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News Roundup: 10 Indian Startup News Stories That You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [26 Feb-03 Mar 2018]

News Roundup: 10 Indian Startup News Stories That You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [26 Feb-03 Mar 2018]

Important Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week [26 Feb-03 Mar 2018]

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 the Indian startup ecosystem was the rollout of Amazon India’s music streaming service – Amazon Prime Music – in the country. An ad-free music streaming service exclusively for Prime members, Amazon Prime Music features voice control with Alexa. Over the past year, Amazon India has inked several partnerships with Indian music brands like T-Series, Saregama, Zee Music and more to build localised content for the Indian users.

In another development, Google-owned UPI-based digital payments app, Tez, has integrated with SBI (State Bank of India) to let users create an SBI Unified Payments Interface (UPI) id- @oksbi. As part of the partnership, Tez users will be also able to access exclusive offers if they are SBI customers.

SBI officials have raised concerns about their earlier partnerships with ecommerce firms. The organisations feel that partnerships with leading ecommerce players like Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal have not yielded the desired results in terms of increase in volume

sbi-ecommerce-bank

Important Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week

Paytm Leads With 40% UPI Transaction Share In Feb’18

According to the data released by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), 171.4 Mn UPI transactions were reported in February 2018, a 13.5% jump in comparison to 151 Mn transactions reported in January 2018. In December 2017, Paytm contributed 33 Mn to the overall UPI-based transaction volume, which rose to 51 Mn in January 2018 and 68 Mn in February 2018.

In another development, Paytm Mall partnered with TVS Auto Assist (TVS AA) to host 24X7 breakdown assistance service for automobile owners across India. This new service is currently available as a ‘Roadside rescue’ service within the ‘Cars & Bikes’ section of Paytm Mall. Consumers can independently purchase this service, and also while purchasing a vehicle on its platform. They can then receive assistance from any of TVS AA’s service providers across 28 states and 1795 cities.

WhatsApp Refuses To Share User Data With SEBI

The latest development comes after the market regulator asked WhatsApp to provide information as to how earnings figures and other key financial details of 24 companies got leaked on the instant messaging app. As per current regulations, WhatsApp is not obliged to share user-specific information with SEBI. However, if the company decides not to cooperate, the market regulator could take the matter to court against WhatsApp.

whatsapp-sebi-market regulator

PE Funds Receive Angel Tax Notices

This is another interesting Indian startup news which circled the media corridors. The tax department is questioning the valuation of certain deals, claiming that the premiums paid by the buyer should be considered as income and should pay angel tax. At least 50 transactions are under the department’s scanner this year.

Further, in conjugation with DIPP, after CBDT recently issued a circular instructing IT officials not to take any coercive measures to recover angel tax from startups, DIPP is now in talks with the Ministry of Finance to exempt individual angel investors from angel taxes as well.

Backed By Government’s Conducive Policies, Indian Startup Ecosystem To Outpace Others: Ravi Shankar Prasad

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, while speaking at the National Stock Exchange of India’s Tech Conclave, stated, that India’s startup ecosystem may not be as old as that of some developed economies of the world but as a powerhouse of IT and IT-enabled services it is steadily outpacing all of them. “This transformation also provides an opportunity to all our young entrepreneurs, who should look to develop solutions to problems that the common man faces.”

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Communications and Information Technology of India at the World Economic Forum – India Economic Summit 2014 in New Delhi, Copyright by World Economic Forum / Benedikt von Loebell

Amazon Opens 15 Fulfilment Centres

The is one more Indian startup news pertaning to the ecommerce sector. The new centres have come up in the four cities where Amazon Now is currently available: Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai. The new fulfilment centres will have temperature-controlled zones to store and deliver perishable products such as fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and frozen products. With the latest addition, Amazon now has 56 fulfilment centres across 13 states with a storage space of 13.5 Mn cubic feet. Of this, Amazon Now will have 120K cubic feet of space.

Netflix Sees A Potential Of Adding The Next 100 Mn Customers From India

This Indian startup news certanily posed India as oe of the most actively growing Indian startup ecosystems in the world. As stated by Reed Hastings, the CEO of online streaming company Netflix, for India to become a $10 Tn economy, the key thing is to avoid wars. And that’s where players like Netflix come in, whose content helps different communities understand each other. In this direction, Netflix also announced three Indian original productions — Ghoul, Leila and Crocodile, in addition to the four productions already in the process which includes Sacred Games, Selection Day, Again, and Bard of Blood.

Court Rejects ZO Rooms’ Petition

A Gurugram-based district court has rejected an arbitration petition filed by budget hotel aggregator ZO Rooms against OYO on the grounds that it lacked jurisdiction.  hTe court did not pass any order on the merits of the case. On the other hand, OYO had filed a suit for defamation before the Delhi high court and sought certain injunctions against ZO Rooms and its founders. The high court declined to pass any injunction against ZO Rooms on February 22 and posted the matter for further hearing.

oyo-zo rooms-zostel

Other Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week

Ola Partners With Northern Railways

The initiative aims to facilitate last mile connectivity and improve mobility experience of passengers. Under the partnership, passengers at New Delhi, Anand Vihar, Old Delhi, Sarai Rohilla and Hazrat Nizamuddin railway stations will be able to book a cab with the assistance of Ola representatives at Ola kiosks within station premises.

Airtel Partners With Google To Bring Low-Cost Smartphones In India

Entry level 4G smartphones under Airtel’s ‘Mera Pehla Smartphone’ programme will be shipped with Android Oreo (Go edition) as standard OS starting March, 2018. Lava and Micromax, two leading Indian smartphone manufacturers, will introduce the first set of 4G smartphones powered by Android Oreo (Go edition). These smartphones with basic specs will also come preloaded with compatible apps, including MyAirtel App, Airtel TV and Wynk Music, to ensure a seamless online/app experience for users.

