1997 - Hotmail asked “Why cant personal email be free?”2007 - SMS Country questions “Why cant personal SMS be free?”

Yes, thats exactly what 160by2 a SMS Country initiative introduces its website to the audience. Now, free SMS from web is something that mosts amongst us have known and most of these websites which allow you to send free SMS either have a limitation or asks you to click on some link wherein you have to pay so its all been a gimmick. But 160by2 has come up with a really “iNnovative” idea wherein you can send a maximum of 50 messages a day absolutely free.
Now the catch & the fact on how would SMS Country earn out of this - A 160 character SMS is broken into 2 parts wherein you are allowed to send 80 characters per SMS and the remaining 80 characters are appended with contextual advertisements & so the name 160by2. So the revenue generation would happen from the second part of 160 and the “aam aadmi” would have free 80 characters.

The next & very important question is the fact that there is appended contextual advertisement, what about privacy? SMS Country has made sure that everything is completely automated and there is 0% human intervention so all your messages are in safe hands..or same scripts!. And if you were thinking you would send 50 messages free of cost to your girl friend, 160by2 has got some sharp MBAs designing their cash flows and so only 10 messages per day per number are allowed.

Hats off for this really nice idea & to register for free on 160by2 hit http://160by2.com/index.aspx


The name made me go back to years when a few friends of mine had to run from place to place to find a job after engineering. In Bangalore with so many walkins happening it was always a pain to find where - when - (why :() the walkins were happening and i really felt at times if we could have one portal/directory or some mechanism wherein all the walkins are regularly updated and conveyed to the desperate souls like us.

mywalkin.com is one website which does exactly that. Now theres nothing absolutely awesome about the website but its an intelligent thought by maker of the website and caters to a segment of audience who so very desperately needed something like that.

To me its a great concept, only issue remains is how the operations are being managed and how is the website regularly updated to get the latest walkin “in time” for the candidate to attend.
Will try getting in touch with the founder and get answers to most of these questions and if you guys have any post in the comments section or mail me on istartups@gmail.com & all those who want jobs keep hitting http://www.mywalkin.com/


As the name suggest ilaka.in is an online repository of local information for all parts of India and the good part - It is available on both your mobile & on internet.

A wonderful concept to help people reach where they want to and specifically get the correct and detailed addresses of their destinations. Also, you are free to enter the destinations on the website - And here’s the catch - How does ilaka.in keep a check on the fact that the correct information is added? If they dont that would mean an erroneous database. Also, how regularly would the database be updated - because small shops and companies keep changing their contact informations and hence ilaka.in might not be able to give updated information to its audience.

In terms of cities there are only 8 as of now, but i am sure the same is getting updated and hence we would have more cities on the website.

Also, one more question that i would like to ask the founders is how do they differentiate from a Google search on addresses. And if the answer is that people can add their listing on ilaka.in whereas they cant on Google, i have doubts on the authencity & frequency of updation for those addresses.

Still a nice thought - A Difficult implementation though! Hit http://www.ilaka.in/Home.aspx#

Interview with Founder - AnyPrice.Net

1. Please brief about your venture - AnyPrice.net & the team involved?

AnyPrice.net is the platform for Sellers and Buyers to trade their stuff, anything from machinery to household items. Unlike auction or bidding sites, here a Seller can trade his item to numerous Buyers very similar to one to one trading. The other advantage of the Portal is that the Buyer and Seller deal directly with each other and have option to ’Inspect Items on Sale’, making the dealing transparent. The portal has various trading options like,

1. B2B - Trade between Businesses for Bulk, High Value or Industry Items.
2. B2C - Trade between Business and Consumer offering discounts and deals to Consumers.
3. C2C - Trade between Consumers to retail used stuff.
4. C2B - Trade between Consumer and Business for buy back or exchange offer.

We are a group of professionals with varied experience, from technology to sales. We got together and formed the company FirstLeap eCommerce Pvt. Ltd., with the objective of offering innovative services that would touch 400 million young people of India. AnyPrice.net is the first of our attempts and very soon we would be launching some more portals that would provide platform for young people to express and entertain.

2. How do you differentiate it from any eBay or other internet shopping portals?

We are very different from Bidding or Auction Portals. At these portals there is only one winner and at times there is no response to an Offer.

At AnyPrice.net, it is different, the Seller can interact with every prospective Buyer and negotiate an individual deal. To give you an example, if a Seller puts up 10 T-Shirts for sale and 5 Buyers respond, he can Sell to each of these Buyers different quantity at different price. It is left to his negotiation skill to close the deal, it is very similar to one to one transacting.

3. How has the response been to your platform?

Response to our portal has been very good, we have many Business and Consumers registering at the site and listing Items for sale. Because of the portal appeal, we have items like Machinery, Garments, Consumer Goods, Personal Items, Household Items etc., offered for Sale.

4. How do you manage the logistics, i mean once the goods are traded how do you track the delivery?

The portal only facilitates the Buyers and Sellers to meet and interact. The transaction and exchange of items after sale is transparent and would be dealt between them. However, we keep monitoring the quality and reliability of the Sellers to ensure that their dealing are fair and they keep their commitments.

