The Tech Panda list of 5 quirky startups of the month
The Tech Panda takes a look at five startups that are finding solution to problems with quirky innovations and ideas.
With young consumers entering the markets, the modern consumer looks for novel innovations in each sector. New fangled is the way to go. Like Bakeys making edible cutlery or Online Prasad letting you be lazy and spiritual at the same time, or Mokshshil letting you book your own funeral.
Today’s consumer seeks privacy protection, sustainable products, and innovation. For example, Doosra gives users the power to decide which calls reach their phones. Boson Whitewater converts water from Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) into potable high quality water. The Live Green Co blends ancestral plant nutrition wisdom with biotech and ML for natural sustainable food. BIO D is using used cooking oil to check pollution.
To fulfil these new fangled demands, startups brainstorm to come up with unique unprecedented solutions. Technology enables the transformation of these ideas into reality.
peAR Technologies, a 3D and Augmented Reality app, lets you view an entire dish live on table before ordering it at a restaurant. Plop Stories offers a Bandersnatch like reading experience for a smartphone generation. 27Mantraa is a concierge service provider for divinity.
Here are five startups that are finding solution to problems with quirky innovations and ideas.
Futwork is building the future of work for tele-sales agents with its unique work from home model that offers weekly salary, flexibility and support. The team is 100% remote and spread out across India.
Niranjan Nakhate, Cofounder, says, “The last one year of building Futwork has given us a great view into how we can help companies increase conversions and revenue, with tele-calling at the core.”
The startup is building the future of inside sales. Any enterprise can set up and ramp up an inside sales operation, using Futwork’s platform to access a remote, distributed online sales team.
The last one year of building Futwork has given us a great view into how we can help companies increase conversions and revenue, with tele-calling at the core
The platform is also helping transform the lives and families of Tier 2/3 Indians helping them earn a steady income. It aims to tap into the $29 billion BPO industry in India with its sales-as-a-service model.
Futwork was founded by Armaan Vananchal, Niranjan Nakhate and Sri Ganapathy, who come with considerable experience and backgrounds in product, business and sales. They saw an emerging opportunity in the gig space due to COVID and focussed on a larger market by pivoting from their earlier product. The team’s previous business (Studentidentify.com) was acquired by UNiDAYS, the UK based Global market leader in the student affinity space.
The startup supports more than 20 customers including Khatabook, Tata, Shyplite, Growth School, Upgrad, Meesho and Cashify.
Companies can harness the power of Futwork’s sales tele-calling teams and deploy them on-demand. Thousands of gig workers across India work as sales tele-callers on the Futwork app where they are trained and matched with jobs. These callers are earning as much as INR 20,000 per month while working remotely from home. The company offers customers end to end sales tele-calling for use cases such as lead qualification, product demos, session booking and customer feedback.
The startup has a variable cost model where companies pay for output only. They enable 10x faster setup time than internal teams/call centres and are 20-40% more cost effective. Companies have access to pre-trained and vetted talent with 100% transparency in reporting. The system is secure and scalable (ISO compliant). Companies don’t need to worry about operations, infrastructure or manpower.
Smytten is an Indian D2C product discovery and trial platform that lets you try genuine sample products online. Launched by ex Unilever and Google executives, Siddhartha Nangia and Swagata Sarangi, respectively, the startup is enhancing the way India’s online consumers discover, interact with, and try consumer products and services.
It hosts 900+ brand partners on its platform across lifestyle categories, ranging from fragrances, beauty & makeup, male grooming, food & beverages, baby & mother care, health & wellness and offers product samples to consumers across these categories to help them make the right purchase decisions. It also offers its brand partners a suite of services, data & insights needed for scaling up customer acquisition, product development & channel expansion.
Our mission is to democratize access and experience of premium & D2C brands for the Indian consumers by offering direct-to-home product trials
Swagat Sarangi, Co-Founder at Smytten, said, “Our mission is to democratize access and experience of premium & D2C brands for the Indian consumers by offering direct-to-home product trials. We are building a robust tech platform to make the pre-purchase journey and decision-making process of consumers very seamless by bringing in the power of trial experiences, data, content and community all together.”
Their integrated approach to consumer funnel and technological innovations to solve the key challenges faced by many D2C brands, makes them the unequivocal leader in a potentially $10B sampling and advertising market. The data-driven experiential solutions are already making waves and Smytten is becoming the first port of call for every consumer brand.
Over a half a decade now, Smytten has been transforming the pre-purchase product trial experience for consumers by helping them to try many new products and brands at the comfort of their homes with just a click of a button. The company is rapidly gaining popularity amongst millennial consumers and has witnessed an explosive growth in its user base in the last 9-12 months. With more than 10 million users, Smytten is one of the leading innovators in consumer tech, fuelling the growth of a potentially large D2C market in India that’s expected to be a $100 Billion market by 2025.
The company is planning to double down on its hiring across supply chain, marketing and other key functions. Today, it employs more than 300 people with a vibrant culture and strong focus on talent retention. It is scaling up its leadership team to fuel the next phase of growth across its offices in Bengaluru and Ahmedabad.
