India is a land of youthful talent. There are many talented youth in India who have started a business of their own and whose businesses provide essential services or goods to the society. Unfortunately, due to the relatively poor internet connectivity in India, many of the startups are not known to or discovered by the public. Hence, they are unable to grow into big businesses. The SMEs in India face problems in creating an impactful website, updating relevant content in real time, online discovery and generating leads from their conversations. Read more on Online Discovery Startups
To help solve this problem, four youths namely: Jasminder Singh Gulati, Ronak Kumar Samantray, Neeraj Sabharwal and Nitin Jain had founded a startup called NewFloats in 2012 which designs websites for SMEs in India in such a way that they get discovered online easily by the public, based on their products/services or their location.
“Businesses face several hurdles to get an effective digital presence, investing time and effort in creating an impactful website, updating relevant content in real time, online discovery, generating leads and their conversion, etc. This is where NowFloats comes in. When people want to research something, they search for the product. When they have the intention of buying, they search within a location. NowFloats helps build ‘Local SEO’ to ensure more customer walk-ins”, said Nitin Jain, co – founder and CEO of NewFloats.
The startup has so far secured an investment of around Rs. 75 crores from various VC firms like Mumbai Angels, Hyderabad Angels and Blume Ventures since 2012 and has helped around 85,000 SMEs be discovered online.
“There has been a false belief that Indian SMEs don’t pay for software services. Actually, they pay when they see value in a product and the product must address challenges specific to Indian SMEs”, said Nitin Jain.
For its most basic product (website), the startup charges an annual subscription fee of Rs. 25,000. NewFloats generated a revenue of Rs. 20 crores from the FY between April 2016 to March 2017. The challenges that the startup initially had to face was getting internet connectivity, acquiring talent and getting its distribution right. During the initial phase of the startup, a number of the startup’s clients were from regions in India that did not have adequate internet connectivity. To overcome this problem, the startup offered an SMS-based service that helped merchants update their websites even without the internet. Gradually, due to the excellent service provided, NewFloats gained reputation and popularity through word of mouth.
“We had a world class product but not enough access to the large number of SMEs present in the Indian market. We eventually addressed this by building the strength of our sales force. To sell a unique product like ours, we needed the very best and committed professionals, so we focused on drawing people based on the buzz created around our brand, rather than aggressively going after talent”, Nitin Jain said.
“Besides strengthening our penetration in the cities we have a presence in, we are going to enter several tier-3 cities and tourist hubs by the end of 2017″, Nitin Jain added.
Founding a startup that provides essential services or goods is one thing but founding a startup that helps other startups grow and become popular by means of online discovery is quite another. During the past year, a few online discovery startups got funded. They include the online discovery startup AutoDna which raised an undisclosed amount of Pre Series funding from IAN during October 2016. AutoDna provides interesting information about automobiles and about the latest advances made in the automobile industry. The online discovery platform for interior designers, Decoinch.com raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from a clutch of angel investors during March 2016. The online fashion discovery startup, SummerLabel raised Rs. 1 crore in Seed funding round from a group of HNIs based in Silicon Valley in the U.S. during March 2017. The online fashion discovery platform, Roposo had raised an undisclosed amount of Pre Series funding from IAN and a clutch of angel investors during December 2016 just to name a few. Read more on Startup News