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How to Scale Up After Starting Up

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The road to running and establishing a successful startup is not easy as it is paved with many pitfalls.  A lot of work goes into building a successful workplace as panning out targets and revenues. Scaling up is a make or break for many startups which are trying to reach out to a broader client base.  Here are some important transitional pointers which will help you bridge the gap between starting up and scaling up.

Ways to handle a scale up

Establish market demographic: 

Startups are continuously trying to identify the perfect market fit for their products or services.  The key to scaling up is to establish a perfect market fit. Then the onus lies on the startup to figure out the growth numbers and establish targets and add a time frame to it.  A good startup will have to be ready to handle the additional work by having a well established workflow so they do not have to compromise on the targets due to lack of preparation.  When Garrett Camp, the co founder of popular taxi service app Uber, had to pay an exorbitant sum for hiring a taxi to go out with his friends, he saw an opportunity to reduce the cost of direct transportation.  He realised sharing the cost with people can make it affordable for the people and that is how Uber began—by finding the perfect product fit.

Automation: 

Automation is an important part of scaling up as it allows the startup to focus its resources where they can be useful.  Tasks like onboarding, payroll and invoicing, amongst many others, can be automated. Documenting workflows and building a knowledge resource can also play a key role in training new resources.  Shifting to cloud based platforms will offer a huge amount of relief, owing to not having to worry about missing any key piece of information. American car manufacturer Ford began with a group of people working on assembling a car.  Henry Ford realised if he could cut down on the production time for making a single car, he could sell the cars faster. This led to the beginning of the assembly line concept, which was later adapted by multiple industries.

Managing funding and revenues: 

While it is a huge relief for startups when they secure funding, there is also a high chance the funds may be mismanaged if there is no budget in place.  This can be avoided if the startup has already established its market demographic and has a competent finance team in place. A good example would be how the Lehman Brothers, after becoming the fourth largest investment firm, mismanaged its funds by overlooking real estate problems.  This led to them filing for bankruptcy.  

Defining hierarchy and work roles:

A startup has a good chance of scaling up if the work can be picked up by a team member when a founder is not available.  Establishing clear roles to each member so they don’t lose track of their goals is important. As a startup slowly begins scaling up, it needs to slowly deviate away from the model where a single employee is juggling multiple roles.  With more members and revenue flowing in to support the scale up, having well defined roles can help in reducing unproductivity. Bringing in a managerial structure helps in managing your resources better, along with providing leadership experiences as well.

Prevent burnouts:

Burnouts among employees are common occurrences in startups, to which even the founders are subject.  This needs to be addressed as it affects the mental and physical health of the individual, which in turn could affect the performance of the team.  There needs to be a healthy wellness program in place and good employee satisfaction levels which can be achieved by various programs such as leaves, allowances and the like.  A lot of companies began to take note of this and responded by offering unlimited paid time offs, creating employee wellness programs, offering attractive paternity and maternity leaves.  Recently, Microsoft tested a four day work week in Japan, thanks to which the employee productivity increased by 38 %. 

While there is no firm road map to scaling up, keeping an eye out for the above pointers could help with having an organic scale up.  If the problems with scaling up are still affecting the company’s growth or revenues, it is important to take expert advice to help with the scaling up.

Read about how to start a business here: A SIMPLE GUIDE TO STARTING A BUSINESS

 

Artificial Intelligence

Reddit Soars After Strong Earnings and Upbeat Outlook

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Reddit, the social media platform known for its online communities and meme culture, saw its stock price jump significantly after releasing its first earnings report since going public in March. Investors were impressed by the company’s strong financial performance and optimistic forecasts for the future.

The report highlighted a surge in user engagement, with daily active users increasing by 37% to 82.7 million in the first quarter. This growth was accompanied by an 8% rise in average revenue per user, indicating Reddit’s success in monetizing its platform. 

