Startup Sunday || Season 4 Episode 7 || Skill Prodigy

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty” – Henry Ford

What is ‘Skill Prodigy’?

Many students and professionals despite their academic brilliance miss out on bagging their dream jobs. Almost every time the reason is an interview gone wrong. Skill prodigy bridges the gap between knowledge and presentation. Skill prodigy is an app with a user-friendly interface that helps you prepare for interviews. Videos and other tools are applied to give the user a realistic experience. It is backed by dedicated mentors, and it employs the practice of peer reviews.

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What is the story behind the inception of ‘Skill Prodigy’?

As mentioned earlier, the reason behind a failed interview was known. But the students didn’t have any proper means to rectify. A problem presented itself and we had the solution, we simply realized it.

 

What business model does ‘Skill Prodigy’ employ?

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Target market:

  • B2C – Students and professionals with less than three of experience
  • B2B – Universities, corporates, and technical training providing institutes

Value proposition:

  • Customized in-app training for interviews, group discussion, CV analysis along with personal mentorship
  • Specialized offline training like accent training

Revenue sources:

  • In-app purchases
  • Workshops in universities
  • Partnership with other technical training providers
  • A licensed model with universities and corporates is in the pipeline

What were the challenges faced during the launch?

  • Finding qualified mentors who believed in our cause. They are the cornerstone of the company, without whom it would be a business with hollow values.
  • The product was bootstrapped by the co-founders. This placed a few restricted on the capital expenditure, forcing us to focus on high valued investments while having a frugal investment strategy.
  • Access to decision-makers in universities was minimal in the beginning

How is your company causing ripples in the e-learning market?

It is a bloodbath with multiple players aiming for the same consumer segment. Creating strong brand awareness in this crowded market is challenging. Having a strong value proposition is what differentiates us. Customer retention is key.

Why ‘Skill Prodigy’ and not other apps?

‘Skill Prodigy’ is a one shop stop. Even though the medium is an app, our human element is our strongest element owing to our dedicated mentors. Its ease of use and economic feasibility make it a true digital pocket partner. It focuses only on communication and covers all aspects of it.

What are your plans for the ‘e’ part of the ‘e-learning’?

At present, the app is available for Android OS. We will soon be launching it for iOS.

Explain to us the expansion and scaling plans set in store?

  • Short term plan: Work on brand awareness. We want our presence in tier two and tier three cities pan India.
  • Later build on brand presence with the help of an extensive user base.
  • Make ‘Skill Prodigy’ a global brand

One of the biggest hurdles for a start-up is funding. What about ‘Skill Prodigy’?

Co-founders have been bootstrapping it until now. We are focusing on friends and angel investors who are interested in small-ticket items. Since the company is only five months old, we are not approaching venture capitalists and other big fishes as of now.

Since the company is in its initial stages, it is turbulence max now. How are you managing it?

It is not a cakewalk, situations are very volatile. Our goal ‘To make every individual in India a great communicator’ is what drives us.

What are the main factors to be kept in mind while building a start-up?

  • Rock-solid team – Start-up is a pipe dream without it. Each member’s drive and effort is the pillar of a start-up.
  • Execution plan. Even the most brilliant ideas are meaningless without a proper plan to realize it.
  • Your gut is seldom wrong. But at the same time consensus is important.
  • Try to build symbiotic relationships.
  • Nothing can replace research.
  • Start small. Test your market and then improvise.
  • Reach out to your gurus for guidance.
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Startup Sunday || Season 4 Episode 6 || HYVE Sports

“You need three things to have a successful startup: to start with good people, to make something customers actually want, and to spend as little money as possible.”

Owning a team jersey with one’s name, number and logo is a matter of pride for every sports enthusiast. So, here’s where your dreams come true and ‘Hyve Sports’ steps in.

India’s first online customisation portal for active wear took its baby steps from Technopark as an incubatee with Kerala Start-up Mission two years ago. Hyve Sports is the brain child of a group of 15 people from IIMs & NIFT led by Mr. Rakesh Rajeev who himself is an IIM Ahmedabad alumnus. After finishing his education in business management, he started working for a multinational pharmaceutical company in Delhi, but the zeal to become entrepreneur made him pursue the idea.

