Multi City Web Platform

When we developed belgauminfo.com, we realized that such a platform if available for other cities, would be beneficial for them as well.

The Government of India has identified 100 cities to be developed under the Smart City program. While some cities have more dedicated resources focused on the city development, there are smaller cities in the list(Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities) that need additional help.

We have generated a software that simply automates the process of replicating the city web platform for multiple cities. The advantage of this is drastic reduction in time, effort and cost. In addition, the web platform provides automatic hosting, support for multilingual content as well as chatbot support.

Take a look at the demo here:

Adding Value

innovate

Recently I visited NSRCEL in IIMB and I got a chance to participate in one of the EPGP classes by Prof Kumar. During the bootcamp, he had conducted an excellent class for us. We were about 6 entrepreneurs who had volunteered to be a part of the Lean Canvas exercise for the class. Luckily, I got an enthusiastic bunch of students to work with. After asking me the right questions, they came up with a Lean Canvas for my venture that pretty much reflected my thoughts and some more. It was actually quite wonderful to see how much they understood about my venture and the challenges I was facing, implicitly. There were parallels drawn between my website and JustDial/ Sulekha/ Craigslist. Yes, there are certain things that are similar. Under some sections, we cover the information well, but in some other areas, the competition does a great job.

The last time I met my mentor Prof Handa, he asked me what impact my website was making. The analytics weren’t very flattering. He then went over each section and asked me what value was I bringing in. I have met other mentors who will half halfheartedly listen to what you have to say and throw some unrelated solutions your way. But the best mentors like Prof Handa will simply ask you questions that will make you think and find answers on your own. Now I regularly ask myself – will I use this, how is this different and how does this add value.

Currently, the impact of belgauminfo.com has been very small, nevertheless it is quite satisfying to know about a few people who found the website beneficial.

  • One person could use our website from USA and reach out to a local bank in a timely manner to get her credit card blocked on fraud detection.
  • A handful of people were able to pay their property taxes early via our links and get the early bird discount.
  • The Events calendar got a great response and helps both organizers reach wider audience, as well as helps many people learn about daily events in the city.

The journey so far, from a simple idea to a full fledged website has been very rewarding. And while I make plans for Phase 2 of my project, there is one question that I will constantly ask myself at every step – how am I innovating and creating value.

Core Values for a Startup

I began my entrepreneurial journey in June 2018 as an Incubatee at NSRCEL in IIM Bangalore. We were the top 100 women selected, from over 6000 applications from all over India as a part of WSP(Women’s Startup Program). We had rigorous boot camps at IIM Bangalore prior to selection where we were given assignments.

One of the tasks was to create a video and speak about the top 3 core values of our startup. When one starts the journey with just an idea in ones mind, it is difficult to think far ahead about values of a startup that is yet to be formed. But I had worked for various organizations over the years and I asked myself, what were the core 3 values that mattered the most?

In this video below, I share my perspective:

Recently I had doubts in my mind while taking a decision for Morai. Then I thought about the 3 core values and the doubts disappeared.

In the rush of building things and finding solutions, we often forget little things that are immensely valuable. Sometimes it is necessary to pause a little and indulge in such exercise, to build strong foundations for our startups.

 

Importance of B2G model

Most people are very familiar with two business models B2B or B2C. According to them, your business has to fall into either buckets only. If you mention a lesser known model like B2G, you are laughed at.

So what is B2G model?

From the definition at >Techopedia, Business-to-government (B2G) is a business model that refers to businesses selling products, services or information to governments or government agencies. B2G networks or models provide a way for businesses to bid on government projects or products that governments might purchase or need for their organizations”

The Karnataka state government had recently organized a competition for startups called Elevate 100. The ‘Idea2POC’ challenge, ideally expects an idea to be pitched and based on certain criteria used for judgement, qualifies a startup to win government grants. Since it was a grant based competition, I was taken aback by the ‘Shark Tank’ styled VC round questioning “How will you return our money back?” In the second month, it was hard to chunk up numbers with realistic revenue estimates unless I quoted some imaginary numbers which I was strictly against. So I told them that I had a solution that would benefit the government via citizen services and I was trying to explore the B2G model. They just laughed it off.

So why does B2G model all over the world evoke such a response?

The general perception about B2G models is:

* Government agencies are difficult to work with than private sector
* Government takes more time to approve projects
* Lots of hurdles and too much of paperwork
* It is challenging for startups competing with bigger companies in this space, even if they have better solutions
* Applications for bidding, require business running for at least 3 years

Unfortunately, most of the above is not just a perception, but the truth. New age startups that are less motivated from monetary gains but more motivated to solving social challenges in the country, face an uphill task in the B2G sector.

Here is one startup sharing their positive experience with the B2G model in the US.

After all, it could very well be a win-win for both the startup as well as the government.

The State and Central Government are encouraging startups with various schemes and grants. But if we want to build a stronger and smarter India, the Government needs to go beyond that. They need to open the playground to innovative startups, adopt newer solutions and reduce the bureaucratic hurdles faced in this space.

The Morai Journey

NSRCEL IIMB Logo

We are incubated at NSRCEL in IIM Bangalore since Jun 2018 as a part of the WSP(Women’s Startup Programme). WSP is supported by Goldman Sachs and the DST, GOI.

NSRCEL WSP Graduation

Pic: With Infosys co-founder NS Raghavan on WSP Graduation Day at IIM

About 6000 women from all over India applied (some already running their small businesses and some starting with just an idea) in March 2018. In April, 300 participants were shortlisted for the first boot camp. In May, after pitching their ideas to a panel, 100 female entrepreneurs were further shortlisted for incubation. More details here: http://wsp.nsrcel.org

We at Morai, believe that information access is key to making smarter choices. Hence, we provide technology based solutions that empower people with accurate, contextual and reliable data. Our solutions range from building software, basic websites, content creation to more sophisticated automated solutions using chatbots and webrtc. The team at Morai brings 15 years of experience in the software industry.

Our broad level focus is to address the citizen services like public information and grievance redressal. However, if your business needs any software assistance like building a chatbot, suggestions on improving your website or building software from scratch, please get in touch with us. We will be happy to know more about your requirements and offer the best solution that fits your needs.