Monday, August 31, 2015

Yalamanchili Shiva Santosh Kumar bags 23 medals in Law course at NLSIU

Bangalore: Yalamanchili Shiva Santosh Kumar, (23), bagged 23 medals including 14 golds at the 23rd Annual Convo-cation of the National Law School of India University at Nagarbhavi on Sunday. The Chief Justice of India, HL Dattu - the NLSIU chancellor, presided over the event. Other dignitaries included DV Sadananda Gowda, union minister of law and justice, and judges from the SC. Said Kumar, 

"I see law as a great equalizer, a tool to change society and a tool to turn the society into more right-conscious society." He said his area of interest was to ensure access to social, political and economic justice.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Bonsoul: Successful startup by an young entrepreneur

People are often fickle about the choices they make and the places they visit, especially when it’s something related to their well-being. Many of us spend hours trying to search for the perfect place to get a haircut or that wonderful spa which helps us relax. In order to simplify this process for people and save them the trouble is Bonsoul, India’s first online network of spas and salons.

Started by Alekhya Nadendla in June 2014, Bonsoul currently operates in seven cities. While the office is based in Hyderabad, Bonsoul also offers its services in Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Pune. “We are a platform for any form of wellness centres and we make it easier for the customers to find something regarding fitness, relaxation or beauty, like a spa or a salon,” says Nadendla.

With the prominence of the Internet among the general public today, one can easily search for a location of any spa or a fitness centre by typing the name of their area on portals like JustDial. But Bonsoul has more to offer. “What we offer is something more in-depth. We provide the menu of the spas and salons, we inform customers about what classes are going on at a fitness centre and its timings, what sort of membership is available at a gym, etc. We also mention the prices with the consent of the spa and salon owners,” explains Nadendla on what makes Bonsoul stand out from the rest.

They may provide details of different wellness centres across the country but Bonsoul filters the best from the rest. Taking us through the process, Nadendla says, “We conduct thorough background checks and we don’t sign up any and everyone. There are certain standards that we follow. We do a lot of research initially, zero in on the places we want and then go ahead and speak to the owners. We take pictures of the place, menu and their contact details, apart from their complete consent, before putting it up on the website.”

Apart from helping people locate the best spas and fitness centres, it also provides a booking system, so that customers can be spared the hassle of the process. “We have a very simplified booking system where you can just go online and book a spa, fitness or beauty service and we confirm it through an SMS,” says Nadendla.

The 27-year-old who is from Hyderabad had worked in Miami, the US, for eight months as an interior designer before she returned to work in her father’s manufacturing company, Peace India Ltd., in Hyderabad. However, being an independent woman, she soon decided to start her own company and Bonsoul was conceived. Why did she choose to do so? Nadendla replies, “During my extensive travels, I find it very difficult to find a place for a hair cut or a beauty salon. Normally I have to depend on word-of-mouth, and even then you don’t really know who’s giving you the best information about any place, what’s available in it and what’s not. That is when I decided to start Bonsoul.”

Another advantage that Bonsoul offers is that once a customer subscribes with it, they are assured of acquiring its services in any city where it’s present. “If a customer, who is signed up with Bonsoul, travels to another city and wants to join a gym, we will talk to the gym and we will do all their work. We tell them that if they are a member of our network, they are a member of all the gyms in India,” quips the  .

Like every start-ups, Bonsoul too faced its fair share of obstacles and Nadendla admits that they encountered quite a few difficulties initially. “There were a lot of skeptics and it takes time to convince anybody who is new to online booking. A lot of owners used to tell us that they already have a marketing team and they do not need our help. Initially, it was difficult to start up everything in Hyderabad but once we started, it became slightly easier to convince people to book using our website in Bangalore, Mumbai and Pune,” she explains.

Even though they have plans of expanding, she says there is no chance of compromising on their quality of service. “We make sure we do our research. We have appointed interns in every city to go and check everything on behalf of us to find out what sort of standard they belong to. Only when we are convinced of the quality, do we put it up on our website,” Nadendla adds.

Rayala Corporation (Chennai) : An impressive balance sheet

The Rayala Story tells the tale of one of the oldest business families in the city and the man behind it all.

In the pre-Independence era, when most industries were British run and there were few opportunities for Indians, there was one man from Madras who decided to break away from his previous employers and set up his own automobile service business. Soon, his company grew from strength to strength and he went on to add more portfolios to his already impressive repertoire. After his untimely demise in 1956, it was his son, and later his grandson, who took forward his vision and built the Rayala Corporation into the Rs. 600 crore empire that it is now.

The incredible story of M. Rajagopala Naidu, a man with humble beginnings who founded one of the most successful industries in Chennai, is documented in the book The Rayala Story. Penned by Sriram V., the book, which tells the tale of one of the oldest business families in the city, was launched in a ceremony that was filled with nostalgia with several of the city’s elite in attendance. The book was released by L. Lakshman, chairman of the Rane Group, and the first copy of the book was handed to Karumuttu Kannan, chairman and MD of Thiagarajar Mills, both long standing associates of the Rayala group.

