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We bring you the weekly dose of important Indian startup news of the week.

The country’s sole electric vehicle manufacturer Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) is looking to join hands with Ford Motor to build a new electric sedan. The move is geared towards capturing the growing electric vehicles market in India. Also, recently, the Indian govt. hold talks with 50 companies to expedite its electric mobility mission, the Indian government is reportedly seeking investment from a number of companies, both domestic and foreign.

Further, having invested in over 39 startups, Ratan Tata believes that the domestic startups have a long journey to go, as far as disruptive ideas are concerned. One of the reasons he counts on is the lack of an encouraging startup ecosystem. He also said that the government should and could play a major role in (developing Indian startup ecosystem) provided they can embody the entrepreneurial spirit which would be necessary.

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Important Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week

Flipkart Launches Third Fashion Private Label Anmi

Anmi will offer women shoppers a range of contemporary ethnic wear.  Anmi is the sixth in-house brand Flipkart has launched this year. Targeted at 20-25-year-old urban women, Anmi is a complete data designed brand conceptualised on basis of collected data points such as desired colors, styles, fits, patterns, etc. As claimed by the company, all Anmi products have successfully surpassed quality related issues like the piling, color bleeding, garment construction, seam slippage etc.

Also, making it an interesting Indian startup news of the week, Flipkart announced that it has become first ecommerce app in the country to cross the 100 million downloads mark on Google Play store. In terms of ratings, Flipkart’s app holds a high average score of 4.4 from over 4 Mn users on Google Play Store, and claims to be the only ecommerce app to have reached that rating in India.

German Carpooling App Wunder Enters India

The app entered India in early 2017 with a soft launch in three cities viz. New Delhi, Bengaluru, and Mumbai. After testing waters for almost six months in India, this week, the company launched a revamped version of the global Wunder Carpool app. The main purpose is to build a community which is aware of the urban mobility problems their country is facing and is willing to contribute to it.

Mastercard Launches Its First Innovation Centre In India

Mastercard has announced the launch of its global research and development arm Mastercard Labs in Pune, India. After Singapore, this will be the second Mastercard Labs in Asia-Pacific, and ninth in the world. The initiative aims to bring and harness new commerce, payment, and technology ideas at a fast pace in the country.

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Meru Cabs Files Four New Complaints Against Ola, Uber

Indian startup Meru Cabs has alleged that the cab aggregators are misusing investor funds to artificially enhance their dominance in four major cities across India. This, as per the complaints, is distorting the market, thus affecting the growth of other companies in the space. In the latest complaints, the Meru Cabs CEO has also raised concerns about SoftBank’s suspected plans to consolidate two of the biggest players in the Indian cab aggregator market: Ola and Uber.

Paytm Withdraw Its Case Against Unicommerce

Indian startup Paytm has withdrawn its case against Unicommerce. Paytm had filed a case against Unicommerce in Delhi High Court for accessing confidential business data on its (Paytm’s) ecommerce platform via the sellers it had partnered with. Unicommerce now claims that Paytm has withdrawn the case against it stating that it could not present any proof in support of the allegations.

NC Naidu Terms Vizag As Future Fintech Capital Of India

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu inaugurated a two-day International Blockchain Conference. He announced that the state government will soon deploy blockchain technology in road transport and land registries, as part of its e-governance policy. Also, the Andhra Pradesh state government intends to create one lakh jobs in IT and two lakh jobs in the electronics sector in the next five years.

RBI Orders Ecommerce Players To Settle Seller Payments, Issues KYC And PPIs Guidelines

In response to the All India Online Vendors Association’s recent complaint regarding late payments by ecommerce companies, the Reserve Bank of India has ordered online marketplaces to follow the 2009 guidelines pertaining to the settlement of payments for electronic transactions involving intermediaries. The development comes after the AIOVA submitted a complaint with the RBI in August, alleging that ecommerce platforms like Flipkart, Amazon and Paytm often delayed payments to sellers by several days.

Further, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in a set of fresh guidelines, has introduced stricter Know Your Customer (KYC) norms for users of mobile wallets. Also, RBI has recently announced guidelines on the issuance and operation of Prepaid Payment Instruments, aka PPIs going forward.

