The Business of Chatbots – July 30

From Apple to Amazon, Microsoft to Google, everyone is investing on chatbots, it is touted as the next app like revolution. Success of chatbot based business in China through WeChat has shown a clear precedence for rest of the world to tap this potential.

As millennials  are increasingly preferring to chat with a brand as opposed to speak on phone or write an email, the ecosystem looks favorable for startups to start investing their time and energy on building for bot-stores.

This month, we bring you an exclusive event that covers the Business of Chatbots, we’ll cover essentials that you need to know. We have two speakers, an entrepreneur and a tech expert, both having substantial experience in dealing with bots as an enabler for business.

Join us and lets discuss more.

Speaker details:

  • Apurva Nagvenkar: Machine Learning Scientist at Haptik
  • Maninderjit BindraSr. Technical Evangelist, Microsoft will talk about Why should you care about Bots? A look at conversations as a platform, cognitive services and Microsoft bot framework

Date & Time: 30th July, Saturday. 3pm to 5pm.

Venue: Zone Startups, 18th Floor, BSE Building, Dalal St. Mumbai.

Registrations: Free. Click here

Ycenter brings its Entrepreneurship and Incubation program to Mumbai

Ycenter, a global experiential learning organization, is launching India’s Next 40 – a 4 week Entrepreneurship Program – in August 2016.
You have the opportunity to build your startup from the ground up and prepare your pitch for potential investments and seed funding. The 4 week program ends with a pitch day, where investors will pick ideas to invest in.
  • 1 Month of Entrepreneurship Program by international faculty from the USA, with top investment bankers from India.
  • Real Time Guest Lectures and One-on-One Interaction with a United Nations Official and Rutgers Business School Professor.
  • Demo Day with investors from the Wadhwa Group, Fundtonic, Sequoia Capital, Microsoft, Blue Ocean Global Technology (TVF website creators) and more.
  • Chance to win 4 months of free Incubation space at BKC, with access to seed capital and Ycenter’s local and global network.
  • 100,000 USD for 3 years worth of Microsoft Bizsparks membership, to kickstart your technology needs.
  • Work in Ycenter’s  USA office, rent-free for 1month. Network with top technology startups and entrepreneurs in New York, Philadelphia and the east coast (We will provide the USA Visa invitation letter)

Click here to Apply to the program.

PS: Check out a lecture by Dhairya Pujara – Founder CEO Ycenter (Also a Faculty for this program) – Wharton Business School 2014

NEXT BIG IDEA contest 2016

Do you want to take your startup to North America?

Zone Startups India is launching the 4th edition of Next Big Idea Contest in Mumbai on 1st July and 11 cities across India in the month of July. We will like to invite you for the same. Please RSVP here

NEXT BIG IDEA contest is a joint initiative of Ryerson University and Government of Ontario, Canada. We seek to discover India’s 5 most innovative technology companies who are looking to leverage a presence in North America. Five winners of this competition will be taken to Toronto for an all-expenses paid, 2 week bespoke accelerator program. The program will use Digital Media Zone (DMZ), #1 University Business Incubator in North America in Toronto as a hub where the winners will receive mentor ship, business development advice and valuable international experience.

next big idea-zone-GBG-startup

Some of our past winners include CitrusPay, AdSparx, Vidooly, Shield Square, Konotor, Light Metrics, Plackal, FlipTech and more.

Please find the registration form below or click here


Road Show Dates and Cities:

Mumbai 1st July, 2016
Ahmadabad 4th July 2016
Pune 5th July 2016
Bangalore 7th July 2016
Hyderabad 8th July, 2016
Chennai 9th July 2016
Delhi/NCR 12th July 2016
Chandigarh 13th July
Jaipur 14th July
Goa 15th July
Kolkatta 16th July, 2016
Kochi 20th July

Job post: Marketing Lead at

eBZaar combines the comfort of buying quality groceries from your trusted nearby store with the conveniences of online shopping.

Knock Out Punch eBZaar
eBZaar’s core team is less then 5 people, with representation from people from varied academic and corporate background [IIT, IIM, Infosys, Cadbury’s, JPMorgan] and we are looking to expand this to have one or two more people to help us in our forward march. The Advisory board constitutes people from HDFC, Cargill, Fullerton etc. is looking for an astute consumer marketing person.

You will be someone with 6 to 8 years of experience across FMCG / retail businesses across sales & marketing functions and/or should have worked in an advertising agency managing clients in the FMCG/Retail/eCommerce space. You would be well versed with defining marketing & communication strategy, preparing and executing a go to market plan.

You should have a strong desire to grow a start up. You are someone who is extremely versatile and adapt to the changing business environment and consumer requirements.

