Cash-Flow Issue in the Ad Industry in India & impact on Start-Ups

    538 310 Trushant Ugalmugale

    For any startup, the two most important things are Scale & Cash-Flow, unfortunately many a times both part ways during its growth journey. When you come across casual attitude towards vendor payments or large cycle on clearance of bills, this journey of Scale and Cash-Flow together ends very soon. It’s no surprise why an alarming percentage of startups fail; although there are numerous reasons, Cash-Flow is one of the biggest killer in the startups. Having involved with different industries over a decade and half, I come to realize that the this is a generic problem that prevails in most of the industry sectors in India, and has its dents in small as well as big companies.

    Speaking of the Ad Industry in India, the problem is no different. Fierce competition in the leading agencies is resulting in heavy discounting in the media fees and extended payment terms with the Advertisers. With the top agencies trying to win or retain customers through these means of providing additional benefits, a severe problem of cash flow and lean margins is trickling downstream on the networks, publishers and other smaller agencies that support in delivery. This is resulting in many smaller players resorting to volume discount deals with bigger agencies, invoice discounting financing methods and other unprofessional ways like kick-backs & manipulated deliveries to keep up the scale and required cashflow for sustenance. Ultimately this is again eating up their gross margins and leading to the same vicious cycle. Many others have started focusing on other geo markets which have a more stable & reliable payment cycle standards. The end result? – Loss of value to the Advertisers. This is because not every dollar spent by the Advertiser is utilized in bringing a value add to their brand.

    Ad Industry in India, and especially big agencies, need to re-evaluate the end-to-end picture today and it will be clear that this industry (as some of the leading consultants have already described) is turning into a “loser’s game” for all parties. Fair Pricing, Fair & Reliable Payment Terms and equally Fair Business Policies by the upper layers in this value chain only can help the industry to grow and sustain in the long term while at the same time providing optimal ROI to the Advertisers & Brands.

    Coming back to startups, I think that while Scale is undeniably important, it is equally necessary to keep a bird’s eye view on the cashflow at all times. For this, if the industry at large is not stable with reasonable payment cycles then we need to look at other geo or parallel industry options sooner than later. While there as options like Receivables Discounting, it is more of a short term good and a long-term harm.

    Startup Founders & team must spend most time in Innovating and Implementing new ideas that solve real-life problems, but unfortunately factors affecting an unhealthy cashflow are keeping them busy in looking for ways to sustain. I feel it is a moral responsibility of big players to drive the market discipline in terms of reasonable, timely and reliable payment cycle and maintain sanctity of the business ecosystem.

    7 mantras for successful career at startup

    7 mantras for successful career at a startup

    300 200 Supriya Thakur

    This is an era where the budding organizations have almost outnumbered to the established ones. Still, there is a conflict of thought when it comes to working with a startup. As it is assumed that making a successful career in a startup can be a mountainous task. But on the flip side, one can have a booming career in a startup. I have been working with a startup since last two years. In this blog, I will share few mantras on how to have a successful career at a startup.

    Adaptability is the key: Rightly said by an American Author “H. Jackson Brown Jr”- “When you can’t change the direction of the wind- adjust your sails”. Unlike the already established companies that have well-defined processes and procedures where they follow a set routine, startups are subject to amendments and alterations relatively quick. 

    Faces and phases change frequently in startups. Whether it is job titles, reporting structures, tasks or employees. The change can be frustrating especially when you have got used to certain situations and scenarios, but to triumph in a startup you should be swift enough to adapt.

    Flexibility: Startups can entrust you with multiple roles with varying responsibilities. One should be flexible enough to suit the requirements efficiently.  You might face chaos while multi- tasking but it will broaden your vision regarding vivid fields. One should be ready to mold themselves as per the requirement of the organization.

