Retailbound Wants to Build a Retail Platform for Gadget Entrepreneurs

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So you have a successful crowdfunding campaign. Your product has been funded, manufactured, and shipped. The question is, now what? According to Retailbound, Inc. only one in fifty crowdfunded gadget entrepreneurs manage to get their product on the shelves of major retailers.

The team behind Retailbound wants to improve these odds. The Chicago based company has been around since 2008, describing themselves as a full-service retail marketing consulting company. Its website boasts:

Our seasoned executives bring versatile experience and expertise of retail marketing and merchandising solutions, from both sides of the retail buyer’s desk. This experience within the retail industry sets us apart as a leading retail marketing and merchandising solutions provider.

Now the company is looking to build a new platform designed to help crowd-funded gadget entrepreneurs get their products into retail stores. The company is calling this platform a “virtual incubator” where gadget entrepreneurs can learn, network, and sell.

Retailbound is currently running an Indiegogo campaign to launch the new platform. A $10,000 funding goal has been set. It’s still early, so there is no telling if the campaign will reach that.

For more on the campaign, see the group’s Indiegogo video below:

Specific details on what the platform will entail and look like are vague. Retailbound does say it will provide how-to videos that can be accessed 24/7. The goal is to help entrepreneurs learn and develop strategies to successfully sell.

Retailbound also claims the platform will help match retail-oriented gadget entrepreneurs with retailer and distributor opportunities. If the platform can deliver on this claim, it would be a helpful tool for those getting started in that market.

There are no specifics on pricing for using the platform once it’s completed. Right now it’s looking like membership will run about $50 a month. This price is assumed based on rewards perks offered with the current Indiegogo campaign. But there may also be different levels of membership with differing fees or additional services that could cost more.

Retailbound’s new project, if it gets off the ground, could hold some helpful opportunities for entrepreneurs. An online membership could be an alternative to hiring an expensive consultant and could be a solution for entrepreneurs starting out who don’t have a big budget to spend.


Retail Technology Photo via Shutterstock

More in: Gadgets

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Solomoto Platform Handles Webdesign, CRM, Ecommerce, More

Solomoto Platform Handles Webdesign, CRM, Ecommerce, More

Solomoto is a marketing technology provider that helps small companies grow by centralizing their digital business needs into an all-in-one platform that encompasses web design, ecommerce, CRM, social media marketing and ad campaigning.

The company is based in Tel Aviv, Israel, and launched in 2015. It first ventured into international markets — Brazil and Eastern Europe, specifically — and is now attempting to break into the U.S.

Solomoto’s goal is to recruit a few hundred U.S. small businesses to serve as “ambassadors” to help promote its services. In exchange, these companies get to use the platform free of charge for three months.

The term Solomoto is an amalgam of the words social, local, mobile and tools. The company chose the moniker because it reflects three characteristics that define today’s consumers. These consumers:

  • Rely on the influence of social network friends and followers when making purchase decisions;
  • Shop locally, as well as online;
  • Depend on their mobile devices to find business information, such as hours of operation and location.

From that sprang the term “SoLoMo” to describe these modern, digitally-savvy consumers. Solomoto just provides the tools to reach them.

Solomoto works with companies across many industries — healthcare, food and beverage, real estate and retail — more than 50 different verticals that range in size from single-person operations to companies with several dozen employees. To date, more than 100,000 businesses use the service worldwide.

Solomoto: Digital Marketing in Half an Hour Per Day

In a telephone conversation with Small Business Trends, Guy Israeli, one of Solomoto’s founders, said, “We understand that smaller companies have a limited amount of time to manage their digital marketing activities. We combined all the tools into one dashboard to allow a small business to compete with large organizations in half an hour per day.”

Solomoto refers to itself as a Saas-based platform, not cloud-based.

“Cloud services are normally associated with infrastructure, storage and hosting, and are often used by large enterprises,” Israeli said, explaining the difference. “We use the cloud for infrastructure but offer our software as a service to customers, which makes it SaaS-based.”

Regarding the platform, Israeli said customers could use one part or all. However, “it’s the combination of tools that make it effective,” he said.

Solomoto Platform Features

Some of Solomoto’s most salient features include:

Location-based advertising. Solomoto knows your location and can build an ad campaign for you almost automatically, Israeli said. You provide the images and videos and in six clicks and about 20 seconds you can have a campaign live on Google, Facebook and Instagram without ever writing a word. Users can launch ad campaigns to all three outlets at the same time and track performance in one place.

Create once, publish everywhere. Users can publish a website or online store both to the web and inside Facebook, via a tab.

Ready-made content. Solomoto suggests ready-made content based on the business category. Content comes in the form of images, social media posts and articles from third-party sites.

