Exclusive Interview: Aashish Ramchand: Co Founder :Makemyreturns.com

Startup: makemyreturns.com

Aashish Ramchand,  co-founder of makemyreturns.com, is a Chartered Accountant by profession. He has also completed the American CFA Level I and is currently a partner at J. Ramchand & Company Tax Advisers. He has previously worked with KPMG and Ernst and Young in the international taxation field.

WD: What is makemyreturns.com all about? What problem are you solving?

Aashish: Makemyreturns.com is the go-to place when it comes to taxes. In this complex world where we practically pay tax on everything we earn or purchase, we bring clarity and simplicity in taxes and help you save wherever possible. Filing taxes is just a year end process, it gives the IT department a snapshot of your earnings and taxes paid, but our work begins at the beginning of every financial year. We understand every single individual case and make recommendations on the various tax saving avenues available to the assessee. Our years of experience in the taxation field have been built into the proprietary algorithms that analyze your financial history and help you save from the word go. We help you plan your taxes, then save them and then finally file them at year-end. We stand by our service and ensure that every customer’s tax problem is our problem.

WD: Tell us the story of how it started and the challenges you have faced?

Aashish: In 2011, my brother and I were having a discussion about the state of affairs in India and how tax compliance is significantly low. We realized that the major roadblock for tax knowledge and compliance in India was the fact that people did not have access to expert tax professional and advisors. We also realized that we had the expertise and there was no better way to bring it to the world than via the Internet. So we founded makemyreturns.com and began the crucial process of understanding core issues faced by the average Indian tax payer and devised methods to solve these problems. The biggest challenge we have faced so far was the mental transition between an online tax advisory and compliance service and our current offline tax advisory practice – the online customer is unknown and we have to quickly understand his problems and come out with a solution.

WD: Who are the Founders and their backgrounds?

Aashish: Our Founder is Vikram Ramchand, a computer science engineer from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta and an MBA from the London Business School. He has founded two successful startups and is now leading the innovation and technology at makemyreturns.com. Co-Founder, Aashish Ramchand, is a chartered accountant by profession with years of experience in International Taxation. He has previously worked with KPMG and Ernst and Young.  Aashish builds on the tax knowledge base for makemyreturns.com and trains our junior chartered accountants into giving the best possible customer experience. Co- Founder, VarunAdvani, is a budding Chartered Accountant and works with M.B. Advani and Company. Varun is the brain behind the complex tax algorithms devised at makemyreturns.com.

WD: Why is your site so different when there are already eCommerce websites selling similar products?

Aashish: The key difference between us and other similar websites is the fact that our technology is people and experience driven. We have built and hand picked every aspect of the technology using the years of experience and practical know how of taxes in India. We aim to cut right to the chase and steer clear of complexities and make taxes simple for everyone. We assure every customer that after using makemyreturns.com, tax worries will be a thing of the past. The experts are now here to help.

WD: What technology platform is your site built on? Is it in-house?

Aashish: Makemyreturns.com is built on the .Net Platform and is built by in-house programmers and developers.

WD: Which locations is it available ?

Aashish: Virtually, we are available everywhere due to the Internet. But our head office is located in Mumbai.

WD: Did you raise any funding? If you want to raise funds do you want to be contacted by Investors ?

Aashish: Yes, we raised initial funding through certain venture capitalists. We will be raising another round of funds sometime early next year.

WD: What is the overall plan going forward?

Aashish: Help more and more people plan and save taxes regularly. Taxes don’t need to be taxing. We’re there for that.

If you have any questions for Aashish, please post it on the comments section. He is reachable at connect@makemyreturns.com. You can also connect with Aashish on Linkedin.

 

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Video: Latest Facts and Figures on Indian eCommerce and Technology on Retail Sector -2012

Rajan Anandan, Managing Director, Google India Limited speaking at the TN Retail Conference organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry. Here is the thought leader speak on impact of eCommerce and technology on retail sector and companies can leverage this.

If you are looking to grasp the Indian eCommerce space in fifteen minutes and a clear perspective on where it is heading, there is no one better to address this than Google’s Rajan Anandan

Please take notes. Excellent stats/numbers from the Google guy.

 

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Via : Confederation of Indian Industry

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IRCTC to launch "Rolling Deposit Scheme" – an advance deposit scheme for passengers

Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has decided to launch a scheme that will allow passengers to reserve seats against advance money kept with the corporation.

Through the Rolling Deposit Scheme, a user can deposit money in advance with IRCTC and use it as a payment option amongst the other payment options available on IRCTC website for paying money at the time of booking tickets. Currently there are about 4.5 lakh train tickets booked daily through IRCTC website.

