Get ready to View Pune Ganesh Utsav in Virtual Reality!!

When we talk about technology advancement and use of technology we always think about its application in business such as improving productivity, making customers happy, making that extra bit of sale. Most of the talking points about technology in the media will be around these points.

Let me ask you a question, is life all about business? Is technology all about satisfying our materialistic needs? What about the emotional and spiritual side of us which almost all the time, when satisfied, leads to a happy human being?

One start-up from Pune has set-out to change exactly the same. Like every other business they are focused on serving their customers and creating niche solutions using technology. However, they found a unique way of giving it back to the society. MyVRooms is on a mission to help those who have been neglected by their own and to some extent by the society. Despite a strong desire and wish to visit some of the religious places, there are some less fortunate in our society who may never be able to enjoy the life in the same manner as you and me can because of their physical limitations.

This is where MyVRooms wants to use the technology to bring the smile on those elderly faces which were once full of bloom.

Changing family value system, economic compulsions of the children, neglect and abuse has caused elders to fall through the net of family care. Old Age Homes seem ideal for elderly people who are alone, face health problems, depression and loneliness; but many times they feel the need to go out there and enjoy the small things in life.

Ganesh Utsav is one of its kind events that have been cherished for generations generally in India and specifically in Maharashtra. It marks the beginning of all religious festivals in India. The elderly and senior citizens though wanting to go, could not do so due to physical limitation. The founders of this start up felt the pain of the elderly and decided to make them re-live those moments all over again using Virtual Reality. If they cannot visit the temples and decorations physically, we will virtually make them visit it, is the thought behind this whole initiative.

It was only a thought that has struck the right chord with people of all ages. With this noble thought and a social cause that is so dear to all of us, the help started pouring in. Technology enthusiasts like Kiran Kirve and Digambar pitched in to develop an app. Puneet Badam came forward to give a push on social media.

Amey Thakar from Kasba Ganpati loved the idea and pitched it to Shri Shrikant Shete, President of Shri Kasba Ganpati Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal. Mr. Shete, himself being a champion of many social initiatives, loved the idea and immediately gave permission for the same. Other Mandals also supported the cause wholeheartedly and very generously.

During this Ganesh Utsav MyVRooms is planning to give the Virtual Reality experiences to Old Age Homes, People in hospital, Orphanage and such.

Availability of VR cardboards and the challenge of reaching out to so many institutions were staring them in the face. But as they say, when you are set-out to do good for others, things fall in place. Tata Motors Tiago division donated all the remaining cardboards they had and a shipment arrived at the doorstep of MyVRooms within two days of Jitesh Khurkhuriya contacting them.

We are very thrilled to write about this as are the founders of MyVRooms for executing this. Can we help them by volunteering for this cause? Also, if you know or can reach out to such institutions who may want to host an event for an hour or two for their guests, we will be more than welcome to pass on your message to the organizers of the event #VRGanesh.

To make it more convenient for people an Android app will be launched on Ganesh Chaturthi, 5th September with the same name – MyVRooms.

You can also visit their newly created Facebook page specifically for this purpose and message them directly for volunteering or joining hands in any other way. Even any other Mandals who would like to join can contact them.

https://www.facebook.com/MyVRGanesh/

You can visit the 360 degree views at – http://myvrooms.com/place_of_interest/

We always share different fun and entertainment stories. Help them by sharing this post in your network. Your one share may make someone smile…!!

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Find products/services recommended by friends – Revaalo

There is a strong competition in every segment of market. The scenario is good for the consumers since because of heavy competition there is always a check on the price, however, every story has a second side to it. With so many options comes confusion for consumers. Last month a friend of mine wanted to buy a mobile phone for his brother. He had a budget set in between 12000 to 15000 and he thought it will be easy choice for him.

How wrong he was! There are so many companies which offer a product in that price range and with similar specifications, whom to trust? When you go to the reviews section you will see a complete range of reviews – 1 Star to 10 Stars. That makes situation even more complex for you.

To answer my question of trust – we have a solution now – Revaalo.com

Start-up which aims at helping consumers make informed decisions by providing them unbiased trusted consumer reviews. Now just imagine when next time you go to buy a product and you see a review of your friend – how is that going to help your decision making?

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The Concept

Studies have shown that if a user wants to buy/use product/service, 9 out of 10 users will search for reviews online.

Generally rating in review site is puzzling, 1st reviewer may say 10 rating & with the review “Best review on the Earth”. Next reviewer will give 1 rating with a review “Worst service on the Earth”.

