Enlarged Air India Group Continues Progressive Network Optimisation

Bangalore, 07 February 2023: Air India, India’s leading airline and a Star Alliance member, has announced the latest step in its progress optimisation of network following the full subsidiarization of Air Asia India in November 2022.

In this current phase, three stations – Bhubaneswar (BBI), Bagdogra (IXB) and Surat (STV) – will now be served by Air Asia India, rather than Air India. Delhi- Visakhapatnam and Mumbai-Lucknow will be operated exclusively by Air India. In all cases, the flight frequency remains the same.

Additionally, Air India will enhance connections from Delhi and/or Mumbai to Ahmedabad (AMD), Cochin (COK), Trivandrum (TRV), Visakhapatnam (VTZ) and Nagpur (NAG) to enable seamless, two-way domestic-international-connectivity with long-haul international flights operating from the two metros. Air India will also be increasing frequencies between Delhi and Chennai, Hyderabad and Bengaluru, and between Mumbai to Chennai, Kolkata and Bengaluru.

Commenting on this expansion, Mr. Campbell Wilson, CEO and MD, Air India, said, “The acquisition of Air Asia India, together with the ongoing restructuring and expansion of Air India, accords an unprecedented opportunity to optimise the Group’s flight network. Specifically, it allows us to better match routes with the most appropriate airline business model, focusing the full-service airline on metro-metro markets and high connectivity routes, and the low-cost airline on more leisure oriented or price sensitive markets. This will improve our attractiveness to corporate travellers and leisure travellers alike, as well as improve connectivity between key domestic cities and Air India’s fast-expanding international network.”

Covestro decides to discontinue Maezio® product line

As part of its ongoing, Group-wide portfolio optimization efforts, in the future Covestro will increasingly focus the Engineering Plastics business entity on its core business. As a result, the Maezio® product line with highly specialized fiber-reinforced composites and the associated production at the Markt Bibart site are to be discontinued in the course of the current year. “With its Group-wide ‘Sustainable Future’ strategy, Covestro is consistently aligning itself with the needs of high-growth customer industries to generate sustainable growth in an increasingly competitive market,” says Lily Wang, Head of Covestro’s Engineering Plastics business entity. “Despite major investments in the development of the Maezio® business and in production technology, as well as technological advances achieved as a result, we were ultimately able to leverage only a few synergies with our core business. Therefore, after a thorough review, we have decided that the Maezio® product line will be discontinued. This decision was not easy for us,” Wang adds.

Covestro PNG

Covestro started working in the field of continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites in 2015 with the acquisition of TCG Thermoplast Composite GmbH. Following the strategic decision to discontinue the Maezio® product line after almost eight years, Covestro searched intensively for a buyer for the Markt Bibart site. As this attempt was ultimately not successful, Covestro decided to close the site later this year. Most recently, 48 of the approximately 7,600 employees in Germany were employed there. “We have initiated an extensive sales process, which, unfortunately, was not successful. Our focus on the ground is now on providing the best possible support to all colleagues. To this end, we will be working closely with the local employee representatives to find fair solutions for all those affected and to ensure that the closure process is socially responsible,” emphasizes Site Manager John Bauer.

A focus on core business

Thermoplastic fiber composites are a highly specialized and competitive niche business. Covestro has invested in building up the business since taking over the site in 2015 and has made very good technical progress in production. Nevertheless, the company has not succeed to scale the Maezio® business with sufficient success in the market. There are only a few synergies with the core business of the Engineering Plastics business entity and the vast majority of key account business. In addition, the typical customers for thermoplastic composites only order on the basis of joint, complex and time-consuming technical application development, and then only in very small quantities. This is in marked contrast to the far predominant distribution model and key account business in the Covestro Group.

Covestro is thus sharpening its focus on its core Engineering Plastics business by discontinuing the Maezio® products. Major customers in the automotive, electronics and healthcare divisions, among others, use these high-quality polycarbonates for further processing in a wide range of products.