Perhaps the most significant factor driving the stock price increase was Reddit’s forecast for the second quarter. The company projected revenue to fall between $240 million and $255 million, exceeding analyst expectations. Additionally, Reddit anticipates achieving break-even status or even generating a profit, surpassing predictions of a loss.

This positive outlook can be attributed in part to Reddit’s flourishing advertising business. The company is also capitalizing on a new revenue stream: content licensing deals with artificial intelligence (AI) firms. Reddit’s vast collection of user-generated content provides valuable data for training AI models, attracting companies like Google.

Analysts believe Reddit is still in its early stages of monetization and predict continued growth in the coming quarters, fueled by advancements in ad targeting and measurement tools. This optimism is reflected in the stock price surge, which has climbed roughly 70% since Reddit’s IPO.

Overall, Reddit’s first earnings report paints a bright picture for the company’s future. With a thriving user base, increasing revenue opportunities, and a promising outlook, Reddit appears well-positioned for continued success in the ever-evolving social media landscape.

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How Does Investment Startup Robinhood Make Money?

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If you are an avid follower of news on the social media platform Twitter, chances are you might have read about GameStop and how a group of Redditors took on Wall Street hedge fund billionaires.  It all started when a Reddit user found Melvin Capital, a hedge fund company was shorting the GameStop stocks.  An analogy would be if a person x wants to buy 5 bananas which are being sold at INR 10 in the market,  and another person y already purchased 5 bananas.  X could borrow y’s bananas for a while and sell them with the hope the price will go down below INR 10.  Then x will purchase 5 bananas for a lesser price than INR 10 and give back the bananas to y thereby making a profit, in the difference of buying price.  A group of Redditers noticed what hedge funds were doing with GameStop stock and decided to buy all the available shares in the market which in turn led to stock value soaring through the roof.  Now imagine the bananas as GameStop stock and x is the hedge fund.  Now hedge funds have to return the borrowed shares but since they already sold, they had to buy it for a larger price than they hoped.  This in turn led to more than $ 5 billion in losses for hedge funds because they were shorting the GameStop stock.  

However, Robinhood, the zero commission investment and trading startup found itself in the midst of the storm.  This is because thousands of normal small investors wanted to purchase the GameStop stock and they did it via Robinhood.  Wall Street was not happy with the way a group of Redditors held hedge funds by their collars and lobbied to have the stocks delisted.

Mounting pressure from the Government and Wall Street forced Robinhood to delist GameStop, AMC and Nokia stocks from their trading roster which in turn led to huge customer backlash and lakhs of 1 star reviews on app stores of Apple and Android.  

Background

Robinhood was founded by Stanford University graduates Baiju Bhatt and Vlad Tenev co-founded the company in 2013, with the aim of democratizing finance and making it more accessible to young and less affluent investors.  This was due to trading being carried on commission based platforms like ETrade and TD Ameritrade and by a very small set of people. What made the app so attractive to the normal public was the ease of using the platform and its zero commission slogan.   More importantly, Robinhood made the appeal of trading fun and interactive for the general public and the working class.  Investment applications normally charge a nominal fee or commission on the execution of any successful trade.

However, the app gained huge traction in 2019 just when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world.  Stock markets crashed suddenly, wiping out billions of dollars in investor wealth.  However, this phase saw the rise of a new kind of investor.  Americans were given $ 1200 stimulus cheques to protect them from the economic fallout of COVID-19 pandemic.  Armed with these cheques, millions of trading novices began investing in the stock market via Robinhood.  

ALSO READ: How Does WhatsApp Generate Revenue

Revenue model

How does a startup which calls itself a zero commission brokerage earn revenue and manage to be profitable?  Robinhood was designed to make profits by selling the customer trading data to several investment firms on Wall Street.  This practice is known as high volume order flow.  In financial markets, payment for order flow refers to the compensation that a broker receives, not from its client, but from a third party that wants to influence how the broker routes client orders for fulfillment.  It is not illegal but it is often frowned upon, to use this strategy as it is also called a ‘kickback.’   This accounts for a lion’s share of revenue for Robinhood.

