Voizd aims at 5 million users in two years in India

Voizd, the audio based anonymous online social space provider is aiming at becoming the defacto safe social space for people to discuss topics most close to their hearts. “We are looking forward to on-board around 5 million users in next 24 months”, say Sameer Agarwal and Pooja Daswani, Founders of Voizd: Voice Without Fear. The duo reveals the growth potential of their venture and more to Jayashankar Menon in an interview. Excerpts:

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JM: Can you talk a big about Voizd and its parent firm in the US?

SA: Voizd Inc., is our parent firm, located in the US. Voizd.com was launched in September 2016. Voice Without Fear is an anonymous mobile app where you can freely express every opinion and thought in your own voice without the fear of being judged, labeled or trolled. A 30-second anonymous (optional) audio clips are available to express your thoughts. A network of real people connects based on real thoughts. Content discovery based on Trending Topics, Emotions and Proximity, Relevant topics. Community with a support system created by the people themselves

JM: When and How VOIZD came into existence?

SA: During 2013 general elections and post elections while sharing his opinions on many issues, I started getting death threats and troll attacks, initially I thought it’s isolated to political opinions but soon realized that our society in general has become quite intolerant towards opinions and thoughts which are divergent from mainstream. I also realized that we as a society subconsciously judge and label people based on their every thought and action and hence most people are always trying to fit in with the status quo even with very basics of their expressions, that seeded the idea of creating a safe space where people can be themselves.

While the app was still on the drawing board a conversation with an acquaintance made the team realized that traditional social spaces today are owned by English speaking audience and people who are not very comfortable with English or other written forms get hard end of the stick, hence the team decided that Audio/ Voice based expression should be mainstay of the App, as everyone can speak even when they are not very comfortable in writing. What voice also does is that it keeps the essence, emotion, tonality, of the poster and hence the message intact leading to a deeper connect between the poster and listener.

JM: How did you build the core team (co-founders and initial employees) – How did you meet and how did everyone align to the idea?

SA: Pooja, Rajiv and I use to work together at RockeTalk, which was founded by the latter. Pooja used to run Communities and I was the CMO and Sales head. All three of us had experience in building large communities, Social spaces and audio based interactions. I also knew that both of them have also faced similar troll and judgment attacks on social networks and real life so when I discussed the idea they connected with it. Then came the task of hiring core-engineering team. Since we are bootstrapping it we dug into our combined network to find talent from UI/UX to Engineering team, which helped us pushing the beta app out.

JM: Describe Your Startup, and explain, what exactly it does?

SA: VOIZD is an audio based Anonymous online social space where people around the world share real thoughts and experiences and trade advice. What’s catchy is that, you get to share all the above anonymously and in voice without the entire persistent real name trapping of other networks.

The app protects your identity, so you can go all out sharing what you actually feel without having to fine-tune it (i.e you can be 100% real), so basically it Gives you the Power to share your thoughts without the fear of being judged, labeled and trolled. It is an anonymous sharing app where you can divulge your deepest secrets to an audience of unknown people, and respond to their secret confessions or questions. The app beta was launched in Sepember 2016.

JM: What prompted you to start the VOIZD as another social network with many being already in the market?

SA: With traditional social networks being purely identity driven, the feeling of always being in the spotlight forces us to relentlessly curate how we self present online. Constant self-monitoring to hide our rough edges or different opinions to “fit in” leaving no space to be original, be weird or flawed. This especially sucks for the young people, who wish to freely exchange their thoughts and ideas.

Voizd is the only social space at the intersection of audio and anonymity, giving its user power to share their most intimate thoughts and issues without the barrier of language and education, as everyone can speak and Listen. Purely Visual and text based social spaces often leaves a huge mass of people, with powerful ideas on the sidelines. Text is limiting, and video is too bandwidth hungry and risky for countries like India. Besides, text lacks the emotive power of expression that voice carries, appealing to our very basic senses. It is also friction free and has no sign up on boarding.

