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This B2B startup connects small manufacturers with brands to help them scale up

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The last 24 months have transformed the way small businesses look at technology. From being a good to have, investing in technology tools is now seen as a must-have.

What changed? Digitisation allowed medium and small sized businesses (MSMEs) to survive in the pandemic era, allowing them to scale quickly and efficiently. Those that couldn’t lagged significantly.

Even today, many small businesses aren’t equipped with the resources, know-how, and planning to transition to digital.

B2B manufacturing growth platform Groyyo is solving this problem for the lifestyle segment.

Founded in July 2021, the startup works with MSMEs in apparel, footwear, accessories, furnishings, ceramic, beauty, and furniture categories, and aims to “empower the 20 million+ micro-manufacturers across Asia and give them an opportunity to take their business global”.

The Mumbai-headquartered startup raised a seed round of $4.6 million earlier this month led by Alpha Wave Incubation (AWI), which is backed by DisruptAD, ADQ’s venture platform, and managed by Falcon Edge Capital.

Two of the three co-founders, Subin Mitra and Pratik Tiwari, worked together at Zilingo, a tech platform for the fashion industry. Subin is the Chief Executive Officer and Pratik is the Chief Operating Officer at Groyyo. Ridam Upadhyay, the third co-founder and the Chief Technology Officer, has worked with Flipkart and Udaan during their early years.

The Groyyo advantage

Apart from equipping manufacturers with technology, Groyyo helps them find demand and buyers, and fill in their unutilised capacities. The startup also helps them work on physical standardisation of products and digitisation of factory floors.

“This becomes very important because this is a space where there is zero technology, as of now,” Subin said.

Most of these factories are family-oriented businesses, and it is about “hand-holding them and introducing that initial layer of technology”.

Groyyo also helps these manufacturers procure raw materials in an optimum and cheaper manner from India and Bangladesh.

“So, for a manufacturer, we become an end-to-end service, where we help them boost demand, improve the factory floor, and procure raw materials,” the co-founder said.

Groyyo operates on a take rate-based model and also charges a commission from manufacturers to bring in orders. It has about 50-60 customers at the moment.

For customers at the other end, such as a fashion brand, Groyyo proposes to be a one-stop sourcing destination for anything they want.

“We become their one-stop source and destination not just to find factories, but to also find factories that are compliant, digitised, and with execution assurance that orders placed will reach their warehouse on time,” Subin said.

Focusing on manufacturing clusters

The company works across eight manufacturing clusters in India and Bangladesh, with more than 250 businesses associated with it. These clusters are usually famous for a particular kind of product, for example, Panipat, which is renowned for bedsheets and curtains.

Groyyo first identifies the clusters it wants to expand into, based on the product capability it wants to build. The team then approaches manufacturers–usually within the revenue range of Rs 20-50 crore– in the identified clusters to help them to reach out to more and more buyers on a global scale.

It approaches brands once they have the right supply to cater to them.

“What that means is that the moment you (buyer) give us a request, we can turn that around with very fast turnaround times,” Subin said.

Groyyo helps them identify the right manufacturers, providing real-time visibility and updates on the order with the digitisation they are applying at the other end.

The B2B startup relies heavily on local experts to source the right kind of materials and find manufacturers who can meet their standards.

“These people have years of experience in the industry, and are mostly NIFT and NID graduates. So, they really understand this model well and are well-versed with how this industry operates,” he said.

In the last six months, the company has grown to a team of 50-60 people across Mumbai and Delhi.

Tapping technology

Groyyo allows factory owners to track everything that is happening in a factory, from different requirements of multiple buyers to the status of every order. They can track inventory and plan accordingly too.

“That is a critical insight, because the factory owner is the one who stands to lose the most if an order is delayed. He will lose his customer and face penalties,” Subin said.

Groyyo has made the product easy-to-use, keeping in mind the experience of its users.

