Five Start-Up Ideas That Will Make You Rethink ‘Business’

The stories of a few start-ups will make you re-think the idea of business and starting something of your own. 

Updated
Business
5 min read
Start-up stories that will make you rethink the idea of business, profit and starting up something of your own. (Photo: iStock)

Start-ups and business are synonymous to investments and rocket science ideas, but it can sometimes be as simple as catching up a trend, or solving a simple problem. From an idea to generating funds to getting funded and then making it profitable is a long process. But a few start-ups have been successful by being simple, crazy, persistent and off the beaten track. Their stories will make you rethink the idea of business, profit and starting-up.

Launched six months ago in march 2016, THILC has dispatched more than 3,000 letters till date. (Photo Courtesy: TIHLC <a href="http://www.tihlc.com/why-us#">Website</a>)
Launched six months ago in march 2016, THILC has dispatched more than 3,000 letters till date. (Photo Courtesy: TIHLC Website)

Remember The Extra Marks for Handwriting!

Additional marks for the beautiful handwriting maybe a childhood offer but Anubhav Ankit, Shashank Srinivas and Jashwanth Cheripally from The Indian Handwritten Letter Company (TIHLC) decided to take it seriously. They turned their passion for beautiful handwritings and handwritten letters into a business idea. TIHLC, is all about sending personalised handwritten notes and letters to anybody and everybody you may want to communicate with.

People ask for love letters. They ask for resignation letters. A 10-year-old girl sent a handwritten letter through us to her mother’s boss, so that she could get a longer lunch-break. The boss replied with a handwritten note which sanctioned an hour-long lunch-break. A mother-daughter duo engaged in a chain of letters through us, after the daughter left the city for a job and it was the first time they were staying apart. 
Anubhav Ankit, Co-Founder THILC

How it worked out: Launched six months ago in march 2016, TIHLC is a boot-strapped venture. It has dispatched more than 3,000 letters in eight Indian languages, till date. Relying on word-of-mouth publicity to get business, they have managed to crack clients like Swiggy, Shop-clues and fresh-desk.

Yo is literally a ‘one-word-app’ (Photo Courtesy: <a href="https://www.justyo.co/">justyo.co</a>)
Yo is literally a ‘one-word-app’ (Photo Courtesy: justyo.co)

The ‘Dumbest’ and ‘Fastest’ Rising App

In 2014, a mobile application created sensation around the world. It offered to do the most simple thing – sending the user's friends the word ‘Yo’ as a text and audio notification. Sending a ‘Yo’ to somebody could mean hello, missing you, call me or a reminder to do something, but it was still literally a ‘one-word-app’.

Yo released the second version of their app in 2015 with a number of new features, to remain relevant in the market. Now, it has a location feature and a single emoji status update. It is also a notification hub for brands and causes one wants to associate with.

How it worked out: Yo closed a $1.5 million round of financing soon after its launch. It valued the app at $5-10 million, making it one of the ‘dumbest’ yet ‘fastest' rising apps of 2014. The app has been downloaded over 3 million times.

Every Woman’s Pee-Buddy

Tired of listening to women rant, “I wish I could stand and pee wherever I want”? Three men from Delhi came up with the idea of pee-buddy. Conceptualised to help women to 'stand & pee in dirty toilets,’ pee-buddy is India’s first female urination device.

It is nothing but a waterproof, cardboard, disposable device like an open ended funnel. You place it between your legs and ensure the funnel is tilted downwards and then all you need to do is relax and pee.

To me the market is limitless. I will be happy if our public toilets became so clean that women no longer need PeeBuddy, but till then the product will find more and more customers. Especially, when it has the potential to be a woman’s companion in all sorts of medical conditions like arthritis and pregnancy. 
Deep Bajaj, Founder PeeBuddy in an interview.

How it worked out: After its launch in 2014, Pee-buddy categorised itself as a women’s hygiene and intimate care products start-up. In 2015, they released a toilet finder app, Use-Refuse. Pee-buddy is now available on all the leading pharmacies and e-commerce websites. Yet to be funded.

Masala Box is a platform for cooking hobbyists and part time chefs. (Photo: Masala Box Facebook <a href="https://www.facebook.com/Masalabox/photos/a.687632914642048.1073741827.387723101299699/1208809715857696/?type=3&amp;theater">Page</a>)
Masala Box is a platform for cooking hobbyists and part time chefs. (Photo: Masala Box Facebook Page)

Weekend Cooking Can Get You Money

Masala Box is a platform for cooking hobbyists and part-time chefs. People who love to cook and are keen to make money, without much investments and hassle can get themselves enrolled and open their kitchen to the world at their convenience.

Masala Box, takes care of everything from taking orders to packaging to logistics of delivery and payment collection. The home-chefs are paid their share accordingly. The meals are packed in sturdy boxes made of natural, renewable plant fibres that are microwave-safe and spill-proof. You can also eat straight out of the box”.

Home delivery of food has never been an issue, what market lacks is ‘home-cooked’ food. In a city like Bangalore, which is culturally diverse, cosmopolitan and driven by people from across India, Masala-box was simply an idea in waiting. 
Harasha Thachery, Founder Masala-Box 

How it worked out: Started in 2014 in Kochi and then expanded to Bangalore, Masala Box has more than 200 home-chefs enrolled on its website. It caters to more than 250 orders daily, with a staff of 20 people and outsourced delivery network. Yet to be funded.

Started as an open source project, GitHub attracted users for its code sharing and publishing services.  (Photo Courtesy: GitHub Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/github?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor">Page</a>)
Started as an open source project, GitHub attracted users for its code sharing and publishing services. (Photo Courtesy: GitHub Twitter Page)

Making Free Software Out of Free Software

Launched in 2007, GitHub was a platform where software engineers paid a monthly fee for the rest of their lives in order to create free software out of other free software! To some it made no sense but for its founders – Tom Preston-Werner, Chris Wanstrath, and PJ Hyett – GitHub evolved into a multi-million dollar company.

Started as an open source project, GitHub attracted users for its code sharing and publishing services. It allowed users to take a project that they don’t have, write access to and modify it under their own account. Developers can thus work together on projects from anywhere in the world.

How it worked: GitHub reports having more than 14 million users and more than 35 million repositories as of April 2016. This makes it worlds largest host of source code in the world. In 2015 American venture capital firm, Andreessen Horowitz, announced a whopping $100 million investment in GitHub.

Snapshot

Crazy Start-Up Ideas Of All Time

  • Layoffspace: A social network for the unemployed.
  • Shweeb: A New Zealand start-up that wants to build a human-powered monorail.
  • Honestly.com: A site that lets anyone publish anonymous professional reviews of you to your profile, whether you like it or not.
  • ChatWithAStar.com: A portal meant for celebrity bloggers that did not kick off since celebs world over decided to interact with the fans directly!
  • Agester: Upload a photo of yourself, and people would guess your age. It was meant to be a meet-up site.
  • Audioo: That lets you share your voicemail with the world to build up a searchable database of  human voice.

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