Equinox Logic Pvt. Ltd. Blogs

it's all about logic and creativity.

   Dec 11

Real Origin of GROFERS

BACKGROUND

Wanted to share the real story behind the name “Grofers”. How it was coined Any guesses! Story goes back to while I was at California just after graduating from University of Central Florida. While at UCF, I had been friends with a few IITians namely Albinder Dhindsa (Albi), Kamal Goyal, Anurag Pandey, Piyush Nawathe, Ravi, Nizam and lots of juniors. Albi was pursuing his Masters in Transportation Engineering. All of them were roommates/batchmates. I had been pursuing my Internship at Orlando, FL while Kamal at Tampa, FL. Having developed a few patented softwares I knew about computer systems. We used to hangout at Piyush’s/Anurag/Albi’s… residence on weekends & sometimes mine, on Goldenrod road while in FL, whenever Kamal used to visit from Tampa, FL. Hanging out with Savio, I was into Rock & Heavy Metal music. After Sav left for India there was a void surprisingly, Piyush liked to listen to it to. Playing music, having a couple of drinks we used to discuss business ideas & chill. During Sept-Oct of 2005, one of the weekends while we were partying and I was an intern, I had mentioned about the plan to perceive something on the lines of amazon but refrained from mentioning the fine details. It wasn’t a big deal as it wasn’t out of the box but recognizing the gaps where big corporates were not strong enough was the key to disruption.

INCEPTION

How grofers orginated

 

 

 

 

 

 

The economy wasn’t very good & everyone kept moving places. After cracking a few interviews, in 2007 I decided to move to Irvine, Cali. I got a full time contract position in Cali. I had lost my phone, while leaving FL. Luckily had a backup of my contacts. Kamal passed me the lost cell phone numbers. We used to arrange conference calls & stay in touch back then. Later in 2008 moved to the Bay Area.

My objective was to develop valuable softwares learn more web based tech at the same time, so that I could implement my ideas. Working for a couple of years at Silicon Valley gave me the courage & right tech for my ideas.
Had lost touch with lot of these guys except a few. I used to share business ideas with Kamal a lot. While Kamal was visiting New York to Albi’s place, we exchanged business ideas. As mentioned earlier, thought came to my mind that if Amazon is into delivering mainly non-perishable items why not get into perishable items part. The market was huge sector wise. India was booming at 9% GDP growth rate with people busier than ever. Later, I thought name is also an important part. It should be something that the dictionary does not have. I have to make a new addition to the dictionary.

A strong shot of Peets coffee at downtown Pleasant Hill, CA, had all kinds of ideas rushing through my mind. I came up with two marketing phrases namely “Go Fresh” & “Grow Fresh”. Wrote a small program on my laptop for random string manipulator with GRO (for GROW) as starting point for the strings. Later went home & settled down with an Irish beer. Next day took a handful of combinations from the outputs at the same coffee house.
Sat down with a cup of tea all by myself, two hours after looking at the most likable outputs, decided to settle with one. Numerous thoughts ran but the closest one to Grocers was GROFERS and more humane. Having the H in front of GROFERS sounded like a rural tone in India which would have been hard to market the Urban sectors. Hence decided to drop the H. I had also drawn caricatures of the logo with the company slogan –“GO FRESH” which was supposed to be animated. The logo was quite similar to the present one, and it has a lot of influence of Peets Coffee. Peets coffee is a P on a squarish. GROFERS has a G with a dot on circle to maintain symmetry. The dot on the right I had suggested, to resemble the dot over “i” in panchi as in my signature. Basically it wasn’t as simple as replacing the C with F in Grocers.If you are targeting a lot of teenagers, marketing is a lot easier as urbandictionary mentions it “to be permanantly attached to someone you love whether you like it or not”. Well wikipedia hardly mentions about this fact. Next day evening gave a ring to Kamal while he was in New York & said if you can find an investor for a business idea I would reveal the name. I was new to Cali & really wanted to get in touch with a Venture Capitalist. Waited for a couple of days & thought of purchasing the domain but bingo finally gave in the name to Kamal & Albi. I had naive ways of finding a VC/investor. I used to start my day early like 5am working out at high class gyms or playing squash, tennis, golf while in FL, NY and Cali. It helped me beat the stress stay healthy, and give perspectives in exploring tech requirements in sports. Well, I was also wondering if my former employers would want to invest, but their attitude was that of snatching away the opportunity as few VC’s in India have. I made a few C-level contacts but had to go higher. The immigration laws made it moreover difficult to pursue ideas in the US. One becomes inundated with the paper work & the legal status maintenance. These hassles are completely distract you from your objective. I recall stating that the idea would be difficult to implement in US because of stringent compliance regulations required by USFDA & EPA on food items. It would be better to experiment with the idea in India.

