Thanks folks for subscribing to the 7th Edition of TheFridayEveningReport — A weekly mailer on the startup happenings mostly India-centric. Let’s jump to this week’s news on startups.

Startup Updates Happenings [Apr13–Apr20, 2018]

  • Pune based Health Service Aggregator Platform “Livehealth” was Seed/Angel funded by Nexus Venture Partners — INR 7.28 Cr
  • Delhi based Online Platform For Luxury Hotel Stay For Business Travelers -Consumer Internet — “icanstay” was Seed funded for INR 3.3 Cr by Mr. Manoj Prasad in a Angel funding deal.
  • Mumbai based Finance company “MINTIFI” raised a SeedFunding by LokCapital — INR 13.23 Crores
  • Gurugram based “AyeFinance” Online Lending Platform (Finance) raised a debt funding from BlueOrchard Finance Ltd, Hinduja Leyland Finance and IntelleGrow for 30.42 crores.
  • Delhi based Healthcare platform “LetsMD” raised a seed funding of $1 MN from SRI Capital, Waterbridge Ventures and ThinKuvate.
  • Consumer Technology and Artificial Intelligence Based Aggregator App — “One Labs” raised a PE deal from MicroMax for an undisclosed value.
  • Gurugram based Tech startup — “CustomerSucessBox” which works on Customer Success Software for B2B SaaS raised a Seed / Angel Funding for $1Mn USD.
  • Ibibo Group Secures $9.83 Mn Cash Infusion From The Parent Company. Ibibo Group Which Owns Redbus Was Merged With MakeMyTrip In 2016.
  • Fantasy Gaming Startup Dream11 Looks To Raise $100 Mn From Tencent. The Funding is Expected To Value Dream11 At $450 Mn.
  • Nandan Nilekani Invests $2 Mn In Assisted Ecommerce Startup ShopX. Nandan Nilekani Has So Far Invested Around $18.6 Mn In ShopX.
  • DB Management Startup Webyog, With 2.5 Mn Users, Gets Acquired By Idera

… This world lesser recognizes a few ordinary men making extraordinary changes. I want to write something I read about these few weeks — stories that was never given even a press coverage, few stories which were truly inspiring and imperative reading for any startup founder going into today’s saturated market. Covered in TFER Week7 is little about Social Enterprises.

Speaking of startups, most of the focus and investments today are towards — Blockchain, Crypto, Online Security & Fraud Detection, Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Driving; Image Recognition & Mapping Technologies, Augmented Reality, Smart Sensors, Drones, Digitization of Education. What about your dying planet? Had you thought about it? Have you open-sourced your bucket yet to bail the sinking ship of problems?

This weekend, I wanted to write about few under-rated real world problems, which people/startups are solving around the world. Obviously, they don’t hog any of the limelight, but they are making slow, yet gradual changes to the existing ecosystems, one step-at-a-time, and more importantly, genuinely disrupting an industry as a whole— problems like conflict, terrorism, poverty to climate change and threat to global pandemics — You name it. And, we can’t surmount these challenges without engagement and radical restructuring of business and markets.

Build that better tomorrow through remarkable social enterprises. Don’t keep worrying about how large your problem is. We can’t solve macro problems. We can perhaps understand those which are solvable in your own capacities.

There are pioneers disrupting existing industries, value chains, and business designs and thereby creating fast-growing markets in every corner of the world. Grameen Bank, The Green Belt Movement, Aravind Eye Care in India, Social Stock Exchange in Brazil, ParqueSoft in Colombia, the Marine Stewardship Council in the United Kingdom, and Institute for OneWorld Health and One Laptop per Child Programme, both in the United States, are just a few of the astonishing ventures. Apart from this small list, there are few Davids who battle against the Golaiths, which I will cover in a good bucket list.

A few startups that leveraged products for social good. Social Impact Business Model has 3 types : Non-Profit, or For-Profit Social Enterprise or Co-Operative (Like Amul). So, in this small list, we could not include many startups that fall specifically in one category. But, here are few for now…

A 19 member startup called CrowdPac — A political crowdfunding startup that makes it easier for citizens to learn about politicians, and to find and support political candidates that match their priorities and beliefs. Crisis Text Line — A 50 member startup based in Manhattan, offers free, 24/7 text-message counseling for people in crisis. Boston based “Spoiler Alert”, ~6 employees works on collaborative, online platform and value-added services that enable food businesses, farms, and nonprofits to create or recover value from surplus food and organic waste. Nairobi based startup “Andela” works on selecting and training — finds work for the top 1% of tech talent from the largest pool of untapped talent in the world — the African continent.

You have a home. So, you’ve a physical address? Did you know there are many people who exist with no physical address? Kenya based startup with ~9 employees — OkHi — Enables the 4 billion people who do not have a physical address to, “Be Included”.