5 Women Entrepreneurs Sterling in the STEM Industry

International Day of Women and Girls in Science is celebrated on February 11 to honour and recognise the contributions that women have made to science, to encourage young girls and women to consider careers in STEM fields, and to educate men about their responsibility to support and mentor women and girls who are interested in technical and scientific fields in their academic and professional lives.

Indian women have often shown that science and business can coexist, either by doing great things in the field of research or breaking into the world of entrepreneurship. It takes far more than we believe it can to turn a concept for beginning your own business into reality. These five ladies have merely overcome all expectations set by society to achieve their current status. They have decided to pursue entrepreneurship as a means of resolving the country’s current problems, and they are succeeding brilliantly.

Here is a list of the top women entrepreneurs in India who, despite all obstacles and setbacks, managed to start their own companies from scratch thanks to their unwavering resolve and work ethic.

Upasana Taku (MobiKwik)

Upasana Taku (MobiKwik)MobiKwik and Zaakpay both have Upasana Taku as a co-founder. A digital wallet and mobile phone-based payment system are both offered by MobiKwik, a supplier of payment services.

Upasana completed her secondary education in Surat before enrolling in the Industrial Engineering programme at the National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar. She subsequently completed her MS in Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University in the US. She began her career in San Diego with HSBC before moving on to PayPal. 2009 saw her return and launch Zaakpay. At the same time, she met Bipin, who she later learned was keen to contribute to the enhancement of the startup ecosystem.

Within six months, Upasana was assisting him in various areas of the company; subsequently, she became a co-founder of Mobikwik. As a mobile wallet, Mobikwik launched its business to make digital payments simple for its consumers. Since then, their use cases have grown to encompass bill payments, online shopping, food delivery, payments at gas stations, big-box retailers, pharmacies, Kirana shops, etc. Through the Unified Payments Interface (“UPI”), MobiKwik Wallet, and MobiKwik Wallet to Bank payments, their platform also supports peer-to-peer payments. In addition to more than 3.45 million e-commerce, physical retail, and biller partners, they have accumulated over 108 million Registered Users throughout the years.

In 2017, she was given the Best Woman Entrepreneur Award.

Sonam Srivastava (Wright Research)

Sonam SrivastavaSonam Srivastava is the Founder of Wright Research, an Artificial Intelligence-powered Robo Advisor.

Wright Research is a Mumbai-based SEBI Registered Investment Advisory firm and an AI-powered Robo advisor creating multi-factor tactical model portfolios. It was founded in 2019 by Sonam Srivastava (IIT Kanpur alumnus). Wright Research uses Deep-Tech, AI & ML modules to invest and a smart beta-based investment strategy backed by quantitative research. It’s a complete computer-based strategy that reduces the possibility of silly human errors and manages the risk effectively and efficiently. Their quant research-based portfolios like Wright Momentum have given up to 59.23% CAGR in the last couple of years.

Through artificial intelligence and data science-based research in investing, they help investors find the best investments. They work across market factors, time horizons & asset classes to maximise returns while minimising the risks. Startups often need help with using technology, and they have also struggled with this. Some of the difficulties of note have been: at the early stage, they had limited financial and human resources, making investing in and implementing new technologies challenging. As startups grow and handle increasing amounts of sensitive data, they face challenges related to data security and compliance with relevant regulations. Scalability is a constant challenge that requires them to invest continuously in and adapt their systems.

They see an immense opportunity in using AI for Financial Applications. AI and ML can be used to analyse financial data, make predictions about market trends and investment opportunities, and create a much better user experience than traditional means. Similarly, there is an excellent opportunity in Retail where AI and ML can optimise pricing and inventory management, personalise customer recommendations, and improve supply chain efficiency. In other fields like Health care, Manufacturing, Transportation and Energy, AI & ML can continue to add immense benefits.