JM: Who Are Your competitors? How are you different from them?

A: How are we different: Expressing your true thoughts on identity driven social networks means being trolled by people who do not share the same opinion as yours. It is at the cost of being judged by your very own family, friends or co- workers.

On Voizd you can freely express every opinion and thought in your own voice in 30-second anonymous audio clips. Since there is no sign up hence people connect with your thoughts/opinions than your identity leading to thought becoming more important that the user.

JM: Is The Startup funded? If Yes, provide details like – date, stage and source of funding.

SA: VOIZD is currently bootstrapped by the founders. We are working towards growing the network further and looking for funding.

JM: What are the technologies Used in VOIZD?

SA: Server side: Java, Apache, PhP, MySQL, MongoDB, Redis, Hadoop, Elastic Search  and Native implementation on Android and iOS client.

JM: Provide statistics of Your Startup/App/Project such as tractions per month, revenue generating per month or any other stats that the company wants to share with us to influence our readers.

SA: VOIZD beta app was only exposed in mid September last year, to a 100 people but since has organically grown to 2000 users, doing over five thousand posts and over one lakhh public conversations, from topics ranging from Relationships, Gender issues, Fashion, Abuse. Around 70 % of our current users are women and highly vocal.

JM: What challenges are you facing in running your business?

SA: Indian startup ecosystem is skewed towards ecommerce/ transactions based business models and VOIZD is trying to build a social networking product with social impact out of India which is unheard of, plus it is easy to raise funds for copy past business models from western world but not when you are trying to do something totally out of the box. Even startup accelerators applications don’t have a column for mobile social, they have for everything from payments to commerce to food delivery but not for social startups

On the product side while audio is super engaging, UGC around Audio is hardly attempted in India which has both tech and acceptability challenges as with any new concept

JM: How do you look at expansion?

SA: Voizd aims to become the defacto safe social space for people to discuss topics most close to their hearts and we are looking forward to on-board around 5 million users in next 24 months.

Technology reinforcing transportation: Rahul Mishra

“The introduction of smartphones through development in telecom sector has boosted the transportation in many folds”, says Rahul Mishra, CEO of U-RYD Transportation Solutions. In a free-wheeling chat, Mishra tells Jayashankar Menon about various technological developments that are helping the transportation industry in a big way. Excerpts:

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JM: What are the latest technological developments that reinforcing transportation in India?

RM: The transportation systems around which the modern world has been built are on the verge of a significant transformation. India, lingering in the transport industry have seen surge in recent years with new technology advancements. Transport plays a very vital role in the development of a country’s economy by determining overall productivity, quality of life of citizens, access to goods and services and the pattern for distribution of economic activity. Need for transportation have never been less for the people travelling through public transports.

New technologies are transforming the way citizens are planning, designing, building, and operating transportation systems. Travelers depend on traffic condition reports, electronic maps, on-board vehicle performance monitors, real-time transit arrival information, and a host of other services that did not exist a generation ago. People counting on additional advances in transportation technology, not just to get where want to go, but also to reduce greenhouse gases, improve air quality, and support economic development.

JM: You were of the view that the advancement in the technological sector is a concatenation of developments in many sectors. Can you elaborate on the same?

RM: Yes. For Instance, technological development have led to advancement in the cities and towns along with development in transportation sector either it is roadways, waterways, or airways. Blooming in transportation sector also impacts directly on the accessibility of backward towns and cities with time passage, thus flourishing the trade within the economy. Hence disgracing inflation and towards a healthy economy.

JM: What are the new transportation technologies that are emerging to meet these challenges?