Many leading D2C & multi-national brands like Mamaearth, Plum, mCaffeine, WOW Skin, Maybelline, Man Matters, Bodywise, The Man Company, & more are already leveraging Smytten’s platform extensively to reach relevant users at scale and deliver first-hand product experience through sampling.
To date, Smytten has raised more than $20 million in institutional funding. Smytten also counts some marquee angel investors such as Rajan Anandan, ex-MD of Google India & South East Asia, and many other industry veterans as its early backers.
Aerotime is a calendar that solves for productivity losses due to fragmented meetings and constant workplace distractions, without changing anything in the user’s workflow.
Piyush Narwani, co-founder of Aerotime, says, “Time is one of the most valuable assets we have, yet we waste it without realizing it. Prioritization and context switching are two of the biggest reasons for this. Aerotime helps you be intentional about time and automates many workflows to save time. Our vision is to help humans live life in a flow state – together, let’s be effective and not busy.”
Aerotime was founded in 2021 by Piyush Narwani and Dhruv Goel who come with strong product and engineering experience having worked with Linkedin and AWS respectively.
A study compiled by Atlassian quotes $37 billion as salary cost of unnecessary meetings for US businesses alone.
Most companies run on a manager’s schedule because it is very hard to find time with them, leading to spaced-out meetings on the calendar for everyone else. This calendar fragmentation is terrible for deep work, making workhours highly unproductive – no wonder the real work starts after 5 pm.
Our vision is to help humans live life in a flow state – together, let’s be effective and not busy
Aerotime maximizes uninterrupted free time for deep work for the whole team by recommending perfect time slots for new as well as existing meetings. More than 20 parameters go into these recommendations like preferred focus times, past meeting schedules, per-user time fragmentation, etc.
It also helps you kill distractions with focus music and a Slack integration that snoozes notifications while updating your status when you’re focusing. The product is live across 70 teams from different companies and is now coming out of private beta.
Better Opinions is an app that operates in the realm of the prediction market and allows users to trade their opinions with real money on events in various categories such as cricket, cryptocurrency, politics and entertainment.
Our vision from here is therefore not only to create a stock market of opinions and make trading accessible to all, but to build a social platform where our users can trade and engage
Samay Jain, Co-founder CEO, Better Opinions, further added, “We have so far seen an excited user base, who are eager to trade and invest in our platform, and their demand for more events and categories is a testament to the potential of our product. Our vision from here is therefore not only to create a stock market of opinions and make trading accessible to all, but to build a social platform where our users can trade and engage”.
Better Opinions was also part of the W22 batch of YCombinator. The team consists of founders, Samay Jain and Soumyajit Das, who are former employees of Gojek. The team also consists of graduates from IIT Kharagpur, IIT Delhi and NALSAR, among others.
Prediction markets are a relatively new asset class where users can trade on future unknown events and earn money. Since its launch, Better Opinions has expanded from continuous double auction trades, where users can trade on yes/no outcomes, to polls, where users can choose from multiple options to trade.
The startup also plans to add a social layer on to trading, to make trading more accessible, fun and educational.
Within a span of 6 months, the company has had over 600,000 users and has covered over 14,000 events. It had previously raised an amount of $700K in their pre-seed round from investors including Soma Capital and Java Capital.
Webnyay has developed an easy-to-use technology system for grievance redressal and dispute resolution. It has proprietary technology that allows users to draft legal documents for arbitration without an advocate or external legal help. It is available in multiple languages and has been used to resolve grievances and disputes in numerous sectors including media and entertainment, banking and fintech, healthcare, and eCommerce.
Among other features, Webnyay has developed a document management system tailored for lawyers, automated creation of electronic hearing bundles in document-heavy and complex disputes as well as a sophisticated messaging and video conferencing solution that supports online (and hybrid) court and redressal proceedings.
Our mission is to use technology to increase access to justice and enable ease of doing business
Vishwam Jindal, Co-founder, and CEO, of Webnyay, says, “We are building the justice delivery ecosystem for the Internet. We want to help businesses and government bodies resolve grievances and disputes in a speedy and cost-effective manner. Our mission is to use technology to increase access to justice and enable ease of doing business. We are building AI and machine learning algorithms for faster and automated resolution of grievances and disputes.”
Founded in 2020 by Vishwam Jindal, who brings in over 9 years of experience in dispute resolution, public policy, white collar investigations, and sanctions work, along with Ishita Jindal with over 6 years of work experience in product design and management.
In India alone, dispute resolution costs result in losses of over $56 billion every year. The technology provided by Webnyay can help optimize timelines and processes for resolving disputes, which is an untapped challenge.
Numerous Indian businesses rely on Webnyay’s technology to resolve grievances and disputes, and this has resulted in massive savings of time and costs.
Businesses, lawyers, and arbitrators from numerous countries have used the platform for managing disputes and conducting their arbitration and mediation proceedings. Its users include retired Chief Justice of India, former Supreme Court judges, and arbitrators from across the world.