SoftBank Group Corp Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son attends a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, February 8, 2017.Reuters fileA $413 million cheque from a consortium of investors led by Softbank Vision Fund has propelled logistics start-up Delhivery into the billion-dollar club. The valuation of the company has risen to around $1.5 billion after the latest round of funding, which also witnessed participation from existing investors Carlyle Group and Fosun International. As per regulatory filings, Delhivery received $350 million from Softbank earlier this month.”We will be scaling our warehousing and freight operations, investing in building large multi-tenant fulfilment centres, integrated with our parcel and freight transportation networks,” Delhivery CEO Sahil Barua told various media portals. The investment will primarily be used for expansion into new areas. Delhivery plans to add 5,000 new pin codes to the current 15,000 by the first half of 2020. The company will also enhance its end-to-end supply chain platform for small and medium enterprises.The Initial TeamDelhivery was started by a bunch of engineers – Sahil Barua, Mohit Tandon, Bhavesh Manglani, Suraj Saharan and Kapil Bharati – in 2011. Barua and Tandon used to work for Bain & Company as consultants before starting the logistics company. While Barua is a management graduate from IIM Bengaluru, Tandon is a product of IIT Kanpur. Bhavesh Manglani is a Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology and IIM Calcutta graduate. Saharan and Bharati are engineering graduates from IIT Bombay and IIT Delhi, respectively. In the initial phase, the company started off as a hyperlocal logistics service provider specifically catering to florists, food businesses and offline stores in Gurugram. Between 2015 and 2018, Delhivery claims to have grown at an annual pace of nearly 65%. Nearly a quarter of products ordered online in India pass through the company’s channel currently. The company has handled over 450 million transactions since its inception.Gurugram-based Delhivery counts New York-based Tiger Global Management, Nexus Venture Partners and the digital arm of the Times of India Group, Times Internet among its other investors. “Our investment in Delhivery reflects our focus on partnering with innovative market leaders,” Munish Varma, partner, SoftBank Investment Advisers told Mint. “Over the years, Delhivery has demonstrated industry-leading growth and emerged as the one-stop solution for e-commerce logistics.” The start-up provides the full suite of logistics services, including, express parcel transportation, LTL and FTL freight, reverse logistics, cross-border, B2B & B2C warehousing and technology services. Earlier this month, Masayoshi Son-led Softbank had invested $60 million in grocery delivery start-up Grofers, which was just the first tranche of a larger $120-140 million funding round initiated by the company. Close Did you know these 4 ‘desi’ startups working on exciting electric vehicles in India? IBTimes VideoRelated VideosMore videos Play VideoPlayMute0:00/0:00Loaded: 0%0:00Progress: 0%Stream TypeLIVE0:00?Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedSubtitlessubtitles settings, opens subtitles settings dialogsubtitles off, selectedAudio TrackFullscreenThis is a modal window.The media could not be loaded, either because the server or network failed or because the format is not supported.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window. COPY LINKAD Loading …
[Representational image]Creative commonsAir India (AI) has reportedly put out a requirement for Rs 1,500 crore in short-term loans, even as the Central government looks to divest the national carrier that has so far stayed afloat on taxpayers’ money. The fresh requirement is the second time AI has called for a short-term loan in little over a month in order to meet its “urgent” working capital needs. The previous instance was in September when the carrier had been looking for Rs 3,250 crore in short-term loans. Details of current loan soughtAI has, in a document released on October 18, asked banks to respond to its call for the short-term loan with financial bids by October 26.A PTI report quoted the carrier as saying in the document that it was seeking “government guarantee-backed Indian Rupee short-term loans totalling up to Rs 1,500 crore to meet its urgent working capital requirements.”The document added: “The amount of Rs 1,500 crore will be drawn in one to three tranches… The Government of India guarantee is valid up to June 27, 2018, or till the date of disinvestment.”It added: “Air India would like to draw the short-term loan within three working days after awarding the acceptance letter to the successful bank/s.”Ailing airlineThese two loans — totalling Rs 4,750 crore — will add to the debt burden of Air India, which already stands at around Rs 50,000 crore. A cashier displays the new 2000 Indian rupee banknotes inside a bank in Jammu, November 15, 2016 [representational image].Reuters fileThe airline, which faces tough competition in both the Indian and international markets, was to receive a 10-year bailout package — approved by the UPA regime — of Rs 30,321 crore. AI has already received Rs 26,000 crore of the package, starting from 2012, and yet there has been not much of a sign of a turnaround. That was the reason the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had earlier this year approved of strategic divestment in AI. The modalities of this divestment are still being worked out, even as the Tata Group — which already runs the airline Vistara — has already expressed interest in taking up stakes in Air India.
