We bring you the weekly dose of important Indian startup news of the week.
The biggest Indian startup news of the week was Flipkart announcing that it will be launching a ‘one stop’ mobile app. Flipkart is in preliminary talks to partner with other Indian startups in the food, cab, and travel aggregator space for its ‘app-of-apps.’ The company is planning to roll out the mobile app by the end of this year. In another development, Flipkart also launched its nine days ‘Flipkart Fashion’ sale, which is running from June 10-June 18, 2017. In the first three days of sale, Flipkart saw 2x surge in the overall sales volumes.
Also, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, in a letter to employees, has stated that he will take an indefinite leave of absence to grieve for his mother – who died last month – as well as to become a better leader. However, the Uber Board has different plans and it will move to diminish Kalanick’s role once he comes back, giving some of the CEO’s job responsibilities to a Chief Operating Officer – a position Uber has been actively recruiting for but has yet to fill. Later, in another major blow, the company is being sued by a woman who was raped by an Uber cab driver in Delhi in 2014 for illegally accessing her medical records.
Important Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
TVF CEO Arunabh Kumar Steps Down
The decision came in the wake of the aftermath of sexual harassment allegations. Kumar posted a letter on his Twitter account explaining the decision. He said, “In the wake of the recent personal attacks, what really breaks me is the blemish on the brand’s true promise. I have therefore taken the decision to step down as the CEO of TVF.”
Foodpanda Launches ‘Dash’
Foodpanda has entered into third-party logistics services with its delivery service – Dash. The company has partnered with restaurants to further expand its delivery network across the country.
Government To Track Ecommerce Spends
Starting next month, Indian government surveys on expenditure will, for the first time, also ask questions on ecommerce or online shopping habits of people. The survey which falls under the purview of the Statistics Ministry starts in July and will continue till June 2018.
Snapdeal Refutes Reports Of Massive Stock Returns To Sellers
This was the most interesting Indian startup news this week. The Snapdeal spokesperson termed it as a ‘regular practice’ which helps sellers move non-selling goods. The response came in after the reports regarding Snapdeal returning around 60%-70% of the goods from fulfillment centres. And that the company is only “stocking products for which sellers have special offers.”
Amazon India Doubles Seller Base
Another important Indian startup news that gained media attention was that of Amazon doubling its seller base in India. The company claims to have touched the 2 Lakh sellers mark on its platform. As per the company, the growth has been a result of its ‘unique India-first innovations.’ These include feet on the street team, self-service registration, Chai Cart, and Tatkal as well as partnerships.
Next up, Amazon has chartered 6 Lakh sq. ft. office space in Hyderabad. The office space will be rented in two phases. In the first phase, 250K sq. ft. space will be occupied. Amazon will be paying a rent of INR 54 per sq. ft.. The facility will be ready by December 2017. Moreover, the new facility will cater to the overall ecommerce business of Amazon.
SpiceJet Forays Into Ecommerce
The Indian airline carrier has launched its new retail venture SpiceStyle. The company has partnered with ecommerce player Amazon.in. The portal offers 11 different categories of products, including a signature series by Rohit Bal.
Tesla In Talks With Indian Govt For Import Exemption
In response to a recent tweet asking about an update on the launch date in India, Musk responded that Tesla is currently in talks with the Indian Government for ‘temporary relief on import penalties/restrictions until a local factory is built.’ The tweet also implied that the Tesla is currently looking to setting up a local plant in the country.
Other Developments Of The Week
Elara Technologies, REA Group Join Hands
The deal aims to offer buyers access to international properties in 72 countries. This collaboration will bring together Elara Technologies’ group companies (including Housing.com) from India and REA Group-owned and partner sites across countries, including China, US, Australia, Singapore, and Thailand.
Paytm Mall To Empower Local Shops With Its QR Code
Indian startup Paytm now aims to digitise the catalogue of shops for online discovery on its platform. Also, it is providing shops with Paytm Mall QR codes for instant product discovery, order, and payment. With this move, customers will be able to discover local shops and order from their catalogue. This will further empower local shops to get additional revenues from customers who will be able to buy their products online on the Paytm Mall platform.
Ascendas-Singbridge Forms JV With Firstspace Realty
Singapore-based logistics company Ascendas-Singbridge collaborated with Indian startup Firstspace Realty to form a joint venture (JV) – Ascendas-Firstspace. The firms will together create 14 Mn-15 Mn sq. ft. of industrial and logistical warehouse space, infusing around $500 Mn-$600 Mn in the next five to six years. Ascendas will hold the majority stake in the venture.
Star India Launches its Corporate Website
Star India has revealed its new vehicle – an interactive website, startv.com. The website is a mobile-first, immersive and engaging storytelling platform. Star India has partnered with DesignStudio, a global brand agency, to make people imagine more. Engaging user experience, interactive content, rich vivid stories and an open-to-all ‘Pitch Your Idea’ initiative, form some of the pillars of startv.com.
Airbnb Signs MoU With Maharashtra Government
The partnership aims to boost tourism in Maharashtra through Airbnb’s global platform. Airbnb will support ‘Visit Maharashtra 2017’ as an alternative accommodation partner. Also, under the MoU, the parties will provide skills development workshops for hosts on hospitality standards, jointly conducted by Airbnb and the Department of Tourism within the next six months
Titan E-store Launches Chat Bot
The chatbot can hold intelligent automated conversations with customers and offer them a personalised shopping experience. Through the bot, customers can explore Titan’s range of products, get recommendations, and raise queries about order tracking, shipment etc.
Portea Medical Collaborates With Physitrack
Indian startup Portea Medical has launched a project in collaboration with patient engagement solution, Physitrack. Under the initiative, Portea Medical’s physiotherapy patients around India can access customised video-based exercise programmes, educational content, clinical questionnaires, as well as consult with Portea physiotherapists via their smartphone, tablet or computer through the Portea App which been integrated with PhysiApp from Physitrack.
Faircent.com Launches Portfolio What-if Analysis (PWA) Tool
The tool will allow platform lenders to simulate multiple loan scenarios and check net annualised returns through a what-if analysis. Lenders can create a test portfolio and specify the amount they would like to invest, along with the duration, interest rates, and tenure. The Portfolio Simulator will then perform advanced algorithm-based calculations based on the input, generating projected portfolio returns within seconds by following a standardised method using the concept of Net Annualised Return (NAR).
Google Makes Building Websites Easier & Faster
‘Website With Google My Business’ is a new feature aimed at building a mobile optimised website – easily and instantly for Indian startups. Using this feature, local businesses can create their first website for free, right from their phone in less than 10 minutes. Google uses small businesses listing to build the site, taking care of the design and making sure their website is found in Search and Maps.
Stay tuned for the next edition of the News Roundup: Indian Startup News Of The Week!