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The Beginning

So, just like all the big firms with humble beginnings, the story of Hyve Sports too began from a small garage at his place. Rakesh began the venture with his own funds. It was not an easy start and he always had questions relating to viability, feasibility and quality of his products. In the initial days, he started working at the textile hub in Tirupur as a ‘daily wage worker’ to know about the mechanism of how the product is made and gain hands on experience. And, then eventually the team started the production in-house.

Today

Hyve sports today functions as the subsidiary of the firm My Elk Store, which has its manufacturing units in Thiruvananthapuram and Tirupur and a subsidiary unit in Mumbai, having met close to 2,500 orders so far. Now, as they have carted products for every single state, exception being North-East, the reach increased dramatically. The brand followed online & offline channels to increase its business. With their globally competent manufacturing units based in Kinfra International Apparel Park and Tirupur, latest digital printing technology, innovative fabrics, streamlined order processing channels, Hyve ensures apparel quality which meets industry titans. They have even designed jerseys for the Sports Council of India (SAI).

What makes it different

The online customisation tool combined with partnerships with Delhivery and PayU offer a hassle-free experience to the user to custom design their team wear online, which is rarity. What comes handy for customisation is a cool online design tool featuring multiple options and a zoomable product preview. Apart from a plethora of templates for colour, size and type, customers can add details such as name, number, body text or upload an artwork or photo of choice to be emblazoned on the fabric. Options are available to select font, text size and colour as well as positioning. Thus, the greatest advantage is all this even for a single order is that no extra cost is charged for the same.

Major corporates like Myntra, Google, Allianz, Infosys have enjoyed their association with Hyve for all kind of active wear and team wear requirements.

The Process

The raw polyester fabric used for the ‘sublimation’ printing of designs is sourced from Surat, Gujarat, in line with Hyve’s material specifications. “Though warm, polyester is deemed ideal for sports as its hydrophobic (repelling water) in nature unlike cotton, which is hydrophilic (absorbing water). They have tweaked the jerseys to make it slightly hydrophilic on the inside and hydrophobic on the outside so as to facilitate efficient sweat evaporation,” says Rakesh. The texture of the stretchable cloth material is also softened a bit. Presently, distribution and delivery are carried out through vendor partnerships. The price range for jerseys starts from ₹ 400 per piece.

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The Revenue Model

The framework they follow for generating revenue is pretty much straightforward. They got funding from Centre for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE), IIM Ahmedabad and recognition from Kerala start-up mission in the initial stages of their venture itself. They have collaborated with various online delivery portals and hence a certain percentage of their profit will be the commission to these delivery channels.

Leads

Rakesh believes the most sought-after designs are for football jerseys, especially that come in bulk orders. “For many, sports are more than just an activity or entertainment. It is an emotion and a team’s jersey are a unifying factor. Just observe the number of Brazil and Argentina jerseys you can spot when soccer world cup fever grips Kerala,” he says with a laugh. He also notes with pride that Hyve provided tailor-made athletic wear, including jackets and tracksuits, for the Kerala State team during last year’s National Games.

Challenges

Reaching a point, where suddenly everything stops, is the main challenge in an any start up. Getting here was nothing of a cakewalk for the team. Rakesh said as a non-IT firm, starting a manufacturing unit in Kerala was a challenge, especially when hiring manpower and setting up infrastructure. Its takes a while for a support system to develop, but more doors opened as they grew.

What future beholds

Hyve plans to expand in B2B segment as well. The brand is also keen on tie-ups with leagues and clubs at the national level. Also, Hyve is due to launch their retail brand ‘Elk’ in a year. Taking it forward, Mr. Rakesh is also stitching an ambitious expansion plan to reach out to customers abroad too. The initial groundwork in Canada has already been laid and even started receiving orders. Malaysia and Singapore are next in the list. Hyve will completely revolutionize the sports-wear industry.

