Friday, February 21, 2020

Poornima Ramaswamy, Former Cognizant VP Joins Qlik’s Executive Team as EVP Strategic Clients

Qlik has announced that Poornima Ramaswamy joined its executive team as Executive Vice President, Strategic Clients. Poornima will lead a multi-disciplinary team that blends sales, value engineering and consulting to design and execute transformational strategies for Qlik’s enterprise customers, helping them to accelerate the value of their overall data investments.

“Poornima is a recognized industry leader in AI and analytics, having earned the trust of many CDOs and CIOs during her career,” said Mike Capone, Qlik CEO. “Her depth of real-world transformational success will be a huge benefit to our growing strategic enterprise account base, who are looking to maximize the impact of their investments in data integration and analytics to drive more value from data.”

Poornima joins Qlik at an exciting time, when customers are looking to partners like Qlik for help on both the strategy and execution aspects of the people, process and technology challenges to unlocking the full value of their data. She brings more than two decades of experience across all industries to a growing executive team that has pivoted the company to an intense focus on customer outcomes.

“As a former partner to Qlik, I know the commitment and quality Qlik brings to every customer engagement, and I admire the company’s bold, forward-looking vision for data and analytics,” said Ramaswamy. “I’m thrilled to be in a position to help Qlik’s valued customers through the hurdles everyone faces on the way to realizing the full business value of their data.”

The company also expanded its C-level bench with the promotions of James Fisher to Chief Product Officer, Joe DosSantos to Chief Data Officer and Ruthann Wry to Chief People Officer.

Qlik recently evolved its product management and marketing efforts through the creation of a Global Products organization, led by James Fisher. James is now responsible for driving focus on key product business investments in support of Qlik’s data and analytics go-to-market execution, helping define product strategy through a market-first approach.

Qlik also created a new Chief Data Officer organization run by Joe DosSantos under the leadership of CTO Mike Potter. Joe will lead Qlik’s efforts to execute its internal data and analytics strategy, and serve as an external thought leader for Qlik on topics ranging from data lake automation, data strategy and data governance.

Ruthann Wry is a strong, long-time HR leader at Qlik. She joined in 2014 to lead the Americas culture and talent organization, a responsibility which she will continue overseeing in her new global role. 

Fifth Edition of Mahindra Club Challenge Set to Dazzle Off-Roading Enthusiasts in Bengaluru

Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. (M&M), a part of the US$ 20.7 billion Mahindra Group, will host the fifth edition of the Mahindra Adventure ‘Club Challenge 2020’ in Bengaluru, where top-15 off-roading clubs from across the country, will fight for the coveted title of the ‘Best Off-Roading Club’ in India. The obstacles will focus on teamwork rather than on individual performances. The top three teams will take home a grand prize money.

The ‘Club Challenge’ is scheduled to kick off on Saturday, February 22nd, 2020 with exciting night stage from 5:00 PM till midnight. The next day, Sunday, February 23rd, 2020 will witness the day stages between 09:00 AM and 5:00 PM.

There are two new stellar obstacles that will be seen this year in addition to signature obstacles such as ‘Demolition Derby’ and ‘Pass the Baton’ which will continue at this year’s Club Challenge.

According to Bijoy Kumar Y, Chief, Adventure Initiatives, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. said, “The off-roading community in the country has grown at a steady pace over the last decade. With ‘Club Challenge’, we are delighted to see the passion of off-roading enthusiasts from chapters of other cities fight for the title of “Best off-roading club”. After the success of previous editions, this year too participants come together to celebrate the tough & rugged DNA of Mahindra vehicles and strengthen the bond between various off-roading clubs.”

About Mahindra Adventure

A unique concept to showcase the tough and rugged DNA of Mahindra vehicles, Mahindra Adventure functions as an umbrella brand with a series of self-drive overland adventure expeditions organized under its banner. Mahindra Adventure was launched as an independent entity for all adventurous activities, in 2011, headed by Bijoy Kumar Y, Chief of Adventure Initiatives. He is a motoring enthusiast and the erstwhile editor of a popular motoring magazine.

To spread the DNA of off-roading, the Mahindra Adventure team has also launched the Mahindra Adventure Off-Road Training Academy in Igatpuri , India’s first dedicated facility providing a one stop solution to learning everything about a Mahindra 4WD vehicle and how to use it to its full potential. Through this, we hope to leverage the brand’s off-road heritage, showcase the vehicles abilities and give the participants the confidence to explore the limits of the vehicles. Custom-made Mahindra Thars equipped with radio sets are exclusively used as training vehicles at the facility. After dominating the Rallying scene in India with back to back victories in 2017, 2018 and numerous Cross Country Rally wins; the Super XUV500 has made way for the new kid-on-the-block the Super XUV3OO. The potent R2C spec XUV3OO won the last round of INRC 2019. And is roaring to set the stage on fire this year. 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Urban Mobility Lab in Bengaluru Discuss Solutions to Further Accelerate Bengaluru’s Transition to Shared, Clean, and Citizen-Centric Mobility

Rocky Mountain Institute and Micelio in partnership with the Directorate of Urban Land Transport (DULT), Invest Karnataka Forum, and Department of Industries and Commerce (DIC), launched their ambitious Urban Mobility Lab in Bangalore today to identify, develop, and implement mobility solutions that transform how people and goods move.

Tejasvi Surya, Member of Parliament for Bengaluru South Lok Sabha Constituency was the chief guest for the occasion. Other dignitaries present included, Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited Managing Director - Ajay Seth, Bangalore City Police, Commissioner of Police - Bhaskar Rao, Government of Karnataka, Transport and Commerce and Industries Principal Secretary - Gaurav Gupta, Directorate of Urban Land Transport, Commissioner -  V. Ponnuraj, BMTC Managing Director - C. Shikha, EkStep Foundation CTO - Pramod Varma, Infosys and Axilor Ventures co-founder - S. D. Shibulal, RMI’s Principal - Akshima Ghate, Micelio’s founder & director - Shreyas Shibulal.

The two-day multi stakeholder workshop held February 19-20, 2020 saw a culmination of over 150 participants from the mobility ecosystem in Bengaluru who worked together to address system-level barriers and develop implementation plans for the city. The workshop was organized around six thematic areas —charging and battery swapping infrastructure, data-based solutions, electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing, first and last-mile connectivity, public transit, and urban final-mile delivery.

Speaking on the occasion, Tejasvi Surya, Member of Parliament for Bengaluru South said, “All transport agencies that we have, including our private operators must work in a coordinated fashion towards a common objective. Revising transport laws is also important. The concern with monopoly in public transport must be addressed with more private players coming in. We need to make our people use public transport and avoid private vehicles. We also need to look into increasing the size of the fleet in our city. What is lacking in the indian context is the lack of specialists in managing urban mobility decisions which is a concern. Structural reforms should be undertaken imperatively and I am confident that the Urban Mobility Lab will go a long way in proposing concrete suggestions and solutions.”

Commenting on the launch, Shreyas Shibulal, Founder & Director - Micelio, said, “The  collaborative effort of the last six months bringing together all key stakeholders - the government, private sector, and civil society under one roof has been fruitful to identify solutions that will eventually accelerate Bengaluru’s transition towards shared, clean and citizen-centric mobility. This is just the beginning. At Micelio, we are committed to going the distance to make this happen.”

At the workshop, Akshima Ghate, RMI’s, Principal said, “We’re grateful to the Government of Karnataka  for extending their full support for the launch of the Urban Mobility Lab in  Bengaluru. Efficient and sustainable transportation is key to Bengaluru’s mobility goals and to transform the lives of the citizens of this city and we’re glad that we are making progress together.”

About Urban Mobility Lab

The Urban Mobility Lab is a platform that helps leading urban geographies, called Lighthouse Cities, identify, integrate, implement, and scale mobility solutions that transform how people and goods move.

The Lab was launched in November 2017, when NITI Aayog and RMI launched a grand challenge to select the first host city.

Since 2017, RMI has partnered with the Delhi Government and Pune Municipal Corporation to co host the Lab in Delhi and Pune. In these cities, the Lab has helped identify policy, business, and technology solutions to system-level barriers and accelerate the implementation of shared, clean, and citizen-centric mobility projects.

