Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Exclusive Interview with Team LastBench! on their First Ride

Few days back, I covered an article on LastBench prior to their launch. So with the arrival of their first program Essentially Business, LastBench is all set for a ride. Here is an exclusive interview by Startups Media with the team of LastBench, Rajeev Chhajer (CEO), Sajid Chougle (COO) and Venkat Iyer (CMO), sharing interesting insights and experiences.



What exactly is your concept behind LastBench ?
Last-Bench is an education services start-up aiming to fill the gap between traditional formal education and applied learning. The concept ‘Last-Bench’ literally signifies the last bench of the classroom where the methods of learning are unconventional and requires a more comprehensive approach to aid the idea-generation process. Last-Bench highlights the difference in the learning needs of individuals, students or working professionals, and aims to provide customized learning solutions to promote personal and professional growth. 



How is the present business environment ?
The current business environment is extraordinarily challenging, competitive and dynamic. Companies are constantly in search of young professionals, a lot of students entering the workforce or people already in the workforce are from non-business backgrounds and there are entrepreneurs who need to stay ahead of the curve in order for their business to succeed and grow. In any case, you need the business and management skills to advance your career to the next level.


I have been hearing about your latest course offering. What is it all about ?
In accordance with research, Last-Bench has developed its first offering - a highly flexible yet comprehensive program suite, ESSENTIALLY BUSINESS. Last-Bench has begun delivering a specialized in-person course for young, ambitious students and working professionals called MANAGE WHAT which aims at enhancing an individual's ability of directing the activities of oneself and other people, while coordinating the goals of the individual and the organization. The program focuses on effective management with a strong personal dimension and puts you on the path to be a complete professional and a good learner with a high level of self-awareness and the ability to manage stress and time well. Apart from all the applied knowledge you’ll get, you also get a personalized report with detailed feedback about your strengths, weaknesses, performance and contribution.



That seems great and well researched. What is the current scenario of India as per your studies ?
Though the soft skills crisis is a universal phenomenon, the problems and reasons in the Indian subcontinent are peculiar because our educational system is so designed forcing students to concentrate more on rote learning than on developing a spirit of enquiry.


As a solution to this what do you think is the need of hour? How does your course targets to solve this ?
Soft skills are essential for career progression. If you can’t communicate well with colleagues or clients you might come across as incompetent, even though your technical ability is far superior to others.Our program focuses on effective management with a strong personal dimension and puts you on the path to be a complete professional and a good learner with a high level of self-awareness and the ability to manage stress and time well.


That’s great. We wish you all the best for your endeavor. All the best !


Visit Last-Bench here: LastBench!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Kobster - For all your Office Needs and Supplies

It often occurs that we need to move to market for buying small office stationery items, which wastes a lot of time. What if you can find all the office supplies you may need at one single destination.

I recently came across Kobster, a perfect solution for buying all your office needs online. No, this is not another e-commerce website in line. Founded by Vineet, Mohan and Karthik, Kobster has very well implemented the idea of providing all your office supply needs at one stop. Kobster has been recently launched on 5th September and looks very promising.









Be it a folder, a file, your laptop cooling pad, staplers, sharpners, beverages, a desk organizer or brooms, Kobster has everything in store related to Office Stationary, Electronics, Cleaning Products and other facilities. Kobster has tied up with very well known brands like Cello, Kores, Maped, Reynolds, Godrej, etc to provide you a whole quality range of products. It currently offers 1200+ items with online payment as well as COD facility. To test the prices, I searched few products and compared their prices with my recent purchases, and found its prices to be reasonable. Each product comes with a discount. Also the website offers a 21 day credit period for Corporate Buyers. The User Interface is as it should be. I was able to find out almost everything my office needs here. 


                                


So here is my take on this website. Kobster is very nice and useful. Just some good publicity marketing campaigns and this website is going to be everyone’s bookmark for office needs. 
This seems to be one of the next big thing.The plus point about its market is that all the users are going to be return users. So once someone comes here for purchase, he is surely going to return back next time.

Grab your office supplies here: Kobster


Sunday, 2 September 2012

Watsi - Humanitarian Project To Help Those in Need Of Low Cost Medical Care

You see lot of startups everyday. But there are few, which are developed to deal with Humanitarian challenges. Founded by Chase Adam, Mark Murrin, Howard Glenn, and Jesse Cooke, Watsi enables you to directly fund low-cost, high-impact medical treatments for people in need. This story comes more of a personal interest than reviewing it.






Watsi in collaboration with other healthcare partners and experts tries to connect donors with the patients in serious need of low-cost medical care and enables you to fund high-impact treatments. It equally emphasizes on technology involved in this project. The website looks very decent as it should be. It presents the profiles of those in need and also mentions the total donation amount required, total donors till now and the progress of individual case.