The second revenue generator is through interests.  Robinhood makes money from interest made by lending out investor’s idle cash.  Robinhood lends out uninvested cash sitting idle in customer accounts.

The third revenue generator is Robinhood Gold, the company’s premium account, allows investors up to $1000 of margin thereby allowing them to trade with more than they have in their cash balance on the app. 

While Robinhood has been caught in the middle of a nasty war between Wall Street and retail investors, there is no denying the fact that it changed the way people invest in the stock market.  

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How Do IPL Franchises Make Money

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How Do IPL Franchises Make Money

If there is one thing that every Indian and every cricket fan waits for all year, it is the Indian Premier League, which is the world’s biggest cricketing league.  Professional cricket players from all over the world vie to get selected by one of the eight franchises which compete in the league.  The entire league is a star studded affair and Indians manage to forget their differences and band together for all the time the league is aired.  Each franchise boasts of a loyal fan following who have supported their teams through thick and thin ever since IPL was inaugurated in 2008.  While the entire league is a melting pot of entertainment and competition, have you ever wondered how the franchises make money in IPL?  In this article we will decode the business models behind the IPL teams and how they earn money.

Franchises need to bid for players every year before the start of the IPL season in an auction.  Each franchise has a maximum spend limit of Rs. 80 crores to buy players in the auction.  Apart from buying players each franchise also needs to bear the cost of travel, support staff and logistics.  The following are the different avenues from which franchises earn money.

1) Sponsorships

Franchises earn a major chunk of their revenue from sponsorships, but they do not get the money from sponsorships directly.  The IPL governing council gets money from sponsors and in the case of this year it is from Dream 11, which is the title sponsor while VIVO was the title sponsor last year.  All the money which is earned from sponsorships is divided into a ratio of 60:40 with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) retaining 40% of the sponsorships.  The remaining 60% is distributed among the ten franchises.  BCCI owns and operates the IPL in India.  The ratio of distribution might change in the coming years depending on the decisions taken by the BCCI.

2)  Media rights

Broadcasting companies bid for the media rights and the winning bid will get to air the IPL on their channel.  Star India bagged the media rights for IPL with a bid of Rs. 16,345 crores for five years (2018-2022.)  The money from media rights are also distributed in the 60:40 ratio with BCCI keeping 40% and the franchises getting an equal distribution from the remaining 60%.

3) Franchise sponsors

Each franchise has its own dedicated sponsors which pay a huge amount of money to the franchise.  The logos and names of the companies which you can see on the sporting attire of every IPL team are actually the dedicated sponsors of their respective franchises.  The profit from dedicated sponsors depends on the deal the franchise has made with their sponsor. The income generated from dedicated sponsors might differ from team to team.

ALSO READ: 5 Cricketers Who Are Entrepreneurs

4) Sale of tickets

Each franchise can choose a home ground from the available venues in the BCCI roster like Sunrisers Hyderabad, choosing Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders choosing Kolkata.  Only the home franchise can fix the price of tickets for the matches happening in their home ground.  Bigger stadiums with large seating capacity earn the most from ticket sales.  Kolkata Knight Riders home ground Eden Gardens has the highest seating capacity in India and therefore KKR earns the most from ticket sales.  

5) Merchandising

Each franchise makes some money by selling official jerseys, caps, wrist watches, souvenirs etcetera.  The merchandise is sold through the official franchise websites.

6) Prize money

Franchises battle it out in a long season to become the winner of the IPL season.  The winning team also wins a hefty prize money which is an additional source of revenue.  In 2019, the winning franchise won Rs. 15 crores while the runner up won Rs. 10 crores.

IPL is a big stage for franchise owners to earn their revenues as well as the perfect opportunity for players to make their mark and win big auctions.  This is how franchises earn their revenues from the IPL.  As this year’s edition is off to a flying start, IPL has been a blessing in disguise for millions of Indians in the gloomy times we currently are experiencing.  

 

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