You will be part of the core leadership team working with a talented bunch of people bounded by eBZaar vision and will contribute significantly to transform it into a reality.

If this is you, ping ebzaar to have a chat. You may also consider sharing your profile at [email protected].

Location is Mumbai, compensation will be in cash and equity.

getting your first paying customers

Getting your first paying customers – Marketing Growth Hacks

2015 was a great year for Indian startup ecosystem. 14 out of 144 startups with $1 billion+ valuation are from India. We have another 15 potential startups like Azure Power, LimeRoad and UrbanClap who are likely to make it to the Unicorn list.

It was a great year for GBG Mumbai too, our community now comprises of over 4200 members. Last month’s GDayX has set the tone for 2016 – Growth Hacking!

Our first event of 2016 is about Getting your first paying customers, come and interact with fellow entrepreneurs and startup enthusiasts to learn about marketing growth hacks.

What we’ll cover (Speaker sessions + Q&A)

  • How to get early adopters as customers
  • What should be your pricing strategy
  • Discounts and cashback – pros & cons
  • Converting customers into influencers


  • Founding members of Fixy
  • Mayank Batra,

Date and Time: January 9th, 2016. 3pm to 5pm

VenueThadomal Shahani Centre For Management (TSCFM) Bandra, Mumbai

Entry – Free. Please register below.

Event on 29 Aug – Pros & cons of App Only business models.

Mobile apps have been in spotlight since the advent of iPhone in 2007; but in the recent times more and more people are accessing internet from their smartphones than through desktops; this leads to new age startups to look at ‘App Only’ business model.

How good is this decision? what are the pros and cons? What must you do if you are starting a venture today?

GBG Mumbai brings you an opportunity to hear it all from two entrepreneurs on 29th August, Saturday.

Register now, entry free. 3 to 5pm.

Venue: Thadomal Shahani Centre for Management, Bandra


p.s – you may want to read this before attending the session – ‘To App or Not to App

Search Ranking Changes by Google, What you have to do?

Google recently started displaying ‘Mobile Friendly ‘ on search results and this update means you have to optimize your website for easy access from mobile phones. See the announcement here

We recently received an update from Google’s search team about the entire roll-out process and it is called as #MobileMadness. Here’s a list of things for you to know more about the search ranking changes by Google and successfully make your website mobile friendly.


We Hope this helps you in better SEO efforts for your website. Do share this page (click on the twitter logo) and make the web a mobile friendly place. Tweet: SEO update from Google Search team to make your website mobile-friendly. #MobileMadness

EVENT: Data Driven Business Decisions – March 21

Data driven business decisions  is an approach to business governance that values decisions that can be backed up with data that can be verified. More often than not, a startup may have enough data within their setup to look up and take critical decisions, be it hiring, advertising, customer satisfaction, etc, but the challenge is to rightly analyse the data to arrive at meaningful insights that can be at heart of business decisions.

We are partnering with IBM’s Global Entrepreneur Program to bring you an event that gives you a bigger better picture about how to leverage data for business decisions.

Who should attend?

  • Entrepreneurs and startups
  • Marketers and business professionals
  • Developers interested in building data driven applications

What will we cover? The event will cover the basics of where to find data in your business and how to meaningfully interpret them for business decisions. We also have a panel discussion and live demonstrations.


  • Talk by Mr. Sachin Uppal, Marketing Director at Play Games 24×7 (Rummy Circle)
  • Panel discussion between a senior executive from IBM, Sudarshan (Founder of Amplifi fund), Sachin and a VC
  • Live demo of some of the cutting edge solutions by IBM
    • Introduction to Watson Services
    • Demo of Watson Services and Live Demo of Bluemix Platform as a Service
  • Introduction to Amplifi Fund (Accelerators for SaaSy startups)

Do get your laptops to try the live demo directly on your machines

When and where?

Saturday, 21st March. 4 to 6pm. Seminar Hall, Harkishan Mehta Institute of Journalism, Mithibai College, Vile Parle, Mumbai.

Entry is free and by confirmed registration only. (please register below)

Event Partner Strategic Partner

Global Entrepreneur Program by IBM

Harkishan Mehta Institute of Journalism

Want Better Conversions? Here’s 1 Simple Way to Do It

Increase Conversions Through Affiliate Marketing

I have become a fan of GBG since my friend introduced me to my very first seminar which dealt on Venture Capital or Bootstrapping. It’s inspiring to say the least when you get to sit among some of the smartest here in Mumbai, and listen in on a range of experiences, anecdotes and advice being given out. Moreover with the Startup environment in India only advancing, what with the no of angels and venture

Continue reading “Want Better Conversions? Here’s 1 Simple Way to Do It”

The currency of trust and how companies like eBay and Airbnb mint it?

