise Office tools. Companies are in process of picking up products that will add benefit their existing strategy.

This was my first attempt at understanding the top 3 reasons behind some of the high value social media acquisitions in the recent years. Hope you like it.