The advent of Internet has been a significant game changer for our generation. Mouse Charmers are a new breed of entrepreneurs in emerging India powered by the Internet and the opportunities that it offers to create new markets and to cater to old markets in new ways. Some of them have already achieved success where they can be called iconic and inspiring while others have powerful ideas
that put them on the same path.
About the Author
Anuradha Goyal tells the stories of digital pioneers like Flipkart, Zomato, Make My Trip, ImagesBazaar, IndiBlogger; how they started out, the innovations and technologies involved, their business models, and unique marketing strategies. Inspiring and useful, The Mouse Charmers is an essential guide for aspiring entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurship is increasingly emerging as an exacting new career choice for many young people across the globe. Inspirational names such as Bill Gates, Richard Branson, and Eric Schmidt have encouraged many young students to chase their dreams and start business ventures of their own-not only with the aim of commercial success, but for a unique and creatively fulfilling experience. In India, especially, entrepreneurship and the job creation it entails is the key to a prosperous future to ensure the right opportunities for our demographic dividend. The advent of Internet has escalated this to an entirely new level, with unforeseen opportunities in the digital space. With Web 2.0, the ever-increasing user base of the Internet has transformed traditional services like groceries and medicines through the click of a button.
Digital entrepreneurs are mushrooming at an astonishing speed in India. They are venturing into hitherto uncharted territory like jewellery and groceries-one a high-value product and the other highly perishable. These digital startups are permeating into every recess of the economy and are challenging the very idea of a physical store. Mentorship and financial support as well as the ecosystem in cities such as Bangalore are giving further fillip to this emerging wave.
In The Mouse Charmers, Anuradha profiles the stories of 12 such companies, categorized as: commerce, content entrepreneurs, and connectors. Each company is a pioneer in its field. The author studies the business model, innovation, differentiating factors, and the journey so far of these digital businesses. The companies range from MakeMyTrip, Zomato to BigBasket and Rang De. The book aims to showcase a spectrum of businesses across verticals and categories, and present insights into potential new opportunities.
As the Internet is still such a recent phenomenon, all the entrepreneurs profiled are first generation. The book is an excellent guide for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to start their very own digital company with extremely helpful suggestions and pointers. It discusses what has worked and not worked for these entrepreneurs and how they have managed to overcome challenges and seized opportunities that have come their way. The book also focusses on the burgeoning online business, and finding the key differentiator to set one's business apart from these multitude platforms.
I do wish that this book inspires many more young entrepreneurs to take the plunge into the world of digital startups. The rest as they say is a click of a button away!
In The History of mankind there have been few times when the ways of the world have transitioned in an irreversible way. Some of the earlier transitions happened when man discovered agriculture that led to permanent settlements, when wheel was discovered that enabled long journeys, when printing press was discovered and education and learning changed forever, and of course the industrial revolution that made mass production a norm and customization a luxury. In our generation, the advent of Internet has brought in a similar transition. It has irreversibly changed the way we do many things. My generation - born in 1970s and grown up in 1980s - never thought that that of our life would be very different from that of our parents. We started working sometime in 19905, a lot of us in professions that did not exist while we were in school, and by the turn of the millennium, we were not only using cutting-edge technology products but also contributing to creating them for the rest of the world. What is more relevant is the quantum of change we saw from having countable number of phones in the neighbourhood to juggling multiple communication devices in our bags, from running to libraries in search of answers to carrying multiple library sources on our gadgets, and from having limited career options to celebrating entrepreneurship. As a nation, our image in the world changed from that of Snake Charmers to Mouse Charmers.
Mouse Charmers are a new breed of entrepreneurs in emerging India powered by Internet and the opportunities that it offers to create new markets and to cater to old markets in a new way. Some of them have already achieved success where they can be called iconic and inspiring while others have powerful ideas that put them on the same path. Looking at the spectrum of entrepreneurs I got to study and interact with during the writing of this book, it may not be wrong to say that these entrepreneurs are on their way to create a complete parallel economy, offering us solutions literally at our fingertips. Today, most of what we can go out and buy in the market is available online and can be brought from the comfort of our Internet-enabled devices-everyday groceries, jewellery, entertainment, alternate education, and various services that we consume. If there is anything that we cannot buy as yet, rest assured, someone out there is working on getting it on our online shopping kart. This book is my journey to explore how some of the pioneers in various categories and verticals of digital enterprises have created new markets and irreversibly changed the way we shop, connect, and create.
Personally, I have been an early adaptor of technology, but I still get jittery when I have to use my credit card on a website for the first time. I was sceptical of certain categories making it to the online medium but to my surprise, or should I say delight, they are not only being accepted by the users but also being explored to their fullest potential by innovative digital entrepreneurs. For example, I never thought people would buy garments or shoes online. They may browse to see what is available but they would want to try them on before making the purchase. After all a shoe must fit properly and a garment must accentuate your natural shape, both of which are not standard. However, fashion retailers came up with the 'try before you buy' offer for their online buyers. Till few year back, gold was always bought from trusted family jewellers. But companies like Tanishq broke that notion and organized this highly fragmented market. After that, online retailers took it to the next level with money back guarantees and options to customize the selections. And, this may just be the beginning.
ARENAS OF MOUSE CHARMERS
Internet-based businesses have existed in the west for some time now. A lot of Indian entrepreneurs started by picking up established business models from there and then went ahead and customized them for local needs. E-tailing would fall in this category where the base model was picked up from other markets and features were built in to cater to the local market. Then there are concepts that are quintessentially Indian and our entrepreneurs have ported them online and broadened the horizons for their users beyond what they could have ever imagined. For example, we have a tuition culture in India that is supposed to complement and supplement our school education. It provides support to students with varying grasping powers. Till recently, a teacher always meant a neighbour or a coaching centre next door. Online ventures like Tutor Vista connect students and teachers globally and besides helping students, these companies leverage the latent talent present in many Indian homes like highly educated housewives who are unable to take up full-time jobs for multiple reasons.
While shopping and education existed in the world even before the arrival of Internet, global communities of people sharing common interests and passions have flourished online. These special interest groups create their own little world in their communities. Their earliest genesis may lie in Yahoo Groups-which are still popular and in use by early communities. Then came networking portals like Ryze. It was meant to be a business network but managed to create offline communities in cities of the people who first met online. This gave way to Orkut, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and others in due course of time. Most of these are generic communities of family, friends, colleagues, and followers. Then, there are small niche communities that may choose any of the platforms or tools available to interact, communicate, and co-ordinate, but their main objective is to connect for a common purpose like bird photography or supporting a cause. Who would have thought we would interact with our neighbours through electronic devices; but it is all happening just like we could not have foreseen that we'd be able to instantly share pictures with friends across the globe one day or instantly find required talent available on freelancing platforms for our workplace.
Google has changed the way we use our memory. We no longer need to remember any kind of data. Google or for that matter any other search engine is limited to providing generic information that we seek. To get specific searches, for say looking for a house to buy or rent in a particular locality within a certain budget, we need portals that are repository of moving inventories of what we are looking for. Let's call them niche searches and this is another space that the Internet took to another level and helped us look at options far and wide. In their offline avatar they used to be called classifieds. Take the case of matrimonial searches, where you search for a potential life partner based on different criteria. There is need for privacy and security while engaging with people you meet through search results. An ecosystem needs to be developed to make people comfortable being a part of the database and making them communicate in limited privacy.
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