5. Lastly, how do you see it growing and where do you see the same a few years down the line?

The portal is getting very good response with Consumer and Business registrations, and listing of Items for Sale. An interesting thing we noticed is that the portal is becoming a good platform to trade in Rejects, Seconds and Used Items with overwhelming response from SME and Manufacturing Companies. We are working on improving the visibility for the portal in this segment. In a year time we will see the transaction volume increase and we would start generating revenues through fixed membership fee, which is free now.

To know more hit http://www.anyprice.net/

All those who have any questions related to AnyPrice.Net, their model etc. pls. feel free to mail me the same on istartups@gmail.com and i will help you get the response to them.


ngpay is India’s fastest growing mall.

Yeah thats the first line mentioned on their website, but hold on and read further - “ngpay is India’s fastest growing mall - located entirely on user’s mobile handset”. Yes, ngpay has been able to collaborate with various partners and offers services including buying tickets for movies, buses, trains, paying mobile bills or even shopping for flowers. Yes, ngpay comes as a wonderful utility on your mobile handset and services offered are as wide as any “mall” would do in physical sense.

In terms of security ngpay is as secure as using ATM and comes with a 6 digit PIN for any payment transaction and provides 128 bit end to end financial grade security. It uses a certified appraoch for financial insititutions and hence is safe for any payment transactions.

In terms of requirements, it only requires a GPRS enabled phone and is absolutely free to be used. Also, the phones needs to be JAVA enabled which most of the phones these days are and hence “no extra features required”.

They have been able to partner with RedBus.in, IRCTC, Deccan, Makemytrip for travel tickets and various other brands in there own segments. To read more on ngpay hit http://www.ngpay.com/site/index.html

FINO - Financial Information Network & Operations

FINO is a ASP provider which is supporting banks, financial insitutions and government agencies to manage and support large pan indian projects. Based out of Mumbai, FINO uses cutting edge technologies like biometrics to conceptualize, develop and operationalize projects for financial institutions. FINO is India’s only biometric enabled multiapplication company which has 1 million customers on its platform today.

FINO has vision of providing pan India infrastructure to Banks, financial institutions etc. and link them across a common spectrum and hence help them save on the client acquisition cost and other costs and also fight against the fraud. FINO enables establishment of true identity of the customer and also provide credit worthiness profiles and hence customize the products for rural segment where financial institutions are yet to go with all guns blazing.

With products like Smart Cards for saving accounts and many similar products FINO seems to be making a difference in a fraud struck banking sector struggling to survive especially in US and other economies.

Led by Manish Khera, who is an MBA from Cambridge University - UK and a highly professional and experienced management team FINO, with the punch line - Bringing Urban to Rural, seems to have got most of the things right.

To know more hit http://www.fino.co.in/index.php


Interesting name & if you are thinking its one gadget to find out where your boss has been spending time instead of working on official matters; i am sorry - its not. I can see a few bosses taking a breath of respite. Jokes Apart!

Another exciting venture started by PGC Infotech, a subsidary of 25 yrs old Tirupur Textile exporter WhereIsMyBoss (WIMB) is a career gateway but with a difference. It brings employers and employees face to face via video interactions hence saving time, cost and effort for both the employer and the employees. Like any other job portal its basic purpose is same but with video recording, interview scheduling it is not just helping save cost in literal terms but also helping employers meet the “genuine” job seekers thereby making the whole process fraud free.
WIMB also will be tackling with problems like fake and unauthenticated resumes, certificates and other documents by making use of various technologies.

Wondeful concept especially at a time when the industry is facing tough times due to fake/fraud applications but as i couldnt get to meet the founder and speak to them personally i am still a little apprehensive about the ways and methods WIMB purposes to use to fight against the fraud.

Any ways to try it yourself hit http://www.whereismyboss.com/wimb/

In the meanwhile, i am trying to get the details as to how WIMB purposes to make it happen.


Last week a friend of mine recommended this website - Antya.com

Antya.com is a search engine for “web real estate”. Search engine and first thing that comes to mind is google and with presence of google do we need anything else. Antya has been able to differentiate itself as its a search engine for people who forget the “urls” but remember the categories of the website … so if you want to search http://i-startups.com/ and dont remember the web link you just search “Startups” and find the complete list of links in that domain. The idea - “Help discover the brands”. Antya also helps you rank the websites and hence like in google the search list would be on the basis of ranking.

In terms of differentiators i found out that its easy to search the websites if you dont remember the complete names. Antya’s home page also provides the recommended topics and also has a “recently visited” page. The website is very user friendly and has a nice database of websites.
But i still have my apprehensions on users visiting the page and using the same for search when google provides a more elaborate search. Also once the database becomes stronger the categorization would not help much as one would further have to search in the categories. To me Antya will surely have to come up with very focussed differentiators to become the “preferred” search engine else it might just lose out its sheen. To know more hit http://www.antya.com/antya.php


creAdivity is a technology-based platform for people who are interested in giving vent to their creative energies but do not have the right outlet to do so. Simultaneously, it is a place where organizations – especially small and medium enterprises – can get innovative solutions to their advertising and marketing related problems.

creAdivity has, within it, a marketplace which brings potential clients in touch with creative enthusiasts such as management and design students, free-lancers, professional designers and artists. The creatives can also collaborate among themselves using custom built professional networking tools made available to them by creAdivity.

