We bring to you the latest dope of Indian startup news stories of the week from the Indian startup ecosystem.
One of the biggest news impacting Indian startup ecosystem especially digital payments startups was WhatsApp starting pilot for UPI payments. The new feature, which is available for select Indian WhatsApp beta users on iOS and Android, enables them to send and receive money using the UPI. Inc42 had reported last month that WhatsApp could launch its much-awaited payments feature as early as next month as per people close to the development.
Another major news was SoftBank reporting gains of $74 Mn (JPY 8,069 Mn) on account of the investments made in companies in Southeast Asia and India in the nine-month period ending in December 2017. The gain is in contrast to the loss of $360 Mn (JPY 39,281 Mn) that it incurred during the corresponding period ending December 2016.
The final big news of the week for the Indian startup ecosystem was the launch of State Startup Ranking Framework. DIPP shared the objective behind ranking the Indian states’ startup ecosystem as well as revealed seven pillars with 38 pointers based on which each state will be ranked in June 2018, making it the biggest Indian startup news of the week.
Important Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
CCI Imposes $21 Mn Penalty On Google For ‘Search Bias’
The company is alleged to have indulged in abuse of its dominant position in online search through practices leading to search bias and search manipulation, among others. The initiative has been taken based on complaints filed by companies such as Matrimony.com and Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS).
Paytm Achieved 5x Growth In Online Ticket Sale In 2017
Paytm sold 52 Mn movie and events tickets. Paytm entered into online ticket sale in March 2016 in partnership with PVR. Paytm further aims to sell over 100 Mn tickets by the end of this year, and is working towards bringing onboard more regional theatres with single and multi-screens to provide them with the online exposure.
It was also reported that Paytm Payments Bank has partnered with Mumbai Dabbawala Association. As part of the deal, around 5000 dabbawalas will now be able to collect instant payments for their ‘dabba’ service through Paytm QR. Additionally, they will have access to banking and other financial services by opening new bank accounts with Paytm Payments Bank.
Ola Signs MoU With Government Of Assam, Will Shut Down Shuttle
As part of the MoU, Ola will float a pilot project of river taxi services in Guwahati. App-based bookings of water taxis will streamline demand and enable advance bookings and cashless payments for the people.
In another development, Ola announced to rebalance its mobility portfolio. The company will terminate its bus service, Shuttle on many routes including the Delhi-National Capital Region, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai and Hyderabad from February 3. The bus service Shuttle was launched in early 2015 by the company.
Amazon India Integrates UPI As A Payment Option, Future Group Eyes Alliance And More
- With the integration of UPI as a payment option, customers will now be able to make payments for purchases via UPI. Currently, the UPI payment method is available for transactions less than $155.6 (INR 10,000) only on Amazon India’s mobile platform and apps.
- It was also reported that the Future Group CEO Kishore Biyani is eyeing a strategic alliance with Amazon to bolster Future Group’s presence in the country’s organised food and grocery market. To that end, Future Group CEO Kishore Biyani recently met Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in the US to initiate discussions.
- It was also reported that Amazon India might launch a personal label for beauty products. With beauty and personal care a “strategically important category” for the company, Amazon India is talking to contract manufacturers and will be launching private labels (in-house brands) in a few categories within skincare and makeup.
Amazon Vs. The Rest
- In a recent survey, it was reported that Amazon is an increasingly popular choice over Flipkart. As per Jana, Amazon India accounted for 46.01% of all searches within the category, revealed a recent research conducted by Jana. Flipkart remains a distant second to Amazon with 20.90% of searches while eBay stands at 9.91%, Snapdeal at 7.87% and Shopclues at 6.77% were the third, fourth and fifth most searched sites respectively.
- According to a global information company IHS Markit, Amazon Prime in its short run of one year has captured around 10% of the Indian market. Having launched a number of India-exclusive content already, Amazon Prime had signed a number of popular Indian artists including R Madhavan, Richa Chaddha, AIB, and more. Thereby making it more popular than Netflix in India.
Income Tax Dept. Stays Recovery Proceedings Of Angel Tax
As an added relief for startups, the Income Tax department has stayed the recovery proceedings of angel tax levied on companies that are recognised as startups by the Department of Policy and Promotion (DIPP). The development comes just a day after the DIPP extended tax exemptions to startups founded before 2016 and with up to $1.56 Mn (INR 10 Cr) in angel funding. For more stories regarding policies, read our startup policy rundown here.
Flipkart Claims TV To Be Its Second Biggest Revenue Category After Smartphones
In 2017, Flipkart has claimed to sale 1 Mn TV sets worth $304 Mn – $319.5 Mn (INR 1950 Cr – INR 2050 Cr). This is almost double from $156 Mn (INR 1000 Cr) worth TVs sold in 2016. Also, the aggressive sale of TVs has made the category jump to the second position in 2017 from the fourth position in 2016, in terms of revenue generation. For 2018, Flipkart is aiming to sell TVs worth $779.5 Mn (INR 5000 Cr).
