Archive for November, 2007

RouteGuru.com – Do we just need directions??

Couple of months ago when Delhi Police floated a tender requesting a GPS based police dispatch system what it was looking for is the first piece of puzzle which routeguru is providing.

Routeguru.com looks like a rule based engine which gives directions based on either latitude longitude position mapped of interest points or localities with major roads flowing in delhi taken into consideration or something more innovative based on GPS mapping of city.

The concept is good though mapmyindia.com with ability to map the route for me makes a better starting point when looking for direction.

I understand the problem with sites like routeguru its difficult to map it on map due to non availability  of digtal map companies like Teleatlas etc. Though google map will not be accurate they can surely give it a shot an act as an immediate product remedy to competition set in by mapmyindia.com.

If these portals are able to get their routing engines right their is a bigger role to play in Location Based Services vertical especially with commonwealth games coming to delhi in 2010.

Zoomtra.com first one to join Facebook bandwagon from India

In my earlier posts i had talked about importance of social networking for meta search engines and sites looking for user generated content. Zoomtra.com – A Meta Travel Search engine has gone ahead and released an application on facebook which focuses on Indian destinations.

Application is called India Dekho helps user tag different cities in india where they have been and write reviews and rate them for other people planning trip to india. The best thing which i liked about the application was ability to add review for individual restaurants,night spots and shopping places from the city.

Although lot people will talk about initial applications which were released by trip planner etc had similar features but i liked the review of night spots and restaurants concept which others were doing only for US specific destinations.

Though every human creation has flaws so does zoomtra’s facebook application with ability not provided to add just reviews on restaurants or shopping sites later after adding a city review. Other thing which i would have liked would be if they could group all restaurants,night spots in a city in a drop down with ability to see all users rating for all places in a city at one place. Also giving it a little structure would help.

Overall a nice effort as it will help in generating lot of user generated content which will help in increasing more user traction as way forward for meta travel search engine is content aggregation.

I might be wrong on stating they are first facebook application but its the first one i stumbled upon facebook.

Interview with CEO of Redbus.in – Online Bus Reservation Platform

Following is an email interview which we did with Pahninder Sama, CEO Red Bus.in. We talked more about the industry they are working in challenges faced and whats their unique positioning in market.Q1. Can you  give us some brief on redbus

redBus is the first player in India to launch the concept of online bus tickets. Today, it is India’s largest such service with the highest number of routes (over 3200) and over 250+ bus operator partners. Consumers get some unparalleled benefits that are unique to redBus:

         They can book return tickets

         They can choose their seats

         They can get tickets home delivery

         They have access to the best-in-class bus operators

         They can book tickets over the phone, through their mobile, on the net or in person at our partner outlets.

Q2. Give some background on founders and their experience

redBus was started by 3 friends from BITS Pilani.

Phanindra Sama – Ex Texas Instruments

Charan Padmaraju – Ex Honeywell

Sudhakar Pasupunuri – Ex IBM

 Q3. Why Bus reservation. What is the potential market size in terms of rupee value and how do we segment it.

Bus reservation is a very large market. There is no formal study available to dig statistics. However, approximately the market is pegged at about Rs. 15000 crores. The best way to segment it is geographically, by states. Each state has some busy (priority) routes. One can estimate the market by the number of buses and average load per bus for those routes and add it up to get the state market size.

 Q4. Is this business volume driven or with coming in of luxury buses we will see tour operator using bus as medium also being pushed online

I’m not sure if I understand the second part of this question correctly, but to answer the first – yes it is a volume driven game. Greater volumes change the dynamics of the relationship of the players in this industry.

 Q5. The space at which rail & Air is moving why don’t we see the bus operator segment evolving at same pace.

The bus space is relatively young and you will see it booming in the next few months. We have already started experiencing 30% month-on-month increase and the word-of-mouth will kick start this boom.

 Q6. Keeping in mind low operation standards maintained by smaller bus operators, when you sign them up is their a service level agreement with minimum quality standards being imposed.

We are conscious about the bus operators we tie up with. There have been instances where we have broken our relationship with operators with whom some customers had a bad experience. That’s how serious we are about service levels.

 Q7. What are the main hurdles you face to get scale for your business?

Streamlining the operations with 100s of bus operators throughout the country and building robustness is one of the hurdles to attain immediate scale

Q8. When selecting a bus operator for Delhi-Jammu segment I noticed it threw up 2-3 option with similar fares and originating point. What extra information you tend to provide which can help me to take a decision on bus operator to select as they are not brand names which I have heard of before. Eg data would be performance of operator in terms of number of times bus is running on time and so forth.

We will soon have a discussion forums powered by users. That will give other travelers an idea about experiences of people who have used those bus operators.

 Q9.  Are you looking at other monetization opportunities like advertising as even bigger transaction sites like yatra.com and naukri.com has started to do so and are getting good revenue results.

We surely are. However, that’s not the revenue model of priority right now. We want to master our core business before we can get into maximizing other revenue models.

Q10. What all can we expect in 2008 from Redbus like external integration with travel meta search engines etc.

Of late, some travel meta search engines are showing interest in displaying redBus results. It may come through in sometime.

The market is dynamic and moving at a very fast pace. The operations / offering on redBus.in could be quite different in 2008.

Business India 2.0 Blog Completes 1 Year

After several hundred posts and many thousand readers later it feels proud to announce that i have successfully completed 1 year of blogging in this industry.