About Directorate of Urban Land Transport

DULT has been set up by the Government of Karnataka (GoK) under the Urban Development Department (UDD) with the objective to coordinate planning and implementation of urban transport projects and programs. The directorate is, in general, responsible for overseeing all the urban land transport initiatives in urban/ local planning areas of Karnataka and administers the State Urban Transport Fund (SUTF).

DULT’s vision is to provide efficient, sustainable and integrated transportation systems that enhance Karnataka’s economic competitiveness and prosperity while preserving the quality of its environment and communities.

About Department of Industries and Commerce

DIC acts as a catalyst for the overall development of the industrial sector through effective discharge of developmental and facilitation roles. With a view to promote investment and trade, the department formulates and implements the state policies,. Identification of sectoral advantages of the state and human resource development for sustainable and growth-oriented industrialization have been  crucial roles of the department. Facilitating the takeoff of infrastructure projects that boost industrial growth has also been the department’s forte. The department helps enhance the competitiveness of domestic industry through modernization, technology upgradation and adoption of best practices. It also provides a forum for entrepreneurs and industrialists, through their associations, to represent their needs to the government, which translates into policies of the state.

About Rocky Mountain Institute

RMI is an independent, apolitical, nonprofit think-and-do tank that transforms global energy use to create a clean, prosperous, and secure future. Cofounded by Amory Lovins in 1982, RMI has been a leader in energy efficiency and renewable energy for 35 years. RMI published India Leaps Ahead: Transformative Mobility Solutions for All with NITI Aayog in May 2017, and works with key government partners such as NITI Aayog and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs to support India’s transition to clean, shared, and connected mobility systems.

Data Science Field Remains Mostly Unattractive to Many Female STEM Indian Students

Data science has an image problem—and it’s helping to fuel a critical lack of diversity. Almost 50% of female STEM students perceive data science to be overly theoretical and low impact. A sense that it is more competition-focused than other jobs is also behind their exit from the “talent funnel,” according to a forthcoming report by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and BCG GAMMA, titled What’s Keeping Women out of Data Science? A significant share of STEM women across the globe also do not feel they have a good understanding of what a “data science career” is and what the day-to-day life of a data scientist in the workplace entails. The negative perception and lack of transparency combine to boost the gender gap: only 15 to 22% of data science professionals today are women.

Perception Mirrors Reality
Students around the world are picking up on an unfortunate reality: far too many companies still struggle to create real impact with AI, and many companies continue to lack a culture of collaboration in their analytics teams. The study reveals that nearly 75% of female data science majors are looking for exactly the opposite from their future jobs—namely applied, impact-driven work—while men are ambivalent. As long as companies approach and promote their data science and AI as theoretical endeavors without concrete and measurable value, female students will continue to be disproportionately deterred from entering the field.

Finding the Gaps in Understanding
BCG surveyed over 9,000 STEM men and women (each representing about half of the sample population) from Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Spain, the UK, and the US (with between 700 and 1,000 responses from each country).

Regarding transparency, the study revealed that only around 63% of men and 55% of women are well informed about the various career opportunities in data science. Even among data science and computer science majors, nearly half (47%) complained of poor clarity regarding career path options within the field. Australia, France, and Spain consistently achieved high rankings on transparency, while female students in China, Japan, and Germany consistently reported the lowest understanding of their options in this field. On perceptions regarding impact and purpose, China and Japan also appeared at the bottom of the list, while students in the UK, the US, and France had a more positive picture.

Companies Must Act
Despite these variations across countries, the problem is fundamentally a global one, impacting diversity across this rapidly growing field. “Companies cannot simply rely on the media buzz around AI, hoping for the job of data scientist to magically ‘sell itself’ to students,” said Sylvain Duranton, Senior Partner and Global Leader of BCG GAMMA and an author of the report. “They must create a visible culture within their data science teams that celebrates impact and shuns competitiveness, and then make this career opportunity very tangible and attractive to students of both genders.“

What Employers Can Do Better
While companies move toward a more purposeful approach to AI, they can also encourage diversity more immediately by becoming much more specific in their communication with students, directly addressing the concerns that women highlight as critical: the role of data science within the business, how data scientists work together on use cases, and how a career path in data science involves more than coding. They should be approaching students with real-life examples and value proofs, communicated by real data science practitioners who can make the day-to-day tangible and can directly address negative perceptions about work culture.

As long as companies do not get this right, a large (and disproportionately female) share of the talent pool for data science will continue to vote with its feet and avoid the field, perpetuating the recruiting gender gap in this increasingly mission-critical part of companies’ workforces.

SBI Card and Landmark Group Launch 3 Co-Branded Credit Cards - "Lifestyle Home Centre SBI Card, Max SBI Card and Spar SBI Card"

SBI Card has partnered with Landmark Group, one of the largest retail and hospitality conglomerates in India, to launch a unique set of retail co-branded credit cards. The three newly launched cards, Lifestyle Home Centre SBI Card, Max SBI Card and Spar SBI Card, have been introduced in partnership with four Landmark Group brands - Lifestyle, Home Centre, Max and Spar.

Designed to be a one stop payment solution for the entire family, these cards provide a rewarding shopping experience to cardholders across categories that include fashion – premium and affordable, home furnishing including furniture and grocery. The underlying value proposition of all these cards is the same. Cardholders of any of these cards can avail similar benefits at all participating Landmark brands, thus getting savings and a host of other benefits across a spectrum of categories through a single card.

The new co-brand cards are available in three variants – Base, SELECT and PRIME and cater to consumers across segments from value-for-money to premium to super premium.

Speaking at the launch, Mr Hardayal Prasad, MD & CEO, SBI Card, said, “We are pleased to partner with Landmark Group to introduce Lifestyle Home Centre SBI Card, Max SBI Card and Spar SBI Card. Through this tie up we will offer our cardholders a strong savings proposition across key spend categories such as fashion, home furnishing, furniture and grocery on a single card. The newly launched cards bring a one stop payment solution to meet and reward purchase needs of consumers in these segments. This launch will strengthen our retail co-brand credit card portfolio which we have built to fulfil diverse consumer needs.”

According to Mr. Vasanth Kumar - Managing Director, Lifestyle International Pvt. Ltd.: “As a leading retail player in the country, we continuously endeavour to enable a joyful and rewarding shopping experience for all our customers. The co-branded credit card with SBI Card is yet another step taken to fulfil that promise. With accelerated reward points and spend based benefits, these cards will be a win-win for consumers as they shop across various Landmark brands. Offering the best of both the players, the co-branded SBI credit card program will combine the shopping experience, convenience and value that customers have come to know and love from Landmark Group backed by the best-in-class service, benefits and security of SBI Card.”

According to Mr. Shital Mehta - Executive Director & CEO, Max Fashions, “As a leading fashion brand, we want to bring more value to our customers through a co-branded card that rewards users on their purchases. This co-branded card will provide additional benefits to our valued customers thus enabling us to deepen our relationship with them while providing them yet another reason to shop at our stores. Max is very thrilled to be partnering with SBI Card.”

PRIME variant cardholders can avail total savings of up to INR 30,000 annually on this card.

Cardholders enjoy complimentary loyalty membership to Landmark Rewards Program and they also earn accelerated reward points on the SBI Card rewards platform upon shopping with these cards. Cardholders of the PRIME variant of the co-brand cards earn 15 reward points per INR 100 spent at Lifestyle, Home Centre, Max and Spar; 10 reward points per INR 100 spent on dining and movies; and 2 reward points per INR 100 spent on other retail purchases. SBI Card Reward Points can be converted to Landmark Rewards and redeemed across Lifestyle, Home Centre, Max, Spar and other Landmark Brands in India thereby rewarding loyal customers.

The cards also reward customers for their loyalty through various spend based milestone benefits as well as bonus reward points upon card renewal. Customers of PRIME variant can avail savings of up to INR 14500 on achieving milestone spends. The cards deliver value from the point of enrolment itself, offering welcome benefits worth INR 3000 on the PRIME variant.  Renewal benefits worth INR 3000 can be availed upon card renewal.

The joining and renewal fee for the Base variant is INR 499 plus GST, SELECT variant is INR 1499 plus GST and PRIME variant is INR 2999 plus GST.

