Startups, govt begin work on affordable cure for the poor

For dialysis patients in rural areas, a ride to the nearest city hospital for treatment is usually a trying one. But a state in southern India is now ensuring that it is no longer part of the deal, with a little help from a startup.

The Andhra Pradesh government recently tied up with dialysis provider NephroPlus for setting up of dialysis centres in thestate’s 13 district hospitals. The partnership is a sign of how establishedhealthcare startups in the country are forming public-private partnerships to provide affordable and quality healthcare to people living below the poverty line, and to also scale their businesses at a higher pace.

These players include Medall Healthcare, which is working with the governments of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Jharkhand, and Swasthya Slate, which has partnered with AAP government’s ‘mohalla clinics’. “Primary health is a key focus area for our country and there are many government initiatives for the same. Today many midstage health-tech startups are vying for these opportunities, wherein they get a project to implement certain specific requirements the government pertaining to primary health,” said Sreedhar Prasad, partner for startups and ecommerce, KPMG.

This seems like a logical progression for startups after establishing themselves to an extent in the private sector, because such contracts can help them scale-up quicker than a private sector contract. “Government contracts can help us scale much faster rather than a piecemeal growth through single private contracts. Public contracts also provide stability with respect to time frame,” said Vikram Vuppala, founder of NephroPlus, which recently bagged another government contract to set up two dialysis centres in Uttarakhand.

He said state governments are looking at affordable high-quality models which startups can provide, unlike the traditional businesses, and startups are always thinking of how to disrupt the market, which makes this a perfect combination. “Government has the infrastructure, but they don’t have the ability to hire people and deliver high-quality service at an affordable cost,” said Vuppala. “So the government is putting their best foot forward — which is infrastructure, and we are putting our expertise and scale to bring affordable yet high-quality healthcare, through which the patients will ultimately benefit.” Bengaluru-based Forus Health, which focuses on preventing blindness through its eye-screening devices, is also looking at partnering with state governments to expand their reach in the public sector.

Source: ETHealthworld

Date: 24th August, 2016

President stresses on need for research in homeopathy

Stressing the need for research in homeopathy, President Pranab Mukherjee today said alternative medicine proved to very effective in certain cases.

Speaking at a programme to mark 150 years of homeopathy by Dr Prasanta Banerji homeopathic research foundation here, he said basic research and scientific analysis were necessary, so that homeopathy could be taken to an advanced stage.

The popularity of homeopathy is increasing day by day and it is now considered as the most accepted form of alternative medicine, he said, adding it is also being recognised in India.

Mukherjee said to ensure minimum healthcare services for everyone, experts had agreed that there was a need for alternative medicinesystem based on science.

“For skin diseases, problems of children and nervous system, the treatment can be very effective if it is done under homeopathy,” the President said.

Eminent homeopath Dr Pratip Banerji said there was a need for homeopathy to shed it’s mythical garb and come forward and offer itself to scientific scrutiny.


Source: ETHealthworld

Date: 23rd August, 2016

Here is why founders double up as HR heads in their startups

NEW DELHI: Hike Messenger, the new member of India’s billion-dollar startup club, doesn’t have a head for human resources. Instead, Kavin Bharti Mittal, 28-year-old founder of the instant messaging platform, manages HR functions.

Mittal is among several startup founders who double up as HR heads because that allows them to better convey their vision to the staff while driving all parts of organisational development — from hiring and evaluating performance to setting work culture and groomingleaders. The kind of work environment they create is critical for their success and some of these startups say they don’t find the people who fit into their specific requirements.

“HR is run by me right now. We don’t have an HR head,” said Mittal, whose startup last week announced a $175-million funding from Chinese Internet giant Tencent and Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn, at a valuation of $1.4 billion.

“It’s not that people are not smart or they don’t want to do it; I think they don’t know how. Talent in the country is built for the services industry. It’s good and works for InfosysBSE 1.81 % and TCSBSE 1.82 %, but not for us,” Mittal said. Mittal said he decided to take over the HR function because talent was difficult to find.