Divya Gokulnath (Byju’s)

Byju’s, one of India’s largest ed-tech firms, was co-founded by Divya Gokulnath.

Divya GokulnathFrom Bengaluru, Divya pursued a B.Tech in biotechnology. She began working as a teacher before helping to co-found Byju’s in 2011. More than 150 million students worldwide receive highly adaptable, interesting, and efficient learning solutions from Byju’s, a leading company in ed-tech. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Sequoia Capital, Bond Capital, Silver Lake, BlackRock, Sofina, Verlinvest, Tencent, Prosus (formerly Naspers Ventures), General Atlantic, Tiger Global, Qatar Investment Authority, Owl Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Times Internet, Aarin Capital, and IFC are just a few of the prestigious investors who support it. They have acquired more than 15 businesses since 2017, including ones from the United States, the United Kingdom, Austria, India, and Singapore.

With tools that lie at the intersection of mobile, interactive content and individualised learning approaches, Byju’s offers a top-notch learning experience. Learning is made entertaining by BYJU’s geography-independent solutions and 12,000+ teachers through visual and contextual programmes that adjust to each student’s particular learning style, ability level, and speed. Additionally, in order to increase engagement and support even more students in becoming active and lifelong learners, they have creative relationships with some of the most well-known businesses in the world, such as Disney and Google.

Divya oversaw brand marketing, content, and user experience during the COVID-19 shutdown in India. She won several honours, including Women Who Make India, the Entrepreneur of the Year, and the MAKERS India Conference.

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw (Biocon Limited)

Kiran Mazumdar ShawThe founder and current executive chairperson of Biocon Limited is Kiran Mazumdar Shaw. Bangalore-based Biocon Limited is a biopharmaceutical business.

After completing her zoology undergraduate degree at Bangalore University in 1973, Kiran went on to obtain her master degree in brewing from the University of Ballarat in Melbourne. In 1978, she founded Biocon India in the garage of her Bangalore rental home.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted its clearance to Biocon in 2001 to produce a cholesterol-lowering chemical, making it the first Indian firm to do so. Later, the business saw rapid growth.

India’s largest and fully integrated biopharmaceutical business, Biocon Limited, publicly listed in 2004. It is an international biopharmaceutical company that provides services to clients in over 120 nations. They have made sophisticated medicines for chronic illnesses, where medical needs are mostly unmet and treatment costs are high, accessible thanks to their aim of improving global healthcare through innovative and reasonably priced biopharmaceuticals.

In the meanwhile, Kiran began to receive several honours, including Padma Bhushan, Businesswoman of the Year, and Technology Pioneer.

Khushboo Jain (Impact Guru)

Khushboo Jain (Impact Guru)Co-founder and chief operating officer of Impact Guru, a platform for fundraising for organisations, personal causes, and medical costs, is Khushboo Jain. From 2004 to 2007, she earned both an MBA and a bachelor’s degree in business and management.

She has degrees in a variety of other fields as well. Through its crowdfunding platform and international partners, ImpactGuru has raised more than $200 million since its founding in 2015, which has aided in providing medical care for Indians suffering from serious illnesses.

Through the website, over 10 lakh contributors from 165 countries have given an average of $1.50 each minute.

Impact Guru is a Harvard-incubated fintech startup that provides an online platform for corporate and individual donors to support social causes in India. Since its launch, Impact Guru has raised Rs 329 crores for a variety of causes, making it the largest crowdfunding site in India. They were incubated at the Harvard Innovation Lab Venture Initiation Program in the United States and the Impact Hub’s PACT Social Enterprise Incubator (Singapore). Mumbai, New Delhi, Singapore, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, and San Francisco are among the locations where Impact Guru maintains offices.

ImpactGuru has generated more than Rs 15 crore from more than 800 COVID-19-related fundraisers to assist everyday gamblers, elderly people impacted by the crisis, healthcare professionals whose salaries have been slashed as a result of COVID-19, as well as animals that are suffering because of this issue.