Highlights of Lifestyle Home Centre SBI Card, Max SBI Card and Spar SBI Card

Accelerated Reward Points
PRIME variant:
15 Reward Points per INR 100 spent at Landmark brands (Lifestyle, Home Centre, Max & Spar)
10 Reward Points per INR 100 spent on Dining & Movies
2 Reward Points per INR 100 spent on other retail purchases (Non-fuel)
SELECT variant:
10 Reward Points per INR 100 spent at Landmark brands (Lifestyle, Home Centre, Max & Spar)
10 Reward Points per INR 100 spent on Dining & Movies
2 Reward Points per INR 100 spent on other retail purchases (Non-fuel)
Base variant:
5 Reward Points per INR 100 spent at Landmark brands (Lifestyle, Home Centre, Max & Spar)
5 Reward Points per INR 100 spent on Dining & Movies
1 Reward Point per INR 100 spent on other retail purchases (Non-fuel)

* Spend-based milestone benefits
PRIME variant: Cumulative milestone benefit up to 58,000 RP worth INR 14,500
SELECT variant: Cumulative milestone benefit up to 34,400 RP worth INR 8,600
Base variant: Cumulative milestone benefit up to 16000 RP worth INR 4000

* Welcome & renewal benefit
PRIME variant: 12000 bonus reward points equivalent to INR 3000 on payment of annual fees and renewal fees
SELECT variant: 6000 bonus reward points equivalent to INR 1500 on payment of annual fees and renewal fees
Base variant: 2000 bonus Reward Points equivalent to INR 500 on payment of annual fees and renewal fees

* Airport lounge access on PRIME variant
Complimentary Priority Pass membership – Up to 4 complimentary visits per calendar year to International Priority Pass Lounges, outside India (maximum 2 visits per quarter)
* Domestic Lounge Membership – Up to 8 complimentary visits per calendar year to Domestic VISA Lounges in India (maximum 2 visits per quarter)

* Closed Loop Reward Redemption
Cardholders can redeem reward points at Lifestyle, Home Centre, Max, Spar and other Landmark Brands in India

* Fuel surcharge waiver
1% fuel surcharge waiver across all petrol pumps in India

About SBI Card

SBI Cards and Payment Services Limited (formerly known as SBI Cards and Payment Services Private Limited) (“SBI Card”) is a non-banking financial company that offer extensive credit card portfolio to individual cardholders and corporate clients which includes lifestyle, rewards, travel & fuel and banking partnerships cards along with corporate cards covering all major cardholders’ segments in terms of income profile and lifestyle. It has diversified customer acquisition network that enables to engage prospective customers across multiple channels. SBI Card is a technology driven company. 

‘The Grub Fest’ India’s Premier Entertainment and Food Fest Marks its Bengaluru Debut on February 22-23

After introducing eco-friendly and reusable cups at U2: The Joshua Tree Tour, an initiative that was applauded by consumers on-ground and across social media, BookMyShow, India’s leading entertainment destination, has taken yet another step towards making live entertainment experiences not just enjoyable but also environment-friendly and sustainable. At the recently concluded edition of The Grub Fest in Mumbai, BookMyShow partnered with event waste management agency ‘Skrap’ for reducing environmental impact through sustainable waste management.

BookMyShow along with Skrap collected over 300 kgs of excess edible food from over 60 food stalls across two days at The Grub Fest, Mumbai. With the help of donation partners Feeding India, the excess food was collected and packed hygienically and then distributed to on-site workers as also low-income communities across the suburbs of Mumbai. The initiative helped BookMyShow restrict food wastage as also enable its reach to needy & deserving communities in the city.

The Grub Fest also witnessed an end-to-end waste management system for all waste generated during the event including compostable plates, food scraps, plastic bottles, paper cups, cardboard boxes, etc through a two-bin waste segregation system that was set up. The system was installed at the festival’s Mumbai venue, where food stalls and the housekeeping team worked together to participate in this initiative. With consolidated efforts, around 1.5 tonnes of recyclable waste was segregated, sorted and forwarded to a collection & processing centre along with 1.3 tonnes of biodegradable waste that was sent for composting. Additionally, over 250 kgs of non-recyclable materials were sent to the processing centre as co-processing waste for cement factories.

All these measures collectively led to 90% of the waste generated at The Grub Fest getting diverted away from the landfills. Post a successful initiative to make The Grub Fest Mumbai a sustainable entertainment experience, BookMyShow will replicate this initiative at The Grub Fest – Bengaluru on February 22nd-23rd.

After satiating the appetite of over 45,000 patrons across Delhi and Mumbai, BookMyShow will introduce Namma Bengaluru to the first ever edition of ‘The Grub Fest’ this weekend. With delectable Indian and global cuisines, foot-tapping music, and unlimited entertainment, India’s premier entertainment and food festival will find a home at Bengaluru’s Jayamahal Palace Hotel.

The festival is poised to attract tens of thousands of visitors in Bengaluru over the weekend, bringing together the best of food and entertainment. Patrons in Bengaluru will get a chance to experience live performances headlined by artists including Juggy D, Lisa Mishra, Anand Bhaskar Collective, Best Kept Secret, When Chai Met Toast and Lagori, whilst indulging in gut-friendly finger foods, vegan choices and fusion dishes.

Bengaluru’s maiden edition of The Grub Fest will be followed by a much-awaited debut in Kolkata on March 7-8 at PC Chandra Grounds. Marking the culmination of the fest, this ultimate out-of-home entertainment and gourmet experience will make its way back to Delhi on April 3rd-4th at The JLN Stadium.

Ather Energy Confirms Entry into 4 More Cities - Ahmedabad, Kochi, Coimbatore, and Kolkata

Ather Energy recently launched the disruptive electric scooter Ather 450X in India. With this new offering, Ather had confirmed its entry into 4 new cities beyond Bangalore and Chennai at the time of launch. Now with high demand pouring in from other cities, Ather has further confirmed its entry into 4 new markets.

In January, the company had confirmed its launch in the following markets basis the demand received for the scooter- Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Pune and Hyderabad. Since the national launch, Ather has received thousands of pre-orders from across the country, with key cities like Ahmedabad, Kochi, Coimbatore & Kolkata taking the lead.

The four new cities will see installation of fast charging infrastructure in the coming months, followed by the delivery of the scooters. Ather 450X can be pre-ordered via the company website for a fully refundable INR 2500. Ather has also been receiving dealership requests from these cities which will make it easier for the company to rapidly expand.

The Ather Forum has been abuzz with requests for the company’s community engagement programs to begin in cities beyond the metroes. Consumers in the new cities can expect to see meet ups and test rides being conducted in their neighborhood in the coming months.Along with fast public chargers, Ather 450X owners will receive home chargers, Ather Dot so they can conveniently charge their scooters at home.

Tarun Mehta, CEO and Co-founder Ather Energy : There’s been an amazing response for the Ather 450X across the country. We have been receiving pre-orders from not just the major metros but also several Tier II & III cities. Similarly, there have been more than 2000 requests for retail partnerships. By the end of this year we will be present in ten cities and will continue to scale up to more than 30 cities by 2023. Our only focus now is scaling the experience of Ather 450X to all over the country.

About Ather 450X

The super scooter is a significant step-up from Ather 450 with improvements across multiple key parameters. Ather 450X is the outcome of award-winning design philosophy and is quicker, more intelligent than its predecessor and comes in three new colors; Grey, Green, and White. The scooter is powered with a 6kW PMSM motor, a new 2.9 kWh lithium-ion battery and comes with 4 riding modes. In addition to Eco, Ride, and Sport, Ather is introducing a new high-performance mode, 'Warp'. Ather 450X can go from 0 to 40 kmph in just 3.3 sec in the Warp mode, making it the quickest electric scooter in its category and the perfect choice to navigate through city traffic.

The revolutionary improvement in its battery has enabled a projected Indian Drive Cycle (IDC) range of 116 km and a real-life range of 85 km in city conditions. Ather 450X will also charge 50% faster than before at 1.5km per minute, making it the fastest charging rate in the electric two-wheeler category.

Ather 450X will have a 4G SIM card along with Bluetooth connectivity, allowing riders to manage phone calls and music on the touchscreen dashboard. The new 7” touchscreen dashboard, comes with a color depth of 16M and a Snapdragon Quad-Core processor. Ather 450X utilizes Android Open Source to offer map navigation, On-board diagnostics and other unique features like Over-the-air updates, Auto Indicator off and Guide-me-home lights.

The Ather mobile app will continue to offer personalized ride statistics, charging status, push navigation and more functionalities like theft & tow detection, live location & vehicle state tracking, voice assistant and welcome lights. Ather 450X will support connected accessories like smart helmets and tyre pressure monitoring systems (TPMS).

