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 5|| The Buddy for your Luggage

When everyone just imagined themselves flying, 2 visionaries brought imagination into life through a whole new mode of transportation. There have been no looking back thenceforth. The elites flew first, then the white collared ones. Now no one can class tag a flight, it is for everyone. When affordability met comfortability, more and more people started to explore the world.

The burden of luggage has been a problem ever since. Another sibling pair taking this issue into consideration came up with ’Bag buddy’. Here you can share your luggage with fellow passengers and thereby reduce the monetary burden accompanying your extra luggage.

Wright Brothers got inspiration from looking at birds flying, this sibling pair Sumit Agrawal and Himank Agrawal had their epiphany, thousands of feet up in the air. Being frequent flyers the constraint of luggage always posed an issue. Many times fee imposed on excess luggage is higher than the cost of the luggage itself. Bag buddy is a flight luggage sharing app where you can save up to 70% of the fee you pay on excess baggage. On the counter side, those with less luggage can earn while they travel. At present, the app is for android users only and anyone with a smartphone can download the app from the play store.

How does this work?

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The trouble of fee is mitigated. Bag Buddy charges only about 30% of the total fee levied on the extra luggage as their charges, from which about  50% goes to the carrier, about 30% of the money goes as tax charges and 20% will be the company’s revenue from this proceeding.

Their marketing plan was to mainly focus on social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram etc. and print media advertisements.

Another strategy that they had was to organize a case study competition on Dare2Compete to understand the business model, scalability, challenges, solutions etc. Saloni Garg of IMI New Delhi won the case study competition. By this way, they were able to understand the leaks in their venture and was able to increase their user base.

One big challenge they face is customs & security issues. Though they have a PNR based security checking system & ID proof verification procedure to ensure genuine users, the effectiveness of this process needs more refinement.

Despite this challenge, they are still a monopoly as no competitors are there in play.

The customer outreach they’ve gained within such a short span of 3 months since its inception is 500+, which is impressive. This pan Indian Airline service app is the one single buddy you need to think of and not the size of your luggage, while you travel.

Last but not least-

“When you focus on problems, you’ll have more problems. When you focus on possibilities you’ll have more opportunities.”

Startup Sunday || Season 4 Episode 03 || SmartE

Not so long ago, availing a metro or even a local train seemed to be troublesome for many daily commuters due to unavailability of a safe and reliable last mile connectivity. Although mechanical and electric rickshaws or local transport companies run their fleet, getting a swift, reliable, time-oriented and non polluting means of transportation, dropping us home, is often an impediment for us to use public transport. To add to the injury, highly congested urban roadways and the summer heat and pollution act as a major barrier for the rising urban middle class take the Delhi metro ride. It is not a hidden fact that the uber cool metro services of Delhi is operating at losses. Continue reading “Startup Sunday || Season 4 Episode 03 || SmartE”

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 4 Episode 01 || Easemint Advisory Service


If you speak to any entrepreneur, whether at a roadside tea-stall or at a lavish office space in a prime location of the city, the similarity that you would find in all of their stories is their struggle for fundraising. Founders would agree that getting funded at the right time is their toughest challenge. Some of them have Ivy League batches to take care of their networking and getting the perfect investors on board. But many face the issues of getting people or organizations willing to invest in their idea.

Continue reading “Startup Sunday || Season 4 Episode 01 || Easemint Advisory Service”

Startup Sunday || Season 3 Episode 37 ||Brewhouse

Be it hot or be it cold, tea is the most consumed drink in the world after water. And it is not a secret that we Indians have an affinity towards tea. Being the second largest producer of tea in the world, Indians consume 80 percent of its domestic consumption and hence stands fourth in the list of the largest tea exporters in the world. India has exported tea worth $463.95 million between April to October 2018. While the majority of tea consumers in India like it hot and milky, there is a segment who like their tea cold. Owing to healthier choices people are slowly moving towards RTD (Ready To Drink) categories of drinks, and moving away from carbonated and sugary drinks. This Startup Sunday we feature Brewhouse, a Delhi based startup which is looking to capture such a segment and serve them quality iced tea options instead of consuming aerated sugary drinks. Continue reading “Startup Sunday || Season 3 Episode 37 ||Brewhouse”

Startup Sunday || Season 3 Episode 36 || Delhivery

Most of the startups are built with the intention of problem-solving and making the lives of people easier. One of the aptest examples of this is “Delhivery”. In an interview, Sahil Barua, one of the 5 co-founders of Delhivery said: “We had worked extensively in the telecom sector and over the years we realized that internet is going to revolutionize how businesses would be done”. In one of the incidents where Sahil wanted a book to be delivered to one of his friends Suraj, also a co-founder, who lived across the street, through a courier service, both of them realized inefficiencies in the system when the courier service provider charged them Rs. 350 and took 2 days to deliver which they couldn’t understand “why?”. In order to solve this problem, they came up with “Delhivery”.

delhivery logo

Delhivery is a Delhi based startup that helps merchants and brands create successful online businesses by providing E-Commerce technology and core logistics support.

Continue reading “Startup Sunday || Season 3 Episode 36 || Delhivery”

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