Ambassador program. When Solomoto enters a new market, it gathers a small group of businesses (up to a few hundred) and then works closely with them to ensure their success. They become case studies in a sense, proving the value of the platform for that particular market.

Marketing help. The company provides marketing services for businesses that don’t have time to take care of the tasks.

Templated websites. Solomoto offers more than 100 website design templates that require no knowledge of HTML. Businesses can also add an online store and receive payments directly through the platform.

Solomoto Website Templates

Social media post scheduler. The post scheduler lets users publish to social networks automatically using a “set it and forget it” approach.

Solomoto Social Media Post Scheduler

Hosting and domains. Solomoto hosts its customers’ websites free of charge. Businesses can register a domain name free as well.

Analytics. The platform provides analytics on the customer’s website, online store and advertising all in one place.

How to Use Solomoto

Follow these steps to begin using Solomoto:

  1. Set up a free account, which you can do by entering your name, email address and creating a password.
  1. Click the tile in the dashboard that says “Create Business.”
  1. Complete a business profile, which consists of the company name, category, country, address and phone number.

Solomoto’s dashboard uses a tiled structure, which it refers to as “widgets,” that resembles a Windows 10 desktop. Each widget manages a particular activity, such as building a website, planning ad campaigns or posting to social media. Users can customize the interface with a drag and drop function that lets them replace, remove or relocate the widgets to their liking.

Solomoto Dashboard

Here’s a brief description of each widget:

Business – This widget contains the information used when setting up the account and creating the business listing.

Connect social networks pages – The title of this widget is somewhat misleading because it appears that Facebook is the only social network with which the user can connect.

Create website – Solomoto includes more than 100 templates in the web design widget, designed to fit many business categories. Sites can be published both to the Internet and to Facebook, as a tab.

Statistics – This reporting widget includes the number of visits, membership and demographics, both for the website and Facebook.

Add store – Users can set up an ecommerce store to demonstrate goods without payment functions, facilitate purchases via a third-party site or set up ordering on the website and within Facebook.

Advertise on social networks – Businesses can create ad campaigns for Facebook and Instagram, and pay through the dashboard.

Balance – This widget lets users add funds to their account to pay for activities such as advertising or subscription fees. The site accepts all major credit cards and PayPal.

Advertise on Google – This widget enables the setup of Google AdWords campaigns.

Manage posts in social networks – Users can create a social network posting calendar, to publish to Facebook. Solomoto provides ready-made content or users can create their own.

Solomoto Pricing

Solomoto is free to use until the moment the user needs to publish to the web. At that point, he or she can choose one of two different payment plans: per day or month.

The per day plan, which costs 50 cents a day, is intended to be “pay as you go” where users top off their wallets to pay for things such as buying media or publishing their website. According to Israeli, it’s like buying minutes on a phone.

The monthly plan — which costs $15 per month — is more convenient and intended for users who are looking for greater pricing stability and access to all the features.

Image: Solomoto

[“source-ndtv”]

Digital Agriculture Market Platform to Launch in April, Says PM Modi

Digital Agriculture Market Platform to Launch in April, Says PM Modi

A digital platform for enabling farmers to sell their produce at a better rate anywhere in the country will be launched on April 14, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in Sehore on Thursday as he resolved to ensure doubling of the farmers’ income by 2022.

PM Modi, who unveiled guidelines for the recently-launched Prime Minister’s Crop Insurance Scheme at a rally in Sehore, said this was one of the various initiatives of his government aimed at ensuring the welfare of the farmers who have been in distress due to vagaries of weather.

Besides the Crop Insurance Scheme, the Prime Minister spoke about Soil Health Card scheme, PM’s Irrigation Scheme, organic farming, ensuring adequate availability of urea and ethanol-blending programme to help the sugarcane farmers and also pitched for ‘Startup’ initiatives in agriculture sector.

The Prime Minister pushed for more and more use of modern technology and equipment along with traditional wisdom of farming to boost the agriculture sector, not only to meet the domestic needs but also cater to the demands from abroad.

“We want to integrate technology in the agriculture sector. There should be a mix of progressive farming and age-old wisdom,” the Prime Minister said.

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Noting that the farmers do not get adequate price for his produce despite working hard as he has no choice but to sell in the nearby mandis, Prime Minister Modi said the government has decided to address this by adopting a digital mechanism.

“We are setting up a National Agriculture Market, a virtual and digital platform, in the coming days… On April 14, the birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar, we will launch the online platform,” PM Modi said at the rally which was attended by union ministers Sushma Swaraj, Radha Mohan Singh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan besides others.

The Prime Minister said this platform will enable the farmers, using a mobile phone, to sell their produce anywhere in the country, wherever they can get a better price.

At the rally, the Prime Minister said all states as well as agriculture community should take a pledge to double the farmers’ income by 2022, the 75th year of the country’s Independence. “We will do whatever is required achieve this.”

