We bring to you the weekly dose of important Indian startup news of the week.
The biggest Indian startup news for the week was iSPIRT announcing the dissolution of ‘Sudham’ – the alleged programme sanctioned by the organisation to troll anti-Aadhaar activists. Also, in the aftermath of this controversy, key iSPIRT members are said to be distancing themselves from the organisation. The decision comes a week after iSPIRT founder Sharad Sharma publicly apologised for iSPIRT anonymously trolling those voicing concerns over privacy and security standards in Aadhaar.
Important Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
Flipkart Plans Entry In Financial Services
Another important Indian startup news which garnered attention this week was Flipkart’s plans of launching financial products to overtake loan companies. A source close to the development said, “While several ecommerce companies are looking at financial products, Flipkart is leading the pack and is keen to launch this as a revenue-generating business and also to help its customers.”
Uber Planning To Roll Out In-Car Entertainment?
The connected car platform brings advanced car controls, choice of personalised content and a fully-connected interactive experience for users on the move. Uber’s in-car entertainment pilot began a few months ago in Delhi and was later taken to Mumbai and Bengaluru. The service is available only on Uber’s sedans and on the cars that have been leased to the drivers by the company. Rival Ola already has such a service called Ola Play.
Also, Uber plans to bring its driver compliment feature to 29 cities in India. Through this feature, Uber aims to make it possible for riders to reinforce good behaviour and, in the process, humanise the relationship between the riders and driver partners.
ICICI Launches Money2India
The platform will allow NRIs to transfer funds to financial entities present in India. Keeping cyber security in mind, the platform is equipped with features such as direct transfers, biometric passwords, and one time passwords. It will be available for both iOS and Android devices.
Telangana To Launch Its Own Official E-Wallet
Named as T-Wallet, the e-wallet will be launched in collaboration with a Bengaluru-based fintech startup Transactional Analyst. The app will be available on both Android and iOS platforms. It will be accessible for the government as well as private transactions in the state. Vijaya Bank will be the banking partner for the app, and those who do not have a mobile phone can also avail the service at MeeSeva and e-Seva centres.
Amazon Pay Partners With Indian Government
The partnership aims to expand Amazon’s business in the digital payment space, via collaborations with government bodies such as electricity and insurance companies. Amazon already has digital payment facility on Amazon Pay for Indian startups in online food delivery ventures such as Faasos and Box8, and hyperlocal service startup Housejoy.
SoftBank To Turn Ola Into Electric Car Manufacturer
The most interesting Indian startup news for the week was SoftBank plans to turn Ola’s status as cab aggregator to electric car manufacturer that will work in partnership with Toyota. At the same time, Ola would also continue its cab-sharing business. Earlier, it was also reported that Ola may deploy a million electric vehicles in the next five years in partnership with a car-maker and the Government of India.
Ecommerce May Not Be Included In India-Russia FTA
The reason for reluctance lies in the fact that there are no defined set of rules and regulations pertaining to ecommerce. Plus, a lack of consensus has been observed on ecommerce related issues between the domestic departments such as Telecom, Ministry of Electronics and Information technology, finance ministry and more.
UAE Hosts First Startup India Summit
The Startup India Summit 2017 was organised in partnership with non-profit think tank iSPIRT and TiE, in Dubai. The aim of the summit was to provide a platform for startups in both India and UAE for exchanging ideas, interaction with investors and industry and access to funding. 16 Indian startups had participated in the two-day event.
Indian Government To Fund Electric Buses With SoftBank
The Indian government is in talks with Japanese Investors SoftBank for a low-interest funding of two Lakh electric buses. With this, the government aims to promote the use of electric vehicles in the country. Recently, India’s first multi-modal electric vehicle project and an Ola electric charging station were inaugurated in Maharashtra, by Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis.
SBI Suspends Car Loans To Ola-Uber Drivers
Another important startup news of the week was SBI’s decision to suspend car loans to Ola-Uber drivers. The decision was taken in response to increasing defaults by the drivers of the taxis in multiple cities. The bank has reportedly seized around 300 cars. As per reports, the suspension of the car loans has been implemented in larger cities, such as Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru.
Indian B2C Ecommerce To Reach $2 Bn In Revenues By 2020
The projections have been made in a recent study by Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry-Confederation of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (FICCI-CMSME), in association with eBay India. Furthermore, the B2C ecommerce market in India is expected to store a potential of $26 Bn.
