Category — Market Entry

Go East, Young Entrepreneur!

Here are three stories of entrepreneurs that went east to India, survived, and succeeded:

Valerie Wagoner started her company ZipDial, which was acquired last month by Twitter, based on her insight of the potential of missed calls in the bandwidth deprived Indian mobile market.

In 2013, Greg Moran and David Back left the U.S. to work in India, but ended up starting their own company ZoomCar, a self-driving (ie no chaffeur provided)  car rental start-up. What started with just seven vehicles is now a business of 250 cars in the cities of Bangalore and Pune. They have plans to expand to 10 more cities this year with the recent funding they received from Sequoia. “I like the energy levels of the people here. Besides, starting business in India is becoming an easy process,” says Moran.

Eleven years ago, in 2004, Sean Blagsvedt came to India to head Program Management and Advanced Prototyping for Microsoft Research. He had no plans of settling down in India, but within months he quit his high-paying job, married an Indian woman, and set up a company to solve the problems of unskilled and blue-collar jobs in India. Blagsvedt has no regrets. He considers the move to become an entrepreneur in India one of his best decisions. “India is largely an under-served market, but has huge potential when it comes to adoption of technology. We are trying to solve some socioeconomic problems with the help of digital technology,” he says. His venture, Babajob, connects job seekers such as security guards, drivers, maids and cooks with potential employers.

With the start-up ecosystem maturing in India, the numbers of expat entrepreneurs are so significant that it has led to the formation of an Expat Entrepreneurs Circle, an exclusive organization of foreign entrepreneurs and non-resident Indians doing business in India.

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February 12, 2015   No Comments

Can India Rise to the Top 50 in “Ease of Doing Business?”

“India’s ranking in the 2016 World Bank report should significantly improve and we are confident that our rank will be within the top 50 in the 2017 report,” says an official involved in the ease of doing business exercise. The target rank of 50 has been given by the Prime Minister , and many officials across ministries and departments have been working on the task of improving India’s business environment by May 31 this year.

The government has already stipulated the introduction of risk-based inspection in export-import,  as one of its many targets for creating a business friendly environment. It is also planning to reduce the number of mandatory documents for exports and imports by merging some of them in a way that only three documents (against six currently), will be required for export, and only four documents, (against seven currently), will be mandatory for import.

Aware that the state governments will need to be on board for the success of this exercise, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, the nodal agency coordinating the ease of doing business exercise, has sent a detailed “to-do” list not only to the federal ministries but the states too, along with deadlines for each task to be achieved.

 

Ease of Doing Business Indicators 1-3 Steps to Be Taken Challenge
Indicator 1: Starting a Business Integration of: director ID number; name availability of company, payment of registration fees & stamp duties.Removal of: Requirement of company seal; minimum paid-up capital for a company.

Single window clearances online for registration and tracking of applications

Amending the Companies Act 2013 – expected to be done in March 2015
Indicator 2: Dealing with Construction Permits Deputation of officers in municipal corporations for speedy processes.Consolidation of building laws at national and state levels.

Waiving: Inspection for low-risk buildings; and NOC from Airports Authority of India for buildings outside notified areas.

 

4 Key Ministries and the states will need to be aligned
Indicator 3: Getting Electricity Submission of online application; fixing a week’s time for inspection; preparation of estimates.Time-bound inspection for installation and connection.

Allowing 3rd party certification of installation.

Waiving pollution control certificates as a prerequisite for electricity connections.

 

Ministry of Power has to take the states on board to get desired results

 

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February 12, 2015   No Comments

Twitter Acquires Indian Mobile Startup

Twitter Inc., has announced it will acquire Indian mobile phone marketing start-up ZipDial as the U.S. microblogging service looks to expand in the world’s second-biggest mobile market. The deal is said to be in the region of $30 million.

One of the founders of ZipDial is California-born Valerie Wagoner who moved to India and was intrigued by the Indian ‘missed call’ system – where people call each other, let the phone ring once or twice and intentionally hang up, using the missed call to convey a message. Since consumers hang up before the call connects, no charges are incurred.

ZipDial’s clients include International Business Machines Corp., Yum! Brands Inc., KFC and Procter & Gamble’s Gillette, Disney, Facebook, Amazon, and Twitter. Each company is assigned a special phone number which consumers can call. The call automatically disconnects after one ring. The companies then communicate with the consumer via text messages providing information, services, or even staging contests, thereby promoting their services. The technology is “especially appealing in areas where people aren’t always connected to data or only access data through intermittent Wi-Fi networks,” Twitter said in a blog post.

“Twitter has struggled with not only growing user base in the past year, but also with engaging with their existing user base,” Neha Dharia, a Bangalore-based analyst for Ovum Plc, said by e-mail. “If used effectively, ZipDial could help them in growing their active-user numbers.”

“This acquisition significantly increases our investment in India, one of the countries where we’re seeing great growth,” Twitter said in a statement.

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January 26, 2015   No Comments

Taco Bell to Expand Footprint in India

Yum! Restaurants, the operator for U.S.-based fast food brands in India, has announced plans to open 25 Taco Bell outlets by 2016 according to a news report by Livemint.com.

“We are expanding our footprint. We will open 20-25 Taco Bell outlets by end of 2016. We will enter new cities,” Unnat Varma, general manager, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut, India, said. “After two years, we will expand rapidly by opening 25-40 outlets every year,” he added. These new outlets may be company-owned or franchised, he concluded.

Taco Bell's Tikka Masala Burrito

Taco Bell’s Tikka Masala Burrito

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January 14, 2015   No Comments

India in Top 15 for Sealed Air, Growing Fastest

Fortune 500 company New Jersey headquartered  Sealed Air Corporation says India is its fastest growing geography. “India for us I would call within Sealed Air, a mid-sized country, it’s in the top 15 countries but with the highest growth rate,” Jerome Peribere, president and CEO told  the television network NDTV.

Sealed Air is a packaging company known for its brands – Cryovac food packaging, Bubble Wrap cushioning, and Diversey cleaning and hygiene. It has two units in India – in Mumbai and Bangalore. The company is growing at 3 times India’s GDP growth and expects even more robust growth going forward by creating value addition in industries.

Bubble Wrap - a Sealed Air product

Bubble Wrap – a Sealed Air product

Because of the company’s level of expertise in their laundry business in India where their technology has been able to save 40% both in the usage of water and in energy consumption, Peribere said, “We are going to increase our manpower by 50 per cent, and we are going to make our global laundry labs in India because we have an extraordinary and growing business here in India.”

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January 13, 2015   1 Comment