A senior IRCTC official involved with the scheme said,”We have decided to launch Rolling Deposit Scheme (RDS), a hassle-free e-ticket booking scheme in which the user will be able to book e-tickets against advance money kept with us.” He added,”It will reduce the payment gateway time for the user as money will be deducted from the IRCTC and not from any bank as is the current practice.There are about 10 per cent failure in e-ticket booking due to the banking server problem.”

IRCTC will also not levy the payment gateway charge for booking e-ticket through RDS. One can join the RDS with a minimum amount of Rs 1500 also. A User can transfer the money from his bank account to IRCTC account and book tickets using that RDS account.

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[Comscore Study] Facebook – the most engaged platform in India

According to a recent report by ComScore on the top online sites and activities in India , internet users in India spend more time on the social networking site Facebook than on Google or any other medium. The study found that, every 4th minute of online activity in India is dedicated for social networking sites .

Some of the key findings of this study are:

  • Google Sites ranked as the top online destination in June 2012, reaching nearly 57.8 million people age 15 and older accessing the Internet from a home or work computer.It is closely followed by Facebook with 50.9 million visitors, about 83.4 percent reach, Yahoo! Sites (65.5 percent reach) and Microsoft Sites (48.1 percent reach).
  • Local web properties that were within the top 10 rankings, include Times Internet Limited (33.7 percent reach), Network 18 (29.3 percent reach), Rediff.com India Ltd (25.2 percent reach) and NIC.in (21.8 percent reach).
  • Facebook has emerged as the most engaged platform with online users spending an average of nearly 4 hours on the site in June. Apart from Facebook, users spent a considerable amount of time on Google (2.5 hrs) and YouTube.
  • Network 18 has been the most engaging local brand with visitors spending around 31.6 minutes in June.
  • Social Networking accounts for about 25.2%  of all time spent online in June and has emerged as the most preferred activity among the Indian Internet users. About 10% of the time is spent on entertainment sites, followed by portals accounting for 8.8 % of the time spent.  8.1% of the time was spent on search while email accounted for only 3.2% of the total time.

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In Q1 2012, India registers a 20% increase in Average Internet Speed

According to a recent report by Akamai Technologies, the average internet connection speed in India was 1Mbps in the first quarter of 2012, registering a growth of 16 per cent quarter-over-quarter. However, despite this growth in average speed, India still ranks 112 globally.

Though the YoY growth in average internet speed in India increased by more than 20%, it lagged far behind other Asia Pacific countries like South Korea (15.7Mbps) and Japan (10.9). The peak internet speed in India is 6.9 Mbps compared to the 49.3Mbps speed in Hong Kong. Only 1.2% of connections in India have a speed of over 4Mbps, the new standard for broadband. This, however, represents an 85% increase in adoption rate in broadband speed.

As per the report, the global average internet speed has increased 14% over the previous quarter and 25% over the same period last year. Average global internet connection speed in the Jan-March quarter of 2012 stood at 2.6Mbps. The growth of internet speed is being attributed to the increase in number of ‘high broadband’ connections in countries where 10Mbps speed is the minimum. Denmark, Finland, South Korea, Switzerland and the US have registered around twofold growth in the adoption rate for extra-fast internet access over the past year.

 

via: indiadigitalreview

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Purchase Decisions of 79% people in APAC region depend on the Internet

A recent study by BT and Avaya reveals that the purchase decisions of around 79% people in Asia-Pacific region depend on the Internet. Before proceeding for a purchase, they use the internet to do the necessary planning and research. Though a percentage of consumers still depend on information provided by sales agents, more and more consumers are embracing the modern technology which often provides them with timely, personalized access to services wherever they are, at any time of day and through any device.

Around 70 % of the consumers seem to have more knowledge about a particular product or problem than the executive in the organization call center. Most of the consumers feel that telephonic transactions take up unnecessary time, with over 70 per cent viewing typical security measures as a disincentive to calling up customer service desks.

These consumers empowered by an ever-growing list of technologies, continually change the medium through which they contact an organization. Internet is one of the most popular mediums and is used by more than 50% consumers to contact and deal with an organization online. Smartphones are another medium used by around 44 per cent of users to call contact centers to seek advice after they’ve looked things up online or via an app on their smartphone, and 39 per cent have scanned products in store using their smartphone. Another emerging platform is Social Media as around 52 per cent consumers use it to follow a company or learn more about their services and about 56 per cent consumers trust customer forums more than an organization’s website.