India Overtakes The US In Android App Downloads
As per Mary Meeker’s 2017 report, India stands second, globally, in terms of Internet penetration with 355 Mn Internet users in 2016, while China takes the top position with 700 Mn users. India surpassed the US, the second largest market in the world in terms of total time spent on Android phones and total Google Play downloads.
Online Education Market In India To Touch $1.96 Bn By 2021
Online education in India will see approximately 8x growth in the next five years, according to a report by Google and KPMG. The report also projected that the paid user base in edtech will grow 6x from 1.6 Mn in 2016 to 9.6 Mn in 2021.
Ola-Uber Drivers Strike In Guwahati
The drivers asserted that decreased incentives were the reason for the protest. The drivers complained that their margins were getting affected and their business was suffering as new drivers were joining the platform. The association complained of bad connectivity in the city and demanded the withdrawal of the rating system.
In another move, Ola-Uber will soon be setting up kiosks At Chennai Metro Stations. The kiosks will be set up in both elevated and underground metro stations within a month. The authorities are planning to have four kiosks at each Metro station. Apart from the private cabs, Chennai Metro Rail has also tied up with the Metropolitan Transportation Corporation and arranged for mini buses at many stations.
Other Indian Startup News Stories Of the Week
CupoNation Looks To Strengthen Foothold In India
The Rocket Internet-backed online savings destination platform partnered with ‘ABP Live’ to expand its reach to online shoppers in India. Founded in 2012, CupoNation operates in 19 countries with a discount from about 20,000 online stores and brands including Amazon, Flipkart, Paytm etc. Other startups in this space include Couponraja, Little, PocketIn, Cashkaro, Coupondunia.
Splitkart Ceases Operations
Gurugram-based bill splitting and group outing planning app, Splitkart’s mobile application can no longer be found on either Android or iOS marketplaces. The firm, however, has denied the move and has stated to be under technical upgrading.
Abhibus Introduces ‘Movies on Board’
Mumbai-based Abhibus launched this feature with an aim to provide on-board entertainment service to bus travellers where they can watch movies of their choice without the Internet. Movie content is pre-loaded on the app and updated frequently. A bus operator can offer this product via Abhibus EDGE, the cloud-based software for operators to manage inventory, bus tracking facility, and detailed reports to take greater business control.
Droom Launches Assist-Selling Concierge Services
The new feature by Droom extends its assisted buying services for customers guided by a team of automobile experts, to the sellers. The sellers can now avail the services of a specifically assigned automobile expert who will assist them in various processes such as scheduling the inspection, coordinating the delivery of inspection reports to prospective buyers etc.
Faircent Introduces Semi-Secure Student Loan Product
Faircent has launched the service in collaboration with Bengaluru-based micro-lending startups. Under the partnership, college students will be able to fund the purchase of items such as laptops, books, mobile phones, etc. by registering their loan requirements on the platform at a reasonable rate with a flexible loan period ranging from 6 to 36 months. Lenders can also avail a partly-secured alternative investment opportunity that delivers a higher return.
Montreal’s AmpMe Launches In India
The company is known for its audio matching technology. The app, currently available on iOS and Android, allows a user to play the same music together in perfect sync, adding a powerful sound effect to it. With this launch, the startup is targeting the $800 Mn+ smartphone market of the country.
IAMAI Creates Edtech Group To Facilitate Job Creation
The mandate of the Group would be to identify opportunities and challenges and work with government, industry, and job seekers to resolve them. The committee will be chaired by Ishan Gupta, MD, Udacity India and co-chaired by Mayank Kumar, co-founder & CEO, Upgrad. The agenda of this Group will be to build the credibility of online courses and democratising education, engage with business and industry to evangelise acceptance of students trained through edtech, and work with institutions to include online courses in their curriculum.
InstaOffice Is The Newest Coworking Space In Gurugram
With a capacity of 100 seats, it is InstaOffice’s tenth centre in India, including two in Indiranagar, Bengaluru. InstaOffices include a plethora of office space solutions, including shared workstations, private cabins, meeting rooms, and virtual offices. InstaOffice members range from early-stage startups, mobile professionals and SMBs to large mature corporations, including Yahoo, Amazon, Staples. Appier, Dr Reddy’s Foundation etc.
Stay tuned for the next edition of the News Roundup: Indian Startup News Of The Week!