RM: New transportation technologies are emerging to meet these challenges, including connected and autonomous vehicles, alternative fuels, key-less fleet management and traffic analytics, as well as local zoning and planning policies that support transit-oriented development. New technology for on-road communications will dramatically change how vehicles operate and provide information and capabilities for better, real-time traffic management — if the necessary network infrastructure is in place.
The introduction of smartphones through development in telecom sector has boosted the transportation in many folds. Ever thought of the app serving technologies helping people in fewer seconds to light up their day-to-day tasks with minimal hindrance? Yes it is, you may say! Instigation of app based technologies has minimized the long-distance travelling of people very plain sailing. These services running handy through smart phone have seen an instant growth in following years. People now don’t need to wait long hours to hire cab services or taxies or auto-rickshaws, they just need to handy the app and enjoy the rides.

JM: Can you talk about U-RYD Transport Solutions?

RM: U-RYD is a mobile application and website providing millions of people an approach to a simple and a quickest way to get cab facilities anywhere anytime. In this professional and speedily growing world, everybody needs a one-time solution for the transportation facilities without any hindrance. That is where U-RYD brings an excellent solution by creating better possibilities for travelers, drivers and destinations. U-RYD is officially the US firm, a transport service provider, which has launched its services in the burgeoning Indian market.

JM: What is the concept behind the plan?

RM: India is a potential market with digitally advanced smart phone users. With its Indian start-up venture, I believe in creating a better environment with new technologies. U-RYD has fused the technology with transport by giving a better option of App based technology and website and redefining transportation of people.

JM: What are the unique features of U-RYD?

RM: One of the best features of U-RYD is that the payment mode is very hand and simple. All the customers can do is to pay either through cash or card, in advance – through RYD Money (Wallet) or cash-in-arrival. Our App will not just help our patrons to explore cab facilities, it also helps them customising their schedule and has it properly planned. Initiating with earning opportunities for every ride customers enjoy also, U-RYD comes with simple and approachable application with also guiding the directions and locations as well. Every feedback by the user is valuable to us. Furthermore, we request U-RYD users (Users/Drivers) to share their feedback honestly.

With TheMobileWallet App 100 million Indian users to go cashless

What with the quick paced developments in the Fintech space, with the introduction of The MobileWallet (TMW) Mobile App has made it possible for you to Go Cashless and pay for your daily purchases without having to reach for your wallet. The brainchild of Vinay Kalantri, Managing Director of The MobileWallet Pvt. Ltd., TMW aims to be a Complete Solution for all payments that a user makes on day to day basis, according to a company statement.

App home screen
Put aside all your payment hassles by simply downloading TheMobileWallet (TMW) App now available on the Play Store. Your one-stop solution for making easy payments using just your Mobile Phones, The MobileWallet (TMW) is the latest digital wallet that enables users to make payments in a matter of seconds, by simply scanning a QR (Quick Response) available with all TMW Authorized Merchants from the TMW App. A wonder wallet in the making TMW is safe, efficient, convenient and most reliable.

The user of The MobileWallet will be rewarded through its unique self-managed loyalty programme for all spends made using TMW. Making payments for your daily requirements at your local store, making travel bookings like Airline Tickets & Hotel Reservations will now turn into a rewarding experience with The MobileWallet. That’s not all; users can also transfer Money to Friends and Relatives or Request for Money from Friends and Relatives with The Mobile.

Speaking about The MobileWallet, Kalantri pointed out: “We are empowering India and Indians to Go Cashless and be a part of the world’s largest movement to create a Cashless Society. We are empowering our users and Merchant Partners with a quick, secure and easy to use payment solution which will make everyday Life Easy by reducing the hassles and need to keep loaded physical wallets or worrying about small change and currency.”

The MobileWallet is targeting a Merchant Universe of 1 Million Merchants in the offline space in the next one year and has put together an army of 1200 Merchant relation executives to achieve the number. It will also target getting 10% of the population of India as users to kick start the initiative of making India a Cashless Society.

