These startups are betting on ‘desi ideas’ to grow
This article is sponsored by Haywards 5000 Hausla Buland Academy.
India is home to a bustling startup ecosystem. Many of these startups are looking to tap global market opportunities. While some have been successful at navigating the global market landscape, others find survival hard. For some, going global also means treading a landscape they don’t completely understand, and dealing with more competition.
This could be one of the key drivers why Indian startups are now increasingly looking at tapping the unique needs of the domestic market or Indians living abroad, with which they are familiar. The other reasons for these startups that focus on traditional, India-centric needs are a fairly big market, competitive advantage since not many outsiders understand the market needs like they do, and on-going demand. Here are four such startups that are using technology to build a digital bridge between what’s new and age-old traditions:
Pelli Poola Jada
Flowers are an intrinsic part of Indian weddings and, in several cultures, a bride’s ensemble is incomplete without flowers. The vibrancy and the freshness of the blooms add to the charm of Indian weddings. Catering to this demand for floral bridal jewellery is Pelli Poola Jada.
Kalpana Rajesh, a former software consultant, started Pelli Poola Jada, a wedding flower accessory business with headquarters in Hyderabad, in 2012. Today, it has presence in all southern states of India, as well as in Delhi, Mumbai, Singapore and the US. The company works under four brand names – Vaagai in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, Pelli Poola Jada in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Anoo Flower Jewellery in Delhi and Mumbai, and Jewel Blooms in the US and Singapore, each of which caters to the local and regional culture and aesthetics.
Their flower based jewellery – which includes everything from the maang tikas, hip chain, necklaces, bridal plait, and even jhumkas – are a rage in India today. The startup has expanded its reach and business through a franchisee model, enabling wider reach and employment to a lot of women, who are now able to earn an income working from the confines of their homes.
Red hot dalle chilly pickles, black rice, traditional black pottery and eco-friendly storage baskets made from natural water reed. These are some of the products that are common to North East India. And one organisation that is making these products accessible and popular is GISKAA. The eCommerce venture of Catena Technologies Private Limited, the company registered and based in Bangalore sells handicrafts, food, and other handmade items and brings alive the flavours, beauty and art of the North East to people’s doorsteps.
Founded by Meghanath Singh, Surchand Wahengbam and Ratheesh Elayat, GISKAA began its startup journey in 2014. It was Meghanath, a native of Manipur, who realised that the e-commerce industry hadn’t capitalised on what the North East had to offer even though there was a significant market opportunity.
Today, GISKAA has become a household name for North East products. On one hand, people who are away from their hometowns can get o products that are part of their culture and lifestyle, on the other, it helps local artisans expand their market reach, while also creating awareness about the region’s culture, delicacies and high-quality handicrafts. And, by promoting products which are environmental-friendly, and those which involve artisans and craftsmen, GISKAA is promoting a healthier and sustainable business.
Pandit on Click
A vast majority, nearly 80 per cent, of India’s population follows Hinduism. But the traditions and practices vastly differ from region to region. People are scattered all over the country, where sometimes the traditions they follow are alien. For instance, finding a Bengali priest in Pune for a housewarming ceremony could get challenging.
Tapping this market opportunity is Vikas Jha’s venture – Pandit on Click. This Pune-based startup is currently operational only in the city and plans to expand its reach in future. With a large base of registered pundits, it meets the demands of a wide range of customers. As a natural outcome, the startup’s effort is also benefiting the priest community, who are able to gain access to a wider customer network.
In addition to arranging priests, the startup also offers to take the responsibility of organising and arranging everything needed for performing different Hindu rituals.
Hear what Vikas has to say about his venture and why he believes it makes a positive difference.
Jaipur-based Intap Labs’ cloud-based online language learning platform CultureAlley, made it to Google PlayStore’s "Best Apps for 2016.” Founded in 2012, the app provides interactive language learning lessons in English, Spanish and other languages.
And, its recently launched ‘Hello English’ app has a won the Indian market. Within eight months of its launch, it became the No. 1 English learning and speaking app on India’s Google PlayStore.
The app helps people learn English from 15 Indian languages, including Hindi, Bengali, Telugu, Tamil and Gujarati, something that fits the need of a country that has multiple regional languages. Because it is interactive and free, and enables people to learn new words and expand their vocabulary, hear the pronunciation through simple activities like reading daily news, it makes the prospect of learning English simple, easy and effective. Also, the Hello English App doesn't need any internet connection to run its English lessons, enabling users to learn the language anytime, anywhere and even offline. The website claims it is being used by over 14 million people and is Asia’s largest English learning platform.
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