We bring to you the latest edition of News Roundup: Indian Startup Stories Of The Week!
In a bid to encourage the states to develop their startup ecosystem for the second edition of the States’ Startup Ranking for 2019, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has now extended the deadline for responses by three months till 30th September based on the requests of many state governments.
In other news, the finance ministers from the G20 nations have concluded that their economies will have to find a common way to tax technology giants, whose digital business models have developed faster than the taxation systems that attempt to regulate them.
Citing Masatsugu Asakawa, Japanese vice minister for finance, a Bloomberg report said that the countries plan on doubling their efforts to achieve consensus by 2020. India and other developing countries may oppose US, Japan and Australia’s attempts to finalise the new trade deals and do away with curbs of data flows during the two-day G20 trade ministers’ meeting in Japan to be held from today (June 8).
Important Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
Minister Piyush Goyal Defends Right To Use Data For Country
Indian Commerce and Industry Minister, Piyush Goyal at G20 Trade Ministers’ meeting said that countries must have sovereign right to use their data including personal, community, and public data, for the welfare of people, and advocating for free trade should not be necessarily lead to justification of data free flow. Talking about the requisites for making global ecommerce rules, he further said that the issues of privacy and security should be given due consideration in the debate on free flow of data with trust.
Meghalaya To Attract More Startups, Education Policy And More
- In its first meeting after taking charge, Meghalaya cabinet has approved 25 policies on Monday (June 10), one of which is the state’s startup policy. The Meghalaya Startup Policy 2018 aims to help budding entrepreneurs and create employment opportunities.
- As the technology becomes essential for the next-gen upgrade of the quality of education in India, the government has taken a step beyond allocating budget to support the Mission Education in the country. After more than two years of consultations, the committee of draft national education policy, under the Ministry of Human Resource Development has submitted the draft for public consultations.
- MeitY, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, is reportedly working on creating a Software Product Council which will work on implementing a software product mission. This mission is part of the National Policy on Software Products, introduced in February this year. The council will include members of the government, academia and industry.
- Farmers will soon have the option of registering online for the PM Kisan scheme. The step will ease the implementation of income-supported schemes, the government said. It is also designing a new system for farmers’ pension scheme, announcing the decision of the first cabinet meeting under the new Modi government.
The Future Of Ecigarettes And Vapes
The Drugs Technical Advisory Board of India has reportedly approved a proposal to regulate electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) such as ecigarettes and vapes as “drugs” and prohibit their sale in the country. A Press Trust of India report said that DTAB on Tuesday (June 11) agreed on a proposal to prohibit the manufacture, sale and distribution of ENDS, including ecigarettes, as well as their import under Sections 26A and 10A of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.
Fintech Upgrade For 2.5 Lakh Tuberculosis Patients
In a notable step for financial inclusion via payments banks, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has reportedly tied up with India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) to train postmen to help Tuberculosis (TB) patients access cash support by opening bank accounts from the comfort of their homes. The idea is to leverage India Post Payments Bank’s network to fulfill ministry’s direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme of INR 500 a month for nutrition support. The bank account details will be shared with the Ministry for transferring funds. The plastic card with the patient will be transformed into an ATM/debit card, which the patient can use for transactions.
New Developments With Amazon
- Talking at the Amazon’s re:MARS event, company’s head scientist and vice president for Alexa, Rohit Prasad has said that the ecommerce major is working on accommodating regional language speaking capabilities in its AI voice assistant, to cater to the Indian market.
- A recent Trust Research Advisory (TRA) research revealed that among trusted brands in India, e-commerce giant Amazon is the leader, followed by Google and Facebook.
- Last week at Amazon’s re:MARS conference, company has announced an AI-powered feature, StyleSnap to redefine the shopping experience for its users. This new feature will allow users to simply upload a photograph or screenshot of a fashion look that they like and StyleSnap will fetch them recommendations for similar items from Amazon’s catalogue. User will be able to access the StyleSnap by clicking on the camera icon in the upper right hand corner of the Amazon App.
- he latest use case of the gig economy workers comes with ecommerce giant Amazon offering part time delivery options. The company has introduced Amazon Flex, which allows individuals with two-wheelers to sign up, create their own schedule and deliver packages using the app at INR 120- INR 140 per hour. They will receive payment every Wednesday through online transfer.
Flipkart’s USP For Its Private Label Brands
Ecommerce giant Flipkart has moved a significant portion of its manufacturing and sourcing of in-house brands to India from China and Malaysia to align itself with the central government’s Make In India vision. Citing Adarsh Menon, head of private label business at Flipkart, a report said that the Walmart-owned etailer so far sourced almost all of its electronics for MarQ, Billion and SmartBuy from China, but now it has reduced down to 50%.
India In Mary Meeker’s 2019 Internet Trends Report
- Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends report has revealed that only 20% of the world’s internet population has access to the web through liberal regulations. India, which has the second highest internet population of over 460 Mn internet users that account for 12% of global users, was categorised as a country that has ‘moderate regulation’, the report said citing Freedom House’s Freedom on The Net Reports 2016-2018
- According to the report, annual data usage of Jio network was between 17-18 exabytes (17 Bn -18 Bn GB) in the financial year 2018, which is almost two times growth from 9 exabytes data usage in FY 2017. Further, the number of Reliance offline retail stores are reported to be somewhere between 10K – 11K in FY 2019.
- China was found to have the largest internet user base at 21%, followed by India at 12%, and the United States at 8%. The Asia Pacific region was found to be leading in terms of both the number of users and potential internet users with 53% of users coming from this part of the world.