The IPRS hosts two sessions at the iconic Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2023

New Delhi, 7th February 2023: After a two-year absence, the iconic and much-awaited Kala Ghoda Arts Festival is back to celebrate cinema, food, literature, visual art, culture, music and more.

The Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) will host two events at the festival: “Sadda Haq Aithe Rakh” on 7th February, between 6 pm- 7 pm at NGMA, Colaba. The workshop will be conducted by Eminent Lyricist, Screenwriter & IPRS Board Member Mayur Puri, who will take the audience through the nuances of Songwriting and How to Manage your Rights as a Creator.

‘Women Changing Music’ is a roundtable conversation organized by the IPRS at the festival celebrating women game changers in the Indian music industry. Srushti Tawde, Priyanka Khimani, Mercy Tetseo from The Tetseo Sisters, Gauri Yadwadkar, and Nirmika Singh will be among the notable panelists. The engaging roundtable will be hosted by Stutee Ghosh. On 9th February, 6 pm – 7 pm at NGMA, Colaba.

IPRS has initiated a slew of initiatives aimed at identifying, empowering, and promoting female music creators. The IPRS, ‘Women Changing Music’ roundtable will provide an inspirational and enlightening chance to hear prominent women in music who are smashing the glass ceiling by making history and leading the way for others to follow.

Commenting on the same, Lyricist, screenwriter, filmmaker, and IPRS Board Member Mayur Puri said, “As a long-time member of IPRS, I am excited to host the Sadda Haq Aithe Rakh workshop for songwriters, composers, and those interested in music. From the moment children are born till they breathe their last breath; music plays a significant role in their life. This workshop will take the audience on a journey of music creation, and how a lyricist and composer come together to make music. It will benefit all music makers who are primarily concerned with their creativity and are unaware of issues such as copyright, royalties, and other technicalities that go with the music they create. The line between the audience and the creator is blurred, making it very important for creators to understand their rights. I am delighted that one of the city’s largest cultural festivals, the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, has partnered with the IPRS on this initiative.”

Brinda Miller, Chairperson, Kala Ghoda Association, spoke about the glorious legacy of the festival, “It is a festival for and by the people. We are thrilled that the city’s beloved festival will return after a two-year hiatus. Much has happened during this period, and our theme “Past Forward” pays tribute to our 22-year legacy while designing a festival of the future. It represents the slow transition from a period of inactivity to an era of optimism, change and growth. Every year, people and enterprises from across the country come together to make this festival possible, and this year is no exception.”

Educational and interactive programs like “Sadda Haq Aithe Rakh” aims to raise awareness about current developments in the music industry and help musicians understand their rights, the importance of music royalties and how to make more with the music they create. The “Women Changing Music” roundtable is another step taken by IPRS to identify, empower and promote female creators and celebrate the women in music, who are creating history, and paving the path for others to follow.

Founded in 1999, the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival has become one of the biggest street art festivals in the country. It draws visitors from Mumbai and all over the world. With the aim of promoting arts, crafts, music and cultural heritage.

OnMobile Reports Third Quarter of Fiscal Year 2023 Results

Challenges Arena: The expansionary trend continued; revenue grew 21x since its launch and 62 cumulative customer agreements by Q3FY23

Bengaluru, 7th February 2023: OnMobile Global Limited (“OnMobile”), the global leader in mobile entertainment, today announced the financial results for the Third quarter and Nine months FY23 ended December 31, 2022.