CONCLUSION

grofers not a fortune cookie

I gotta say that No it wasn’t a fortune cookie in which someone found GROFERS written. Coming back to India it was extremely difficult to convince about my ideas to my family members who had little faith in me with a few exceptions than my parents. Growing organically is not so easy as it seems. Even if you are moderately rich support system in Indian families is rarity unless you are from business circles. However, there is a lot to learn about networking from IITians – Deepinder Goyal also an IITian the seed investor in Grofers. I found IITians really sticking out and reaching out to fellow IITians unlike people from other institutions while studying in the US. Columbia Business School, NY does bring ideas to reality by providing the right ecosystem. A chance to meet with the top notch Venture Capitalists is more than enough and a lifetime opportunity. I was really impressed with the Columbia Business School StartupLab program watching it online. I hardly care about the idea anymore, since, I’m abundant of creative ideas & they just don’t let me sleep. I had been thinking about writing this blog for long finally the truth being told. After I saw “GROFERS” delivery logo with name at Nagpur, it rang a bell. I searched for who was behind it, & I was shocked(obviously) at the same time glad for Albi, but I could not understand why I was kept in dark. Well, being a B2B business during early stages it was difficult to get noticed. Certainly coining the name is not a big deal one may guess unless its “Microsoft” or “Google” until you make it work matters most. It was pretty much clear that Albi pursued the idea with extreme interest. Columbia Business School gave him the extra edge to refine the business idea & propose the same to Vcs. On the other hand I wanted to grow the idea organically through self funding. When one talks about self funding, it is difficult to achieve high quality optimization in delivery, manufacturing of a valuable product/service. Optimization also requires iterations and its difficult without a strong team. If I would have gotten in touch with Marc Andreessen or Ben Horowitz or approached Sequoia while in the bay area, the story could have been different. The only problem was need of a full time job in an unsteady economy & conviction to grow the idea organically. If I would have prepared the prototype I was counting on meeting Foundry group, & Khosla ventures.
This has taught me a lot on how to share ideas on when & when not to. How to achieve scale on an idea before speaking out? Basically, if one wants to develop organically secrecy is utmost important before launching an idea and its way more time consuming. With funding things get a little bit easier. However, my Business plan was B2C right from the start quite different than Albi’s a B2B. Revenue generation model would have been quite different with features embedded in the app. Well, if Albi is reading this I suggest you should include “GO FRESH” with the logo & what was the reason to drop Kamal & myself. Lets drop the If I for now and watch us hopefully disrupting the health care sector & the legal sector with innovative ideas. Thanks for your time reading this….

   Aug 01

Transforming Healthcare

In spite of the advances in the Healthcare sector, there is tremendous scope for improving. There are several instances where healthcare data might present perplexing results to the best scientists. A set of drugs might work on a given instance but might fail in another based on similar symptoms & conditions of patient. Understanding the human body and the interactions within is therefore a challenging task.

BigData Analysis in Healthcare

There are as well numerous sources of data that needs to be analysed. Sometimes answering how it happens! leads to more curiosity in inquisitive minds. The data sources may range from Pharma, Genomics, clinical tests, non-clinical tests to patient history as mentioned in the figure above. In order to eliminate all the contradicting possibilities and pin point the cause its important than ever before to collaborate with other experts in the sector. These experts could be doctors, med scientists etc. Analysis through BigData computing can help these experts find the missing links in improving healthcare. Real time BigData would help in operating under extreme tolerance to exactly point out the missing factors responsible in complex multiple disease forms. The role of BigData in improving Oncological outcomes via data analysis raises several hopes. The possibilities would also help in improving healthcare systems through smarter monitoring & response approaches.
Based on the understanding of the experts from Healthcare sector this data & their inputs would smarten machines & monitoring systems. We are in the process of developing such decision support systems. Smarter Algorithms would be needed for further advancements in healthcare sector.

   Jan 01

Is it a Nation of Goons?

It’s been almost three years since, I landed in India. Having spent nearly 7.5 years continuously, without coming back to India, I think its time to share some experiences. After coming back I had several ideas but unfortunately they were for the public sector units in India. I knocked nearly every department, at the Mantralaya along with my ideas. By the end of 2011, I realized, that nothing is going to happen until the politicians and the officers gain personally from the projects.  Having an idea for the public sector units is a waste of time in India. I regret for not working on my personal ideas in the private sector units.
India presents a very unique demographics in terms of the educated etc.  The title for the blog comes from what me and my Dad have experienced in India. My Dad now 68, owns property in Ballarpur a small town near Chandrapur with very rich mineral resources. Me and my brother had been raised with little knowledge, about our inheritance probably a step taken in parenting to prevent us from being overtly reliant. I came to know this month, that my  father had fought for 15 years, in the High Court for the property.  The High Court  Judgement was in  drawn in favor of my Dad. The case went through nearly 2 appeals. The property measuring 6720 sq. ft was won in an auction by my Dad and Grandfather. However, the auctioneer disputed that the property was only 5000 sq. ft. The final judgement was drawn in favor of my Dad upon verification of all the facts.