Sharing economy or collaborative consumption opened doors to many entrepreneurs to fully utilize their underutilized assets, skills, space or time. It has created digital marketplaces for offline services through Uber, AirBnb, ebay etc to exchange value at an unprecedented scale.

Although technology plays a crucial role in this economy, the very foundation of it lies in something more human-Trust. This secret ingredient empowers users to identify and interact with each other safely. Since it’s such a crucial part of what we do at RentSetGo, I would like to share my two cents on it.

Before the Internet, the traditional way of building trust in retail transactions relied on 8 factors, identified in a paper by P. Resnick and R.Zeckhauser[1] (2001) titled: “Trust Among Strangers in Internet Transactions: Empirical Analysis of eBay’s Reputation System”. Quoting from the paper, the attributes of building trust traditionally are:

(1) Most retail transactions are conducted locally, which gives individuals the opportunity to inspect them, as say with fruit in a rural market. If quality is discernible, no trust is needed.

(2) Retail operations tend to be large relative to their local market, be they vegetable sellers or the local department store. Buyers have frequent interaction with the same seller, and learn whom they can trust.

(3) Even when one’s personal interactions are limited, given that a retailer’s sales are concentrated in a locale makes it easy to develop reputations so customers learn about retailers from their peers.

(4) Retailer reputations are borrowed from other contexts. For example, retailers are likely to be pillars of the church and community, and would be highly reluctant to sacrifice the status that comes from such reputations.

(5) Reputations are built over many years; witness the reputations of Sotheby’s and Christies, the leading auction houses, which are hundreds of years old.

(6) Reputations are borrowed from others. Thus celebrities will attest to the quality of products.

(7) New goods benefit from established brand names, and policing of quality by those who own them. The product, not the retailer, wins the reputation.

(8) Significant expenditures – e.g., building a fancy store on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue– indicates that one will be reliable, lest this expenditure be wasted, a form of signaling.

However, with the advent of Internet, things changed drastically. Buyers-sellers or hosts-travellers or lenders-borrowers in a sharing economy don’t normally know each other from Adam or in most cases, never even meet. Products sold, at times, don’t even have brand names to back them while customers rarely repeat and do not run into each other. So how do online marketplaces like eBay, Amazon or sharing economy poster boys like Airbnb and Uber really work and build trust within their communities?

Lets take a quick look into how 2 top players in their respective fields have managed to crack this problem.


One of the earliest and best known Internet reputation systems is run by eBay, which gathers comments from buyers and sellers about each other after each transaction.

  • The feedback system allowed sellers to build their reputation from satisfied buyers and spread the word to a large population of potential customers through Internet at almost negligible cost.
  • Empirical evidence suggests that, more than half the transactions received buyer feedback, most of which was positive, fostering positivity and virality into the community.
  • Most importantly, as the participants believed this system was working, it deterred sellers from behaving badly, as it could result in a negative feedback and would be damaging to their reputation, hence future sales.


In addition to the perks of the Internet that eBay enjoyed, Airbnb benefitted from the rise of social networks, which added another layer of identity to its members, fostering trust in the community.

As Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky puts it, “Trust, mediated by technology, is making a comeback. It’s what’s motivating millions of people in tens of thousands of cities around the world to book lodging with semi-screened strangers through this service.” Recent updates to the Airbnb review and rating systems have been implemented to extract more honest and accurate reviews from both the travellers and the host, that in the end benefit the Airbnb community at large.

  • To enable both the host and the travelers to leave honest reviews (praise and criticism) Airbnb now reveals their reviews simultaneously to each other after the trip has been completed. That way neither is affected by the other’s bias
  • As 90% of their reviews come within 2 weeks of travel they have shortened the review submission period to 14days, so that all the feedback is based on recent impression

Like these companies, others such as Amazon, Uber, TaskRabbit, Etsy, Threadflip etc have built impressive reputation models to support their communities and foster a trustworthy environment. Similarly, RentSetGo tracks user behavior through multiple data points and assigns ranks to its members using a proprietary algorithm in the backend. This helps in weeding out poorly rated members from the system and rewards good behavior by assigning higher search ranking on the platform.

In many ways, these reputation models form the core of any business based on sharing economy. These models have evolved considerably over the last decade and continue to do so with help of network effects, mobile and Internet penetration leading to the growing acceptance of such peer-to-peer businesses, and creating a cyclical, snowball effect. Reputation models leveraged by technology are the essence of the sharing economy and the future of this industry depends on how well we are able to extract the value of this currency of trust for the community.