Human resource leads need to play the role of business partners to the founders. The traditional paradigm of HR does not work in technology startups, said  Ashish Kashyap, founder of the ibibo Group, an online travel services provider.

Getting brilliant people to join a startup and then to get them to perform based on an ambiguous plan is a daunting task,” Kashyap said. “It is akin to selling a dream in the air. This is something which only founders can do well.”

At an early stage, it is the founder who can deliver the pitch and at the same time, in an emergent manner, create company culture. Getting professional managers to deliver the message with the samepassion as that of founders is always hard.

In my experience, 70% of the job of a founder is to acquire, manage and groom talent. Even the performance appraisal system needs to be tightly managed by founders,” Kashyap said.

Psychometric assessments startup Jombay, which raised funds in a Series A round from VentureWorks and Nirvana Ventures, does not have an HR head. It encourages managers to handle HR for their teams.

“The first few years are the foundation of a company — there’s lot of turbulence, changes and and craziness. Hence, the founders need to be hands-on in translating the vision to the team. Early team members are critical in carrying the vision of the company to the next set of people joining the team and the founders are typically the best people to coach and inspire their people. This holds true for both hiring and developing existing people,” said Jombay cofounder Mohit Gundecha.

In the starting up phase, the founder-CEO plays the role of the HR head, said Sanjeev Aggarwal, cofounder of venture fund Helion Venture Partners. It is only in the scaling up phase, when the business and product market is established, that you introduce the heads for HR and other functions, he added. “HR head can take his thinking and institutionalise it; but the belief has to come from the founders,” said Aggarwal.

Helion, which has more than 60 companies in itsportfolio, plays a key role in hiring key people in these startups. The venture fund though has experimented with something unique — a serial HR head for a few portfolio companies. Institutionalisation of culture for multiple portfolio companies has been driven by one HR head, TN Hari.

Hari’s first stint with Aggarwal was at Daksh, an outsourcing firm. Since 2009, Hari worked with Amba Research, Taxiforsure and now BigBasket, all portfolio companies of Helion.

“In startups, you cannot have an HR head from a large organisation. HR needs to be a key function that understands the busiThat’s why you have founders doing pretty much everything in the beginning,” said Hari.

The startups that do have HR heads usually have founders driving the HR and organisational culture proactively.

At Urban Ladder, to ensure every team member is a right culture fit, founders spend time during interview process, testing candidates on culture and values. “For example, during induction, Ashish (Goel, the founder-CEO) and I spend time to share our story, the vision andvalues to new team members,” said cofounder Rajiv Srivatsa.

“We also spend time coaching and mentoring and work towards keeping our one-on-one connect intact with the team.” A strong culture sets the tone not only for the team members, but also shapes the way consumers interact with and perceive the brand, he said.

Date – 23rd August , 2016.

Source – The Economic Times

Entrepreneurs give full marks to startup ecosystem

On World Entrepreneurs’ Day, venture heads say that the time is right for more people to start out and list the crucial skills that will help budding entrepreneurs sail the rough tides. The Rio Olympics 2016 and Indian startups have many things in common.

In Rio, from beginning everybody has had high hopes from all Indian sportspersons who too gave the best show of their lives but the medals tally could only open little late. Anyhow, the nation’s mood is buoyant again and there are hopes for more medals and celebrations.

For startups too, the ecosystem was charged up since the beginning of this year. However, recent concerns about their business viability has put budding entrepreneurs on a guard.

As we celebrate the World Entrepreneurs’ Day today, we spoke to a cross section of successful startup heads to understand what is on offer for new entrepreneurs ahead. The good news is that our panellists unanimously agree that tidings will only become smooth now on.

Here are their answers to the most crucial questions that newbie entrepreneurs grapple with:’

What skills should entrepreneurs have before launching a venture?