This is to address how a retired Professor almost 70 is harassed in India. The adjoining construction activity encroaches on our property. My brother approached, the Police and the local body to stop the encroachment. However, the complaint letter was not even accepted in spite of the Honorable High Courts order. He was told that since, it is a Civil Matter, Police cannot interfere. In spite of us drafting request after request,  no vital actions have been taken by the authorities. The contractor who encroaches our property sits on the town planning board of the local body at Ballarpur. It is quite evident about the vested interests of the contractor as well as the authorities who are supposed to enforce the law. It has become a long practice, to take away from the rich and give it to the poor.  There was only one politician Balasaheb Thackeray with enough courage to oppose this policy, openly. I’m certainly not calling myself rich, but yes my grandfather achieved a lot during his time. An intellectual so aware that, he would draft his own petitions during the 40s and 60s period. My grandfather was a person, who not only started his company in the 40s but he took it to new levels. He could speak in 11 languages, his company known in more than 7 different states across India. During that time he owned thousands of acres of land. As narrated by my grandpa, that, they would go out for business tours along with the timber by river all the way upto south India (Rajamundry). That time all the work was done with elephants. At that time he could own a Ford, car all because of him and his brothers hardwork.

Personally after coming to know about the property, I had several other ideas which I could not implement. Having worked on several real estate developments while in the US like the Lake Nona project, where Tiger Woods plays golf to Maronda Homes to Disney’s park development, I wanted to do something different.

Today his Son, My Dad, is being troubled over the very same question that has already been resolved by the Honorable High Courts Judgement nearly 25 years back. Everything has been pre-planned, by the contractor. Today after returning nearly 3 years later, retrospecting, on the law and order situation in India, I have no words. Talking about the Delhi gangrape case, the inabilities of he administration to enforce the laws is highlighted. It’s kind of clear that our judiciary system is highly contaminated with political influences. Is a politicized judiciary good for the nation? Where are we as Indians heading? After seeing the plight of the lady in the Delhi gang-rape case, I really feel ashamed to be an Indian. Such perversions are really taking toll on our society as a whole.

Several incidents have happened in the nation, other than these incidents and which is why I had to come up with, the topic of this blog. This is also to inform several individuals and companies who wish to invest in India. Think before you invest your hard earned money in India specially in the real estate sector. You are dealing with a lot of criminals to be specific.

 


   Dec 24

ERADICATING POLIO-IS IT A DREAM?

This year in India we have celebrated polio free one year. That was very good news that we are on the verge of eradication of polio. The only countries where polio does exist are Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan in. Rest world is polio free.  What can be the possible reason for the occurrence of polio in these countries?

There are multiple reasons for the non-eradication of the polio from these countries. In India, states like UP and Bihar, people refuse to give vaccine to their children for the fear of child becoming impotent and thinking that it is unuseful. But what happened in Pakistan recently was extreme reaction and has itself revealed the possible reason. The six polio workers were shot dead in Karachi and Peshawar area. The youngest worker was 17 years old.  This is the UN and WHO based polio eradication campaign, which had brought down the number of polio cases from20, 000 in 1994 to 56 in 2012. Many says Taliban is involved but no-one takes responsibility.

If such things do happen, how we are going to eradicate polio? Who will work for the nobel cause? Can anyone aggression reach upto this level?


   Dec 10

Plagiarism in India

Today, I was shocked by the degree of duplicating material, being published in engineering journals. My Dad has been working on his PhD. He had worked tirelessly towards his PhD. The study required, tremendous amount of effort. Briefly his work was on “treatment of leachate by recirculating through various materials”. Nearly, 250 days of influent and effluent treatment work was done. Sampling and determination of parameters was a time consuming activity. Moreover, it also requires costly equipments like Spectrophotometer, Atomic absorption spectrometer etc. In order, to expedite the process of analysis, digital equipments which are much more costly are required. The work that he, had published in one of the conferences, is being replicated deliberately. Unfortunately, he had shared the data with one of his Masters students.
He had asked me to search on Literature review. I was glad to help in that matter. Doing a search for keywords in the study, I was literally shocked from what came up on google. I came across two papers:
These two papers were based entirely on the same idea that was proposed in the paper by R.R. Gawalpanchi & Dr. V.A Mhaisalkar at Chennai. Within one year these papers were published. What I mean to say, is that, at one end it takes more than 250 days to generate the data on the other hand it takes few months to generate and publish the paper itself. On the other hand, the institutions where these people work, have the minimal laboratory facilities. It is highly unlikely that the other facilities within Nagpur which are highly inundated with testing would fit these guys in.
I was also wondering, why the Journals fail to evaluate, the references mentioned. I reported the matter to Senior Professors and did not get a satisfactory answer. If it was in the US, anyone can imagine what the consequences would be. Particularly, I want to point out to the persons responsible for upholding the quality of education in India. If such practices continue, there, it is reflecting on India’s education quality. The institutions, which replicated the data are equally responsible in my view for provoking plagiarism in India.
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