Highlights:

  • Challenges Arena: Revenue increased by almost 52% on a QoQ and ~7x on a YoY basis and grew ~21x over the last 7 quarters
  • Challenges Arena: 62 cumulative customer confirmations and 35 customers live as on Q3FY23
  • Challenges Arena: 13.64 Mn gross subscribers as on Q3FY23
  • Challenges Arena: By Q3FY23, the Net active base increased to 3.1 Mn from 1.98 Mn in September 2022
  • ONMO B2B: 18 customers confirmed and 4 customers live as on Q3FY23. Revenue grew 77% QoQ
  • Q3FY23 revenues at INR 1,369 Mn, flat QoQ. Gross profit stood at INR 706 Mn a growth of 3.4%. Gross margin improved by 170 basis points QoQ (~53.9% gross margin in Q3FY23)
  • 9MFY23 revenues at INR 4,145 Mn, up by 0.8%; Gross profit stood at INR 2,101 Mn, a growth of 4.3% YoY basis. Gross margin improved by 150 basis points YoY (~52.9% gross margin in 9MFY23)
  • Q3FY23 PAT grew by 555% QoQ to INR 41 Mn from INR 6 Mn in Q2FY23
  • In Q3FY23 Marketing cost grew by 10.5% QoQ and 87.3% YoY primarily due to investments in new launches

Commenting on Q3FY23 results, Sanjay Baweja, CEO & MD, OnMobile, said, “Revenue was flat on a sequential basis. According to our strategy, we will continue to invest in marketing to increase our profitability in the long run. The worst is behind us, and CA and ONMO are gaining traction. We are well-positioned to achieve our goal of creating cutting-edge mobile gaming solutions thanks to our targeted execution and continued efforts to digitize our core B2B businesses.”

Asheesh Chatterjee, Global Group CFO, said, “EBITDA saw substantial growth from last quarter, lead by improvement in gross margins on account of revenue mix increasing in favor of CA which has higher margin. We are making good progress in both CA & ONMO and would see CA contributing to profitability and ONMO towards revenue growth in the coming quarters.”

Orange Egypt Partners with Fawry to Enhance Digital Payment Services

Orange Egypt Partners with Fawry to Enhance Digital Payment Services

Orange Egypt has signed a partnership agreement with Fawry, the leading provider of e-payments and digital finance solutions in Egypt, to enhance digital payment services and expand the features of Orange Cash wallet.

The collaboration strengthens Orange Cash’s position as Egypt’s leading digital payment service, providing customers with a comprehensive money management solution answering their needs with a reliable, secured, and fully compliant platform relying on the highest international technologies and security standards.

Money transfer, electricity, water, and gas bills, insurance premiums, union payments, clubs, schools, and universities, donations, ticket purchases, traffic fines, online purchases, real estate installments, bank loan settlement and merchant payments are just a few of the many services offered by Orange Cash.

Fawry is constantly looking to form lasting strategic alliances with important companies and institutions that provide e-payment services through their smart wallets. As Fawry owns the most developed systems for creating and managing e-wallets as well as the most advanced and secure fintech tools in order to support the Central Bank of Egypt’s initiatives and keep up with the digital transformation to achieve a cashless society.

This partnership fortifies Orange Cash’s role in serving customers by expanding the provision of new services and products while adhering to all regulations and regulatory requirements set by the Central Bank of Egypt.

On this occasion, Yasser Shaker, CEO at Orange Egypt said: “Today’s partnership with Fawry reaffirms the company’s strategy and commitment to accelerate financial inclusion and help turn the economy into a cashless one while ensuring that all payment needs of Egyptians are met through a comprehensive platform in cooperation with prominent local partner in this sector. Following our recent partnership with the National Bank of Egypt, this new partnership with Fawry combined with Orange’s worldwide expertise in mobile money and digital banking makes Orange Cash the strongest mobile wallet solution of Egypt with the strongest partners of the sector.”

He added: “Orange Cash provides now its customers with unprecedented digital payment capabilities in the field of e-wallets in Egypt, in a way that allows its customers to benefit from the latest global trends in this sector in a faster, safer, and more efficient way”.