Subrata Ghosh, CEO & founder, Redstone Learning says, “deep understanding of the problem you are going to answer and the domain concerned is the key requirement. Good understanding of marketing and technology, sales acumen and ability to lead a team are the crucial skills.”

Vishwas Mudagal, CEO & cofounder and Sonia Sharma, founder & MD, GoodWorkLabs Services Pvt Ltd. also agree that it is critical to understand the problem you are going to address. Further, they add “first and foremost thing is to assess the desire to start a business. Knowing that business is messy and chaotic, it is important to measure your passion and willingness to go the extra mile. Be prepared to systematically navigate your startup through the attitudinal complexities that are bound to come your way.”

Shobhit Bhatnagar, CEO & cofounder, Gradeup says, “solving a problem which you understand closely and are passionate about, identifying the scope and the market, and putting the right team in place to start, these are the pre-requisites to starting up.”

Anup Sahoo, founder, Ideapoke has two distinct pearls of wisdom for budding entrepreneurs. He says, “innovative adaptation of Business Intelligence, strategic identification of pain points and presenting them attractively can solve many market demands. Unique approach to the Indian ecosystem can consolidate the industry as a whole.

  1. Instead of following western models (or the existing ones present in the same industry) primary things like, product innovation, design, manufacturing, etc be given apt attention.
    2. Instead of first creating an attractive solution and then matching the demands, startups should pay attention to existing market pain

What possible fate is awaiting new startups?

Our panellists give a thumbs up for the coming times. Subrata Ghosh says, “startup wave is here to stay. This is a path towards money and fame while creating something valuable in the process. Startups will solve more and more difficult problems for industry and society. Bigger companies will also start behaving more like startups in order to survive.”

Vishwas Mudagal and Sonia Sharma feel that there has never been a better time to start out like now. “There are so many problems to solve all around you, and these could be the next unicorns. All you need to do is look around you and pick one problem that a billion people are facing and solve it better than anyone else,” they say.

Shobhit Bhatnagar adds, “we are still at the very start of startup revolution. Thousands of companies will be built around solving problems that are unique to the Indian market. A lot of things are right today, that make this revolution possible – founders who have seen some success, a maturing VC community, and technology/product folks who have already built great products”.

For startups, which sectors should one watch out for?

Panelsists unanimously agree that healthtech, edutech and fintech are the sectors to watch out for.
Subrata Ghosh lists these as huge markets in India where billion dollar companies will be created in the coming years.

Further list from Vishwas Mudagal and Sonia Sharma includes:
· Internet of Things: Niche product ecosystem scope for Internet-for-Things, as well as players with innovative intellectual property and platforms.
· Agriculture technology and clean tech Gaming, AR, VR

Shobhit Bhatnagar adds services (apart from the three mentioned) as areas where great companies will be built. “At an overall level tech will play a major role in drastically improving the quality and bringing down the cost of delivery of services,” he says.

Anup Sahoo says that the industry is going to be in the hands of key players who are ready to be steadfast with innovation, steady vision and evolving scalable services.

And like the Rio Olympics, for the startups too hope is rising and more promising players are expected to emerge in the market.

Date – 23rd August , 2016.

Source –

Mis-selling by banks will now attract penalty

Irdai to hold banks accountable for investment advice they provide as complaints about mis-selling rise.

The Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority of India (Irdai) has cracked down on mis-selling of insurance by banks. Banks will now be held re sponsible for any mis-selling and even slapped with penalties. Mis-selling by banks is a big problem. An online survey conducted by in November 2015 showed that three out of five customers were mis-sold investment products by banks. More than 36% of the 1,313 respondents listed this as one of the major pain points in their dealing with their bank.

Newbie investors and those with deeper pockets were most at risk. It’s not uncommon for bank staff to peek into the customer accounts and zero in on those with little knowledge or fat balances. The survey showed that respondents below 30 and those earning more than `1.5 lakh a month are most frequently targeted.