“The Groyyo app is very easy to use. Even somebody who is not from the manufacturing ecosystem can open the app and figure out how to use it,” he said.

It helps buyers find manufacturers with the right kind of compliance product capability that they need and track the status in real time, making day-to-day operations easier.

Future and more

Groyyo is aiming to reach about 500-600 manufacturers by the middle of this year, which would be two times its current capacity.

The $120 billion MSME industry is expected to grow five times, according to the company.

“We believe product sourcing is a global challenge with massive opportunities across both demand and supply,” Anirudh Singh, Managing Director, Alpha Wave Incubation, has said at the time of funding. “We really liked the supply first approach adopted by Groyyo, which helps them cater to a multitude of categories and products to serve buyers across the globe.”

“Additionally, we also think Groyyo’s solution will give a fillip to South Asia’s rising small manufacturer segment, which is hungry to work with large-scale clients,” he added.

With its latest funding round, the company plans to build its teams across key manufacturing clusters in South Asia along with expanding its presence across the US and the Middle East. It will also invest in the technological and physical upgradation of its manufacturing partners.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

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Get a Discount on Training Courses to Help You Finally Master Excel

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Just about everybody in the business world claims to know Microsoft Excel. A fraction of them actually know just how much Excel can do. Therefore, if you’re looking for a practical gift for yourself or someone else this year that is actually useful, look no further than The 2022 Complete Microsoft Excel Expert Bundle.



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The bundle includes 12 courses from StreamSkill (4.4/5-star instructor rating), part of the Simon Sez IT family that has taught more than one million students over the past 15 years.

Here, you’ll start out with the basics of Excel 2021, learning what’s new and how to navigate the Excel 2021 interface. You’ll start learning useful keyboard shortcuts, understand how to format cells and use conditional formatting, analyze data using charts, and more. As you progress through the courses, you’ll explore advanced formulas in Excel, touch on macros, and much more.

There are several courses on some of Excel’s more unique tools, too. You’ll learn how to use the VBA editor, VBA syntax, keywords, and more. You’ll discover how to define and manage variables, set up subroutines, and create functions to automate your most repetitive and frustrating tasks. Additionally, you’ll get started with Power Query, learning how to connect Excel to multiple workbooks to crunch numbers across sheets. You’ll learn how to set up and manage data relationships in a data model, create PivotTables to display your data, and use functions like CALCULATE, DIVIDE, and DATESYTD in DAX. Before you know it, you’ll have a business analyst education that will help you in all of your business ventures.

It’s about time you finally learned Excel. Right now, you can get this Microsoft Excel Expert Bundle on sale for just $24.99 (reg. $4,788).

Prices subject to change.

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Ocho wants to rethink (and rebrand) personal finance for business owners • TechCrunch

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When Ankur Nagpal sold Teachable for a quarter of a billion dollars, he felt lucky. Then, he quickly felt lost when trying to navigate the financial systems of a country he wasn’t born in and learn the institutional language often only spoken fluently by the historically wealthy.

It would be a few years of self-employment, and building a venture firm later, before Nagpal returned to the moment as one of the early catalysts for his newest startup, Ocho. The company, launching publicly today, wants to make it easier for business owners to set up and manage their own 401(k) retirement accounts.

Personal finance is hard – and that’s a tale as old, and difficult to disrupt, as time. And while Nagpal agrees that there’s no “north star” company that has shown how to tackle finance literacy at scale, he’s hoping that Ocho’s 10-person team may just have a not-so-boring wedge that changes that.

Ocho is joining the several fintech companies out there that aim to modernize, and really rebrand, the retirement account away from traditional providers like Charles Schwab or Fidelity, or expensive solutions like lawyers and consultants.

“I’ve started exploring the space, and we realize everyone – like Robinhood to Coinbase – is just spending unsustainable amounts of money to acquire customers, but are making no money themselves and continually sort of need these large funding rounds just to exist,” Nagpal said. “I’m actually expecting there to be a very rough 6, 12 or 18 months for fintech companies specifically.”