Eng. Ashraf Sabry, CEO of Fawry, stated: “In response to the state’s tendency to increasingly rely on e-payment solutions in financial transactions, which has become absolutely necessary in recent years to keep up with digital transformation, Fawry has made significant investments, allowing it to serve as the strategic partner for digital transformation services as well as the development and management of mobile wallet platforms. We are pleased that all of the services and solutions offered by Fawry were created by Egyptians”.

“In order to give customers a unique, secure, and efficient experience, our partnership with Orange will greatly accelerate the development of e-payment solutions in Egypt through the widespread use of digital solutions”, he added.

Sabry emphasized Fawry’s commitment to fostering an e- payment culture throughout Egyptian society by utilizing a variety of electronic payment channels and methods for all transactions and day-to-day services. This came in line with Egypt’s Vision 2030, which aims to expand the financial sector, support and improve digital operations, and draw in new customer demographics in order to promote financial inclusion.

Will early bird discount days boost or bring in more sales for e-commerce?

By  Kumar Saurav, Global Mobile Business Head, AdCounty Media Pvt. Ltd

If there is one common fact that all marketers and business owners unanimously agree to, it is that customers have an inexplicable love for discounts. Offering discounts is one of the most sought-after ways to get hold of your target audience’s attention alongside boosting sales. The growing importance of discounts can be attributed to the advent of online shopping. Discounts can help in customer acquisition, but if not executed well, they can lead to losses and tint the brand’s reputation.

Early bird discounts refer to discounts that are restricted to only the first few customers of the latest product or service. When companies launch a new product or service, they do with the fundamental goal of creating as much awareness as possible. To penetrate the market, battle existing competition and get going with sales, most brands offer early bird discounts.

In most cases, the early bird discount strategy is effective on account of the fact that they are tied to a time limit and that quick action is needed to avail the product or service. It is this sense of urgency which then translates into the purchase.

Early bird discounts are especially effective when launching new products or services to try and get as many people as you can to buy them. Many online stores have promotional offers like pre-order discounts to drive more traffic to the new product/service. However, offering huge discounts on a product prior to its launch can reduce its value in the consumer’s mind. Thus, ensuring that the discount is only a tiny percentage of the total price of the product is crucial in order to amp up sales.

The “few-items-left” or “offer valid for 1st 30 orders only” revolves around simple psychology. Jack Brehm, in his book, ‘Theory of Psychological Reactance,’ states that consumers often lose freedom of choice when they have limited opportunities. Consequently, when the choices are limited, the urge to keep that freedom intact increases the want for the particular product. Plus, with the ‘early bird pricing”, people feel empowered since they believe they have landed a good deal.

A few steps to ensure no stone is left unturned in making the most of the early bird discount strategy are:

·       Communicate Your Value To Your TG

Leverage your online channels to create a unique connection with your visitors via storytelling and eye-catching imagery. List frequently asked questions on your website so visitors can quickly discover them.

·       A Dedicated Landing Page

Create a unique early bird pricing page and direct your visitors using social channels. Introduce deadlines and declare that a limited user base can avail the offer to entice buyers.

·       Use Email Marketing For Promotions

One of the easiest and most efficient ways to keep your product/service on top of mind is through email. Describe in your email promotion how your early bird price enables customers to purchase an incredible product for less!

·       Introduce FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

Set a deadline for the early bird pricing period in your strategy. Limit the booking window to create FOMO (fear of missing out). When stating the expiration date for your pricing offer, be specific and adhere to the deadline.

·       Track Results

Result tracking is indispensable in helping a business understand if the early bird discounting strategy is proving to be beneficial for them. Tracking the sales amount, customer acquisitions, repeat customers, revenue, etc., are instrumental in formulating a plan of action.

The 3 significant benefits tied to offering early bird discounts are:

·       Aids Data Collection For Marketing – Data is indispensable in the world of marketing.

·       Early Audience Engagement

·       The sense of urgency prompts interested buyers to spread the word about your product or service, amplifying your reach.

Authored by Kumar Saurav, Global Mobile Business Head, AdCounty Media Pvt. Ltd