Here’s what sets creAdivity apart from the others:

1. It is a unique concept – there are no instances of similar enterprises functioning at a mature stage in India
2. There will be two complementary parts of the platform – a professional network of creatives and managers and a state-of-the-art marketplace – with inter-linkages between the two
3. The underlying philosophy behind creAdivity is of “creative collaboration”. There will be tools which will help the creative community collaborate and discuss when they have to come-up with solutions to business problems.

creAdivity (http://www.creadivity.com/, for beta) is in incubation stage and currently pilot programs being run to gauge the market readiness for the concept. So far the founders have managed to bring together about 40 creatives who have shown keen interest in the model and have been participating in various activities on creAdivity.

For the pilot, creAdivity has so far organized competitions in which participants were asked to make advertising campaigns for hypothetical client situations and give rationale for the same from a marketing stand-point. Some of the competitions were:

· Design a campaign for a multiplex in a metro, encouraging people to see movies on weekdays to boost its mid-week sales
· Design a campaign for a travel and tourism company showcasing the benefits of touring different places in India for each month of the year(a set of 12 ads with one theme)
· Devise a strategy for ‘branding art’ to promote artists of different genres.

Some very encouraging responses were received from creatives and the standards of competition have also been quite high. The company is working on modifying the platform to cater to the needs of potential clients and is about to get into client acquisition mode starting this quarter. With a team from top B Schools like IIMs, ISB & Great Lakes - creAdvity is all set to rock!


mGinger, a mobile marketing platform seems to have got it right - “Let people earn from the disturbing messages & capitalize on the huge mobile marketing scope”. Designed & managed by Chaitanya Nallan, CEO who is a IIT Kgp & ISB Hyderabad alumni is ably supported by Veerendra Shivhare as COO (REC bhopal alumni) & Anil Sharma from IIT Kanpur

A wonderful concept wherein mGinger provides a platform for people to advertise their ventures/products/services by sending messages to the interested audience & at the same time those who are hearing their mobile beep every few mins earn every time it shows a new message.

Extremely wonderful concept & very well executed. When i say well executed its majorly because they have clearly listed the interest areas for which the audience wants to recieve messages thereby saving them from the pain of junk messages. Also they have been able to target smaller areas than one would have imagined like computers, books, electronic gadgets etc.
At the same time if we look at some more enhancements that one could imagine & desire there seems to be a void when we consider the geography they have been able to cover. Also, the sustainability of the model seems to be a little bit of a question mark as the margins that they would be able to make in the “end to end chain” would be less & hence the break even would majorly depend on numbers.

They have been able to get funding from Draper Fisher & NEA IndoUS Ventures and have been in news over the past few months.

Food King

Many a times we find ourselves in a position where we feel that getting into food business is one of the most lucrative ones, but with our MBA degrees we find it extremely difficult to relate to such a thing.

That’s where E.Sarath Babu, a BITS Pilani & IIM A alumnus, took the courage to break the conventional line and open a catering service - Food King Catering Services Pvt. Ltd. Though this doesnt seem to be a unique concept but MBAs with such a strong pedigree in this line is surely unique.

Sarath Babu aims at providing the best quality food & affordable prices at after starting its operations by supplying snacks to corporates he has now opened a few kiosks & what better place to target than IIM A & BITS. Food King also provides services in event catering & retail chains and with 4 kiosks already up & running, i am sure Sarath Babu is using all his supply chain fundas to good use.

To know more on Food King hit http://foodkingindia.com/index.html


Though we have seen lots of online portals for airtickets and hotels, there was a void when it came to tickets for bus journey.
Ticketvala.com has made sure that the void isnt any more a “void”.

A flagship product of Travis Internet Pvt Ltd, ticketvala.com has made sure it comes up with a product which utlizes the power of real time communication and help the ever so busy internet savvy young Indians buy tickets at the ease of a click. The entire concept seems to be very similar to any other online ticket booking site, but considering the inorganized sector “Bus Travel” is, they have been able to fulfil and realize a unrealistic dream.

They have also been able to tie up with partners like eBay.in & zapak.com and also made sure that the ticketing can be done through multiple pricing channels.

Going through the site, you will find that the site is very much like any other online travel site & doesnt bring in any new innovative touches. Also, the “From” & “To” section doesnt have a drop down and hence you have to type your locations. A Good thing that they have done is to launch the car hire/bus hire & budget hotels booking also along side which means giving them more broader spectrum.

The problems that we feel they would face in future would be the high no. of bus stations in India which would mean covering the entire geography as a daunting task. The inorganized sector would mean that real time information on the bus travel would be much more difficult than the airlines or train travel.

All in all the idea seems to be novel & the operations seems to be in place - the test though would be when they increase their spectrum.