All the users and authorized TMW Merchants will also be a part of the overall thrust towards a Cashless Society being spearheaded by the Government of India as mentioned in the Budget Speech of the Finance Minister in February 2015. They would also benefit from any tax benefits that may be proposed by the Finance Minister in the Budget for the Financial Year 17 – 18.
Simply Click here http://bit.ly/1NcPJtX to Download The MobileWallet now! Or Scan the QR Code:

The Mobile Wallet Pvt. Ltd. is a new age start up that has in the short period launched The MobileWallet. The MobileWallet (TMW), the Brain child of Mr. Vinay Kalantri, is a digital wallet providing a payment solution for customers and businesses that will make Life Easy for all concerned. Using QR (Quick Response) Code Technology, TMW will enable its users and merchants to make and accept payments using just their Mobile Phones in three simple steps. The technology will empower the merchant to accept payments without having to invest in POS machines and will make it simpler for every Indian to Go Cashless.

The user of The MobileWallet will be able to make payments for daily requirements at their local kirana stores, utility bills & recharges, make Travel Bookings like (Domestic & International) Airline Ticket & hotel Reservations, Shop Online, transfer Money to Friends and Relatives, Request Money from Friends and Relatives, pay insurance premiums, shop at branded and high street stores among other benefits. The user will also be rewarded with Reward Points for all purchases that he pays for using the TMW App.

The Authorized Merchants of The MobileWallet will be a part of the World’s largest initiative to create a Cashless Society by simply signing up to be a part of the TMW Merchant Network. The Merchant can accept payments from their customers using the QR Code that would be assigned to them reducing the requirement of procuring large sums of Small Change in Coins and Currency Notes of Small Denomination there by saving them time and money. Apart from the savings in time and money, the TMW Authorized Merchant will also have access to additional sources of business and revenue by simply using the TMW Merchant App.

Datsun Drive-on cavalcade in Delhi marking its first anniversary in India

Datsun, part of Nissan has celebrated one year of its existance in India by hosting the Datsun Drive-On cavalcade in Delhi.

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Over 100 Datsun owners came together to celebrate the brand’s first anniversary in the Indian market. What is more, the Chennai-based Datsun is also celebrating the occasion with underprivileged children at 100 locations pan India as part of its CSR activities, according to a company statement.

Guillaume Sicard and Bollywood star Ayushmann Khurana celebrating brand Datsun's 1st anniversry in Delhi

The start of the ‘Datsun Drive-On’ convoy, consisting of an impressive line-up of Datsun GO and GO+ cars, was flagged off by Guillaume Sicard, President, Nissan India Operations and Bollywood actor Ayushmann Khurrana in the capital city. The ‘Datsun Drive-On’ celebratory drive will also be hosted across seven cities including Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Kochi, Ahmedabad and Guwahati.

Guillaume-Sicard-Ayushmann-Khurana-underprivileged children

The convoys celebrate the first year since the Datsun GO hatchback went on sale in 2014. The celebrations in Delhi were marked by a musical performance including a jamming session with the talented Ayushmann Khurrana, with Guillaume Sicard joining him on stage.

Giving the signal for the ‘Datsun Drive-On’ to start, Mr. Sicard said, “India was the first market to begin selling Datsun products after it was announced in 2012 that the brand would be reintroduced, and we are proud to celebrate this milestone in Datsun’s history in India.

Since then Datsun has had an encouraging year both in India – where our happy customers are a testimony to this – as well as other world markets. ‘Datsun Drive-On’ is our way of showing our strong commitment towards our customers. Both Datsun GO and GO+ have been received well in India and we look forward to adding more products to our portfolio in the future.”

Talking about his association Datsun, Ayushmann Khurrana said: “I am very proud to be associated with Datsun. It is a young and dynamic brand that resonates with my personality completely. It has been a great experience today to meet Datsun owners and get to know their experiences with their cars. This has strengthened my belief in the brand”.

Conceived with the vision of “mobility for all”, the Datsun GO was made available to Indian customers in early April last year and Datsun GO+ was added to the stable earlier this year in January. Datsun vehicles are available across 176 Nissan-Datsun Dealerships and standalone outlets in India.