In another study, posing as customers, ET Wealth staffers had approached several banks for financial advice. Most of the banks advised them to buy traditional endowment or moneyback policies, even though these plans offer very low returns and inadequate insurance cover. Irked by the rising number of complaints against mis-selling, the insurance regulator has now made banks liable for the insurance policies they sell.

Source : The Economic Times

Date : 22-08-2016

Indian insurance in future will be fully digitally driven

Insurance in India has transformed to become a digitally driven buyers’ market from being a sellers’ market, industry chamber CII said on Sunday, citing a report prepared jointly with British professional service firm Ernst and Young (EY).

“Insurance in India has moved from being a sellers’ market to that of a digitally driven buyers’ market,” said the report titled ‘Insurer of the Future’.

“Technology will power the new wave of change for the Indian insurance industry,” the Confederation of Indian Industry said in a statement here.

“The customer is at the centre of digital transformations across the value chain and the report recommends pursuing technology to improve the traditional insurance process and to re-configure the insurance business model,” it said.

Noting that Internet of Things (IoT) can play a crucial role in assessing and pricing the risk of loss, the report said Robotic Process Automation (RPA), that replicates human behaviour and executes non-judgemental sequence of activities, can help insurers to automate client servicing activities.

“Insurers, through collaboration with third party data service providers can make informed strategy and policy related decisions for insurance risk-management and fraud monitoring,” the CII said.

“Insurance bundling on e-commerce platforms has enabled greater customization in product and pricing thereby targeted marketing to customers,” it added.

The industry chamber, however, also noted that insurance in India has been slow as compared to the rest of the financial services “in adopting new technology value propositions available in the market as an enabler of business strategy”.

“The drivers of Insurance business in India are rapidly changing. Over the last decade and a half several innovations have smoothly blended into the ecosystem of insurance, be it in terms of products, distribution, technology or the basic way in which business is done,” the statement said citing Director General CII Chandrajit Banerjee.

“Technology and digitisation disruptions have brought the sector to a point of transformation,” he added.

“With the rising population and changing demographics, insurers and intermediaries will have to constantly innovate to remain relevant,” said Rohan Sachdev Partner, EY.

Commenting on the possible impact of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in insurance, CII noted that currently, as a service industry, insurance has one single tax (service tax) with one administering authority in the central government.

“Under the dual GST structure, a significant impact on this industry would be the emergence of dual stakeholders in every taxable supply of service: the government of the state where the supply is made and the central government,” it said.

“From dealing with a central service tax for pan-India operations, insurers will potentially start dealing with 38 taxes: 35 State GSTs (SGSTs) of the states and union territories, 1 Central GST (CGST) and IGST on inter-state supplies,” it added.


Source : The Financial Express

Date : 21-08-2016

Hiring Via Employee Referrals on the Rise

New Delhi | Bengaluru:

When Lenovo India decided to strengthen its diversity numbers, it decided to tap into its referral system.

The company asked its employees to recommend candidates, and decided to reward those who successfully recommended more women for the same roles.As employee referrals become an established method to hire quality lateral talent, companies are using technology platforms to build a steady talent pipeline through referrals.

A majority of companies (nearly 41%, according to one study) across India use top technology for referral hires. According to the study India Recruiting Trends 2016 conducted by LinkedIn Talent Solutions, employee referrals are on the rise.This year, referrals were the top source of quality hires.“Nearly 55% of talent leaders see employee referral programmes as the top source of quality hire,“ says Irfan Abdulla, director, talent solutions, LinkedIn India.

Top players such as CocaCola, Infosys, Genpact, Capgemini, Deloitte, Jubilant and more are reporting that over 40% of their hires come through referrals.

Today , technology major Infosys, for instance, has enhanced the use of technology for the employee referral process. It has created a portal where employees can view requirements and submit profiles of candidates directly. Employees can then track the status of their referral real-time.

Richard Lobo, senior vice president and head HR, Infosys, says a majority of their hiring now takes place through the referral route. “Employees can make a good referral decision as they understand the aspirations of the candidate they refer as well as the requirements and culture of the company ,“ he said.