As an end user who is planning to use the service, it’s completely puzzling which review to believe since he does not know the reviewer in person. Revaalo gives the reviews from known users/trusted users/experts (Users whom they know in real world). So, deciding on any local business and products will be easy with Revaalo.

Why this idea?

According to statistics 92% of the people look for reviews online before buying or using a product or a service. The idea is to help people make better decisions. The reviews present online are not trust worthy, where as reviews on Revaalo are categorized on reviews by verified users and reviews by verified friends. That would help an end user make better decisions.

The minds behind the idea

Rajashekhar H

Co-founder, has 14 years experience in software industry, Engineer and PG from IIM Calcutta

Rajath Bhat

Co-founder, 3 years experience in s/w industry, MTech from IIT

Before Revaalo, both the co-founders were working in the same company. Thanks to Bangalore traffic -they used to get enough time during office commutation to discuss about the entrepreneurship and Startup discussion.  Co-Founders have discussed multiple problems right from Grofers, Healthkart, medical checkup, farmer’s crop insurance etc. For some there was already a startup working and for others they were not able to come up with a working business model. When Co-Founders discussed about trusted review/recommendation/rating problem, there was no ready solution & that was trigger that started www.revaalo.com .

Team

Story so far

As they say, when you start a business to solve a common problem which everyone around is going through the chances of success are much higher. Since the team at Revaalo is doing exactly the same they have got a great response since inception.

Within 6 months of operations they have got page visits of greater than 6 lakhs and they are able to get around 2000 page hits daily.They are getting more than 200 requests for adding new business every week.

The Future

 With a great idea and an experienced team, Revaalo is looking to get investors on board to expand their operations in other cities as well. Currently operating in Bangalore with the listing of 17 more cities, we are sure to see them in other cities soon. They want to make this one stop place for checking any product or a service before anyone goes ahead in buying or using them.

We wish Team Revaalo all the best and hope to bring you the news of their expansion soon.

To get the team going – ‘Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together’.

Freedom from Laundry – Western Dhobi Ghat

Studies have shown that laundry takes up to 15-20 hours of a working professional every month. For the busy urban working professionals, time is of the utmost need and finding time between job life and play life, laundry is that one task that most people end up procrastinating over. They very often have to worry about what to wear for Monday and the rest of the week. If we decide to go out on a weekend, the fact that your clothes are unwashed becomes a cause of worry.

Even if we have a maid for it, there are a different set of problems getting them to do the work. In short, in today’s world it is a big problem getting your clothes cleaned in a hassle free manner.

According to a KPMG report released recently, the organized laundry market in India is currently around Rs 5,000 crore while the unorganized one is estimated to be around Rs 2,00,000 crores. There is no doubt, the market is huge.

This problem has been tapped by many entrepreneurs and there are many Startups working on the same concept.  There is no doubt that this industry is huge – talking just for Pune, there are about 65 lakhs working population with an average expenditure of Rs 400 per month on just laundry.

In Pune, we have Western Dhobi Ghat, which is a Startup but doing great in terms of business. They not only decided to solve all the problems that were mentioned in the beginning related to your laundry, but have hit a bull’s eye in executing the idea.

The Start

In 2010, Anooj Chauhan(PGDM from SIBM), who was already assisting his father in their family business, was all ready to start on his own. While looking out for different business avenues, he found out that Laundromat stores were almost nonexistent in India. During those days it was a big gamble as laundry business has been an unorganized market . He endeavoured  to organized the sector.  After going through various hassles related to finding vendors and getting the permissions from the local authorities he started his first outlet in Oct 2012 at Vimannagar, Pune.

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The Present

It was early 2015, when Anooj was joined by Shantanu Pabalkar and his team. By this time, Shantanu was already part of various other successful businesses. The on boarding of Shantanu made a stronger team and now the complete team is focused to take westerndhobighat.com to the next level.

Currently they are operating in 5 locations in Pune. The rates are very competitive. They have some nice offers for their regular customers. All in all, great service at best rates.

As we mentioned earlier there are many players in this industry in different cities. What we found differentiated WDG from others is –

-Timely delivery within 24 hrs.

-Machine washed, no mixing of clothes Best in class machines and best products: fabric softeners as well as high efficiency detergents.

-Customer centric approach.

The Future

Though WDG is doing great in terms of business and serving over 20000 customers yearly,  they now need to have a VC on board so that they expand to newer markets. The good thing is that they have a successful business with happy customers. Customers mostly make repeated visits and are quite satisfied with the services they offer.

