Millennium Post

Beating the couch potato

Technology continues to be the game-changer in industry as businesses explore ways and means to upgrade their skills and income in tune with the global economy. India is flying high in the momentum of such change and one of the companies involved in this process is Telebrands, a pioneer in Televison Marketing, which chose to don a new avatar with its rechristened HBN India Pvt Ltd in a bid to raise Rs 120 crore from PE players for expanding its retail outlets by FY18. Even as the Television Market hots up, the company is eyeing a target of Rs 200 crore by 2016 end. Riding on the recent spurt in online shopping, TeleBrands India Pvt Ltd, a telemarketing and mail order organisation, recently announced re-branding of television brand as HBN India (Hot Brands India) in line with the company’s aggressive growth strategy and near-term product roadmap. Reaching over 40 million households and enjoying a lion’s share in the market at 20 per cent, HBN India is targeting a revenue of 200 crore by opening 24 new retail stores for the new year 2016. “We plan to raise Rs 120 crore from PE players to expand retail outlets from 110 to 300 by FY18”, said Hitesh Israni, MD, HBN India.   
Noting that while online buying space is hotting up with new entries each day, he said TELEBrands India still retained a healthy repeat customer business of 35 per cent by being owners and not aggregators, unlike competitors. Also, being powered by its own home-grown 24 hours TV channel HBN, the company eyeing newer heights and – to further enhance the convenience and shopping experience for its customers – plans to launch a mobile app in 2016, he added. Highlighting the company’s growth plans, Israni said, “Television is the biggest contributor to our revenues. With a reach in 40 million households, we have carved a niche in the television shopping segment while being bullish on the home shopping business in India and focusing on increased customer base through penetration in tier-2 and tier-3 cities.”

HBN India Director, Manisha Israni reiterated that with customer convenience being most important, and mobile apps fast-emerging as a preferred medium for shopping, the company was focusing on bringing its extensive product line and unmatched offers directly to customers. Despite changing times, the logistical strength of HBN India was the in-house Indian Post Department which ensured that buyers from all across India – down to the semi-urban and rural areas – received the latest and the best in business, she said, adding: “HBN India has been witnessing a huge response through television from across India for its various product categories, including fitness and exercise equipment, treadmills, sauna, massager, kitchen products, etc. Backed by overwhelming customer response, the company is all set to raise the bar higher by introducing new product segments and announcing exciting offers and deals.”           

Meanwhile, cloudBuy – a global provider of cloud-based e-commerce marketplaces and B2B buyer/supplier solutions – has signed a further agreement with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for an online e-commerce gateway that will connect Indian businesses with new trading opportunities within the country and around the world. The agreement, which is spotlighted in a package of Anglo-Indian trade initiatives announced during Indian Premier Modi’s recent visit to the UK, recognised the importance of increasing trade between the two nations and the imperative of deepening this relationship via e-commerce. The contract follows on from the MoU agreement announced earlier in the year, said Nilesh Gopali, cloudBuy Country Head, India. 

Gopali, who recently returned to India – after working in the UK for 16 years – to head up cloudBuy’s Indian operation, said that developing the CII project and being recognised by the UK government as a “GREAT” collaboration between the UK and India, was a fantastic endorsement of what cloudBuy had to offer. “Understanding both economies, I believe that the new CII gateway will accelerate the increase in trade between the two nations and I am very excited to be part of the change,” he said.

“Two regions thriving globally are Middle East and Asia – specifically India whose e-commerce is growing 35 per cent to 40 per cent year-on-year. India has huge market opportunities and cloudBuy is bringing into focus the biz-to-biz space which is completely nascent,” Gopali told Millennium Post. 

“India has 45 million SMEs of which barely two or three million are registered. All these represent prospective members for us tap into as the Indian market is maturing for biz-to-biz commerce with huge volumes within. NASSCOM estimates that India’s GDP will comprise four per cent of e-commerce, while its economy will be around Rs 4.5 trillion by 2020 and scoped to grow by seven times then.”

Describing cloudBuy’s operations, Gopali said AIM: CBUY provided cloud solutions for buyers and sellers – and brought them together to trade securely and ethically via an increasing number of public e-marketplaces and private purchasing portals around the world, powered by cloudBuy technology. Highlighting cloudBuy solutions for buyers that help B2B purchasers understand and control their spend, to reduce costs and increase value, Gopali said “cloudSell solutions enabled sellers of all sizes – from start-ups to corporate – reach new customers and grow their business through e-commerce. cloudBuy’s technology platform powers web sites, public marketplaces and private purchasing portals that enable all types of online interactions and relationships including, citizen and business to government; consumer to business; and business to business.”