Govt. To Launch First Official Blockchain Project
The government is aiming to issue tamper-proof degree certificates, starting with students graduating next year. The initiative is based on a blockchain solution called IndiaChain that government-run think tank NITI Aayog is currently working on.
MakeMyTrip Losses Continue
The company’s overall revenue increased to $172.5 Mn, for the quarter ending on December 31, 2017. This is up by 36% YoY from $123.2 Mn clocked in in the corresponding period of the previous fiscal year. However, due to increased expenses following the merger with Ibibo Group, it witnessed a jump in losses to $45.3 Mn in Q3 of FY18.
Zomato To Do A Surgical Strike On Fake Reviews
Zomato has been working on its Neutrality Team that will filter and deletes fake reviews. Through project Fairplay, that was initiated in the middle of 2017, the matter of fake reviews came into grim light.
Other Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
Phonepe Plans For A Bigger Thrust On Offline Payments
PhonePe is banking on the strategy of deploying its own point-of-sales (PoS) payment terminals at small merchant locations as well as partnering with major merchant chains at the national level to enable PhonePe-based payments at its outlets.
Myntra Sees 100% Growth In Accessories Category For 2017
Myntra now plans to achieve a YOY growth of 200% in the next fiscal. Going bullish on its category-based ambitions, Myntra has collaborated with high-end watch brands like Lacoste, Coach and Hugo Boss, etc. as a remarkable addition to its existing collection.
Banks And Fintech Authorities Should Collaborate With Startups: RBI
For promoting digital banking at a fast pace, RBI-constituted Working Group on fintech and digital banking have recommended banks, regulatory authorities as well as the governments to collaborate with startups to be able to respond to the dynamics of the rapidly evolving fintech scenario.
Government Emarketplace To Register Transactions Worth $7.8 Bn In 2018
HR Sharma, additional CEO of GeM shared that between August 2016 to March 2017, GeM will clock transactions worth $93.6 Mn – $109.2 Mn (INR 600 Cr – INR 700 Cr). Sharma further said that in the upcoming years, the government emarketplace tends to reach transactions worth $31.2 Bn (INR 2 Lakh Cr).
Misuse Can’t Be A Ground To Strike Down On Aadhaar: SC
As the final hearing on Aadhaar is still on, Sibal told SC that in the era of information technology, the misuse of data is inevitable. The five-judge constitution bench of SC hearing the Aadhaar case is being headed by CJI Dipak Misra.
Times Internet Adds New App To Its Digital Products List
Times Internet has announced the launch of its interactive live gaming and entertainment quiz app – BrainBaazi. The show follows the strategic path of Times Internet’s digital platform and reimagines live video entertainment.
Digital Transactions In India Reached A New Peak
As per RBI, digital transactions in the country reached a record high of 1.11 Bn in January 2018, up by 4.73% from the 1.06 Bn mark touched in December last year. Also, the total transaction value surged to $2 Tn (INR 131.95 Tn) in January, making it the second highest reported in a single month over the last one year.
NITI Aayog To Create A Roadmap For National AI Program
The initiative came on heels of China’s three-step roadmap to become the world leader in artificial intelligence by 2030. The Indian National Program for AI will also be geared towards developing new applications of the AI technology.
Tata Motors CEO Expect Better EV Policy
Tata Motors CEO Guenter Butschek believes that, if electric vehicles account for 20-25% of all registered vehicles in India by 2025, it could be considered a “splendid job”. During a recent media interaction, Butschek said that the strong growth in the electric vehicle segment would help in the promotion of fuel cell vehicles as well. For more stories around electric vehicles click here.
UC Browser Claims To Cross 130 Mn Monthly Active Users In India
China-based UCWeb’s mobile browser UC Browser has claimed to cross 130 Mn monthly active users in India as of January 2018.
Recently UC Browser also unveiled the updated version of its mobile browser, UC Browser 12.0 for India market, to cater to the increasing video streaming demands of the Indian users.
MobiKwik Launches SaaS Based Corporate Solution Suite Magic
Magic aims to reform the employee benefit and reimbursements by simplifying the process, saving time and resource costs. It plans to bring end-to-end solutions of corporate processes, rewards, and reimbursements.
IndusInd Bank Partners With Tapzo
The App store will enable its customers to avail multiple everyday services like Cab booking, Food ordering etc. directly from IndusMobile – its mobile banking app. With native integrations the Bank will be able to provide highly personalized and seamless experiences for various services.
UberEats Is All Set To Launch In Jaipur And Kochi
Since its launch in May 2017, UberEats has expanded to one city every month and with the addition of Jaipur and Kochi, the service will be present across 10 cities in India. Uber Eats will launch with over 500 restaurants across both the cities.