Why Successfully as i had been able to achieve various objectives which i had determined not initially at time when i started to write but in due course of writing month on month. Advantage blogging gave me is provide a repository of ideas on how i would like to execute an idea which others might already been doing or not doing at all.

When i started out it was all about reporting things already reported on blogsphere but with my 2 cents about it. But then Business India 2.0 evolved more as an analytical style of writing where i would go behind the business or technology logics or new innovations happening in Indian Internet Industry. Though this approach did make lot of enemies with people going crazy on comments section taking shot at my industry work…but that infact help me improve my work first and turn people who hated my writing as friends for long.

This platform has given me immense opportunity to get in touch with amazing entrepreneurs and people from startups with energy levels which excite you to live every day with a difference which helps to reinforce your confidence in India startup story and Internet Industry as a whole. I must say i have remained partial to the Internet Travel Industry but this is one area where for some reasons my predictions and idea models have clicked and my ideology has been echoed by other reputed voices in the industry.

Where i would like to go from here is do analysis on internet products which i have covered over 1 year how they have evolved or shutdown and what still needs to be done before we can start terming Web 2.0 businesses in india as Web Businesses 2.0

Thanks to Rajesh Branwal of Alootechie andNikhil Phawa of Contentsutra for providing single reporting point to start my blogging day from.

Hopefully 2nd year for Business India 2.0 will be much stronger with more relevant content and exciting businesses covered.

Internet Advertising in India finally getting its due recognition

2 days in a row Alootechie announced first WPP Digital acquiring major stake in Quasar Media and now Webchutney joining the TV18 camp. Though one thing is not clear both the entities are maintaining their independence with management’s of both firms claiming nothing much will change in terms of day to day operations and structure its pretty hard to believe with majority stakes in both firms being out how it would not effect them.

Overall this means internet advertising story will be going great and act as encouraging signsfor all those entrepreneurs looking forward to start content driven portals they can put advertising as key element in their business plan.

Will do a different post to discuss which digital agency is moving in which direction and what can we expect from them in future. Till then lets be merry and joyous on investment in web chutney and excited about being at right place at right time.

Disclaimer : I have working relationship with SITG group company Tyroo Media which also owns Quasar Media

HTMedia Gobbles up Desimartini.com

When i read contentsutra.com today it was not a surprise to know that desimartini.com has been sold off. Everyone in the industry pretty much knew that desimartini.com has been sold off by the Pahwa KBS family.  But valuations they have indicated are pretty hard to believe.

Even if i do basic maths HTMEDIA has paid up around 40$ per user they have acquired which in indian context is 1600 INR ARPU they are looking from each user. Keeping in mind how social networking sites are valued it should not have been greater than INR 450 ARPU as except for brand advertising the social networking inventory has not been a hit on providing return for performance advertisers which India is heavy on.

It will be interesting to see what efforts are put in to first keep the viral for desimartini alive and on other hand will HTMEDIA  bring in synergy from existing content they are generating on hindustantimes.com to bring social networking to news site viral which is long talked and not fully implemented in indian scenario.

Lets wait and watch.

flipkart.com – Fresh Book Store for Indian Market

Binny Bansal the founder of flipkart.com seems to be an intelligent man going around the blog world and leaving trail for people to reach out to his portal. Smart and free way of publicizing your initiative. In the US this is a common PR practice with portals to get blogsphere interested first and then traditional media follows.

Keeping in line with Business India 2.0 blog objective to showcase new developments in Indian webspace here is a review on Flipkart.com an online book store.

For long this space has been seen by lot of VC’s looking at investment in e-commerce india. Though the volumes have not been encouraging + the tax laws of our land are not favorable.  In my earlier post on Retail E-Commerce play in india i had taken a shot at online book stores and how horizontal portals are doing much better jobs moving books instead of people like firstandsecond.com

Flipkart.com comes perfectly in this space trying to get the fundamental rights which is easy to navigate comprehensive database of books to buy. The site scores high on usability though functionality is still limited keeping in mind level which bookstores have evolved in India. The search functionality needs little more work and rather than implementing a generic keyword search it need to weigh in elements of book details, book title etc. Idea is to create a relevancy score which can go up or down based on number of times a book is displayed in results and number of times it receive click based on relevant keyword.

For book portals to involve in India they need to get the book cafe concept going. Idea is to generate content around book topics which forces user to buy books on the topic. Most of the people try to get this going using user generated reviews but this is just not enough.  Create a facebook application track users book liking or even better just track hot topic searches and include them as keyword or cue for people to search for books related to those topics. A tag cloud which is not dependent on input from your search keyword but global search trends or indian search trends. Idea is to entice user to find content which might be already existing in books rather than wasting time on unstructured content on Internet.

The billing process and shopping cart used by site is simple though i didnt like the EBS integration interface as for some reason it slowed down the process.  Still unable to figure out why in india the payment gateways dont allow card details to be captured at merchant end and only processing information sent to payment gateway as this makes batch processing very difficult.

In the end flipkart.com is a good start or showcase for firstandsecond.com,nbcindia.com or other bookstores which went online way to understand when selling books on web how much usability can make different for increasing daily book movement volumes from 500 transactions per day to 1000 transaction.

Lets hope these web 2.0 book stores bring more to traditional  online bookstores which just act as mere catalogs online.


Contact Details

E-mail:siddharthpuri@gmail.com Call Me :+91-9910444460
November 2007
M T W T F S S
« Oct   Jan »
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
2627282930