Yatra’s Acquisition Of Air Travel Bureau Stalled
In a statement to the US Securities and Exchange Commission, NASDAQ-listed online travel company Yatra has shared details about the complaint filed by Air Travel Bureau alleging cheating and criminal breach of trust. In July 2017, Yatra India had entered into a share purchase agreement with Air Travel Bureau Private Ltd
Other Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
Online Smartphone Sales Share Reach All-Time High In India
Smartphone shipments from online channels reached its highest ever share of 42% in Q1 2019, according to research by Counterpoint’s Market Monitor service. Online purchases of mobile phones saw an increase of 17% year-on-year (YoY) in the first quarter of 2019, driven by offers, sales events, and attractive launches. Smartphone shipments in the offline segment declined by 4%, while the online segment grew by 17% YoY. Xiaomi, Realme, ASUS, and Huawei were the most sold brands on Flipkart and accounted for more than four-fifths of its total smartphone shipments.
Uttarakhand Uses A Drone To Transport Blood
According to a report by News18, Nikhil Upadhye, who founded Cdspace Robotics Limited had indigenously developed a drone at IIT Kanpur’s incubation centre for carrying payloads. Similar projects may be undertaken to ensure the reliability of the drones. Citing healthcare experts, the report said that the use of drones in healthcare may prove to be a game changer in states which are not easily geographically accessed.
redBus Launches Carpooling Service rPool
Bengaluru-based bus ticketing platform redBus has announced the launch of its carpooling service rPool which will allow office commuters to avail and offer rides in their personal vehicles to others while travelling between home and office. According to the company, the pooling service uses advanced technology to connect ride givers and ride takers in a fast convenient manner possible. Its matching algorithm ensures that ride givers don’t have to deviate from their daily work route and ride takers get to travel the maximum distance of their commute as a part of this service.
LetsVenture To Launch A Campaign For Standardising Startups ESOPs
LetsVenture is launching a campaign to build a standardised framework for startups’ employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs). The angel investment firm believes that such a standardised framework will help startups to attract talent from top global companies. The new framework is expected to give startup employees more transparency on their stock options and the flexibility to liquify their shares in case of certain events.
Job cuts At Urban Ladder
This is the second time that the Ratan Tata-backed company has cut jobs after 2016, and now according to a report, it will be recording profit from next month at the EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization). It also aims to deliver INR 8-10 Cr of EBITDA this fiscal. In January, it had announced its financial results for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018, reporting a revenue of $21.68 Mn (INR 151 Cr) — a jump of 202% against the last financial year revenue of $7.17 Mn (INR 50 Cr).
More Unique Content At TikTok
TikTok, the short video making and sharing app owned by China’s ByteDance, is looking to expand its user base in India as a part of its monetisation strategy. The app’s staple content base has come from short videos, movie clips, and karaoke videos. With a new, diverse user base, which brings in more engaging content to the platform, the app is looking to expand, hoping that the advertisers too will take notice of the increased user engagement.
Strike Against Ola-Uber In Maharashtra
Maharashtra’s three-wheeler autorickshaw drivers threatened to go on an indefinite state-wide strike from July 9, if their demands are not fulfilled by the state government. Drivers’ have demanded shutting down of ride-hailing companies such as Ola and Uber, which they claimed are illegal. Further, the union of more than 10 lakh auto drivers asked the state to instate a welfare body for auto drivers making them eligible for pension, provident fund, gratuity, and medical help.
The Act Of Influencing User Choices
According to the Internet Trends 2019 report by “Queen of the Internet” Mary Meeker, Google and Facebook are increasingly becoming major platforms for advertising across the globe. In its report, Meeker highlighted that Indian users form 12% of 3.8 Bn global internet consumers. Global internet users now make 51% of the world’s population and it is a considerable growth as compared to 29% of the world’s population using the internet in 2009.
BYJU’S Paid Subscribers Rise Over 1.5 Mn
Among the broad categories that online education platforms operate, Mary Meeker’s report has featured the Indian edtech unicorn BYJU’S for its virtual video-based classrooms. According to the report, BYJU’S number of paying students between the ages of 9-17, has crossed over 1.5 Mn in March 2019 from the 1 Mn mark in the last financial year.
More Developments At Paytm
Digital payment giant Paytm has requested the Reserve Bank of India to allow the operations of minimum know-your-customer (KYC) wallets even after August 31 when the central banks full KYC mandate gets implemented. Also, Paytm has announced that it will invest INR 250 Cr for the expansion of Paytm QR in tier 4 and 5 towns this year. The company already dominates offline merchant payments in large cities and metros. With this investment, Paytm expects to reach more than 20 million merchants across India by the end of this fiscal.
Zomato Tests Meal Delivery Drone
Gurugram-based food delivery and restaurant discovery platform Zomato has taken the next-generation tech leap with its first successful attempt at food delivery via a drone. The test, which was conducted using a hybrid drone, had a fusion of rotary wing and fixed wings on a single drone. Zomato claims that the test drone was successfully and seamlessly able to cover a distance of 5 kms, in about 10 minutes, with a peak speed of 80 kmph, carrying a payload of 5 kgs.
Ola To Set Up US Tech Centre To Develop Next-Gen Mobility Tech
Bengaluru-based ride-hailing unicorn Ola has spread its wings to the United States of America to develop the next-generation technologies. The company will set up Advanced Technology Centre in San Francisco Bay area and will be building a team of over 150 engineers. The centre is part of Ola’s global initiatives to further drive mobility-led transformation to billions across the world. The Advanced Technology Centre will look to onboard world-class talent who will collaborate closely with global teams in the various geographies where Ola operates.