Written by
Romit Khandelia
PGDM 2019-21

Startup Sunday || Season 4 Episode 02 || Sava100Crore

Seth Godin once said that marketing is no longer about the stuff you make but the stories you tell.  In the ongoing digital transformation, Video is an effective form of communication that needs to be integrated into each and every aspect of your existing marketing efforts.

In this episode of startup sunday, we interact with Mr Paritosh Sharma from Sava100Crore, a business channel that helps SME business owners in India to grow their business. Prior to co-founding Sava100Crore, Paritosh has worked with startups like Jabong, Hike, PayU etc. Following is the excerpt from the conversation:

11 Continue reading “Startup Sunday || Season 4 Episode 02 || Sava100Crore”

Startup Sunday || Season 3 Episode 33 || Vidyakul

Education has become a costly affair with the rise in the demographics of children and young adults in the Indian educational system. The Indian education sector has seen high growth in the past two decades with parents looking to admit their children into English medium schools. The rise in private schools training young children in the foreign language, along with teaching them moral education and modern etiquettes, appealed to the rising Indian middle class. This also led to the number of students passing 12th every year. In the subsequent days, new private graduation and post graduation institutes and universities have been established following norms laid down by Government regulated norms and principles.

Such an increase in the number of students to an average of 45-50 students in a batch has resulted in a lack of attention to individual students. In this edition of Startup Sunday, we the Entrepreneurship Cell got an opportunity to talk to the CEO/Founder of one such startup which is working towards making quality education accessible & affordable to every child from the best teachers across India.Viyakul

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Startup Sunday || Season 3 Episode 32 || New E-Commerce Policy of India

“We will continue to see a convergence of the digital world and physical world. Those who conquer that trend would be market leaders.” – John Phillips, Pepsico Inc

In this episode of Startup Sunday, The Entrepreneurship Cell brings to you insights on the newly formed E-Commerce policy of India which came into force from February 2019.

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Startup Sunday || Season 3 Episode 27 || Justdial

Previously in 80’s and early 90’s, could anyone even imagine how life can be this convenient! Opportunity always lies there but only few have those eyes to see it and become the CHANGE-MAKERS!

In this edition of Startup Sunday, we present to you the story of one such endeavour by the dynamic personality Mr. VSS Mani, has made a huge difference in society by providing local search services.

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Startup Sunday || Season 3 Episode 26 || Biryani By Kilo

Gone are the days when you needed to go to that shaadi to enjoy the divine taste of Biryani. Biryani has come a long way from home – caterers to cloud kitchens.
Swiggy also revealed that the chicken biryani was the most ordered dish of the year.
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This Sunday we are bringing you the story of one such startup which is working towards bringing that hot plate of Biryani straight to your doorstep.
Sound familiar, it is none other than Biryani by Kilo.

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Startup Sunday || Season 3 Episode 23 || DigitalNil- Growing Businesses Digitally

DIGITALNIL-GROWING BUSINESS DIGITALLY

 

The world has seen a huge paradigm shift when it comes to marketing strategy of companies. Riding the digital wave and technological advancements around the globe, new avenues have been created through which companies are fighting for their share of digital space over the internet and mind space of the millennial youth and millions of customers surfing online. No one is ready to leave an inch when it comes to the digital marketing arena and this has boosted startups in the field of digital marketing to grow.

One such startup which is looking to revolutionize the world of Digital Marketing is DigitalNil. Ideated and Co-Founded by an electronics engineering student, Nilesh Komatwar, this digital marketing startup envisages to help businesses, especially startups grow in India. An enthusiastic individual, Nilesh not only looks to promote startups and new ventures be visible online, but also create a network which could be leveraged by the budding entrepreneurs to connect with each other and potential investors. DigitalNil in one word would act as an incubator to promote new businesses grow digitally.

This Sunday, we have the excerpts of the conversation we had with Mr. Nilesh Komatwar, CEO of DigitlNil. Nilesh is currently a third year electronics engineering student and has been involved in quite a number of startups from an early age of 18. He has had a roller coaster ride till now in his journey but every time something has come between him and his goal, he has strived hard to overcome such obstacles to launch DigitalNil successfully.

1 Continue reading “Startup Sunday || Season 3 Episode 23 || DigitalNil- Growing Businesses Digitally”

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