Nissan Motor India Private Ltd. (NMIPL) is a 100% subsidiary of Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. Japan. The company was incorporated in 2005 and offers innovative and exciting products across hatchback, MUV, SUV and sedan segments in India. Nissan together with its global alliance partner Renault set up a manufacturing plant and a Research & Development Centre near Chennai. Nissan in India has a portfolio of two brands, Nissan and Datsun. For more information, visit http://www.nissan.in.

Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. announced the return of the Datsun brand, Nissan’s third global brand, alongside Nissan and Infiniti, in March 2012. Datsun provides a sustainable motoring experience to optimistic up-and-coming customers in high-growth markets. Datsun represents 80 years of accumulated Japanese car-making expertise and is an important part of Nissan’s DNA. Datsun started sales in India, Indonesia, Russia and South Africa from 2014. For more information, visit http://www.datsun.co.in.

Datsun originated in Japan as DAT-GO (the DAT-car) almost a century ago in 1914. The word DAT means ‘lightning-fast’ in Japanese but is also a reference to the first letters of family names of the three financiers who supported the business at the time: Den, Aoyama and Takeuchi. Using the same logic, it was promoted as Durable, Attractive and Trustworthy, or DAT for short. In 1933, Nissan’s founding father Yoshisuke Aikawa took over the business with a vision of “mobility for all”. The introduction of a light-weight, economical yet resilient car to meet the aspirations of young Japanese people in the early 1930s was named the ‘son of DAT’ – Datson – which later changed to Datsun. Local engineering and mass-production made the founder’s dream a reality.

Global Academy of Automotive Retail Excellence focuses on bridging gap between trained manpower requirement

The Global Academy of Automotive Retail Excellence (GAARE) has pioneered its highly industry specific skills development programme in automotive retail focused at bridging the gap between trained manpower requirement and exponential growth that the automobile industry will witness in future.

GAARE

Skill development

With high emphasis on employability, GAARE gives utmost importance to promoting ‘Skills Development’. It also promises a 100% job placement to all the enrolled candidates with big names in automobile dealerships. The state of the art institute set up in Pune, Maharashtra is equipped with modern classrooms and a full-fledged library to provide students with all the knowledge they need. The students are trained in fundamental automotive technology including the latest features to ensure proficient product knowledge. The institute comprises of a team of passionate, highly competent and experienced faculty with more than 20 years of experience.

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Atul Bapat, Chairman, GAARE said: “The automobile sector is experiencing a huge gap in the need of trained manpower and the growth of the sector. At GAARE, we aim to fulfil the expectations of both the automotive dealers as well as our students. We have state-of-the-art facilities and an innovative and pedagogic approach, like role plays, case studies, highly interactive sessions, and videos to ensure a proper mix of theory and practical training. I am confident that this program will induct highly skilled and specialised manpower from within the country that will deliver customer services at international standards.”

The first batch of the six months Advanced Diploma in Automotive Retail Sales will commence from mid-July 2015. The curriculum comprises of subjects that ensure overall development of job ready professional sales consultants, ready to be placed at reputed automobile dealerships in India and abroad.

The six subjects are:

• Automotive Technology
• Persuasive Communication
• The Art of Selling
• Personality Development
• Customer Relationship Management
• Sales Business Management

“Customer satisfaction is becoming the focal point of every organisation. Hence more and more dealerships consistently strive to engage expert, knowledgeable, motivated, and professional sales staff. GAARE provides an excellent learning environment to enrich the students to understand the intricacies of automobile selling through structured methodologies and extensive role-plays”, added Bapat.
About Global Academy of Automotive Retail Excellence -GAARE:
The Global Academy of Automotive Retail Excellence (GAARE) is a pioneering institute offering highly focused skills development program in the automotive retail industry. The academy aims to bridge the gap between trained manpower requirement and exponential growth of the automobile industry in the future.
Backed by experts with extensive automotive industry experience, GAARE gives utmost importance to promoting skill development. The course offered at GAARE has been designed keeping in mind the conceptual clarity as well as the practical know-how required in the automotive retail environment.