OYO Rekindles Partnership With MakeMyTrip

As part of the deal, OYO’s chain of hotels will now be listed and available for booking on MakeMyTrip and GoIbibo portals. In a media statement, the companies claimed that the partnership will add momentum to India’s rapidly growing travel sector by bringing together OYO’s economy, mid-segment and vacation rental assets and MakeMyTrip’s travel customer base, along with GoIbibo and RedBus.

Foodtech Unicorn Zomato To Display Fire Safety Licenses Of Restaurants

In a blog post titled “Responsibility”, the company’s co-founder and CEO Deepinder Goyal said that the restaurants’ license scans will, henceforth, be visible on Zomato’s website as well as mobile apps. He further added that currently, only a handful of restaurants have this information available on Zomato. We are actively reaching out to more businesses to furnish their fire safety licenses.”

Yoti To Set Up Operations In India

This is one more Indian startup news which raked in attention this week. UK-headquartered digital identity startup Yoti has announced plans to set up operations in India. As part of the move, it will reportedly partner with the Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI), the External Affairs ministry’s passport department and a few banks, in order to help with the identity verification of applicants.

Facebook Rolls Out Job Search Feature In 40 Countries

Somewhat similar to LinkedIn and Glassdoor, the feature allows users to look for jobs within Facebook. Among the countries in the list are France, Germany, Spain and the UK. We have not been able to independently verify if the service has been launched in India.

Airtel Commits $307 Mn To Set Up IoT, AI Innovation Lab

Airtel is in advanced level talks to set up a digital innovation lab in Bengaluru to foray into emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). Dubbed as Project Next, the initiative aims to develop strong in-house technology for the company.

Zoho CRM Launches Zia Voice

Zia Voice is the first conversational AI for sales teams that adds speech and chat capabilities to Zia, Zoho’s AI-powered sales assistant. Zia can also predict deal closures and analyse email sentiment. Along with Zia Voice, Zoho has also introduced Catalyst – a set of capabilities that allow larger and complex businesses to build their own mobile and web apps and additions to Zoho CRM, on existing Zoho infrastructure, to serve their own businesses uniquely.

3,000 Drivers To Launch Cab Service In Chennai

Slated for launch this March, the service will be operated by Ottunar Thozhargal Sangam (OTS), an organisation affiliated with the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU). As per reports, OTS’ cab service will have around 1,800 city-based drivers, while the remaining will be plying in the suburbs.

Ezetap Launches EzeSmart Solution

EzeSmart is an open-platform enabled with GPRS services, Aadhaar pay and eKYC. The payment solution is designed to match the business and operational needs of various industries including government, SMEs, BFSI, ecommerce, etc. The device enables a person with an Aadhaar linked bank account to transact, just by the touch of one’s finger on the fingerprint sensor of the device.

Reliance Jio Partners With Samsung

Reliance Jio, the telecom major led by Mukesh Ambani, has partnered with Samsung Electronics to set up a nationwide IoT (Internet of Things) network. The companies will continue their partnership to help Long-Term Evolution (LTE) services reach 99% of the country’s population. The companies also aim to improve the network capacity in the country.

GirnarSoft Partners With Times Internet

Through the alliance, Times Internet aims to enable integrated advertising and business solutions for GirnarSoft. The Times Internet’s smart marketing platform, Colombia, currently reaches more than 270 Mn visitors every month. The newly-forged partnership will further allow GirnarSoft to reach over 17 Mn in-market car buyers and 10 Mn in-market bike buyers, assisting them at every stage of their decision making.

Razorpay To Power UPI On IRCTC

Razorpay’s collaboration with Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will help customers make online payments on IRCTC website and mobile app through UPI (Unified Payment Interface), in addition to payments through netbanking, wallets and credit/debit cards.

Medlife Partners With Aditya Birla Health Insurance

Bengaluru-based E-Pharmacy Medlife’s partnership with Aditya Birla Health Insurance is aimed towards offering Cashless Medicine Delivery to its eligible customers. Medlife has deployed its digital solution to enable the Insurer to offer these services under OPD benefit of its health insurance offering.

CashKaro.com Launches ZoBucks.com.sg In Singapore

This is another startup news to ponder upon this week. CashKaro.com is now venturing into the Singapore market with ZoBucks.com.sg. ZoBucks is the third arm of Pouring Pounds Pvt Ltd. The company will now operate in three markets with the other two being PouringPounds.com in the UK and CashKaro.com in India. ZoBucks has already partnered with over 250+ retailers in Singapore.

IndusInd Bank And Ripple Tie Up To Offer Cross Border Remittances

With this affiliation, RippleNet can now provide instant access in emerging markets such as India, Brazil and China. IndusInd Bank, which has significant interests in cross-border remittances, plans to harness the power of Blockchain technology for facilitating global payments. The company plan to leverage the Ripple platform to provide an enhanced experience to its clients by delivering instant settlements and atomic confirmations on the back of a highly secure infrastructure.

Stay tuned for the next edition of News Roundup: Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week!

Author

Meha Agarwal

Inc42 Staff

Meha has engineering and MBA degrees, but she has always been a writer at heart. It was the perfect combination of utilising her research and analytical skills and her enthusiasm for writing that sparked her interest in writing about the Indian startup ecosystem – the latest tech and gadgets and the startups that create them. She is always on the lookout for industry-specific stories in niche areas of interest such as ecommerce, fintech, greentech and more.

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