Archive

Posts Tagged ‘small business’

Rise of the Angels- Why are Angel Investors so important today?


images (1)

Before the arrival of the computers and later internet, most of the enterprises were either based on manufacturing, trading or providing services. It took a good amount of money and time to take the idea from the drawing board into the hands of the first customer. Back then, a start-up could easily employ 20-50 employees even before getting its first customer. Even when the computers came, it was still very costly to acquire or lease a computer and build a team to work on it.

The last 15 years have seen the computers becoming affordable, internet reach wider and tools to ‘build’ the idea cheaper. The affordability of the computers and the internet, has drastically reduced the cost of creating a prototype and building a small team.

Venture Capitalists generally are process driven and have a long ‘Due Diligence’ process and like to invest an amount which falls in their ‘investing range’ and also would want a ‘Board Seat’. A start-up which requires just a 4 member team and softwares worth a couple of hundred dollars and a small place to work for a couple of months to create a prototype or ‘start-up’, might not want to go through the due diligence process or offer a board seat. And, yeas, the amount of money required to start-up and scale might not be that large.

Enter the Angels!

The Angel Investors generally invest much lesser amounts per start-up than the VCs. Angel investors are typically well-connected, wealthy individuals. The lesser amounts of initial funding required these days to start-up (which means a lesser risk to the investor in case the start-up fails to take off), has induced more investors in the start-up ecosystem. They have a much shorter or no due diligence process. For a start-up looking for small yet quick investment, Angel Investors become the automatic choice.

So, Angels are here. And, they are here to stay. The lesser amounts of money required to invest in start-ups today and the bigger risk appetite of the Angels, has made them very important to the start-up eco-system. They are the ones who germinate the seeds of entrepreneurship.

So what makes Start-ups prefer Angel investors over VCs?

There is no hard and fixed rule which separate the Angela and the VCs. Vcs behave like Angels and vice-versa all the time. Sometimes the investor participates in one or both the funding rounds- As an Angel or a VC. So, if you are ‘starting-up’ and are looking for investment, just check on the intentions of the investor.

Company vs the Product: Where as VCs come with a bigger investment, they are more committed to the creation of the company and guiding the entrepreneurs, the Angel Investor helps developing the product, or, as we say- prototyping the idea. So, if someone is looking for scale and growth, VCs are the ‘to go’ investors. The VCs also bring in their experience, contacts and also the early adopter customers. The Angels will just give you the money and generally do not involve in mentoring. So, take your pick. Carefully!

Small Businesses, Get Online. With Ease!

August 5, 2012 1 comment

By the year 2020, India will have the third largest internet population, behind China and the US in that order. But, India will have the ‘youngest internet user’ out of the three economies.

The current online retail market for all the products and services is estimated at $10 billion. E- retail accounts for 6% of the total online commerce and is valued at $0.6 billion today. By 2020, the online retail or e-retail will cross $70 billion when the total e-commerce will cross $200 billion. Now that’s a huge increase! No wonder e-retail start ups are mushrooming all over the place and getting funded too.

The current market is cluttered with a handful of online retailers such as e-bay, flipkart, yebhi etc, and then a large number of tier two players with varying amount of reach and product catalogue depth. But what do small retailers with physical stores do to get online? Majority of them just discard the thought of ‘going online’ because they find it cumbersome to manage a website and to have an IT team of their own. This void has been there since long until Google came up with the initiative – India, Get Your Business Online. But, it is a tedious process to “get onto” the Google’s platform.

Here is s start-up, that is helping small businesses to set up their own online stores and web-presence- at a very minimal cost and with no need to worry about the hardware, the software and human resources for the task. RetailEMall (www.retailemall.com), a venture of Creative Monks, helps small businesses set up their online store on their own domain / website in few clicks. The best part is, it is FREE to some extent. RetailEMall does not charge these businesses anything if they are not able to sell anything through their online store. Business need to make a nominal payment as per their chosen plan only for the months when they do sell online on their e-commerce store.

Using RetailEMall one can start his online store in few minutes and can make it available on their custom domain like www.mystore.com. Have a look at their demo store. In addition to it, RetailEMall platform also provides an option of setting up Facebook stores (complete e-commerce store on Facebook) in few clicks, this feature is avaialbe to all store owners on platform. Have a look at sample Facebook store setup using RetailEMall. As soon as one registers an online store on RetailEMall, one will get an access to his / her store administration account from where one can manage every aspect of store for instance, one can manage products, store details, order details, customers etc from their store administration account. Store owners can also customize the store’s look and feel without an codng ot technical skills required. Stores on RetailEMall can choose a template from available ones to change their store’s look and feel. Store owners can further customize the  color scheme of selected template without any technical or coding skills.

Another excellent feature and key differentiator is that, the products of all stores on RetailEMall are also showcased on the “E-Mall” store front (www.retailemall.com/mall) – the mall interface of the platform. Its something similar to Amazon’s Junglee.com. This mall interface connects end-customers to vedors. If a customer clicks on a product on the mall interface, he is directed to the retailer’s online store to which that product belongs. The platform also provides integration with online payment gateways like PayPal, ccAvenue, EBS etc for retailers to accept online payments. Yes, the retailer just need to signup with payment gateway and simply configure the provided details in his store admin account, thereafter they can start receiveing online payments on their online store.

RetailEMall is a brilliant attempt at creating a ‘get online’ platform for small businesses. The major positive point of the platform is that a business can get online in just a couple of hours. The ease of use is pronounced by the fact that one does not need any technical knowhow to manage the store once it is set up.

And, yes, the RetailEmall team is always there for support!

For more details visit: http://retailemall.com/store/