Graphic by John JordanTexas is about to have one of its periodic and deeply disappointing tests of civic engagement — a November election built around constitutional amendments and not around warring political personalities.Conflict and advertising and the tons of news coverage generated by candidates and campaigns drive turnout. It’s easy to chart: More Texans vote in presidential years than in gubernatorial years, partly because of the relative power of those offices but also because of the overwhelming focus on national campaigns. In last year’s presidential election, more than 8.9 million Texans voted. In the 2014 race for governor between Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis, 4.7 million voted.In between those two elections, fewer than 1.6 million Texans turned out for a constitutional amendment election. That one actually had a couple of issues of interest to ordinary voters, including an attempt to lower property taxes for homeowners, a plan to increase state spending on highways and transportation by up to $5 billion and an end to the requirement that statewide elected officials live in the state capital. Each of the seven proposals on that ballot passed easily.Most of the state’s voters slept through it.The 2013 election was a yawner, attracting only 1.1 million voters. Everything passed, including an amendment legalizing reverse mortgages in Texas.2011? Only 690,052 Texans showed up — of the 12.8 million who were registered to vote at the time — to vote on 10 amendments. They voted three of them down, proving that the few who bothered weren’t there to simply smile and nod. Still, the relatively local and technical measures on that ballot failed to attract a crowd.The pattern, though, is that constitutional amendment elections draw small crowds of mostly agreeable voters. In 2009, just over 1 million Texans approved 11 amendments. In 2007, about the same number of voters okayed each of the 16 amendments before them.You see how this goes.This year’s line-up is not exactly front-page news; most of the scant attention the election has attracted comes from a proposal to ease restrictions on borrowing against home equity.Here’s a decidedly non-scientific way to test voters’ interest: Have you heard people talking about it? At this time a year ago, did you hear people talking about the presidential election?Early voting begins Monday. Election Day is Nov. 7. There are seven proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution that would change state law for sports raffles, savings contests run by financial institutions, the tenure of state appointees who haven’t been replaced and so on. Here’s a list, along with an analysis or two done by the state.It’s an election where each vote is fractionally more important than normal: With fewer voters showing up, each vote counts for more. And changes to the constitution are more permanent — most of the time — than the changes in officeholders that attract more voters to most other elections.Texans, like voters in most places, have proved they’re more interested in deciding which people will govern than on the sometimes-narrow policies presented in these off-year elections.You can’t blame the low turnouts for elections like this one on partisan redistricting, though ballot access laws that arguably make it more difficult to vote certainly don’t help.You can blame the legislators who schedule these elections, often on dates when low turnout is all but assured — when contests that might get the kind of attention and debate that attracts widespread interest, and with it, citizens who want to register their views.You can always blame voters, since turnout is a measure of how many people came to the polls to register their opinions. But they’re capable of getting interested. It’s been a long time now, but the Texas Lottery was approved in a constitutional amendment election that drew almost 2.1 million voters — at a time when there were only 7.8 million registered voters in the state. More recently, Texas voters approved a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in 2005 (a provision later voided by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling). The turnout for that 2005 vote topped 2.2 million.Civic engagement is, after all, about engagement. Boring or narrow issues don’t attract voters. But if you interest them, they will come. Share