“It’s never been more important for brands and organizations to build lasting customer relationships. Pressure to stay up to speed with changing demands is increasing and companies need to look to new technologies to engage with their customers”, Andrew Small, Vice President, unified communications and customer relationship management, BT Global Services, said. “Understanding how customer behavior is evolving will help organizations choose the right technology platforms to be able to satisfy inquiries from increasingly demanding customers.”

via: Telecomtiger

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Mozilla developing iPad browser "Junior"

Mozilla is developing a new mobile web browser called “Junior” for Apple’s iPad. It will be a full screen experience without any tabs or search bars. The simplified UI of Junior consists of two buttons placed about a third the way up the iPad’s screen. The one on the left acts as a back button, while the one on the right is a plus button that presents users with a list of recent pages, as well as a search screen. Each of the main two buttons can be expanded to reveal a total of six operations on which the development team is working on.

Apart from this, Junior will also have the ability to create separate user accounts. Towards the left of the main navigation page a user will be able to enter a user login menu and there’d also be options for private browsing. In terms of security, users will be able to password protect their account which will ensure that their web history is blocked off from other users on the same device.

Firefox product designer Alex Limi said,””We wanted to make something entirely new. We wanted to look into how we could reinvent the browser for a new form factor”. Currently there are many third-party alternatives to Apple’s Safari like Atomic, Dolphin, Mercury, Opera Mini and Skyfire.

You can check out Mozilla’s demo of Junior in this video below:

Mozilla Junior browser

 

 

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By 2016, India will have 2 billion networked devices

In the recent years there’s been a manifold increase in the usage of high-speed internet device, tablets,smart phones in India as well as globally. A recent report by Cisco justifies this fact. According to Cisco, by 2016 there would be around 2 billion networked devices in India as against one billion in 2011. Globally this number would rise to 18.9 billion by 2016 as against 10.3 billion in 2011.  The APAC region alone will account for almost 46 percent (app 8.7 million) of these networked devices.

Between 2011 to 2016, the internet traffic in India is expected to grow at a CAGR (Compunded Annual Growth Rate) of 64%. The internet user base is expected to reach the 502 million mark in 2016 as against 127 million in 2011.The number of fixed line users are expected to grow from 85 million in 2011 to 212 million in 2012. Apart from this, the average fixed broadband speed is expected to grow from  1.5 Mbps in 2011 to 6 Mbps in 2016. Globally this number is expected to grow from  9 Mbps in 2011 to 34 Mbps in 2016.

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Innovative Startup: TravelTriangle.com marketplace for travelers and agents

TravelTriangle.com is a marketplace for travelers & the agents where they get the customized tour packages at the best price. This is an innovative model where customer submits a request for the prices where he wants to travel to, Each request by a customer goes to at least three travel agents with operations in the area that is the client’s destination. The agents compete among themselves to provide the best experience and price to the vacationer.

TravelTriangle launched by ex-IIT students Sankalp Agrawal and Sanchit Garg clocking revenues of Rs 1.2 crore in just 7 months

Traveltriangle aims to be the biggest travel portal in India and has many refreshing ideas in its roadmap that will help the company to offer unique and differentiated features to the customers. TravelTriangle allows the dialogue, feedback and interaction in real time from stakeholders including the, suppliers & the customer care agents.

Why TravelTriangle is unique?
– Trusted agents only (closed competition bidding)
– Travel agents provide better services to TravelTriangle customers. They know their online profile is building and will affect their future business
– TravelTriangle provides service guarantee to its customers – this helps in buying the services from unknown agents also.”

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India has the world's youngest internet population

India has the world’s youngest internet population with 75 per cent of all users under the age of 35 years, said research firm comScore on Friday.

The findings were announced by comScore’s co-founder and executive chairman Gian M. Fulgoni at the second edition of digital marketing event ‘ad:tech’ being organised here.

In comparison to India, the world’s average of under 35-year users stood at 52 per cent and 55 per cent in Asia Pacific region.

“Further, a third of India’s total online population is between 15 to 24 years,” said Fulgoni.

Indian users spent a total of 34.47 billion minutes online last year, which translated to over half a billion hours, he added.

Segment-wise usage has also revealed that 95 per cent of the total online users use social networking sites compared to 82 per cent of the world’s online users leveraging social networks.

Among other facts that Fulgoni gave out was that of four minutes spent on social network, three are onFacebook.

“LinkedIn reaches one in eight online users, whereas one in 12 online users are on Twitter in India,” Fulgoni said.

“In contrast, use of email and instant messaging is on a decline, especially in the younger age groups. Email usage declined by 22 per cent in the 15-24 age segment, and by eight per cent among 25-34 age segment,” he said.

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