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PM Narendra Modi Launches Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the launch of the Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (PMGDISHA), an initiative aimed at imparting digital literacy to citizens in rural areas around the country. The announcement was made on October 6 during the inauguration of a building at the IIT Gandhinagar campus.

Amazon Files Patent To Introduce Drones In India For Delivery

Amazon Inc has filed a patent application in India for exclusive rights on multi-scale fiducials. Fiducials are black and white marks on any object for the self-operating aerial vehicles to identify them from different distances.  The proposed drones can also be used to identify other such objects, along with aircraft, plying within Indian skies.

Also, Amazon India has launched ‘CheckFit & Garage’ feature which will simplify the process of identifying and purchasing suitable automotive parts & accessories for cars & motorcycles for mobile customers. This new feature helps customers identify suitable automotive parts and accessories for over 5,000 vehicles from a database of nearly 4,00,000 replacement parts & accessories. Amazon.in has also tied up with service providers to offer free fitment services in Bengaluru, Gurugram and Delhi thereby offering a seamless end-to-end experience for automotive parts.

Arvind Internet Adopts New Avatar

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Arvind is reportedly preparing to restructure its business to become an omnichannel enabler for retailers and brands operating in the country. In its new avatar, Arvind Internet will provide clients with technological and back-end support for scaling their businesses across multiple channels, including brick-and-mortar outlets, mobile app, and websites.

India Post Payments Bank To Launch 650 Branches, Jio Payments Bank To Launch In December

The Indian Government is gearing up to facilitate financial inclusion through all o the 155K post offices, as per Minister for Communications Manoj Sinha. The India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) was to open these 650 branches by September which seems to have been delayed on account of its failure to get a system integrator (SI) on board on time, thus upsetting its payments bank schedule. Only recently, India Post awarded the system integrator contract to US tech giant HP.

In another development, Jio Payments Bank announced to commence its operations In December. The Mukesh Ambani-owned conglomerate originally scheduled the launch in October when it opened bookings for its 4G-enabled Jio Phone. If the launch goes as planned, Jio Payments Bank will be the country’s fifth active payments bank after Airtel, Paytm, India Post, and Fino Payments Bank.

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Other Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week

App-Based Transport Services Need To Be Regulated

The Supreme Court stated that app-based transport service providers like Uber, Ola, redBus needed to be regulated to ensure the safety of women commuters. The apex court has asked the centre to examine the issue.

Digital Payments Could Grow By 40% In Five Years, Indian Ecommerce Will Touch $200 Bn

In the light of the RBI’s notification for PPI, the PCI (i.e. Payments Council of India) has predicted that digital payments in the country could increase by 30%-40% in the coming five years. With increased access to smartphones and the Internet, digital transactions in India have undergone dramatic growth in recent years. The launch of the digital stack has resulted in higher domestic remittance limits and allowance of international inward remittance. This has, in turn, enabled players in the space to digitise retail payments which until now were done primarily through cash.

Also, Morgan Stanley in its report titled India’s Digital Leap –The Multi-Trillion Dollar Opportunity has stated that India will be the world’s 3rd largest economy with a GDP of $6 Tn in next 10 years. India’s ecommerce will thus grow at a CAGR of 30% and will touch $200 Bn mark in the next nine years.

Google Secretly Launches Domain Registrar Service, Google Domains, In India

Currently available in beta phase, Google Domains sports a simple interface that is easy to use. The domain registrar service assists customers in purchasing domains and even setting them up. Unlike other domain registrars that offer discounts and freebies for every purchase, Google is currently not providing any incentive or deals to customers.

Xiaomi partners with Big Bazaar for offline sales

Xiaomi has partnered with Future Group’s supermarket chain Big Bazaar for selling its Redmi 4 and Redmi Note 4 phones, during the festiveperiod. “No other brand has ever sold phones at a supermarket chain,” Manu Jain, head of India operations, said while making the announcement on Twitter on Wednesday.