Switch to Smart Brushing with Xiaomi's Mi Electric Toothbrush T300

Xiaomi, India’s number one smartphone and smart TV brand, today, introduced Mi Electric Toothbrush T300 to transform oral healthcare of consumers in India. Equipped with high-efficiency magnetic levitation sonic motor, the toothbrush features high-density, anti-corrosion, metal-free brush head with EquiClean auto-timer for a smart brushing experience. It is powered by a built-in 700mAh lithium battery, that provides an operating life of 25 days* on a single charge.

Mi Electric Toothbrush T300 is powered by a high-efficiency magnetic levitation sonic motor which generates high-frequency vibrations of over 31,000 times/minute and torque of over 230 (gram force centimetres)*. It ensures efficient transfer of power to the brush head during the entire process of brushing. The design ensures that Mi Electric toothbrush T300 reaches all gaps and corners to remove plaque, thus providing deeper cleaning than a manual toothbrush.

Raghu Reddy, Chief Business Officer, Xiaomi India said, “At Xiaomi, we believe that technology should improve all aspects of human life. Brushing teeth is often considered a mundane task in our daily routine, but its health benefits cannot be ignored at any cost. Oral healthcare is just as important as overall healthcare. With the Mi Electric Toothbrush, we intend for users to choose a smarter way of brushing which will further improve their overall health and wellness”

The brush head uses anti-corrosion, metal-free high-density bristle technology. Hence, there is no danger of metal corrosion or dirt getting trapped between the grooves of metal plating, making this brush healthier and more durable. It uses high-quality soft Tynex® StaClean®antimicrobial bristles created by the American company DuPont™, which are 40% denser*. Each filament undergoes a polishing process to create bristles that are smooth and round to ensure they don't irritate gums or scratch the surface of the teeth.

The brush comes with dual pro brushing modes - Standard mode and Gentle mode. The EquiClean auto-timer in the brush reminds users to change brushing sides by pausing every 30 seconds.

Mi Electric Toothbrush T300 uses Type C charging port and uses an LED indicator to notify the battery and charging status. The use of a multiple injection molding process on the brush ensures that every part of its body is joined with a "sealed" connection. This creates a seamless exterior with an IPX7 water resistance rating*. The body has a matte white surface with added texture and friction. This creates a simple and clean exterior, combining convenience and elegance. The bottom part of the toothbrush features interchangeable colored ring design to ensure that multiple toothbrushes don’t get mixed up.

Zendesk Releases Annual Global State of Messaging 2020 Report

Zendesk, Inc. has released State of Messaging 2020, the third annual report featuring expert commentary and in-depth analysis of the biggest trends in conversational business and the rapidly evolving messaging industry. The report combines interviews with more than two dozen customer experience product, sales, and marketing leaders from companies like Google, Twitter, Hootsuite, Birchbox, and more, with original Zendesk research and third-party data to provide insights into how messaging is changing the face of business.

Over the past decade, messaging has fundamentally changed the way people interact with friends, family, colleagues, and companies. According to Business Insider, messaging apps have surpassed social media in global monthly active users. Since 2018, nearly every major messaging channel, including WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, Google’s RCS, and Apple’s iMessage, has extended beyond the consumer to businesses. At the same time, businesses of all sizes in every industry have embedded modern messaging experiences into their own apps and websites.

“This year will be the year of connecting conversations in the enterprise,” says Warren Levitan, vice president of conversational business at Zendesk.  “We are seeing businesses embrace messaging as a shared platform for customer engagement, allowing them to truly unify sales, marketing and service interactions for the first time. This is a massive step toward putting customers at the center of our businesses.”

State of Messaging 2020 examines key aspects of evolving and emerging conversational business trends and tracks the top stories to watch in 2020, including:

* The companies dominating the messaging landscape and the vast differences between countries and continents when it comes to who is winning the messaging race
* How smart speakers, voice assistants, and messaging converge
* How chatbots became part of the fabric of digital commerce
* Will in-chat payments be the key to unlocking conversational commerce at scale?
* Why the "chatbot vs. human" debate is a false dichotomy
* How data from conversations can optimize the customer experience and help different business departments better communicate
* Helping brands navigate their new role as gatekeepers and community builders

Affordable Housing, Logistics to Get Boost from Sovereign Wealth Funds in Indian Market

The measures announced recently in the Union Budget granting 100% tax exemption on interest, dividend and capital gains income to Sovereign Wealth Funds  (SWFs) investing in infrastructure, will further help boost investments in affordable housing and logistics, says JLL Research. India seems to have gained a major impetus following some positive policy backing and the ecosystem in general thus helping boost the image of the country as a favorite with SWFs.

Sovereign Wealth Funds are state-owned investment funds commonly established with revenues generated from trade surpluses, central bank reserves, currency operations, privatisations and transfer payments.  Between 2008 -18, global Assets Under Management (AUM) of SWFs grew at a CAGR of 10% with Asia garnering the highest share (42%).

“Sovereign wealth funds have been playing a pivotal role in investments globally with estimated AUM of 8.1 trillion as of 2019. Investments by SWFs in India improved sharply as a result of various policy measures introduced to attract foreign investments. The Union Budget for 2020 has further incentivized SWFs to invest in infrastructure including affordable housing and warehousing by providing tax exemptions. The rise in potential returns is expected to drive more SWF investments in India. SWFs would be more inclined to use the direct investment route as compared to investment platforms,” said Ramesh Nair, CEO and Country Head, JLL India.

India emerging as the favourite destination for SWFs

Investments by SWFs improved sharply as various policy measures were introduced to attract foreign investments. In India, SWFs hold USD 29 billion of Assets Under Custody (AUC) as of December 2019. Of these, real estate and warehousing account for 22% of the AUC, amounting to USD 6.6 billion.

“SWF Investments quadrupled to USD 5.3 billion during 2014-19 from USD 1.3 billion recorded between 2005 and 2013, due to various reforms introduced in the Real estate sector. Going forward we expect more traction from this type of patient capital,’ said Dr Samantak Das, Chief Economist and ED, JLL India.

The Union Budget for 2020 further incentivizes SWFs to invest in infrastructure by providing them a 100% tax exemption on interest, dividend and capital gains income in respect of investment made in infrastructure and other notified sectors before 31st March, 2024 with a minimum lock-in period of 3 years.

The resultant increase in potential returns is expected to boost investments by SWFs in affordable housing and logistics & warehousing which have been accorded infrastructure status.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Hero Motocorp Announces Investment of Rs 10,000 Crore Over the Next 5-7 Years at the Hero World 2020

“Sustainability and responsible growth remain at the core of Hero MotoCorp's technology, innovation and global expansion plans. With Hero World 2020, we have curated a novel and unique approach to showcase our future technologies, products and services.

“Over the next 5-7 years, we are aiming to create the next generation of mobility solutions that are relevant to customers across the world. To this end, we have earmarked an investment of Rs. 10,000 Crore along with our ecosystem, which will be utilized towards research and development of alternative mobility solutions, modern, state-of-the-art, sustainable manufacturing facilities, network expansion, and brand building across the globe.

“We are an ever-evolving, youth-centric, innovation led brand, that has remained the market-leader for nearly two-decades now, and yet we are not resting on our laurels. As we enter a new decade, we are aiming at ushering in the next wave of mass mobility that is accessible, convenient and environment-friendly, which is aligned with our rejuvenated Vision of ‘Be The Future of Mobility’.

The Hero World 2020 - a first-of-its-kind three-day event attended by Global Media, Investors, Dealers from India, Supply Chain partners and Global Distributors from around the world - got off to an action-packed start here today at the state-of-the-art R&D hub of Hero MotoCorp, the Centre of Innovation and Technology (CIT) in the northern Indian city of Jaipur, India.

The Hero World 2020 began with the Company reiterating its commitment to remain at the forefront of mass mobility, by showcasing to the global media three new products, a world-class product accessory, and a display of the entire global product portfolio of Hero MotoCorp - the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters.

This was followed by the showcasing of several product concepts and business initiatives that showcase the seeds of its vision for the future of mass mobility, and provided a glimpse into the universe of Hero MotoCorp including the R&D labs, test-tracks, and technology.

