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 was the revelation made by Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant that the government is about to come out with a fresh circular aimed at resolving the angel tax issue. Also, earlier this week, the government officials including of Income Tax Department were specifically directed to not to harass the startup community.
The second major development of the week was Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma going vocal about WhatsApp’s recently introduced UPI payments. Vijay Shekhar Sharma will also be petitioning the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI, and even higher authorities to highlight this issue and to seek redressal of what he termed as an unfair playing field accorded to WhatsApp. In the aftermath of the brewing war between Paytm and WhatsApp, WhatsApp’s Vice-President Neeraj Arora also stepped down from the board of Paytm, a position which he had held since 2015.
Also, being home to 271 out of the Asia-Pacific’s top 1000 high growth companies including startups, India has topped the list of FT 1000 High Growth Companies, followed by Japan with 190 companies and Australia with 115 companies. Many Indian startups including Furlenco, Zomato, LogiNext, Delhivery, Infibeam, and GrabOn have made into the list.
Important Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
Flipkart Loses Appeal Against Income Tax Panel’s $17 Mn Tax Demand
According to IT officials, Flipkart generated a profit of $63.52 Mn (INR 408 Cr) for FY15-16, while the company originally reported a loss of $124 Mn (INR 796 Cr) for the said financial year. The tax has been levied on the recent discretion of the Income Tax department to make the ecommerce companies reclassify discounts and marketing spend as capital expenditure.
Infibeam Reports Strong Growth In Q3 FY18
Infibeam has reported a 108% YoY growth in revenue to $33.4 Mn (INR 2,135 Mn) in Q3 FY18. As per its recent BSE filings, the company’s profit after tax (PAT) also increased by 146% year-on-year to $4.8 Mn (INR 308 Mn).
Quikr Launches QuikrRealty
QuikrRealty has been launched in alliance with HDFC. In December 2017, Quikr acquired HDFC Realty, India’s first corporate real estate services company. Post acquisition, HDFC Realty has now turned into QuikrRealty. The company also acquired HDFC Red, another subsidiary of HDFC and merged it with QuikrHomes, the online real estate property listing platform of Quikr. Both HDFC subsidiaries were acquired for a total of $54.8 Mn (INR 350 Cr).
Aadhaar Not Mandatory To Avail Public Services
While clearing its stand over the so-called mandated requirement of Aadhaar for availing essential public services, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has asked the central and state governments and associated authorities to not to deny any citizen from state-sponsored essential public services or social security benefits for the lack of Aadhaar.
In another development, PM Modi, while delivering his keynote address at the inauguration of the sixth World Gov Summit in Dubai, stated with Aadhaar, $8 Bn worth of leakages have been plugged. There’s a digital payment revolution happening in India.”
Naaptol Makes Foray Into Offline Segment
The company has allocated $1.5 Mn (INR 10 Cr) towards the establishment of 100 stores across the country over the next year. The company has already opened its first store in Thrissur. The next four stores in Indore, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Jaipur respectively, will be opened by March 2018.
Go-Jek To Make India Debut In 2018
Indonesia-based hyperlocal transport startup Go-Jek might launch its services in the second half of 2018. To that end, it is currently looking at some south Indian cities and Delhi/NCR to launch its pilot project.
Ola Turns To Hike To Offer Integrated Services And More
- The integration will allow Hike users to book Ola cabs and autos directly from the Hike platform. It will also enable users to make payment via Hike Wallet. The development has come at a time when Hike’s rival WhatsApp has rolled out its UPI payments feature in India.
- In another development, Ola has ordered an investigation into fraud allegations against the company’s HR head, Yugantar Saikia. He was allegedly involved in favouring select recruitment vendors and receiving kickback money estimated to be worth millions of dollars.
- Also, Ola is now available on a limited basis to customers in Perth, the capital city of Western Australia. As part of the soft launch, which is intended primarily for evaluating customer response, Ola is offering Perth-based users two free rides up to the value of $10 per ride.
- Ola Parent ANI Technologies revealed its plans to invest $62.2 Mn (INR 400 Cr) in newly-acquired online food delivery platform Foodpanda India. The capital infusion, which will take place over the next 12 months, is geared towards bolstering Foodpanda India’s logistics and delivery capabilities.
Amazon Layoffs, Amazon Echo In India, Private Label Push And More
As per reports, the company has laid off hundreds of its employees in the US. the ecommerce behemoth has claimed that certain mature areas of its business will no longer require as much staff. The layoff heat, therefore, might impact its Indian ecommerce operations as well, given that Amazon India is aggressively pushing AWS powered by Alexa and other AI products in the country.
- Amazon Echo devices-Echo Dot, Echo, and Echo Plus , can be purchased from over 350 retail outlets such as Croma, Reliance, Vijay Sales, Crossword and more in 20 cities. These devices has over 12,000 skills available for the Indian users and more skills are being added.
- Amazon India is looking to expand its private label business, as a way of boosting its revenue growth. The online marketplace is gearing up to launch a number of in-house brands across multiple categories in 2018 including a separate private label brand for both large and small appliances categories.
- Amazon India’s industrial and scientific supplies category witnessed a 160% Y-O-Y growth in 2017, indicating the increasing adoption of ecommerce solutions amongst small-scale industry owners and businesses. Amazon India also witnessed a 200% increase in its user base in this particular category last year.