    Work- Ownership: You’ll be required to do pretty much everything by yourself when you work  for a startup. This requires a lot of self-motivation as no one has much time and space to educate you on petty issues. The urge to learn plays a key role here. Every startup looks for such young and enthusiastic professionals.
    The growth can thus be exponential in startups in comparison to a steady graph of established counterparts due to the presence of self-motivated minds working together.

    To anticipate a sizeable chunk in your plate: Startups normally have fewer helping hands for their cause. So you can expect more appetite of work than your palatability. You should thus be prepared to work day in and day out to meet the ever increasing expectations. However, efforts never go in vain. You will definitely learn a lot in the process and mature as an individual both on a personal and professional front.

    Accessibility to veterans: Most of the startups begin with a few brilliant individuals and an amazing idea. Unlike corporate giants, the learned of the industry are easily accessible with whom one can interact and learn from on a daily basis.

    Such ignited minds are rarely available for interaction in big organizations. Apart from the technicalities, one can even learn the nitty-gritty of the daily business tasks. Their hard earned experience and guidance can play an important part in shaping an employee’s thought process.

    Ready for extremities: There is always an element of risk involved while working with startups in contrast to a secured foreseen future in an established organization. Working with a startup will be a new and exciting experience compared to a clichéd one. Though you may have to compromise on luxuries which otherwise you would have availed in the big giants. You’ll be putting in longer days and shoulder additional responsibilities, which may not be a part of your routine work. If you keep the challenges aside, starting your career with a startup can provide you with quick learning and growth opportunities.

    Preparedness for the element of risk involved: It is always a risky affair to be involved with a startup as its future can be a bit uncertain. Either it can reach pinnacles of glory or may see a downfall. Startup comprises of a bunch of illustrious investors and a handful of brilliant and self-motivated individuals. As every single individual among these is a vital cog for a startup, there is a heavy dependency on each one of them. Thus quitting of a single individual can affect a startup. Cash flows of startups may not be always smooth because of which one might experience ups and downs with regards to perks and remunerations. But working at a startup offers a different type of reward which is more satisfactory, it cannot be measured in monetary terms but rather in skills attained and opportunities seized.

    At the end, there are pros and cons of both startups and the established organizations. But instead of reluctance which at times provokes people to reject the attractive and lucrative offers from startups, one can consider the above mantras and back oneself to blossom along with the mushrooming organizations.


    Collaboration Tool for Startups

    599 400 Aniruddha Karanjkar

    For a startup organization where processes are unheard of and writing emails is like asking the newly arrived “PK” (an alien character from a Bollywood comedy flick) to talk in earthly language Hindi, asking employees to document everything that they do is a huge task. Innovative ideas keep floating at in almost every discussion from all enthusiastic employees, but thankfully all of my engineering colleagues understand the importance of documenting not only the requirement and design docs but all the important discussions reaching a concrete conclusion.

    A big factor taken into consideration when implementing any initiative across the whole organization is cost and budget, in such scenarios Google sites (Part of Google Apps) comes to the rescue of startups. Using Google sites employees can keep uploading their documents with restricted access maintaining the confidentiality and security aspect of any organization.

    Collaboration Tool for Startup

    Be it creating simple HTML pages or uploading docs, all features are simply available for use even by a novice. One can even customize the site by uploading a profile pic or company logo. Ready templates do make life easy and give a head start.

    Collaboration Tool for Startup

    One use case at Inuxu is maintaining the checklists, standard operating procedures followed in various departments, storing the design document up to the requirements, test cases and test results by the QA team. One can simply upload the excel file or word doc, but then you miss out on the search features that can be the saviour in case you want to find docs based on “keywords”, that’s where storing in HTML form is preferred by some. So make an informed choice of storing your docs as needed.

    Some quick wish-list items would be:

    1. Multilevel filtering
    2. Export and import to other tools like OpenWiki
    3. Email Alerts when quota exceeded.

    So simply go ahead and create your company website or create a project site for your team without writing a single piece of code and Happy Collaborating!  Enthusiasts who are curious to find out more about Google Sites and other such tools can visit this link and make your hands dirty with different tools.