About expansion Shantanu says, ‘The plan of action is to first create a working profitable model in Pune and then replicate it in the metros.’

They plan to launch a mobile app very soon to make it even more convenient for their customers.

The feedback from their regular customers are great and a great morale booster which will make team to go ahead with plans of expansion.

Challenges

The biggest challenge for them is to attract people to start using their service – as there are many people who are not aware of the easy solution available in the market. They are happy with what they have.

There are various Startups in same field who have raised funding from the VCs and WDG has already been doing good so we are sure they are going to be in news soon. We hope to cover them again with an expansion plan and funding details.

Now organising a puja is one click away – myhawanpuja.com

India is a land of tradition and culture. We still believe we have to do pujas before moving to the new house. In fact, we have pujas for any occasion you can think of. We spend a huge amount of our time and energy in planning and then organizing the event. In this digital world, we don’t find time for ourselves; we have too much on our plate, but we have a strong sense of belief in our traditions that when it comes to any auspicious occasion, we want to organize a prayer.

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Everything is going online from booking a cab, finding a restaurant to paying your bills, then why not organising pujas. MyHawanPuja.com is one such effort which aims to minimize time and efforts one needs to organize a puja and buy products online. Reports suggest that this industry in India is worth 30 Billion USD. You can make out how much money every family spends on an average to religious prayers and rituals for the prosperity of life.

When I first looked at the concept, I doubted its appeal. But then I remembered my childhood, how much effort was made by everyone in the family when any such event was organized. It brings so much peace to you when you think everything now is just a click away.

The idea!

As they say, great Start-up ideas originate when you try to solve a problem. More often than not these are the problems that founders have faced themselves. This amazing story is no different. When Pankaj moved to Delhi/NCR in his new house and wanted to organize GrahPravesh, it proved to be a next to impossible task as he had no relatives or friends there.

He says, ‘Then I realized that others like me might be facing the same problem and I should do something about it. So I started working on the idea and launched myhawanpuja.com in 2016.’

The company revenue model is based on a set percentage that they would be receiving from every ceremony booked.

For now the company is bootstrapped but the response has been great which will encourage the team in making this big. They are working on a business plan and approaching investors which will give them opportunity to grow faster.

What is on offer?

Since people are busy and life is too fast paced, people don’t have time to arrange and conduct a puja on their own. From getting different products to arranging for a pandit, getting everything in place is a herculean task. Just as one buys different products like clothes, groceries, etc. on an e-commerce portal, one can buy various puja packages in one click through the portal. They provide Puja services by well qualified and experienced people. They provide Puja services by well qualified and experienced pandits and provide puja products in Delhi/NCR and Lucknow as of now but very soon you will find them in other major cities.

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They have more than 40 different pujas with them with a price ranging from 1500 to 25000. They also provide customized pujas depending on the requirement.The prices are very competitive if you take into account the effort required to put together everything on your own.

The process is as simple as it could get. Choose a puja you want to conduct, add it to cart, fill out the basic information and you are all set.

They also conduct e-puja (puja conducted through video chat) for all other locations.

People behind the idea

Pankaj Misra originally came up with this idea and was joined by Kushagra Pandey to take the idea to the next level.

PankajMisra is an IT professional with over 9 years of experience in top Indian & Multi National IT companies. Using his technical skills and ingrained management expertise, he commenced his own business venture to provide people living in various cities an easy solution to find “Pandits” who can perform religious rituals at festivals & occasions.

Kushagra Pandey being a management professional with more than 5 years of experience has an established career in driving business revenues. With his understanding of marketing, he drives the business through launch and promotions, extending its reach to the users in order to meet the ultimate purpose and achieve the company’s mission.

Both of them make a great team and their efforts can be seen in the way they are approaching the business and meeting goals.

Give away

They want to give something back to the society. The aim of their company is to provide a hassle free experience to customers who plan a puja. They want to deliver everything required related to a puja in one click.

The Future

Currently operating in 2 cities, Lucknow and Delhi/NCR, the team wants to expand to other cities in due course of time.  Also, they are planning to add and increase product range so that customers can have all puja related services and products at one place.

Our take

The execution will be important. I think this is a good idea to work on as the industry is big and in demand. If Pankaj and team are able to deliver what they are promising, they are sure to succeed. It would be interesting to see how they scale up this idea. We wish them luck from our side.

I would like to end with a quote, ‘ The product that wins is the one that bridges customers to the future, not the one that requires a giant leap’.