The showstopper among the new products unveiled today was the new Hero Xtreme 160R, which further strengthens the Company’s fast-growing presence in the premium motorcycle segment. The Xtreme 160R – that marks Hero MotoCorp’s entry into the popular 160cc motorcycle category - is an attractive product for youth across the globe, with its Xtreme performance, head turning aesthetics and agile handling.

Giving a complete makeover to the iconic Passion brand, the company also launched the new modern and vibrant Hero Passion Pro. Packed with a 110cc BS-VI engine, the Passion Pro is attractively priced at Rs. 64,990 (Self-drum Alloy) and Rs. 67,190 (Self-disc Alloy).

*Ex-showroom Delhi

The third product to be launched was the versatile and stylish Hero Glamour 125cc, marking the generational upgrade of the motorcycle.  The new Hero Glamour now comes equipped with a more efficient and sturdier BS-VI engine and will be available at Rs. 68,900 (Self-drum Alloy) and Rs. 72,400 (Self-disc Alloy).

*Ex-showroom Delhi

Providing even more excitement for enthusiast and building on the cult of XPulse 200, Hero MotoCorp also launched the Hero XPulse 200 Rally Kit.  Available as a complete kit for aspiring racers at Rs 38,000, the Rally Kit will be retailed at selected dealership from March onward. The Rally Kit adds to the XPulse 200’s supreme off-road capability and makes it the ideal motorcycle for amateurs and enthusiast to take-up off-roading.

Mr. Malo Le Masson, Head - Global Product Planning, Hero MotoCorp, said, “Constant innovation and cutting-edge technologies remain the hallmark of Hero MotoCorp. The new products and technologies showcased today display our pursuit to offer the most exciting, innovative and efficient products and technologies to our customers in markets across the world. The journey doesn’t stop, here we plan to strengthen our portfolio further and expect more exciting surprises in the future.”


Hero XTREME 160R

Setting the bar for sportiness and real-world performance, the new Xtreme 160R comes with a powerful 160cc air-cooled BS-VI Compliant engine with Electronic Fuel Injection. The Engine delivers an impressive power output of 15 BHP @ 8500 RPM. Combined with a low kerb weight of 138.5 Kg, the bike delivers class leading 0 to 60 Km/hr acceleration in 4.7 seconds.

* The new Xtreme 160R enjoys a commanding riding position and an ergonomically optimized set-up; courtesy the tubular rigid diamond frame with 5 speed Constant Mesh
* Gearbox and a Multi Plate Wet Clutch.

The 37mm Telescopic front forks and a 7-step adjustable rear mono-shock suspension work well in tandem to provide precise handling and smooth ride. The 130/70-17” radial rear tyre provides superior grip in all riding conditions. Braking duties are carried out by 276mm Front & 220mm Rear petal disc brakes. The 170mm ground clearance ensures extreme agility and precise handling.

* The new Xtreme 160R is paired with a first in segment LED package, from Front full LED
headlamp, to rear H signature LED tail lamp, all the way including LED Turn indicators with

* Hazard light switch. The inverted Digital display, together with the first in segment side stand engine cut off will ensure the ride is both exhilarating and safe.

This new head turner from Hero is available in two variants - Front Disc with Single Channel ABS and Double Disc (Front and Rear) with Single Channel ABS and three vibrant color combinations of White with Grey, Blue with Grey and Sports Red with Grey.

Hero Glamour BS-VI

A seamless blend of style and performance – the New Glamour BS-VI runs on the new 125cc engine with XSens Programmed Fuel Injection.  The new engine produces 19% more power with a power output of 10.73 BHP @ 7500 RPM and torque of 10.6 Nm @ 6000 RPM. Featuring Hero’s revolutionary i3S (idle start-stop system), together with Auto Sail Technology, the new Glamour BS-VI delivers on its brand promise.

Built on an all new rigid diamond Frame, with 20% more Ground Clearance, 14% more front suspension travel and 10% more rear suspension travel helps the rider glide over any obstacles all day.

The front 240mm disk brakes and ground clearance of 180mm provide the assertive reliability and all-day comfort with real road presence, thereby, staying true to the brand promise of performance and comfort.

With the two variants- Self Drum Alloy and Self Disc Alloy, and dual tone body graphics of Sports Red, Techno Blue, Tornado Grey and Candy Red, the new Glamour BS-VI ups the style quotient for the aspirational youth.

Hero Passion Pro BS-VI

The new Passion Pro comes with new 110cc XSens Programmed Fuel Injection BS-VI

Engine, delivering high fuel economy and a power output of 9.02 BHP @ 7500 RPM (9% more) and torque of 9.79 Nm @ 5000 RPM (22%). Featuring Hero’s revolutionary i3S (idle start-stop system), the new Passion Pro BS-VI delivers on the brand promise of performance with style.

Built on new diamond frame, the Front suspension travel has been increased by 14%, while the Rear suspension travel has been increased by 10%. The ground clearance has also been increased by 9% to provide unmatched riding comfort and responsiveness on all road surfaces.

The all new body with trend setting imagery - new sleek headlamp, signature tail lamp and triple tone graphics gives the bike a youthful and a trendy vibe.

All new Auto Sail Technology and the Digi-analogue cluster with Real-Time mileage indicator, ups the promise of technology, performance and style.

The new Passion Pro is available in two variants- Self Drum alloy and Self Disc drum, in four youthful color combinations of Sports Red, Techno Blue, Moon Yellow and Glaze Black.

Hero XPulse 200 Rally Kit

Hero MotoCorp’s experience at the world’s top rally races, including the Dakar Rally has been used to develop the XPulse 200 Rally Kit.

The Rally Kit transforms the XPulse 200 into an accessible and competitive purpose-built machine, enabling enthusiasts to improve their off-roading skills and test their limits. It also encourages young riders to build a career in motorsports.

The Rally Kit comprises of Front fully-adjustable telescopic fork with 250mm stroke and fully adjustable 10 step rear Mono shock with 220 mm stroke. Upping the comfort quotient and riding stance are a host of features -- the Flat ‘bench’ seat, handle bar risers, increased ground clearance of 275mm, rally tyres by Maxxis, longer side stand and an extended gear lever to accommodate off-road style boots.

Jaguar Land Rover Unveils Bold New Concept of Urban Mobility Vehicle


* Bold new concept vehicle as part of Jaguar Land Rover’s Destination Zero mission
* Project Vector ‘autonomy-ready’ platform offers solution to today’s urban mobility challenges with unparalleled interior space and flexibility in vehicle configuration
* Jaguar Land Rover’s vision integrates Project Vector concept platform into future smart city infrastructures, delivering services for private and shared mobility needs
* On-road pilot programme in Coventry planned from 2021

National Automotive Innovation Centre, Coventry 18th February 2020: Jaguar Land Rover has today unveiled the bold new concept vehicle, Project Vector, as part of the company’s Destination Zero journey, offering its vision of an autonomous, electric, connected future for urban mobility.

Jaguar Land Rover’s Destination Zero mission is an ambition to make societies safer and healthier, and the environment cleaner. Delivered through relentless innovation, the company’s focus is on achieving a future of zero emissions, zero accidents and zero congestion – through its products, services and across its facilities.

As the next stage of that journey, the Project Vector concept showcases an advanced, flexible, multi-use electric vehicle that is ‘autonomy-ready’.

At the reveal, Jaguar Land Rover Chief Executive Officer, Prof Sir Ralf Speth, commented: “Jaguar Land Rover understands the trends shaping modern societies.  Project Vector shows Jaguar Land Rover as a leader in innovation to make our societies safer and healthier, and the environment cleaner.  Through this project, we are collaborating with the brightest minds in academia, supply chain and digital services, to create connected, integrated mobility systems – the fundamental building blocks for Destination Zero.”

“Project Vector is precisely the brave and innovative leap forward needed to deliver on our mission.”

The compact, flexible vehicle concept measures just four metres in length and is designed for the city, packaging all its battery and drivetrain components into a flat floor, to allow a variety of uses. The revolutionary interior cabin space allows seating configurations for private, or shared use and even the opportunity for commercial applications, such as last mile deliveries.

PROJECT VECTOR – Developing Tomorrow’s Mobility. Today.

Project Vector concept has been created with the mission to raise the quality of future urban living.

It has been developed at the National Automotive Innovation Centre to gain the advantages of working with agility and close collaboration with academic and external partners.

It will also address the wider landscape of mobility, from how customers connect with mobility services, to the infrastructure required to enable fully integrated, autonomous vehicles in our cities.