Ocho’s twist from competition, he thinks, is in its market focus. “There’s so many companies targeting startup founders and their wealth – there’s literally a new one launching every month or two all backed by big name VCs, but no one is focused on the business owner that is otherwise doing well but is not a startup founder or a startup employee,” he said.

Instead, Ocho is leaning into Nagpal’s background of working with creators when he was building Teachable. Teachable helped creators build revenue streams, Ocho wants to help those same creators take their earnings and invest, harvest and scale them in a smart way.

“At Teachable, we helped these people make money online and now there’s lots of places for creators, freelancers and entrepreneurs to make money online – but how do we help them think about building wealth?” Nagpal said. The long-term vision for Ocho is to offer products, beyond solo 401(k)s, that help business owners build wealth.

Human Interest is one of Ocho’s closest competitors; raising $200 million at a $1 billion valuation last year. Nagpal says that Ocho differentiates itself because its focused more on individuals, freelancers and creators, instead of Human Interest’s target of small and medium-sized businesses.

For now, Ocho is charging a flat $199 annual fee to help individuals start their retirement account. It takes about 10 minutes to set up, and 48 hours to get final confirmation.

The big challenge for the startup is getting the right solopreneurs to care about their retirement accounts. Its look for people who have income-generating businesses, but don’t have any full-time employees. If you have a side gig alongside your full-time job, you can create a 401(k) just for the side hustle, but can’t put full-time income into the retirement account.

ocho-interface-fintech

Image Credits: Ocho

Nagpal thinks he can nail early adoption through smart education material and outreach, referring to personal finance trends on TikTok as an example of consumer demand for more information. He says that 40% of the Ocho staff is working on marketing or education, and that the balance will be retained even as the company scales.

If education is so important to getting Ocho to work, one may wonder why it’s launching with a fintech product. The answer is simple: deadlines. Users need to make a retirement account by December 31, 2022, if they want one for 2023 – which puts the fintech in a relevant, but time pressed, position.

Nagpal isn’t worried about the seasonality of the 401(k) product because of the upcoming product roadmap, which includes the education product, investment flows into the retirement product like being able to invest in startups and ETFs, and even HSAs, often described as a 401(k) for healthcare.

To power that ambitious product spree, Ocho has raised $2.5 million from Nagpal’s own venture firm, Vibe Capital. The entrepreneur says that he raised the $60 million debut fund for Vibe Capital with the idea that he would incubate a startup or two out of the firm, which materialized today now that it owns 20% of Ocho.

Nagpal admitted that the idea of a founder using his own venture firm to seed his own startup may appear to be the “mother of all conflicts of interest” but reasoned that it was everything but. He emailed all LPs in his fund about the investment, got a unanimous yes, and ended up raising at a much lower price for the startup than if they had gone out into the fair market. It’s still uncommon to see founders sell a company, start a venture firm and then use that same venture firm to seed their next company.

Perhaps the unique connection between Nagpal’s first company, to his firm, to his newest startup, could hint at what his approach to personal finance may be: diversify across multiple vehicles, redefine what a supercharged investment could look like, and keep on learning.

Ocho-team

Ocho’s starting team.



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A Simple Brain Trick To Guarantee Success

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As entrepreneurs, most of us are goal-driven, and we’ve learned how to set clear, juicy goals and then break them down into game plans of smaller projects and tasks. The challenge comes when it’s time for you and your team actually to follow those game plans.

After the thrill of setting that awesome goal comes the day-to-day work that is often not so exciting. So how do you keep yourself and your team moving forward? How can you stay on track and consistently hit your daily, weekly and quarterly goals? One of the answers is in the simple brain hack that psychologists call “implementation intention.”