Oommen Chandy flags off 20 Tata Marcopolo buses from Ernakulam

The Chief Minister of Kerala, Oommen Chandy flagged off ten Tata Marcopolo buses on April 12, 2015 for operation by the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) under the newly formed Kerala Urban Road Transport Corporation (KURTC).

Tata Marcopolo bus inaugurated at Thevara Bus Station by KURTC

Flagged off from Ernakulam, Thevara Bus Station, these buses are part of the 97 vehicles ordered by KSRTC with Tata Motors, under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNUrM) phase II.

According to a company statement, Tata Motors will supply TATA STARBUS URBAN 9/12 BS III, from TATA MARCOPOLO, offering upto 40 seats with a capacity to accommodate standing passengers. Designed for easy entry and exit, the bus is built with a floor height of 900 mm and 12 meters in length, with a wide passage way for easy movement and entry and exit, due to its well-spaced seating in the 2X2 configuration. The bus is also equipped with double overhead grab rods and is airy due to its newly designed long sliding glass windows. A smartly designed new age signature front face will allow easy identification of the new TATA MARCOPOLO bus from a distance.

Equipped with a proven Tata Cummins ISBe 5.9 BS III Engine and 6-SPEED Gear Box, the new buses will provide for maximum performance and efficiency, also confirming to the Urban Bus Specifications – II, for faster acceleration of 0.8 minutes per second. These buses roll-over tested, equipped with air-suspension at the rear and are also built such that lesser noise, vibration and harshness enters the cabin, for comfortable travel.

For additional safety, the TATA MARCOPOLO buses are also well lit-up, has an emergency exit at the rear and is fit with a fire extinguisher. The buses are also fitted with On-Bus Intelligent Transport System (ITS) like video cameras for surveillance, along with twin on-board LED destination boards, has a GPS system, a public announcement system, along with on board diagnostics.

The drivers’ space is also ergonomically laid out for comfortable operations, with a 4-way adjustable seat, and a wide angle wind shield for maximum driver visibility.

Tata Motors has also received an order for over 3500 buses nationally, under JnNURM II. Of these Tata Motors has an order of over 900 buses in the Southern region, from Karnataka, Pondicherry, Kerala and North-East Karnataka.

TATA MARCOPOLO is a bus and coach manufacturing company headquartered in Dharwad, Karnataka, established through a 51:49 joint venture between Tata Motors and Brazil-based Marcopolo S.A. a global leader in body-building for buses and coaches. The JV established in 2006 has delivered more than 70000 buses till date in India and Overseas market.

TATA MARCOPOLO has two manufacturing plants, one in Dharwad with an installed capacity of 15,000 buses per annum and another one at Lucknow with capacity of 3,000 buses a year. Through this JV, TMML has acquired skills of Product Innovations, Process Innovation introducing world class buses, with the most relevant global technologies, and most importantly are constantly learning to manage these technologies incorporating flexibility to introduce buses for today and the future, with speed and in-line with varied market requirements.

Tata Motors Limited is India’s largest automobile company, with consolidated revenues of INR 2,32,834 crores (USD 38.9 billion) in 2013-14. Through subsidiaries and associate companies, Tata Motors has operations in the UK, South Korea, Thailand, South Africa and Indonesia. Among them is Jaguar Land Rover, the business comprising the two iconic British brands. It also has an industrial joint venture with Fiat in India. With over 8 million Tata vehicles plying in India, Tata Motors is the country’s market leader in commercial vehicles and among the top in passenger vehicles. It is also the world’s fifth largest truck manufacturer and fourth largest bus manufacturer. Tata cars, buses and trucks are being marketed in several countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, South East Asia, South America, CIS and Russia.