Under the e-agri platform, the government is working towards integrating all the 585 wholesale mandis of the country by 2018 in a phased manner, for which Rs. 200 crores have been earmarked as of now.

In the first phase, 200 mandis will be integrated by this March-end while another 200 will be connected to the online platform in 2017 and the rest by 2018.

The Centre has received proposals from states like Karnataka, Gujarat, Telangana, and Maharashtra for developing necessary infrastructure in wholesale markets. A strategic partner for implementing the national agri e-market has also been identified.

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Tags: Digital India, India, Internet, Narendra Modi

[“Source-Gadgets”]

Fashion Startup Provides eCommerce Platform for Sustainable Designers

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Environmentally conscious consumers have plenty of options when it comes to things like food and household products. But what about clothing?

There are options out there for sustainable, well-made garments. But you can’t usually find them at the mall or major retail locations. So such brands haven’t always been easy for consumers to buy.

Enter Zady, a company that aims to connect consumers with sustainable, high quality fashion. Zady works with fashion and décor brands around the world to showcase products that are both ethically made and constructed with quality materials.

The company launched just over a year ago. Friends Maxine Bédat and Soraya Darabi started the platform as an alternative to today’s “fast fashion,” where consumers tend to buy a lot of cheap clothes instead of a few timeless pieces.

To accomplish its mission, the company vets designers to identify those who fit with the company’s environmental ideals. Zady currently has about 60 such designers on its site. On each product page, potential customers find details about where the product is made and what raw materials are used. There are even bios of the designers and profiles of the businesses that create each product.

In addition, Zady partners with nonprofit The Bootstrap Project to promote artisan entrepreneurs in the developing world. A portion of each purchase made on the platform goes to fund these micro-businesses.

But the next step for Zady is its own line. The company plans to start this holiday season and will be involved with every stage of the sourcing for its products. Since Zady cares so much about quality materials and construction, it makes sense that its team would want to be involved in the whole process. Bédat told CNN:

“The natural step is to get our hands dirty and figure out, ‘What does it mean to make the most sustainable brand?’”

The fashion industry today focuses so much on cheap, trendy items. Because of that, there are methods of garment making and construction that are being lost and forgotten.

Zady offers the opposite — a way to easily find the brands that use high quality materials, solid construction and sustainable methods. For consumers that care about those aspects of fashion, this platform could make shopping infinitely easier.

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

India Funding Roundup: An IoT Hardware Startup, Mobile Tutoring Platform, and More

India Funding Roundup: An IoT Hardware Startup, Mobile Tutoring Platform, and More

Our latest funding roundup compiles early and late stage investments in India’s startup ecosystem, covering investments in robotics, healthcare, e-commerce, budget hotel accommodations, and is notable for two huge funding events in the EdTech and grocery delivery space.

Smartron India
IoT startup Smartron India announced Tuesday that it had received an undisclosed sum of funding from cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, who will serve as the brand ambassador of the company. Smartron has been operating in stealth mode since August 2014 and is expecting to launch a slew of smart devices and Internet of Things (IoT) products for consumer and enterprise markets soon. Founder Mahesh Lingareddy said that the startup wants to disrupt the IoT market with innovative products, and build a global product brand from India.

Endless Robotics
Hyderabad-based interior painting automation startup Endless Robotics has closed a $100,000 (roughly Rs. 66 lakhs) pre-seed round on angel investment platform TermSheet.io from Arun Venkatachalam, Devidas Desai Vipul Gautam, and other US and Singapore-based angel investors. The robotics startup is working on a series of automation products for decorative painting in the construction and real estate development space. To gain momentum, the team plans to target small to mid-level new residential projects in Hyderabad. Its robotics solution is are 30 times faster than handheld brush painting said Co-founder Srikar Reddy in an emailed statement.

(Also read: 10 Indian Robotics Startups That Are Building a Better Tomorrow

eKincare
Hyderabad-based eKincare has secured Rs 2.2 crores in pre-series A round of funding from Bitkemy Ventures, Maheshwari Investment, and other angels. The healthcare technology startup lets users remotely track the health of their family through apps for Android and iOS, and sponsor health checks, with prices for check ups ranging from Rs. 99 to Rs. 2,300. The funding will be used to strengthen product development, IP and acquire talent, the company said.

Fresh To Home
Bengaluru-based online fish and meat retailer Fresh To Home announced that it has received an undisclosed sum of funding from Mark Pincus of Zynga, Rajan Anandan of Google, Paval Ongole, ex-India Head of Softbank Capital, and other angel investors. Fresh To Home said that it is solving problems in the supply chain of perishables in India by connecting fishermen and farmers directly with consumers. Since its soft launch in August 2015, the company crossed 20,000 users in the last six months, and has seen 65 percent month-on-month customer retention, the company said. Fresh To Home currently serves customers in Bengaluru, Delhi, Kochi, and Thiruvananthapuram.