Meanwhile, Bioneeds India Pvt. Ltd. of Bengaluru – an OECD GLP-certified and AAALAC- accredited Pre-Clinical Contract Research Organisation with strong research oriented scientific manpower – drew investment of Rs 250 million from Canbank Venture Capital Fund (CVCFL) by way of equity shares and convertibles for a minority stake in the company. Bioneeds, which is servicing highly reputed Indian and International Pharmaceutical, Biotech, Agrochemical, Medical Devices, Nutraceuticals, Cosmetics and Industrial chemical companies,  plans to deploy these funds in expansion to broaden its service offerings including Discovery, Development and Regulatory service under one roof for pharma, biotech, agrochemical and medical device companies.

Describing Bioneeds as a first-generation business built primarily on high quality work through qualified scientific staff and funding by internal accruals and borrowings, alongside seeking funds to expand services, Dr S N Vinaya Babu, MD, Bioneeds, said these funds would be deployed to build additional Vivarium and Discovery Labs with state-of-the-art equipments to broaden company service offerings and also expand to a Rs 1,000 million Company in the next three years. 

Noting that globally the Indian Scientific Community is highly respected for their ingenuity, professionalism and contribution in the field of new drug discovery, S Thiruvadi, managing director, (CVCFL) said high-quality scientific manpower – coupled with cost advantage of India – remained a compelling business reason for many international companies to outsource their research work in India and Bioneeds was well-positioned to capture the growth opportunity with its well-qualified scientific manpower. Global R&D expenditure for the pharmaceutical industry in 2014 was about $139 billion with significant potential for outsourcing, while penetration of outsourcing to independent CROs is estimated to be at CAGR of about 12.5 per cent, he added. 

Adani Wilmar Ltd., (AWL) – a joint venture of Indian giant Adani Group and Singapore-based Wilmar International Ltd, unveiled India’s first diabetes-care oil called Fortune VIVO at the hands of Bollywood actress Parineeti Chopra and Indian scientist Dr Sankar Devarajan who is responsible for formulating this product jointly with AWL. “Diabetes is s fast-growing disease in India and VIVo is our contribution towards controlling it,” Atul Chaturvedi, CEO, Adani Wilmar Ltd, said adding that VIVO oil is rich in “unsaturated fats”  which – clinically-proven research showed – benefited Type-2 diabetes patients using related diets. 

Technology frontiers have been crossed on the insurance front in India where Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) – India’s largest insurer – launched its “e-Services” recently in the form of repository services as per revised guidelines by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI). Basic services mandated by IRDAI such as status of policy, loans and claims alongside premier services like premium due calendar, online premium payment facilitation, premium history etc will be available in this. Describing this as probably the “largest digitisation effort in the world,” LIC Chairman S K Roy said 40 million documents had been digitised till Jan end, 2016. LIC’s pioneering efforts included being the first financial sector organisation to use computers, have a microprocessor system in the ‘80s and have 42 per cent of its premiums collected through this system today, he said while noting that LIC is fully geared up to meet all responsibilities in today’s fast-changing environment.

Yet another company is focusing on making animal husbandry a little easier for farmers and operators. Biomatiques Identification Solutions Pvt. Ltd. Introduced “Retina Recognition Technology” for Cattle Identification at an e-governance symposium in Tirupati recently, and also became the first Indian company to do so. The event was a conclave was organised by the Govt. of Andhra Pradesh on the lines of the Digital India initiative of the Central government as a platform for exchange of ideas for IT secretaries from other States, GoI and eminent industry leaders.  Some of the key themes were: ePragati, Mee Seva, Bharat Net, Start-Ups for e-governance and ICT (Information & Communication Technology) for smart cities amongst others. 

In India, the concept of animal identification is not new. However, the methods that are used are either outdated or can be tampered with easily. Biomatiques has already started making waves in the biometric identification solutions market with its revolutionary iris recognition technology which involves the human eye. There are so far only 12 other companies in the international market which offer iris recognition as method for biometric identification. On similar grounds, Biomatiques has now come up with “Cattle UID” – retina biometric technology for identifying cattle. 
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