Dr. Tim Leverton, Project Director said: “The megatrends of urbanisation and digitalisation make connected urban mobility systems necessary and inevitable. Shared and private vehicles will share spaces with and be connected to public transit networks, so you can travel on demand and autonomously. That is a complex task, best achieved by working together with partners across the spectrum of vehicles, infrastructure and the digital world.

“With the technology and engineering power of Jaguar Land Rover, we can provide a unique opportunity for innovators to develop highly-functional urban mobility services, seamlessly integrated into everyday life.

“Future urban travel will be a composite of owned and shared vehicles, access to ride hailing and on-demand services as well as public transport. Our vision shows the vehicle as a flexible part of the urban mobility network that can be adapted for different purposes.”

The intention is to collaborate with Coventry City Council and the West Midlands Combined Authority to plan a mobility service from late 2021, as a living laboratory for future mobility on the streets of Coventry.

Professor Dr Gero Kempf, Chief Engineer said: “It’s also a unique opportunity – a concept platform designed and engineered around urban centric use cases by a major car maker as a blank canvas, for developing tailored services and apps in the ecosystem of a smart city.”

Multi-Disciplinary Approach Saved Life of 36-Year-Old Patient with Spinal Paraganglioma Tumor at Manipal Hospitals

Manipal Hospitals Bangalore achieved yet another medical marvel by successfully removing a rare tumor of the nerve cells, ‘Paraganglioma’ which was secreting excess hormone and was present at the lower back, near the spine of 36-year-old patient Mr. Jagadeesh Ratha. A multidisciplinary team with specialized doctors from different streams got together to perform this complex surgery are Dr. Praveen M Ganigi, Consultant, Neurosurgery, Dr. Bopanna KM, Consultant, Neurosurgery, Dr. Shabber Zaveri, Consultant, Cancer Care and Dr. Karthik Prabhakar, Consultant, Diabetes & Endocrinology, Dr. G S Nagaraja Prabhakar, Consultant, Anesthesiology.

Mr. Jagadeesh Ratha, was on medication for Hypertension since many years. He was facing recurrent lower backache for the past one year with radiating right lower limb pain since 8 months. He also reported to have lost weight over the past 6 months. Thorough investigation revealed that he was suffering from a spinal paraganglioma, with excess secretion of Catecholamine hormone leading to hypertension.

Dr. Karthik Prabhakar, Consultant, Diabetes & Endocrinology, Manipal Hospitals Bangalore said, “According to a recent study, these kind of tumors are found in 2 out of every million people each year and are the cause of high blood pressure in less than 0.2% of people. Though in this case, it was a benign tumor, but excess release of catecholamine from the tumor in uncontrolled bursts could cause serious health problems like stroke, heart attacks and even death to the patient. Therefore, he required a multi-disciplinary attention.”

Speaking about the case, Dr. Praveen M Ganigi, Consultant, Neurosurgery, Manipal Hospitals Bangalore, said, “Spinal Paraganglioma is rare, with approximately 90 cases reported in the literature and can affect people between the ages of 30 and 50. The surgery was conducted in two steps, one from the front and another one from the back of the spine, taking a total of around 10 hours of complex surgery with constant monitoring of his vital sings”.

Dr. G S Nagaraja Prabhakar, Consultant, Anesthesiology, Manipal Hospitals Bangalore said, “Since the urinary metanephrines’ value was on the higher side, we had to initiate adrenergic receptor blockers, along with appropriate antihypertensive medications for preoperative BP management. During surgery, hormones in the tumor could be released and could cause serious problems such as elevated blood pressure and pulse. We had to be alert and maintain his body stable at the time of the surgery”.

“For these kind of rare case of paraganglioma, complete removal of tumour by surgical resection is the first choice of treatment with or without radiotherapy. However, since paragangliomas are highly vascular lesions and in view of anticipated large volume blood loss, Jagadeesh underwent pre-operative endovascular embolization to cut off blood supply to the tumor” added Dr. Shabber Zaveri, Consultant, Cancer Care, Manipal Hospitals Bangalore.

As it was a spinal paraganglioma, it could also change the shape of the spinal cord, which could have been disastrous. Therefore, the doctors had to reconstruct the spine as well, post removing the tumor.

Dr. Bopanna KM, Consultant, Neurosurgery, Manipal Hospital Bangalore said, “Post-surgery and upon review he was evaluated and was symptomatically better, mobilising independently and healing well with no fresh deficits. The patient underwent regular physiotherapy and was mobilised with thoraces-lumbar brace post the surgery as per the physical rehabilitation team and was discharged in a stable condition”

Expressing his happiness on the treatment, Mr. Jagadeesh Ratha said, “I have recovered completely and now leading a happy and normal life all thanks to the team of doctors’ at Manipal Hospitals. This was a true example of success achieved via team work. All the doctors were extremely supportive throughout the procedure and gave me confidence to recover. I appreciate the efforts and commitment of the doctors.”

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

OYO Hotels & Homes Revenue Globally Grows by 2.9x to USD 604 Million in FY19


* Records consolidated revenue of USD 951 million in FY19 with India revenue at USD 604 million
* India contributes to 63.5% of fiscal revenue while International markets generate 36.5% of total revenue
* The company reduces net loss in India from 24% to 14% of revenue on the back of better-operating efficiency
* Consolidated losses increase from 25% in FY18 to 35% in FY19 on the back of international expansion; especially since China was launched at the end of the fiscal

OYO Hotels & Homes, the world’s leading hospitality chain, has today announced its financial results for FY 2019 (April 2018 to March 2019). As per audited financials, the company’s consolidated revenue stood at USD 951 million, which is 4.5X (year-over-year) higher from FY2018 when the company reported a revenue of USD 211 million.

As a six-year-old young startup, OYO’s business across markets today is seen to evolve through three key growth stages. In stage one, when we start our operations in new markets,  the focus of the company is on scale and presence; in stage two, when we have achieved scale and presence, the focus is on creating a strong brand resonance and ensuring improved gross margin, for the value proposition we bring in, while continuing to invest in accretive growth. In mature markets like India, where OYO is in the third stage of its growth journey, the focus of the company is to maintain strong brand preference while ensuring we have a clear path to profitability, enabled by accretive growth, operational excellence, and strong gross margin. In this context, this FY 19, business operations in India contributed to nearly 63.5% or USD 604 million of this consolidated figure as the business clocked a 2.9X (y-o-y) growth. Nearly 36.5% or USD 348 million was contributed by the company’s operations outside India, primarily China, signifying its strong commitment towards building a sustainable global business at scale with improved operating efficiencies.

The company reported an increase in both daily guest check-ins across its network as well as an increase in hotels and asset owners across the world. With over 43,000 asset partners, OYO hosted over 180 million guests from 120+ nationalities between January - December 2019.

In FY 2019, OYO had a primary presence in China and India. The inherent costs of establishing new markets, including those related to talent, market-entry, operational expenses among others, resulted in an increase in OYO’s net loss percentage in the near-term, which grew from 25% in FY18 to 35% of revenue in FY19 to USD 335 million. At the same time, in mature markets like India, the company reduced its losses from 24% to 14% of revenue in FY19 to USD 83 million.

Commenting on the development, Abhishek Gupta, Global CFO of OYO Hotels & Homes, said, “We have crossed an important milestone of achieving global revenue of USD 951 million in FY 2019, a 4.5 times increase on a year-on-year basis. OYO’s relentless focus on offering an exceptional guest experience, delivering value to asset partners and constant technological innovation supported by the hard work and perseverance of every OYOpreneur has been the core propellers behind this performance. As we work towards consistently improving our financial performance, ensuring strong yet sustainable growth, high operational and service excellence and a clear path to profitability will be our key to our approach in 2020 and beyond. The company’s increased focus on corporate governance and building a high-performing and employee-first work culture will also drive this next phase of sustainable growth for us. We look forward to adding value to the experience of travellers and asset partners across the globe.”

India is a high scale market moving towards profitability while showing continued growth.
OYO Hotels & Homes to focus on sustainable growth, operational excellence & profitability in 2020 & beyond

In 2019, OYO also continued to build a loyal guest base, with over 90% revenue coming from repeat and organic user base with repeat alone contributing to 73% of revenues.

