NowFloats Start-up Helps SMEs to Cre­ate an On­line Pres­ence

NowFloats plat­form saves the time and ef­fort busi­nesses may have to spend in cre­at­ing a web­site

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NowFloats is a lo­ca­tion- based dis­rup­tive tech­nol­ogy backed; on­line and off­line dis­cov­ery plat­form which helps SME’s get dis­cov­ered. The com­pany’s USP lies in the fact that it’s a fric­tion­less mo­bile tech­nol­ogy that con­nects on­line con­sumers to lo­cal off­line busi­nesses. This startup helps com­pa­nies cre­ate an on­line pres­ence. It cre­ates web­site which are auto-SEO en­abled for SMB’s. This web­site helps cus­tomers get dis­cov­ered by their po­ten­tial cus­tomers -based on lo­ca­tion.

With in­no­va­tion deeply em­bed­ded in its very DNA, every 6 months NowFloats trav­els’ across In­dia to un­cover new tech be­hav­iors and smart­phone adop­tion. The in­sights gath­ered are then con­veyed to the prod­uct devel­op­ment teams.

The highly scal­able prod­uct pro­vides a 4-pronged so­lu­tion that is re­spon­sive, lo­ca­tion based and op­ti­mized for en­abling busi­ness dis­cov­ery.

Th­ese are: On­line pres­ence: Bring­ing the busi­ness on­line in­stantly via SMS, Web and app En­gage­ment: Per­son­al­ized and cus­tom­ized prompt­ing Con­tent Cre­ation: Do­main rel­e­vant con­tent by in­tel­li­gent en­gage­ment

Dis­cov­ery: Auto-op­ti­mized for lo­ca­tion and con­tent based dis­cov­ery

As an added so­lu­tion, the com­pany pro­vides an au­to­mated en­gage­ment fea­ture (Re­la­tion­ship In­tel­li­gence Agent) and a multi-chan­nel in­dus­try-spe­cific prompt­ing ser­vice us­ing ma­chine learn­ing and ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence.

CHAL­LENGES FACED BY THE COM­PANY FOR BUSI­NESS SETUP IN IN­DIA

“The chal­lenges were mostly to do with the mind­sets of peo­ple. There were naysay­ers in the be­gin­ning. The task of suc­cess­fully cre­at­ing a SaaS busi­ness for SMEs in In­dia was per­ceived to be im­pos­si­ble. How­ever, a good prod­uct never fails. Our com­pany has not only ac­quired close to 250,000 cus­tomers in In­dia, but has also proved that SMEs are will­ing to pay a pre­mium price for a prod­uct that helps them grow their busi­ness or­gan­i­cally on the in­ter­net”, Jas­min­der Singh Gu­lati, CEO and Co-Founder, NowFloats.

NowFloats was in­cepted in May 2012, with cus­tomer foot­print across the United States, Asia, Europe, Africa and Aus­tralia with wide­spread pres­ence across the In­dian sub­con­ti­nent. “Most of 2012 was ded­i­cated to build­ing the prod­uct. Win­ning the Mi­crosoft BizS­park chal­lenge gave us cer­tain mo­men­tum to sus­tain. Although to­wards the end of that year, we did have a few hun­dred cus­tomers. This num­ber in­creased ex­po­nen­tially in suc­ces­sive years and we’ve gained huge mo­men­tum in the mar­ket through our FOS sales force and strate­gic chan­nel part­ner­ships”, he said.

The prod­uct that the com­pany of­fers is ex­tremely easy to use and pro­vides mer­chants with the au­ton­omy to con­trol their web pres­ence and the in­for­ma­tion they choose to share on the web. It elim­i­nates all pre-ex­ist­ing third party de­pen­den­cies that are usu­ally as­so­ci­ated with es­tab­lish­ing a web pres­ence- there are no web de­vel­op­ers, con­tent writ­ers, or SEO ex­perts in­volved. Thou­sands of

busi­nesses are self-suf­fi­cient and highly en­abled through our plat­form, which spend very little time driv­ing an om­nichan­nel mar­ket­ing strat­egy while gain­ing more cus­tomers as a re­sult.