The memoir, which was the brainchild of Ranjit Pratap, Rajagopala Naidu’s grandson, chronicles the latter’s journey from being the foreman at Addison Co to the patriarch of a respected business house, and the company’s evolution over the years. “I’ve wanted to have this book published for many years now and I am glad that it has finally happened. My grandfather passed away when I was three, but I’ve heard so much about him from his associates. He was a man with great foresight and was a compassionate philanthropist. It is only right that his story be told,” said Ranjit.

The book, incidentally, was released on the 92nd birthday of M.R. Pratap, who decided to consolidate the company after his father’s death and turned his focus on the company’s typewriter business. Author Sriram V. said, “He has such vivid memories of his father and the company’s journey over the years. We would meet him for an hour for research for this book and he would surprise us each time with his impeccable notes and recollection of all that we had discussed in the previous meetings. I’d say we had a hard time keeping pace with him.”

Shyamala Badsha, Rajagopala’s daughter, threw light on the kind of man her father was outside of work. Known for his punctuality and business acumen, he also encouraged the women of the family to strive for the best. “He would insist that we study well, got our exercise, ate our greens and kept our rooms tidy. He taught us the importance of hard work. He was the sort of man who would be the picture of sartorial elegance at the office and at home be equally comfortable spending time with his grandchildren in his dhoti,” she said. The Rayala Story chronicles the story of not just M. Rajagopala Naidu, but also the people behind the corporation and its ties with other Chennai-based business entities.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Gopichand Katragadda to head innovation at Tata group

MUMBAI: Tata Sons is handing over the reins of its almost decade-old Innovation Group to its technology head Gopichand Katragadda. The 147-year-old business house under chairman Cyrus Mistry is pushing for innovation across their 120 companies and this move will marry technology, digital and innovation under one man. 

The conglomerate started Tata Group Innovation Forum (TGIF) in 2007 and the goal was to incubate ideas and encourage all their companies to develop the latest technology that will propel businesses. R Gopalakrishnan, director Tata Sons, was heading TGIF from the start but will retire this year end. Handing over the baton to Katragadda makes the former GE veteran and Tata Group's first CTO a key decision maker on what is expected from the group that clocked an annual revenue of $108.78 billion. 

"They are bringing it under Katragadda because the idea is to streamline it. People from the Innovation Group will start reporting to him. So far if you look at it, the innovation activities are not very well spread across companies. It is very focused in companies like TCS, Tata Elxsi. The idea is to bring in innovation in all companies and make new industry leaders in new sectors," said a consultant who did not wish to be named. 

In his calls, Katragadda will get help from an executive committee that has an eclectic team of top executives of the conglomerate. They include the group executive council members of Tata Sons — Mukund Rajan, Nirmalaya Kumar, Harish Bhatt; Ananth Krishnan (CTO of TCS) amongst others. 

A Tata Sons' spokesperson confirmed the development. "Gopalakrishnan has now given charge of TGIF to Gopichand Katragadda, Chief Technology Officer of Tata Sons. Managers, who implement TGIF activities,will be members of Katragadda's team." 

Katragadda has identified areas where he believes the group should focus on. "It is critical to figure out the disruption that can be caused by commercial drones, aggregator apps, genetic compilers, digital assistants and immersive entertainment in our businesses. It would be better to utilise these technologies to drive profitable growth," Katragadda said in the July edition of the group's magazine Tata Review. 

ManageMySpa Secures Rs.38 crores From Accel Partners in Series A Funding

Hyderabad-based ManageMySpa, a provider of mobile and cloud-based business management software for the beauty and wellness industry announced that it had raised $6 million (roughly Rs. 38 crores) in a Series A financing round led by Accel Partners. 

Founded in 2010 by Sudheer Koneru and Dheeraj Koneru, the company has offices in seven countries and is head quartered in Seattle, with a customer base in 30 countries. ManageMySpa has seen a double-fold growth year-on-year since inception, and intends to use the funds to accelerate its sales and marketing efforts, and expand its mobile product offering, the company said in a statement. 

ManageMySpa's cross-platform SaaS solution can be used to manage all operational aspects of the spa and salon business, including online booking, appointment management, POS, CRM, staff management, inventory controls, marketing, and analytics. The company offers solutions for both small business owners and large enterprises with multi-location chains with hundreds of outlets. 

"We believe that ManageMySpa is at a pivotal point in its growth trajectory and has all the competencies to become the leader in its space. We're excited about the momentum the company has experienced so far and the growth of the wellness industry globally." said Shekhar Kirani of Accel Partners, who will join the ManageMySpa board of directors.

"We're able to meet the needs for the beauty and wellness industry , which is a need that has not been addressed by any other player in the market. We have a proven product that scales for large businesses and have been able to dominate multiple markets." said Sudheer Koneru, ManageMySpa CEO and Founder. 

According to the company, its clients in India include Kaya Skin, Enrich Salons, O2 Spas, and Blush Clinics. Globally, its large enterprise clients include Massage Green and La Vida in the US; ElemisSpas in the UK; Martha Tillar in Indonesia; Hair Free and Results Laser Clinic in Australia; Tips & Toes, Hello Kitty,and The Grooming Company in the Middle East.