Since China and other international markets were in development and investment mode during that time, they contributed to 75% of the losses for FY19 (USD 252 million). These markets constituted 36.5% of the global revenues. While consistently improving operating economics in mature markets like India where it's already seeing an improvement in gross margins,  the company is determined to bring in the same fiscal discipline in emerging markets in the coming financial year.

Sustainable Growth with Impact

The company’s gross margin in India increased from 10.6% in FY18 to 14.7% in FY19 indicating the strength of its business model and a positive correlation between market share and economics.

The OYO app is now among Top 3 Hotel booking apps globally with over 2.3 million downloads till October 2019 which has now increased to 10 million+ downloads. The company continues to delight its guests keeping in mind customer preferences, and its average ratings on OTA (Online Travel Agency) platforms were 7.5+/10.

India's Most Lovable Cop Chulbul Robinhood Pandey Makes Digital Debut on Amazon Prime Video with Dabangg 3

For Salman Khan fans, this Valentine’s Weekend is going to be even more special as Amazon Prime Video today announced the digital premiere of Bollywood’s most loved action comedy Dabangg 3.Directed by Prabhu Deva and starring Salman Khan, Sonakshi Sinha and Saiee Manjrekar,  the plot of Dabangg 3 revolves around the origin of Chulbul Pandey, and the circumstances that led him to go from Dhakkad Chand Pandey, to the eccentric Robin Hood of Uttar Pradesh. Prime members across 200 countries and territories can stream the third installment of the Chulbul Pandey film starting 15th February, 2020.

Commenting on the film, Salman Khan said “The Dabangg franchise has been very special to me – Chulbul Pandey’s character has become a favorite with my fans across the world! I am thrilled that Prime Members globally can now catch this movie on Amazon Prime Video. This Valentine’s Day weekend watch Chulbul and Raijo’s evolving love-story, coupled with the incredible action and humour one has come to expect from the Dabangg franchise.”

A circumquel to the 2010 film Dabangg and 2012 film Dabangg 2, this third installment of the Dabangg film series showcases the corrupt yet much loved Chulbul Pandey`s origin as a police officer after an encounter with his old rival named Bali Singh refreshes his memory.

Amazon Prime Video has the largest selection of latest & exclusive movies and TV shows, Stand-Up comedy, biggest Indian and Hollywood films, US TV series, most popular Indian & International kids’ shows, and award-winning Amazon Originals, all available, ad-free, with a world class customer experience. The service includes titles available in English, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Gujarati, Punjabi and Bengali.

Divine Solitaires Felicitated for its Breakthroughs at National Jewellery Awards in Mumbai

Divine Solitaires, India’s first solitaire jewellery brand was recognised at the prestigious National Jewellery Awards (NJA) for achieving complete transparency in the diamond industry. The awards function took place on Saturday, 15th February 2020 at Hotel Renaissance, Mumbai.

Divine Solitaires was felicitated for being the first-ever solitaire brand in India to offer complete transparency in quality and pricing along with a unique digital solitaire experience to diamond consumers.

Since its establishment in 2006, the brand has introduced some pathbreaking innovations such as a 123-parameter quality guarantee, a Nationwide Standard & Transparent Price List, the Divine Solitaires mobile application and a Solitaire Price Index. The brand has an outreach in more than 160 stores across 82 cities in India, and has also reached out to consumers in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand and Nepal.

The National Jewellery Awards is considered as one of the most prestigious jewellery award in the gems and jewellery industry.  The All India Gems and Jewellery Domestic Council (GJC) accords recognition and award through the NJA platform annually to stimulate talent, honour innovation and creativity of the jewellers & designers to boost the industry.

NJA honours the work of designers and manufacturers in various categories such as Best Jewellery Designs, Best Diamond & Precious Metal Jewellery, and even has an award for the Best Retail Ambience. The jewellery platform aims to drive excellence across the various aspects of the industry segment and reward the passion and innovation, setting new benchmarks within the industry each year.

On winning the award Mr. Jignesh Mehta, Founder and Managing Director Divine Solitaires said “At Divine Solitaires, we constantly strive to meet our customers’ requirements and make their experience of solitaire shopping, hassle-free. We thank the GJC for selecting us for this award and recognising our efforts in the gems and jewellery industry. This award will further motivate us to work harder in creating world-class solitaire jewellery and offer unique services which will benefit the customers and the industry as a whole.”

About Divine Solitaires (

Founded in the year 2006, Divine Solitaires offers its consumers the world’s finest and brilliantly crafted quality solitaire diamonds that have been obtained through ethical sourcing and given quality certification. The brand offers a quality guarantee on all their diamonds on the basis of 123 parameters as against the international standard of 40 parameters. Globally only Divine Solitaires has a retail pricing mechanism that is standard and transparent. Realising the need for organised marketing of diamonds and diamond jewellery, Mr. Jignesh Mehta conceptualized and founded Divine Solitaires and the branding of solitaires along with the core values of consistently offering high quality diamonds with transparency and standardisation in pricing. Mr. Mehta is a 1st generation entrepreneur, having completed his Masters in marketing from Australia and a diamond grading course from Antwerp, Belgium. He and his brother, Mr. Shailen Mehta, Co-founder Divine Solitaires bring with them nearly 20 years of rich global experience of the diamond industry.

Edtech Startup PlanetSpark Raises INR 3.2 Cr Pre Series A from IAN, FIITJEE and Others

Gurgaon based edtech startup, PlanetSpark has raised a follow-on Pre-Series A round of INR 3.2 Cr from Indian Angel Network, Lead Angels and Hyderabad Angels. Existing seed investor and one of India’s largest education companies, FIITJEE Limited, also participated in this round, showing its faith in the company’s vision. Vikas Kuthiala and Nitin Zamre were the deal leads on behalf of IAN.

PlanetSpark provides neighborhood learning zones where children learn and develop all the 'new age' skills under one roof. It combines online learning with an offline experience for young children in grades K-8 through its in-house learning products. It operates in an asset-light model of partnering with unutilized assets in pre-schools, schools and strategic partners such as Oyo Townhouse to set up its neighbourhood blended-learning centres in a low cost and scalable manner.

“Pure online learning through videos is passive and suffers from very poor completion rates. The presence of a dedicated space, time and a mentor is essential for young kids to learn effectively. Hence, we blend online with an offline experience  at our neighbourhood learning spaces where kids can learn academic skills (English, Maths, Science) and 21st century skills (coding, robotics, public speaking etc) in the presence of a qualified teacher.”, said Kunal Malik, Co-Founder.

The company will use the funds in expanding its business into new geographies and increasing enrolments by 10x over the next 12-15 months. According to a report by KPMG, Primary and Secondary Supplemental Education will be the largest online education category at 773 Million by 2021 and growing at CAGR of 60%. While the grade 9 to 12 market has seen a red ocean with numerous big players established in the market in the past 20 years, there has been no trusted brand in the K-8 space to cater to the needs of young parents looking to develop their kids.

“Though our asset light model and an omnichannel approach, our acquisition costs go down considerably with time. As a Learning Zone grows, its brand builds in the area and it acts like a magnet to attract more students due to network effects, with a 42% referral rate. Due to our face to face interaction with children and learning analytics and live-feed system for parents, our engagement is very high, leading to 95% retention rates”, said Maneesh Dhooper, Co-founder.

The market for developing new age skills in young children is growing exponentially across the world, especially in China and the US to cater to the need to prepare children to be critical thinkers and problem solvers in an ever changing world. There is a growing trend towards using a Blended Learning model that combines online with offline. PlanetSpark is uniquely positioned to leverage its products and offline play to capture the market.

Delhi based CENSIE Capital Partners was the adviser to Planetspark for this transaction, “We are always passionate about the team that brings fresh prespective to the industry, said, Ankul Maheshwari, Founder – CENSIE.

About PlanetSpark:
Founded in 2016, Gurgaon-based PlanetSpark is the brainchild of Maneesh Dhooper and Kunal Malik. PlanetSpark provides neighborhood learning zones where children learn and develop all the 'new age' skills under one roof. It combines online learning with an offline experience for young children in grades K-8 through its in-house learning products. It operates in an asset-light model of partnering with unutilized assets in pre-schools, schools and strategic partners such as Oyo Townhouse to set up its neighbourhood blended-learning centres in a low cost and scalable manner.