BigBasket
Grocery delivery startup BigBasket has raised $150 million (roughly Rs. 1,000 crores) in funding in a round led by UAE’s Abraaj Group. The Bengaluru-headquartered startup currently operates in eight metro cities and 10 Tier II cities, and is looking to expand its services into smaller cities with the new infusion of funds.

Byju’s
EdTech startup Byju’s Classes has reportedly raised $75 million (roughly Rs. 500.2 crores) from Sequoia India and Belgium-based investment firm Sofina. The Bengaluru-based startup offers learning programmes for primary and secondary school and entrance test examinations for India’s leading universities. Its learning app reportedly has over 120,000 paid annual subscribers.

(Also see: 7 Indian EdTech Startups You Should Know About)

Room On Call
Budget hotel accommodation aggregator Room on Call has reportedly raised Rs. 13.2 crores in a fresh round of funding from on-vehicle advertising platform, Cash Ur Drive. Founded in 2015, Room On Call operates in 42 cities, with over 400 hotels registered on its platform.

HashLearn
On-­demand mobile tutoring platform HashLearn has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from leading angel investors including Google India’s Rajan Anandan, Flipkart and Ola Co-Founders Binny Bansal and Bhavish Aggarwal, and other angels. The startup provides an app that connects students to online tutors, and gives one-on-one sessions to crack India’s state boards and entrance exams.

StalkBuyLove
Women-focused online fashion brand StalkBuyLove has reportedly received a 7-digit US dollar investment from a group of investors, including European VC firm LittleRock, 500 Startups and India-based Singularity Ventures. The startup is reportedly growing at eight per cent month-on-month with a current gross-revenue run rate of $5 million (roughly Rs. 33 crores).

Download the Gadgets 360 app for Android and iOS to stay up to date with the latest tech news, product reviews, and exclusive deals on the popular mobiles.

Tags: Apps, BigBasket, Byju’s, eKincare, Endless Robotics, Fresh To Home, Funding, HashLearn, India, Internet,Investment, Room On Call, Smartron, StalkBuyLove, Startups
[“source-Gadgets”]

India Funding Roundup: An On-Demand Laundry Service, Sports Discovery Platform, and More

India Funding Roundup: An On-Demand Laundry Service, Sports Discovery Platform, and More

Our latest funding roundup compiles investments in Indian startups engaged in on-demand laundry, automotive sales, sports discovery, prescription medicine delivery, and credit score management.

OneClickWash
Gurgaon-based on-demand laundry service OneClickWash has received an undisclosed sum of funding from Unitus Seed Fund. Founded in 2015 by Vivek Iyer and Saurav Killa, the startup provides doorstep delivery of laundry services in monthly packages, which includes washing, drying, and ironing, at Rs. 2,500 for a family, and Rs. 800 for an individual.

CarDekho
Girnar Software, which runs Indian auto portals CarDekho.com, Gaadi.com, and CarBay.com has received an undisclosed investment from Google Capital with participation from existing investor Hillhouse Capital. A major part of the new funding will be used to further bolster technology, R&D, and expansion within and outside of India, in Asia and the Middle East, the company said. The latest investment for Girnar Software follows a $50 million (roughly Rs. 332 crores) funding round led by Hillhouse Capital, with participation from Sequoia Capital and Tybourne Capital.

goSporto
Gurgaon-based sports discovery and venue booking platform goSporto has reportedly raised $30,000 (roughly Rs. 20 lakh) in seed funding. Founded in 2015, the startup is currently operational in Delhi NCR, claims to have over 10,000 players and over a 100 venues on its platform. The startup reportedly plans to use the funds for increasing outreach and scaling its presence to multiple cities.

LifCare
Jaipur-based LifCare, which provides a subscription based pharmacy service for chronic diseases, hasreportedly raised $1 million (roughly Rs. 6.65 crores) in angel funding. The startup and provides an online app on Google Play, and plans to expand its presence in Jaipur, and launch operations in a few more cities.

(Also read Order Prescription Medicines Online in India With These Apps)

CreditSeva
Credit management platform CreditSeva has reportedly secured Rs. 2.4 crores in a bridge round of funding from investors including Pix Vine Capital and Infocomm Investments Pte Ltd (IIPL). Founded in 2014, CreditSeva is focused on helping the unbanked people in India manage their credit score.

Download the Gadgets 360 app for Android and iOS to stay up to date with the latest tech news, product reviews, and exclusive deals on the popular mobiles.

Tags: Apps, CarDekho, CreditSeva, Funding, Gosporto, India, Internet, Investment, LifCare, OneClickWash, Startups
[“source-Gadgets”]