Chicago based “Triggr Health” with just 9 employees, helps drug addicts to reducing recidivism rates for those in early substance abuse recovery. Every year millions of people enter substance abuse recovery programs. Recyclebank — This startup rewards people for taking everyday green actions with discounts and deals from local and national businesses.

Living Goods is a non-profit organization operating in Uganda, Kenya, and Myanmar. Its goal is to build a sustainable “distribution platform” for products designed to fight poverty and disease in the developing world. It Delivers Life-Saving Products to the Doorsteps of the Poor. A small-but-able team at Knoclothing, allows customers to donate the same article of clothing to someone in need whenever you make a purchase. It donates clothing to the homeless as you shop.

One burning question that invariably comes up, particularly when business entrepreneurs meet “social entrepreneurs”, is “What motivates you?” The implication behind the question is “If you have been so clever in achieving what you have accomplished, why haven’t you applied your talents to making money?”

The answer is reasonably simple. Where would you be at the end of your lifetime? You would rather be thanked by many, for having made a significant contribution to improving their worlds rather having people starved, and famished when you are minting the green. Why would you love to jump a heroic act of saving the already depleted world, when it was a void left without a filling in the first place. Do what is possible to conserve. What’s different is our anger. Our passion is not blown away by the steam of Gloaiths, and we love to strike an effective balance between passion and change.

We can’t stand ALONE to solve Society’s Biggest Problems World hunger. Climate change. Crumbling infrastructure. Accept it! Government cannot handle alone the huge challenges facing our global society — and it shouldn’t.

Where tough societal problems persist, new problem solvers are needed to solve crowdfunding, low-cost health care, fighting poverty, ridesharing, app-developing, creating renewable energy, preventing obesity or impact-investing to design innovative new solutions for seemingly intractable problems. But, can we really solve macro problems? Yes…. Business, Government, And Social Enterprises Must TEAM Up To Solve Society’s Toughest Problems. Before you leap ask yourselves these questions

  • What drives the solution economy?
  • Who are these new players and how are their roles changing?
  • How can we grow the movement?
  • How can we participate?

The big question — Why can’t we? People are desperate to make a SOCIAL IMPACT are emotional. Each one of them would have some life transforming expereiences, perhaps ephiphany, that launched them on their current mission. They may have been deeply concerned, angry about small problems that may not matter you. Would a civil engineer care about bio-diversity? Yes! Welcome to the age of Millennial. It would not have been the case a few 20 years ago.

But, this apart… There are factors that kill the entrepreneur in each of them. Growing population pressures, widespread poverty, environmental problems, weak governments, political benamis, corrupt and ineffective governance, slack administration. And, the list is endless. The need of the hour is to solve “homegrown issues”. Protecting the interest of your factory workers, trade unions, cab drivers, your nannies, the person clearing your manholes, your community, and your local playschool could be great examples of CHANGE!

India is a country growing in billions with a majority of young kids who are illeterate, and a generation who don’t have access to clean water. Corruption, and political tyranny has weakened our pillars of economy so much that it will take 5 years for a small change to reach the grassroot levels. Japan’s entreprenuers are solving a large problem — its growing elderly popluation’s medicare. And, there are startups rising to make impact, despite an extraordinary number of natural disasters, and man made. It might be suprising, but its a real shame we live in a world where one part of it tries hard to solve a problem, and other game the system. Simple example — Let’s talk about liquor, weeds, and gun control. Where can we find social entrepreneurs in a society and governance that profits from giving such business an upper hand? Be radical. You need to solve your homegrown issues! Again, to answer my question WHY.. Its all about acheiving a benefit of a far greater goal.

… Like a prism, we shape our world. Our identities churned out of stories both good & bad. How we make our syuzhet matters.

Band-Aid Solutions..

PAUSE your reading. Think! Can startups solve a problem called WAR? Look at what few countries have done over decades of polity, and allocating war budgets. Who has profited from all these “human induced insults”? WAR has damaged far more energy resources, life stock and resources that a few generation well deserved from the earth.

We are 70% crazy

Social entrepreneurs are sometimes termed “unreasonable people”. Yes, social entrepreneurs are crazy. The look for solutions to problems in the most unreasonable places, and unlikely solutions that might sometimes be termed “super crazy” by the naysayers.

The world is full of unsastifactory equilibriums that entrepreneurs love to disrupt. Your solution may not be solving your original problems, but how does it impact the next Gen-XY? Think! The risk of relative faulure with such wildly ambitious goals are much greater, but the payoffs are also likely to be propotionaely greater.

Taking people as a community, it is clear that a spectrum of innovation and enterprise is at work. At one end are those who struggle with absolute market failure, as in the poorest of the world’s mega slums. And, there are those who are in the process of nurturing early-stage markets.

So, what’s your startup? A vitamin tablet, or a pain killer?


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