- Amazon India is scouting for the easier KYC guidelines for its digital payment arm Amazon Pay. It has reached out to RBI for eliminating the mandatory ‘full’ Know Your Requirements requirements, particularly on the small-ticket size transactions.
- Amazon India has introduced a number of new categories to the sellers under its Local Finds program. Launched in 2017 as a pilot in Bengaluru, the program has now been expanded to Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Chennai.
Paytm Mall Forays Into New Model Of Retail And More
Paytm’s new retail model will allow customers to walk into brick and mortar stores, scan product QR codes, browse information and make purchases via the Paytm Mall app. The move is in line with the company’s vision to combine online with offline, in order to offer consumers a flexible and efficient shopping experience. For the launch, Paytm Mall has partnered with fashion and lifestyle brand Red Tape and is set to expand its reach to more than 50 Red Tape stores across the country by the end of 2018.
Also, Paym Mall is planning to integrate with its major investor Alibaba’s latest investments, BigBasket and XpressBees.In the next three to four months, Paytm Mall will make available a BigBasket online store on its web as well as mobile application.
Paytm Payments Bank has partnered with SV.CO. The partnership with the Startup Village Collective (SV.CO) aims to support women in their strides to join leadership roles in tech and engineering companies. The company will mentor bright and talented women engineering students to pick up the knowledge and skills required to build software technology products.
Other Important Indian Startup Stories Of The Week
Indian Digital Payments Will Be A $1 Tn Industry By 2023: Credit Suisse
As per the report, within the said period, the value of digital payments will likely jump from the current 10% to over 25%. The growth has been attributed to the increasing popularity of UPI enabled apps like Google Tez.
Xiaomi Launches Mi TV 4 In India
To bolster its offerings, Xiaomi has partnered with local and regional content producing brands like Hotstar, Voot, Sony Liv, Hungama Play, Zee 5, Alt Balaji, The Viral Fever, etc. As a result, 80% of the content will be free to access. Mi TV 4 will support 3500 DTH operators in India. The Mi TV 4 will be available on Xiaomi’s online store, Mi Home Stores and Flipkart from February 22, 2018.
PhonePe Partners With IOCL
As part of the pilot program, the PhonePe POS devices have already been installed at 30 IOCL outlets. The company is now gearing to deploy its POS devices at all IOCL outlets nationally.
Digital Spending Expected To Grow To $100 Bn By 2020
According to the Google-BCG report, ecommerce products like apparel, consumer electronics, food and grocery etc are expected to reach $40 Bn – $45 Bn by 2020. Also, the report estimates that by 2020 digital payments for travel and hotel will touch $20 Bn, financial services will reach $30 Bn and digital media will be $570 Mn.
Airtel Forges Strategic Partnership With Hotstar
The move is aimed at expanding Airtel TV app’s range of offerings, while also enabling Hotstar to reach Airtel’s wide mobile customer base. As a result of the partnership, Airtel TV will now have 350+ live TV channels and close to 10,000 movies and shows on its platform.
Kissht Launches ‘Scan And Pay Later’ Credit Wallet
Fintech startup Kissht launched feature ‘Scan and Pay Later’ credit wallet, where customers can now shop on credit using the exclusive “Kissht QR Code”. Scan & Pay Later credit wallet will be available in 32 cities across India, at 3000 partnered merchant stores. The product was in its pilot phase for a duration of three months during which there was a visible increase of 30-35% in footfalls in tier I and tier II cities.
Google Earth Outreach To Now Enable Mapping Tools For Indian NGO’s
Realising the fact that India’s environmental and cultural landscape is rapidly changing, Google Earth Outreach team is conducting multi-city training, engaging in outreach activities and surfacing ways in which local nonprofits have been using these tools.
Zoho Partners With ICICI Bank
The deal aims to deliver a streamlined digital banking experience to customers using Zoho’s cloud accounting software, ‘Zoho Books’. ICICI Bank current account holders can now securely connect their bank account to Zoho Books which will help businesses eliminate data entry, automate reconciliation, provide multiple payment options to their customers, request working capital loans, and pay suppliers directly from their accounting platform.
Express Bike Works Expands Footprint In Mumbai
The brand new store, located at The HPCL petrol pump beside the Asian Heart Institute, will be a one-stop solution for all two wheelers, offering full-fledged services. EBW intends to reach the 100-store mark by the end of 2018. EBW claims to have so far serviced over 2.9 lakh bikes and saved over 14.7 million liters of water.
40% Of Indians Prefer To Watch Video Ads On Mobile Phones
According to data analytics company MoMagic Technologies, the space for advertisement via text messages has been constantly shrinking in India. Consumers have displayed an increased interest in content-rich storytelling rather than abrupt banner ads. This trend contains deep lasting impact in terms of the actual purchase and set to continue in the coming times.
Ola Launches ‘Auto Unnati’
Auto Unnati is a comprehensive benefit program for its Auto driver partners. As a part of this initiative, Ola Auto partners will benefit from Ola’s ‘Chalo Befikar’ insurance program, family welfare initiatives, and performance-based financial benefits. Built out of local insights gathered over time, ‘Auto Unnati’ is Ola’s first such program that aims to create a robust financial cover and business benefit assurance plan that enables a healthy professional ecosystem for Auto driver partners and enhances their entrepreneurial journey.
Stay tuned for the next edition of News Roundup: Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week!