Presently, 19 cases have been presented on Watsi out of which 17 have been crowd funded totally. Mostly the individuals in need are from developing countries. A minimum of 5$ amount can be donated. To make this process more transparent, Watsi also lists the medical partner of the cases. Recently the founders have also shared a doc which contains all the transactional details of these cases to make the process more transparent. Watsi has been approved as a 501(c)(3) non profit organization in California, which means that donations will be tax-deductible.



Watsi is definitely on the right tracks of tackling the global humanitarian challenge of healthcare. Its surely a good start. It works on the values of Impact, Innovation, Efficiency and Transparency. And we would like it to see it grow and extend. I request the readers to extend a helping hand to this noble cause. 


Visit and donate Watsi here: Watsi

Friday, 31 August 2012

YC Backed Markupwand - Covert Photoshop Files to HTML/CSS in minutes

Are you one of those who spend hours and hundreds on converting your Photoshop designs to HTML/CSS. Y Combinator backed Markupwand allows you to automatically convert your psd files to HTML/CSS. Founded by Raj Natarajan, Alagu Muthuraman, and Suren Mahendran, Markupwand seems to be a very useful tool which can replace the methods which developers presently adopt for this task.





The strong positive reviews Markupwand is seeing is due to its power of rendering usable code that is close to how developers code. It’s faster code execution and minimal markup makes this product special. Presently, there are other similar products and software like Adobe Dreamweaver, but they have proved inefficient in many ways. Taking care of this,
Markupwand emphasizes on generating hand-written like code.


In a very short Beta period, Markupwand has geared up high. Presently the team is working on improving the product. But it seems sure that Markupwand is surely going to be a boon to thousands of developers, and worth spending on by companies and developers. The interface of the tool is very simple to start with.



The work experiences of the founders at Yahoo, Zynga, Myntra and its backing support YCombinator seems impressing. Have a look at this here:
Markupwand

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

We Make Love - WML

If you are one of those who love original designs and artists, this review post is for you. Founded by Nikhil Paul, WML or WeMakeLove is an online gallery/shop curated by a creative team of lifestyle designers. It sells one of a kind gifting ideas and concepts, as well as design originals created by wemakelove, other designers, artisans and creative friends. In this shop, you will find objects that are specially designed to make someone feel special and loved. Here is my take on WML:





The Simple The Better. I always like websites with such clean User Interface. Now look at the variety of masterpieces it is offering. Here are some of the examples. A wonderful Chai Paani Money Bank inspired by three headed monster of corruption, super cool Fluke Books, The Flag featuring 30 photographers on Indian flag. These are just few of the examples of an awesome collection of artistic masterpieces by WML. Each piece comes with an Indianness in it.


There is just one word about WML: Awesome. Wonderful idea. Great Execution. It is the place for the real designers and seekers. WML is soon going to come up with a campaign for Diwali called Green Diwali. Will soon be catching WML again for new products.


WML is surely making the love happen.


Fall in love here : WeMakeLove

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Bigbite.in - Online Food Ordering Website

So, what do you do when you feel like sitting at home, not in the mood to move out and wanna grab food from outside. Call one of the Home Delivery Service restaurant. Worry no more. Bigbite.in, an online food ordering website which lets customers browse numerous restaurants and their menus and consequently place an order for delivery of food. Bigbite team makes this process very seamless and simple. Its user-friendly online system not only lets customers browse restaurant options, but also assists them in making the right choice through user reviews and ratings.


                         



There are many other websites in food segment but I am writing on this because Bigbite.in offers all those needs at one place. Browse restaurants, order food, find reviews and much more. Presently the service is available in Noida, Gurgaon and Delhi. Here is my take on this.




What I liked most about the website is its online Menu Order selection. Feels like ordering from an actual menu card. Here is an example of how your menu card looks like:





I must say Bigbite is doing really tight job by connecting your requests to the restaurants. It also features ratings and reviews for the same. The User Interface is as it should be.

Wrapping up, I want Bigbite to be in my city :) However, users from Delhi, Noida and Gurgaon don’t have to wait. grab a big bite here:   Bigbite 

Sunday, 26 August 2012

WriterBabu - For Writer within us


It happens! Sometimes we want to share something but don't want to reveal self to our friends on social networks. It maybe your latest poem, an idea, a story or anything. Started by Srijan Srivastava, WriterBabu is a website for writers who believe in philosophy of true and free expression writing. 