    The Insiders’ Guide to a Successful Startup

    599 400 Trushant Ugalmugale

    What it takes to be a successful startup

    Just a couple of years ago it was difficult for a guy to get married if he worked for a startup – founders were the worst hit! Fortunately, now Indian startup ecosystem is witnessing a hyper-growth phase. Let me share the Insiders’ Guide to a Successful Startup with you. The year 2014 saw the largest ever Venture Capital infusion in the Indian startup ecosystem with India ranking the fourth largest hub in the world with over 3000+ startups in the country, and the story continues… The feel-good factor shatters when we see the statistics – over 90% of startups, in general, have failed.

    There must be some core ingredients that work in favor of successful emerging companies. So, what are the magic ingredients of a successful startup?

    People, Process and Product, “The 3Ps”, are the basic necessities of any organization. But more importantly, in my view, there are four important elements that go a long way in building a successful company: Dream, Courage, Energy, and Attitude.

    Dream, not of an individual; but rather of a team! It’s the vision that keeps a startup motivated and the synergy of a high-class team towards achieving that dream is the heart of a successful startup.

    Courage to accept risks is the backbone. It is this courage that helps to go beyond the normal flow, thread unexplored areas and build something that creates an additional value to the ecosystem. Risks are inherent to the startup, but courage would bridge the gap between a startup and a successful organization. Ability to gauge the yield point of the risk, beyond which recovery in case of failure would be impossible, is also important.

    Energy of the team is a lifeline and determines how far and how fast the startup can go.  Every Startup has to keep on fueling this energy within the team. Healthy work environment, organized operations, sense of belonging and good management culture act as a catalyst for this energy; without them any startup is bound to fail.

    Attitude is the brain of any startup. Humble, nimble, perceptive and foresightful attitude can never let a startup fail. A startup should be humble in relationships, nimble in operations, perceptive of its financial & compliance standing and foresightful of market & ecosystem trends.

    Any startup with a good oversight of these magic ingredients can never fail!

    Our success is backed by our enthusiastic team

    management team inuxu

    Why I loved my internship at Inuxu

    Why I loved my internship at Inuxu

    599 400 Shivani N

    Internship, the first step of the career ladder

    On a blissful June morning, I walked along an alluring lane with houses on one side and fields on another and reached a beautiful yellow colored building painted with cartoon characters on its pillars. The kid within me had not stopped celebrating until I realized that this is the very place where I was supposed to start my internship. Anxious and excited, I entered the building the headquarters of Inuxu Digital Media Technologies.

    Contrary to my beliefs of the Corporate World, the atmosphere at Inuxu was warm and welcoming.  Everyone in the hierarchy, ranging from the CEO to the office boy, had a friendly and humble attitude, this made me a bit relaxed.  I was then handed over with an induction manual which I was supposed to be reading before my introduction with the Manager under whose able guidance I had to intern. I was  excited about the prospect of being assigned my project for the internship and hence awaited the meeting eagerly.

    At around, 11 AM, I met Mr. Shashikant Anpat, Director-Products & Inventory at Inuxu. He assigned me with my project that was concerned with building the end to end strategy for Mobile Advertising along with 14 pointers to research on. “At least elaborate all those pointers to me” being nervous, I said it in my mind but somehow managed to keep my calm and showed no signs of anxiousness. The meeting was then adjourned.

    The next three days, I tried working on those pointers and made a mess of a strategy. After three days of struggling with strategy building, I had a meeting with Shashikant and Apurv (Product Manager at Inuxu). After seeing whatever work I had done so far, Shashikant calmly questioned  me “Shivani, what is your background?”, to which I answered, “I am a third year Engineering student” he was surprised to know this. Then we figured out that because of some kind of miscommunication, he had mistaken me as an MBA student and gave me the project, assuming that I must be aware of the science of product strategy.