4 min read July 11, 2018 This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. There’s an 87 percent employment rate among software developers. On average, there are five jobs for every software developer, according to a study by VentureBeat. The demand for software talent is still on the rise.Consequently, it is not surprising that human resource managers have a tough time recruiting, hiring and retaining software developers. Developers are fussy about selecting the companies they will work for. Even when they agree to work for a company, they can easily leave for the next at a split second, leaving behind a mountain of disappointment.Related: Confessions of an In-Demand Developer: How Too Many Job Offers Helped Me Craft My Own Coding Consultancy CompanyBut surprisingly, successful companies seem to have a formula for hiring, motivating and retaining top software developers. So how are they doing it? They use three Fs to inspire the best software talents:FreedomFlexibilityFunLet’s look at each one more closely.1. Freedom.Smart CEOs and COOs are not only good at their jobs, but they also have a knack for understanding and hacking their coders.With a million activities going on in a startup garage or apartment office, the grind and the constant pivot, the iteration and the race to outperform the competitors, the race to win a client and a customer — startup managers are focused on motivating their software developers.They achieve this by giving them freedom to make their own work choices. I’m not saying that developers should be given the opportunity to have the final say about the company’s product development, but managers should empower them to execute projects based on their own decisions.Of course, developers must respect the company’s rules and regulations. The techies feel more connected and engaged at work when they are given the power to make decisions about things like design and coding standards. They feel more relaxed and happy because they aren’t trapped in your “vision.” You make their work life freer, more creative and flexible.Speaking of flexibility … 2. Flexibility.You may think that successful startups have been run strictly by the books, that they fire staffers who show up late to work or don’t resume work on time after lunch breaks. While some companies are very strict — Amazon and Apple come to mind — others are pretty flexible. For example, VMware, a widely successful virtualization company, allows all of its employees — from coders to secretaries — to set their own working hours according to their needs.Related: Workplace Flexibility Can Impact How You Attract, Hire And Retain TalentUpwork, the largest online freelance marketplace with more than 10 million freelancers, is doing so much for remote workers. The company has an excellent flex work arrangement with super flexible office hours to keep their top software talents motivated.3. Fun.Flexibility is not just about giving your developers the freedom to work remotely or to choose when and where to work. Flexibility is also about giving them a moment at the office to have a little fun.Most software developers are big-time gamers. They like to decompress by playing video games, and they’ll never tire of the challenge of getting to the next level — and the next. The playing itself fuels their creative juices.While it cools them off, it also often helps them think positively and come up with newer and better creative ideas for their projects. Successful companies understand that, and they capitalize on it.OfficeVibe, for example, has an impressive “gamified” workplace for its coders and other employees. The gesture will surely motivate the talents to work for the company a lot longer. Whether a developer is bored or they just need to take a minute to play, they can spend some time playing and recharging, and then they can resume their work more energized than before. Related: Hiring the Modern Programmer: Does That Smart New Software Developer of Yours Also have ‘Soft Skills?’Conclusion.Recruiting and hiring software developers is not an easy task. With more available jobs waiting than developers to fill them, it’s not easy to hire and retain top software talent for your company. However, managers at big companies understand what motivates developers, keeps them engaged and encourages them to stay:Freedom at workFlexible work scheduleFun environmentGive them these three incentives, and they’ll be all yours, hardly considering a transfer to anywhere else. Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Enroll Now for Free