Its unique structure and design, attempts to ensure this freedom for the writer and an unbiased mindset for the readers. Writing anonymously one can break free of their public image and the biases attached to their name, class, sex and origin.  Reveal a secret, share your dreams, gossip, confess.  A writer can post either being visible or anonymous. Follow and connect with other authors. Build your own diaries and follow diaries of other authors. It also features top stories and authors.



 

I tried out this application for a while and here is my take on this. WriterBabu is a very fresh idea. While other networks emphasizes on revealing your identity, WriterBabu lets you express your ideas freely without any concerns. It brings in some new ideas like Diaries and has nice potential to evolve. Aspiring writers who want to write and share freely, will find this very website useful. However I feel, it needs to work out on the User Interface part of the website and make the experience look more uniform and interactive to attract more users.

Have a look at this innovative concept here:
WriterBabu

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Giveter - Best Gift Ideas

Gifting has always been a tough task for many of us. Choosing the perfect gift out of innumerable options is always a troublesome job. So two solution seekers - Avinash Saxena and Mayank Bhangadia, have come up with an interesting startup Giveter ,a gift discovery site to find relevant gifts based on recipient’s age, relationship to gifter and
occasion. So here is a follow up of the same.


The website discovers the appropriate gifts by the following criteria:
1) By Recipient's Age
2) Relationship with recipient
3) Occasion for gift
These categories have various sub-categories to choose from.




To take a test drive, I selected Youth as Recipient's Age, Friend(Her) as Relationship with
recipient and Birthday as Occasion for gift. In the result I found a variety of cool and relevant gift options ranging from Gadgets, Novels, Jewellery, Cosmetics, Cakes, Angry Birds Speaker, Gift Voucher and lot more. Moreover I can refine my search based on the mood,
personality and price range of gifts. It’s cool. However, there were some results like Personalized Tees for Him, which I found out of my search category.





I browsed Giveter with other options and categories and was happy with this. Simple and clean User-Interface, designed with focussed target market makes this website worth using. I would certainly come back to it on next gifting occasion. Presently the website has 2500+ gifting products which would certainly increase in future.


Have a look at this promising startup Giveter here: Giveter

 

Twocents

Movie Ratings have always been an issue of debate. Opinions for movies differ with many factors making 5-or-10 scaling method not perfectly reliable. To solve these drawbacks of de-facto movie rating system, Raveesh Bhalla and Shashank Nayak have come up with a movie review and recommendation site twocents which focusses on user’s social circle. Nice Idea. Let’s have a look. 

Twocents suggests social media integration for better experience, so I signed in with my Facebook account. The landing page seemed perfect. Nice design. So when you select a movie you have can give three predefined responses viz. Catch It, Leave It, and Wanna See It. It also gives details about the movie such as trailors snd synopsis.



Next, I tried searching for some movies and was able to find those movie. However I expect search to be more advanced as didn’t worked few times. Also I may not always know the exact name of the movie. However, being in Beta, I think this will be advanced in final versions. The database of movie with which they have started is large.

So here is the wrap up. Twocents seems to be a nice idea. Cool interface. Social Integration and analysis  is the main interesting part. Once you have your friend circles on twocents, this is surely going to be helpful in deciding how you choose on your movies. Also, mobile apps which twocents is soon going to roll out will make this easily accessible on mobiles. However it presently needs growing users so that the recommendation and rating part becomes effective. Waiting for final version to roll out soon.

So take a look at this. Recommend your friends. Vist twocents here: Twocents

Eventifier - Smarter Way To Archive Your Events

Events are everywhere. And with these events come a lot of social media engagement options. You post your event photos on Facebook, videos on Youtube, tweets on Twitter, documents, etc. However, managing and sorting all these scattered pieces becomes cumbersome. How about maintaining all these archives at one place. Founded by Jazeel, Mohammed and Nazim, Eventifier lets you archive your event and collaborate all the information at one place. Eventifier is a smarter way to archive all your event archives from the entire web. Let’s have a look.



A website’s first look says much and Eventifier clearly wins on  that. Simple User Interaction and navigation is cool. Creating an event is as simple as providing your Event Name, email-id and #tag and rest is on them. Every event has a page which archives all its details, photos, videos, tweets, slides and details of all the contributors. The design perspective is appreciable proving how to show bundle of details with minimum complexity.  The app works fast. However I feel the event search functionality can be broadened and made more advanced. 


Here is an example of an archived event:





Looking at the increasing interaction of Eventifier, and it's backing up with The Startup Centre, Eventifier has surely started up on this. So next time I am gonna arrange any event, it will surely be a part of Eventifier. Recommended.  


Happy Event Archiving.

Have a look at Eventifier here: Eventifier