Swiggy Launches ‘Swiggy Capital Assist’ Program For Restaurant Partners

Swiggy Capital Assist has been launched in partnership with fintech company Indifi Technologies. It will enable partner restaurants to avail collateral-free loans without initial deposits at a fair interest rate. For Swiggy’s restaurant partners, Indifi will complete the credit evaluation in less than 24 hours of document submission, and the entire loan disbursal in a week.

Zoomcar Launches Its Services In Tirupati

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Within few days of its operations in Tirupati, the Indian startup has completed around 300 successful rides in the city. The company has 25 cars in Tirupati, ranging from Hatchback – Ford Figo, Maruti Swift, Honda Jazz and SUVs – Ford Ecosport, Hyundai Creta, Mahindra Scorpio and plans to add luxury segment.

Droom Launches Droom Discovery

Droom Discovery will offer a collection of vehicle pre-buying research and discovery tools. All relevant information can be accessed by users with just a few clicks to conduct a thorough research on their favourite vehicles. This convenient accessibility to all the key data helps buyers at all stages of vehicle purchase.

Jugnoo Adds Bicycles To Its Delivery Vertical

The addition is made in an attempt to lower the cost of deliveries while choosing the eco-friendly and a sustainable mode of transport for deliveries within shorter distances. Currently, 50 bicycles are in the system that are doing deliveries in three cities – Chandigarh, Noida, and Gurgaon. With 300+ daily deliveries by these bicycles, Jugnoo has reduced the cost per delivery by 30%.

eMudhra To Launch R&D Centre In Bengaluru

eMudhra announced the launch of an R&D center in blockchain related technologies to further enhance Blockchain based systems for Smart Cities. A Blockchain fundamentally deals with secure transactions using cryptographic keys and this development is in line with the company’s mission to develop cutting edge technology that brings smarter governance for smart cities.

Capillary Launches VisitorMetrix

VisitorMetrix, is an Artificial Intelligence based, Computer Vision and Machine Learning-powered visitor counter for retail stores to analyze customer behavior on the shop floor. VisitorMetrix enables brands get insights into their visitors and improve store efficiency, conversions and campaign effectiveness. The AI embedded in VisitorMetrix is fed with over three million  images in order to train it to accurately identify between human and non-human objects and between individual and group walk-ins. Currently, as claimed by the Indian startup Capillary, VisitorMetrix is able to achieve more than 95% accuracy.

Houzz Announces Strategic Partnership With Times Bridge

As part of its investment, Times Bridge will integrate Houzz content into all of The Times Group’s digital properties, including the flagship Times of India, helping more homeowners and home professionals across India discover the Houzz platform. Since July 2014, Houzz has launched localised platforms in 14 countries outside of the U.S. to meet demand from both homeowners and home professionals.

Sodexo Partners With Grofers

The company has launched an IVR-based payment solution that will enable users of Sodexo Meal cards to pay for groceries and other food items on delivery, at their doorstep. Indian startup Grofers already accepts Sodexo vouchers on delivery, and this will enable digital acceptance as well.

Alexa Skills Kit and Alexa Voice Service Expand to India

Developers can now use the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) to build new skills and capabilities for customers in India. Thousands of Indian developers are building skills for Alexa, across sectors like Travel, Food, Sports, Entertainment, etc. Global developers are also bringing more than 10,000 skills to customers in India including Uber, The Wall Street Journal, Philips, Reuters, Ted Talks, and more

Livspace To Invest INR 70 Cr On Its Designer Partnership Initiative

Indian startup Livspace announced that it will invest INR 70 Cr in its global designer partnership initiative. The company plans to invest across different segments, including onboarding & certifying freelance designers and studios, engagement programs, infrastructure & expansion across top metros to grow its network.

MobiKwik Partners With Bajaj Finance

The partnership is geared towards the launch of the Bajaj Finserv Wallet. According to the terms of the alliance, the new app will be powered by MobiKwik. Touted as India’s first wallet that offers all the features and benefits of the Bajaj Finserv EMI card, the wallet is envisioned as a cost-effective, secure and personalised ecosystem for digital payments.

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

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