The study adds that not only do talent leaders see employee referrals and social networks as top sources of quality hires, they also see them as long-lasting trends. About 41% say employee referrals are an essential and long-lasting trend.

India scores 65% against the global average of 39% in hiring through referrals.

Financial services company Credit Suisse has an Employee Referral Programme (ERP), which allows it to tap into employees’ network and identify the people with the right expertise, knowledge and leadership skills. They use “career cafes“ and “develop your career“ sessions with a success rate of 13rd of the jobs posted.


At Lenovo India, Rohit Sandal, who is the director of human resources, says a good deal of success has co me out of using a referral system and rewarding employees who recommend more women for roles.

“We provide a higher referral amount to those who successfully refer women. This has been instrumental in encouraging higher referrals of women candidates, thereby helping us strengthen our diversity numbers,“ he said.

Experts say skill life cycles are becoming shorter and people are hiring for `attitude’ and not just ‘skill-sets’ and these tools help.

“The best way to hire is basis attitude through a referral rather than just the skills of the potential employee.There is credibility. But referral hiring is great for replacement hiring and growth hiring,“ said Nilanjan Roy, head of strategy,

He, however, says that the challenge remains in rewarding the last-mile.

“Recognition and rewarding of the entire chain rather than the last mile makes referral tools unsuccessful all over the world.“

In another initiative, this month, Capgemini launched `recruitHER’ to raise the gender diversity quotient. Under this programme, employees who upload profiles of female candidates will be eligible for a lucky draw.

At beverage major CocaCola, 31% of associates are women and this has been because they place a 15-20% premium on female candidates successfully referred.


Consultancy firm Deloitte has done 40-45% of its annual hiring through the referral method. Next, they are building an app to make their referral process completely streamlined and digital, so that someone who wants to refer a candidate can take less than a minute to do so.

SV Nathan, partner and chief talent officer, Deloitte, says referrals are a great indicator of whether employees are happy with the work culture within an organisation.

“This number (40-45%) is a healthy percentage as opposed to the earlier 20% or thereabouts. We have made efforts to ramp up this number over the last 4-5 years,“ he said.

Deloitte has draws for those who refer others. “The giveaways aren’t of very high value but rather things we think will find favour among the younger employees such as Kindles, external hard drives, etc.The new app to be launched in January will allow the HR department to track the process and receive feedback and acknowledgement,“ said Nathan.

Another company, Geojit BNP Paribas, a retail financial services provider, uses a software called `Workflow’ which is a process automation of the employee referral scheme. It was developed by their internal technology team. At every milestone in any process, there is a possibility for meeting a decision making requirement approval which on getting automated helps in faster processing.

Jubilant FoodWorks depend on referrals as a very successful method of bringing quality talent since it has a workforce of almost 30,000, of which 27,000 work in restaurants. Last year, they hired nearly 8,000 people for restaurants through referrals, and see this to be a steady trend going forward.

They are currently using a referral app called `SkilledTree’ on a pilot basis. This app -which works on mobile -crawls through one’s social media networks and sends out messages on the company’s behalf. “We have received over 200 applications through this app and are in the process of conducting interviews. Depending on the success of this programme, we will make it permanent,“ said Biplob Banerjee, executive vice president -HR and CSR.

At Coca Cola India, over the last three years, at least 40% of the candidates hired have been through referrals. Right now, an internet-based application lets employees refer friends, family and associates. Soon, this will be replaced by a global mobile-based app to bring in an infusion of next-generation technology by the middle of next year.“The app will allow referring employees to have more clarity on the process, interact better with the system, and have the ease of logging in through any device,“ said Sameer Wadhawan, VP of human resources, Coca Cola India and South West Asia.


At Genpact, the company will look at a more scientific approach to referrals. They want to track exactly how many people are participating in their referral programme and use that data for broad-based trends.


Source: The Economic Times

Date: 19th August, 2016