In another development, Uber announced to jointly promote road safety messaging on the Uber app and social media through Ministry of Road Transport & Highways co-branded materials and mediums. Several advertisements and videos targeting prevention of drunk driving and promotion of rear seat belts and hands on the wheel among other themes, will be prepared and disseminated across the country as part of this safety campaign. Also, The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and Uber will jointly be preparing the learning materials which will be shared and utilised by over 200 driving schools including many of the govt’s Drivers Training Institutes (DTIs) across the country.
Travelyaari Launches Maven
MAVEN is a Mobility Solution for Bus Transport Industry. Developed to overcome the limitations of a desktop-only service, the app will facilitate greater operational digitisation for bus service providers and help them overcome the hassles caused due to the lack of an efficient information tracking and system access to support critical processes.
Mobycy Expands To Chandigarh; Partners With Chitkara University
Mobycy, a Gurugram-based GreenTech startup has taken its dockless bicycling service to Chandigarh, by partnering with the Chitkara University. As part of the association, Mobycy will be installing its smart bikes in the vicinity of the campus, helping students efficiently move around the sprawling campus premises and nearby places. Furthermore, the dockless bicycles will be up for rent across various key markets and sectors of Chandigarh.
Zoomcar Introduces ZAP Subscribe!
ZAP Subscribe is an extension of the existing ZAP program and it enables individuals to subscribe to new or existing cars at a fixed monthly fee. The subscription model will help introduce additional flexibility and convenience for individuals while also providing easier access to a vehicle.
HDFC Securities Collaborates With Niki.ai
HDFC securities has announced its new initiative of integrating stock search with HDFC Bank’s Facebook Messenger Chatbot. This new feature, in collaboration with Niki.ai, an AI startup, makes HDFC securities the first in the industry with such a unique arrangement. Essentially, this feature allows the user on HDFC Bank’s Facebook messenger to search/track stock prices via their chatbot, from where customer can trade in stocks using HDFC securities platform.
ClearTax Launches ClearTax Sign
ClearTax has launched an all-purpose Digital Signature Certificate tool to help businesses sign, send, track, and archive several thousands of documents within minutes. ClearTax Sign is an accurate, highly secure and integrated solution that allows bulk signing and emailing documents to recipients. The APIs integrates with other document handling applications for ease of use.
CRON Systems Partners With Bangladesh Major GETCO
YourNest Venture Capital investee, CRON Systems- an Internet of Things-based border security startup today announced its first global foray by entering into a partnership with Bangladesh based GETCO group. GETCO will provide marketing and channel support for perimeter security products of CRON systems that are already being successfully deployed by Indian paramilitary forces. Through this partnership, CRON systems would be able to market and showcase its perimeter surveillance products across all stakeholders including Bangladesh government, border security forces and other decision makers.
ManageEngine Strengthens Endpoint Security
ManageEngine, the real-time IT management company, has announced that it is strengthening its endpoint management offering by bringing Patch Manager Plus to the cloud. Patch Manager Plus on Cloud enables admins to automate the entire patch management process, from patch detection to deployment, without any infrastructure investment, thereby securing devices from multiple vulnerabilities and cyberattacks at less than a dollar per computer per month.
Yatra Introduces Yatra eCash
Now Yatra customers whose eCash is expiring within 30 days can transfer it to their loved ones who can use it to avail of a price benefit on their bookings. There is no restriction on the number of times this transfer can be made. Besides transferring of eCash, one can also convert their eCash expiring within seven days into shopping coupons from over 20 brand partners which Yatra has tied up with.
PayU India Launches Payment Collection Feature
PayU India has announced the launch of an innovative capability via Microsoft Excel for its merchants. With this plugin, all the merchants of PayUmoney can now send payment collection requests to their customers directly using SMS, Email or both from their existing Microsoft Excel and also check the payment status without ever having to log in to any website or the PayUmoney dashboard. The plugin also allows merchants to use existing tools like the Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet to help manage order processing and payments rather than develop new applications to manage user payments.
MapmyIndia Unveils Smart Mobility Platform (MSMP)
MapmyIndia Smart Mobility Platform is designed to address the emerging challenges of the Automotive Industry for both personal and commercial customers. MSMP will be showcased during the Auto Expo 2018.
MatchMove Partners With Rubique
The partnership aims to transform the current way of paying and disbursing funds to multiple recipients. The globally proven MatchMove Bank Wallet Operating System enables Rubique to pay commissions, incentives and cashbacks to its retailers and distributors securely with just one click. MatchMove’s platform also helps Rubique in reducing business costs and better managing and tracking the performance of its resale channels.
Stay tuned for the next edition of News Roundup: Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week!