Searching for my inner Van Gogh on an Active Discovery sailing with Avalon Waterways Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Avalon Waterways, Britain & Europe, River Cruising Thursday, December 28, 2017 WURZBURG — It’s a rather unusual pursuit, coming off a European river ship. Strolling through the streets of scenic Wurzburg on the Main River, our small group winds our way toward a rather lofty goal: the city’s famous hilltop, 12th-century castle. “It remains relatively unexplored, mostly because it’s hard to get to,” our guide, Florian Brunn, explains.Soon, I see what he’s talking about. Digging into the paved path, we begin to ascend and I try to act cool as my heart begins to pound and a light sheen of sweat pops on my brow. “Most people who see it, only do so from the sun decks of river ships,” says Brunn with a light German accent, encouraging me as I lay my foot onto the bottom step of a staircase that disappears into a small hillside forest – and, to my eye, seems to stretch to the sky.Marienberg Fortress, WurzburgI’m on board the Avalon Expression, one of Avalon’s fleet of 18 river ships plying the waterways of Europe and Southeast Asia. Seeking a younger demographic (the current, typical age of a river cruiser is around 65), Avalon has introduced a new type of itinerary, called Active Discovery cruises. They debuted this year on the Danube (sailing nine days between Linz and Budapest) and will be rolled out next year on the Rhine (eight days between Amsterdam and either Frankfurt or Wiesbaden in Germany). Itineraries differ from traditional Avalon cruises, offering shorter sailing times and more time to explore in port, as well as different ports of call.Supported by a North American ad campaign that features an attractive, young-ish couple navigating adventurous paths before flopping on the bed of their Panorama Suite, these cruises offer options for deeper discovery. My sneak peek took me along the Rhine and Main from Amsterdam to Nuremberg. Each day on an Active Discovery itinerary, cruisers are offered three tour options – the usual, classic excursions, plus an active choice (hiking, biking) and a discovery option (a culturally rich, immersive experience). It’s Avalon’s fastest growing category, and the company is already seeing younger cruisers and multi-generation groups on these Active Discovery voyages.More news: Transat calls Groupe Mach’s latest offer “highly abusive, coercive and misleading”On the second day of my cruise, I experience a ‘discovery’ option, walking a few blocks from the ship to an art studio called Ateliers Westerdok, where I’m welcomed with tea, Dutch apple pie, stroopwafels – and a lecture on, arguably, this country’s most famous artist. Showing our small group some of his early work, which depicts the streets of this city, instructor Sanne Verdult told us, somewhat ambitiously, “You have everything you need to make your own Van Gogh today.”Van Gogh MuseumVan Gogh, I am not – and my efforts on the canvas demonstrated that clearly for all of those willing to take a look at the work my brushstrokes produced. Verdult gave us some practical instruction on our use of colour (cool versus warm) and other techniques, like the use of shadows to give texture, then presented a choice of still-life muses. I went for a flourishing plume of flowers, slathering acrylic paint in a tangential interpretation that only somewhat resembled the beauty before me.But, it felt good – to have brush in hand, creating an artwork (of sorts) in the country that produced Van Gogh, and Rembrandt, and so many others. Rather than just seeing their masterpieces in the Rijksmuseum, I was creating, and so was everybody else around me. Half the fun was walking around and seeing the other canvases, and how my fellow-painters had interpreted the items before us.RijksmuseumThe active discovery continued as we rolled down the river. In Rüdesheim, a place famous for its Riesling, we rode a cable car to a hilltop, then, led by a local winery owner, hiked back to town through the vineyards, stopping for a tasting from the back of a truck halfway down.More news: Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesIn Bamberg the group wound through the streets of that scenic town on bicycles. In Cologne, we went off the beaten path with an immersive neighbourhood tour, the guide leading through the funky, quirky charms of the Belgian Quarter, a favourite part of the city for locals to shop and drink, and almost entirely unvisited by tourists.BambergAnd while we could have augmented our healthy activities by dining on Avalon Fresh – a menu created exclusively for the company by the chefs at Wrenkh, a Michelin-starred vegetarian restaurant in Vienna – we instead opted for the decadent, multiple courses at the small Panorama Bistro near the bow of the ship.And, of course, in Wurzburg, we hiked toward the sky. Actually, as luck would have it, the path soon evened out and took us right through the thick walls of the castle, which dated all the way back to 1168. Luxuriating in the space – we were practically the only ones there – we toured the sumptuous, well-guarded home of prince bishops from the 12th to the 18th centuries. And then I descended, again, through vineyards, feeling a little smug that I’d seen something special – and indeed, a place that few will ever have the chance to experience. By: Tim Johnson