Team of Indian Investment Experts Launch ‘’ Platform for Investors

Investment advisory veterans Srikanth Meenakshi, Vidya Bala, and Bhavana Acharya have announced the launch of a new-age subscription-based research platform – With a focus on providing research-as-a-service (RaaS), is a platform for retail investors seeking quality, unbiased guidance for their personal finance decisions. Investors will be able to access in-depth research and recommendations on mutual funds (MFs), bonds, fixed deposit products and exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Soon, stock and insurance recommendations will be added to the offerings as well.

The team that has launched this platform has extensive experience in investment research and advice having helped thousands of investors across the country attain their financial goals. Srikanth was the co-founder of FundsIndia, a leading mutual fund platform in India, while Vidya headed the research function along with Bhavana.

To equip its customers in making informed investment decisions, the team at sifts through hundreds of personal finance products and filters them using exhaustive quantitative and qualitative metrics. The extensive research is distilled into a shortlist of investment-worthy products that can meet every imaginable financial aspiration.

New users can begin with a 15-day trial and get access to all articles and select recommendations.

Srikanth Meenakshi, co-founder, said, “There are several platforms that cater to the order execution needs of investors, including those that offer ‘Direct’ plans and such. However, investors are left to wonder as to where to invest and what are the best products out there. PrimeInvestor was conceived to cater to this felt need that could make or break an investor’s wealth”.

He added, “At PrimeInvestor, we are working together with a purpose to equip our customers with in-depth research to help them take informed investment decisions. Throughout our journey, without any external influences, we will stay committed to ensure financial wellness of our customers.”

Vidya Bala, co-founder, said, “Ours is a purely customer-focused no-commission, no ad model. Our only source of income would be subscription. This will enable us to stay free from biases and conflicts of interest and focus on what’s good for the investor.”

Bhavana Acharya, co-founder, said, “We cater to a wide range of investors – regardless of how experienced they are with investing. Every investor will benefit from our list of recommended funds – Prime Funds, our review tool that gives you firm opinions about your funds, and Prime Deposits, our curated list of deposit products. We also have ready-to-go portfolios for beginner investors, and ETFs and Theme Park selections for the knowledgeable”.

There is more – subscribers will be regularly engaged with high-quality insights and updates about funds, investment options, markets, and strategies. Prime Ratings is PrimeInvestor’s innovative in-house rating system for mutual funds.

All these solutions and services are available for an annual subscription fee – which has an introductory price of Rs 2,500 per year, a figure kept deliberately accessible relative to comparable offerings in the market to ensure that the benefits of the platform are within the reach of every investor in the country.

Trend Micro Boosts Channel Leadership with Expanded and Enhanced Partner Program for Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa

Trend Micro Incorporated, a global leader in cybersecurity solutions, today announced that it is launching a newly expanded and enhanced channel partner program in Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa (AMEA). Underpinning the program are several key initiatives designed to help channel partners generate more margins, capture new revenue streams, and drive tighter alignment with Trend Micro in the field by taking a customer-centric approach.

“Our channel-first business model has reaped immense success over the years, cementing Trend Micro’s channel leadership position in the industry. After 30 years in this business, we continue to stay true to our unfaltering commitment of making our partners successful and achieving growth together”, said Dhanya Thakkar, senior vice president, Trend Micro, AMEA. “With the AMEA channel program, we aim to reward performing partners with extended benefits, and the right tools to create and close more business opportunities.”

The major enhancements include:

Higher profitability and margins: Streamlined discount structures based on deal registration; sales and marketing incentives across all partner tiers and distributors; and new rebate schemes for gold and platinum partners
Customer-centric approach: Highly-subsidized and strategically-curated not-for-sale (NFR) packages of Trend Micro’s solutions for partners to better address real-world customer cybersecurity pain points
Cybersecurity talent development: Complimentary training series delivered through the TRENDs Campus – Trend Micro’s new channel sales and technical enablement initiative designed to educate partners in the latest cybersecurity knowledge and trends, Trend Micro’s industry-leading solutions, and the art of opportunity discovery
Tighter collaboration: A set of enhanced business tools, including a refreshed partner portal, a new mobile app, and a business analytics dashboard, to drive joint field activities

Channel partners in AMEA can get in touch with their local Trend Micro channel account managers to receive more information on how to maximize the new program and drive more business together.

A Toast to Fanzart’s Fans Success Held Recently in Bangalore

Fanzart has had an extraordinary 2019, finishing with 12 awards, including the Economic Times Business Leader, Power Brands - Rising Star, Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, Best Luxury Designer Fans and more. Moreover, Fanzart bought a pro golf league, called Fanzart Eagles and won the maiden Pro Golf League held in Bangalore to finish off the year.

2020 has just begun and Fanzart has already started it with a bang, with coalitions with bigger brands, partners beyond India and patented technology to be released in March, 2020 - around the same time Fanzart completes 8 years of redefining luxury from the ceiling point of view. With 70 experience centres across India, as well as presence at 10 Future Group's Hometown showrooms, Fanzart now sees a good amount of market adoption from both offline as well as online channels.

As a way to show their gratitude, Fanzart’s promoters celebrated the extraordinary 2019 with family and friends, including well-known Architects and Interior Designers, prominent developers, team Fanzart Eagles as well as well-wishers. 

Monday, February 17, 2020

“Cross Connection” - Debut Novelist Preety Praveen Unveils Unique Love Story in Bangalore

Preety Praveen launched her maiden novel ‘Cross Connection’ on 14th February 2020, at Sapna Book House, Bangalore. The realistic fiction read is inspired by a true story and published by Blue Rose Publishers.

Speaking at the launch, Sandhya Mendonca, author, media entrepreneur, cultural evangelist and chief guest of the event said “When love is in the air, right in time for Valentine's Day, here's a good old fashioned love story - girl meets boy and then follow the pangs of separation and hardships that destiny throws their way. This couple shares an extraordinary love story and the romantic in me cheers them!”

Cross Connection is a story of love, commitment and destiny. Set in the simple town of Salem, Tamil Nadu, the storyline takes readers through the lives of Simar and Naveen, who are distinctly different people, with whom one can identify with almost instantaneously. With nothing in common, destiny brings them together in a captivating plot, connecting them in a lifelong bond.

“I have always been passionate about writing, and penning down this love story which is really close to my heart, was a beautiful experience. The readers of Cross Connection will surely enjoy the roller coaster ride of emotions. I want them to believe in and cherish the value of true friends, how and when to stand by them and most importantly the power of destiny,” says Preety Praveen speaking about her debut novel.

Cross Connection is sure to strike the right chord as it connects the lives of Simar, a bold and brilliant girl with a pampered upbringing and Naveen a determined youngster with a brusque exterior. While she traces her roots to Punjab, he comes from Kerala. Long after recognizing and accepting their love for each other, the couple have a tough battle ahead of them convincing their respective parents to accept their relationship. Simar has to also cope from the turmoil of recovering from a life threatening car crash without Naveen by her side. Through love, tears, anger, sacrifice, sadness, hope, triumph and joy, the captivating plot makes Cross Connection a compelling read.

Syed Asad Hassan, Managing Director of Blue Rose Publishers, speaking on the launch of Preety’s novel said “It was a pleasure working with Preety Praveen on this book. The moment we read the story for the first time, we knew instantly that it was one that would connect with people on many levels. Also, what better time to launch a book like this than the valentines season itself. This book is definitely a must read book and I am confident that it will leave a mark on this genre for many years to come.”

A Bangalore based psychologist, Preety Praveen draws from her personal and professional experiences to give readers an insight into the ups and downs of relationships and the importance of commitment. Cross Connection is released in collaboration with Avasar Foundation and a percentage of the profits are pledged to open doors of education for girl children.

Cross Connection is priced at Rs. 299 and available for purchase on Amazon, Flipkart, ShopClues and leading bookstores across the country.

Preety Praveen is also penning down a sequel to the book, titled ‘A Pocket Full of Promises.’ As the name suggests, the book is an honest take on the ups and downs Simar and Naveen face after marriage.

Blurb of the book:

To accomplish the dreams of her parents, Simar, a girl from Punjab, lands up in Tamil Nadu to complete her degree in dentistry. But fate had written a different story for her. Struggling to survive in a new world, she meets the love of her life, Naveen, a boy from Kerala. Smiling in the world of their love, they weave a beautiful life around their dreams. But everything changes once Naveen leaves India, trying his luck to get a job abroad. After a year, he comes back to marry her…but…is she still there waiting for him…?

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