Related: Brain Hacks to Boost Motivation and Beat the Work From Home Blues

What the research shows

A psychology professor at NY University, Peter Gollwitzer, first coined the term in the 1990s. He realized that many people set goals, but not many achieved them because they didn’t take the action they needed to take. Dr. Gollwitzer showed that the difference was not just motivation, as some people were highly motivated and still didn’t do what they needed to do. But people were much more likely to reach their goals by figuring out “pre-determined goal-directed behaviors” and turning them into habits.

Rather than just coming up with a strategy to achieve a goal and then breaking it down into tasks, Dr. Gollwitzer found that people were more likely to succeed if they trained their brains to choose to do the things that they needed to do by using “if-then” statements (you can also use “when-then” statements).

He and his colleagues ran over 400 studies using every type of goal — quitting smoking, voting, healthy eating, exercising and even using condoms! All the studies showed that implementation intentions made a massive difference in the results people got.

Related: Setting Measurable Goals Is Critical to Your Strategic Plan (and Your Success). Here’s Why.

Get to your goal using “when-then”

How does it work? For example, let’s say that you want to grow your business and that getting lots of 5-star testimonials will help. So, you decide to get 100 testimonials this quarter (about eight per week), and you’ll get them by calling 20 past clients per week, just four every day.

Sounds simple, right? But this kind of project easily gets lost in the shuffle. You mean to do it; you know it’s important, but other things that seem more urgent pop up. Eventually, you might even forget about
getting those testimonials completely.

With implementation intention, you start with the statement, “When _________, then I will ______.” You not only say what you will do but also give it a specific time and place. In this case, you might say, “When I get to the office, and before I even look at my emails, I’ll call four past clients for testimonials.” This tells your brain exactly when to be ready to make the calls. It sets up your energy and focus. By doing it over and over, your brain is automatically triggered to sit down and make calls as soon as you walk into your office.

James Clear talks about this in his book Atomic Habits. He points out that setting up implementation intention keeps you from deciding whether to do something every single time. You don’t need to be super motivated that day, and you don’t need to use your willpower to get yourself to do it. You just do it because, after a while, it would feel weird not to do it, just like not brushing your teeth before bed would feel strange.

Related: Your Problem Isn’t Laziness

Overcome obstacles using “if-then”

Implementation intention also helps you pre-plan for obstacles you might encounter and helps get you through them. Say you know that your morning calls will often get interrupted by team members who need your input. You know something like this is bound to happen, so before it does, you figure out, “If ___________, then I will ___________.”

“If I get interrupted, I will ask the person (unless they are bleeding to death) to give me 15-20 minutes.” Or maybe you decide, “If I get interrupted in the morning, I will close the door and eat lunch at my desk to make my calls.” The strategy you use to handle the obstacle is up to you. The point is that you already have it figured out and know exactly how to stay on track despite anything that tries to get in the way.

Athletes have used this for years. Marathon runners know they’ll run into “the wall” at about 18 to 20 miles. Rather than getting blindsided, they figure out ways to handle it before the race. They’ll slow their pace and take some sports gel. They’ll pay attention to the cheering crowd or focus on a certain mantra. They don’t try to figure out how to deal with the wall when it’s happening. They have a plan, so it doesn’t throw them off their goal.

Related: 5 Things About Overcoming Adversity That Athletes Can Teach Entrepreneurs

When I started coaching, I realized that many of my students hit a wall about three months in. They were learning and implementing different marketing strategies. But these strategies take some time, so they didn’t see any results yet. We learned to warn them ahead of time. “Hey, you might not see results for 4-5 months. That doesn’t mean you aren’t on track. If you’re doing the work, results will come soon.”

Then we help them with “if-then” strategies. “If you feel stuck or discouraged, then call in
during office hours.” An implementation intention is a brain-hack tool that helps you take the steps you need to take whether you’re feeling motivated or not. You set up the implementation intention by saying what you’ll do and precisely when you’ll do it, and you pre-plan how you’ll deal with obstacles to stay on track.

James Clear wrote: “Anyone can work hard when they feel motivated. It’s the ability to keep going when work isn’t exciting that makes the difference.”

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