    I got nervous when I realized this, I was worried that maybe the project will be taken back from me and I’ll lose a chance to get in-depth knowledge of mobile advertising. But somehow the calm on Shashikant and Apurv’s face made me keep hopes. Both of them calmly elaborated 2 out of those 14 pointers of mobile advertising research to me and asked me to submit the presentation on those two pointers the other day.

    I spent the next day researching on the scope and challenges of Mobile Advertising in India and collected a lot of relevant information and gave the presentation to both of them.  They were now satisfied with my work and elaborated the next two pointers to me. This went on every day until I was done researching all the pointers of Mobile Advertising. I researched on a lot of points ranging from ‘Ways to do remarketing in mobile’ to ‘the ad formats we can introduce in mobile ads’.

    And today, I am sitting in the Inuxu headquarters during the third week of my internship and writing this blog.  Working at Inuxu has been an overwhelming experience for me, I realize that my knowledge level has increased many folds. People here are always ready to help and share the vast pool of knowledge and experiences they have accumulated over years.  People take a few minutes break between work and discuss on something en vogue. The evening snacks time is the best time to socialize and understand what your colleagues are up to in their professional as well as personal life.

    Apart from all the things mentioned above, the thing about Inuxu that exhilarated me the most is, every employee’s demands are paid proper attention to. I’ll quote an example of today itself, a colleague of mine named Sanket got recuperated lately but due to the ongoing medicines, he was feeling hot even during this pleasant weather in Pune. When the CEO came to have a chat with Sanket, he realized Sanket’s problem and ordered for a fan to be placed right in front of his seat.  I was a silent spectator to all this, but the CEO, Mr. Rohit Bagad’s kindness taught me how to manage a startup in a way that people love to have you as their boss.

    After two weeks, my internship at Inuxu would end, but I am confident enough that Inuxu has definitely laid the foundation stones of my career and taught me the work ethics which I’ll carry with me wherever I go.

    P.S- I look forward to work with Inuxu, in near future.

    For internship opportunities at Inuxu visit the career page.

    To Start with a Startup

    To Start with a Startup

    599 400 Sanket Welankiwar

    Different shades of a Startup

    In an era of bulk campus placements, getting an opportunity to work with the giants of the industry is not rare. In my final year, a lot of corporate giants visited my college to hand pick a decent chunk of engineers. Post the placement season from the remaining lot, quite a few pursued post graduations and other certified courses amidst which I had the option to start my career with a startup or wait for some tech biggie to hold my hand. I chose to start with a startup.

    The count of ones who start with the minnows is far too less but a million dollar question is why are these startups not preferred to start with?

    When the very thought of joining a startup crossed my mind, these were few perceptions which I had or rather everyone has about a startup.

    • Paid peanuts in a startup
    • Multi- tasking involved
    • Slow start to one’s career
    • Lack of hands-on training

    Being associated with a startup from the past 8 months, I realized that  behind all these challenges there are hidden positive counterparts which are negatively neglected, but if considered are interestingly thought provoking. For all my friends who are in a never ending dilemma to choose startup as a career platform or not, let me share my thoughts that I have acquired from Day 1 till Day 244.

    To Start with a Startup

    As a beginner, I learnt how to be a part of everything that is happening at my office and complete a task within limited time and resource. I believe it helped me boost my self-confidence and also improve my competencies.  The fact that one himself has to find the way out and few helping hands are extended makes one a strong decision maker and in turn increase one’s real experience (not in terms of years spent but in terms of business acumen) unlike the high paying counterparts where the decisions are imposed and not inferred. A feeling that one has the ability to make it big at this level.

    I can thus conclude that the simplest theory of life applies even in this context “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” Rest is self-explanatory……

    Beyond the myth lies the biggest question for a Rookie.

    To start an exciting career with a startup get in touch with us here: [email protected]