“As a com­pany, NowFloats is deeply in­no­va­tion ori­ented, and we build th­ese in­no­va­tions based on sound learn­ing from our own mar­ket. This is where an ini­tia­tive like the Dig­i­tal Desh Drive be­comes highly im­por­tant for us- it helps us lis­ten to the end users of the in­ter­net and cre­ate the right so­lu­tions for them. Of­ten, there are im­ped­i­ments like lack of in­ter­net con­nec­tiv­ity af­fect­ing an area, or sim­ply cul­tural bar­ri­ers that pre­vents women from ac­cess­ing smart­phones. We are able to un­der­stand how In­dia re­ally wants to use the in­ter­net, and that is in­valu­able to us,” he added.

CUR­RENT BUSI­NESS OP­POR­TU­NITY IN THE IN­DIAN SMES MAR­KET

The MSME sec­tor, re­garded as the back­bone of the In­dia econ­omy, is fur­ther ex­pected to con­trib­ute sig­nif­i­cantly to In­dia’s grow­ing GDP. The in­dus­try seg­ment will in­evitably sup­port In­dia to im­prove na­tion’s fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion and mit­i­gate the ur­ban ru­ral di­vide.

Ac­cord­ing to Gu­lati, it is pro­jected that by 2020, the coun­try will have the largest job ready, youth pop­u­la­tion in the world and with fa­vor­able busi­ness ecosys­tem in the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor it will not only gen­er­ate em­ploy­ment of sig­nif­i­cant level but also be­come a great ma­trix for en­tre­pre­neur­ial ac­tiv­i­ties. There­fore, busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties are huge.

2017 will wit­ness many more fa­vor­able poli­cies steered to­wards the MSME sec­tor, mak­ing their busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment con­ducive to growth and devel­op­ment. The im­ple­men­ta­tion of the GST bill is a great step in that di­rec­tion.

“At NowFloats, our ecosys­tem is backed by high-end tech­nol­ogy. We in­tro­duced RIA (Re­la­tion­ship In­tel­li­gence Agent) that rep­re­sents a per­sonal web con­sul­tant for every mer­chant, SMEs and oth­er­wise. It cre­ates cus­tom rec­om­men­da­tions and prompts for every mer­chant, which helps them to update the right con­tent and en­hance SEO. It uses Ma­chine Learn­ing and AI to un­der­stand the an­a­lyt­ics and im­prove the mer­chant’s web­site with the rel­e­vant con­tent. Since, we cater to a highly di­verse client base, most of whom may not be fa­mil­iar with build­ing their SEO scores, th­ese prompts be­come valu­able in terms of aid­ing them to cre­ate their own unique con­tent” he added.

NOWFLOATS PRES­ENCE IN IN­DIA

Cur­rently, the plat­form has an in­stant pres­ence across 230,918+ cus­tomers among which 80% are Paid cus­tomers, across all chan­nels. The plat­form reg­is­ters over 7 mil­lion unique vis­i­tors a month and has 433 thou­sand un­prompted SKUs in its credit. NowFloats had reg­is­tered 50% growth rate in a Quar­ter. Over the last 2 years, the com­pany has reg­is­tered a growth of 500% in terms of rev­enue. “This year we ex­pect to grow about 300%, if com­pared to 280% last year. Thus, our growth has been stu­pen­dous by all means. We own more than 30% of all small busi­ness web­sites in In­dia. 10% of all lo­cal searches for busi­ness dis­cov­ery, hap­pen­ing in In­dia, are present on our plat­form. We have at­tracted 2 lakh 40 thou­sand cus­tomers on­line, who are in turn at­tract­ing over 13mn con­sumers every month. This has been the kind of growth we have seen over the last few years,” he said.

“We cur­rently have 52 branches in Tier-I and TierII cities all over In­dia. 2017 will be our year to es­tab­lish greater pres­ence in non-ur­ban ar­eas. With a to­tal of more than 51mn SMEs in In­dia it­self, we have a huge po­ten­tial mar­ket right here.

Gu­lati fur­ther added that NowFloats is now also look­ing at in­ter­na­tional lo­ca­tions and have seen good ac­cep­tance in many places out­side In­dia. A cou­ple of part­ners have on-boarded al­ready in Philip­pines, Europe and Turkey. Our part­ners are one of the largest com­pa­nies in their re­spec­tive coun­tries, who cater to the on­line re­quire­ments for SMBs in their re­gion. We seek to keep this mo­men­tum go­ing and grow the busi­ness ac­cord­ingly.”

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