We bring you the weekly dose of important Indian startup news of the week.
The biggest startup news was Uber CEO Travis Kalanick stepping down earlier this week. Kalanick’s exit came under pressure after hours of drama involving Uber’s investors which include venture capital firm Benchmark, First Round Capital, Lowercase Capital, Menlo Ventures, and Fidelity Investments. The investors together own more than a quarter of Uber’s stock. In total, they have about 40% of Uber’s voting power. Travis earlier announced that he will take an indefinite leave of absence to become a better leader.
However, later in the week, Uber employees filed an online petition to get him back on the Board. Apart from this, as per Axios, a letter is also making the rounds which has the signatures of over 1,000 employees asking for the return of Kalanick “to an operational role.”
In another development, to handle the Uber rape case survivor incident wherein the victim has filed a case on Uber, the company has hired a law firm. It will investigate further on how the medical records of an Indian woman who was raped by an Uber driver in 2014 were accessed.
Besides these developments, the company also launched a new service in India. Similar to Ola Select, UberPASS will allow cab riders to get discounted fares and exclusive benefits. This includes choosing top-rated drivers, waiver on cancellation charges, and more. A few selected users in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, and Chennai will get a firsthand chance to use the service.
The other important Indian startup news was that eight of the 12 Housing founders have alleged the Board of the merged entity for giving them differential treatment on exit, with respect to investors. Earlier this year, PropTiger merged with the distressed entity Housing.com in an all-stock deal worth $70Mn-$75 Mn.
Important Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
Startups Can Compensate For Jobs: RBI Governor
Urjit Patel, in a recent interview, stated that he is not ‘overly pessimistic’ about the employment scenario in the IT sector, pointing out that mushrooming Indian startups can compensate for job losses.”
Ola In Trouble Again
Bengaluru-based label company Lahari Recording Company has registered a copyright infringement complaint against Ola’s parent company ANI Technologies. Founders Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati are also accused in the complaint, for streaming pirated music via Ola Play.
Flipkart Launches Private Label – Divastri
This is one interesting Indian startup news of the week. Flipkart Fashion has launched its first private label Divastri – an ethnic wear line for women. The newly launched ethnic wear brand will offer a wide selection of more than 1,500 styles of sarees, lehenga cholis, and dress materials. The ethnic wear label collection has been curated keeping in mind key parameters such as the seller’s design capabilities, quality standards, manufacturing, and sourcing capabilities. Flipkart plans to increase the number of sellers as the brand grows.
Paytm To Set Up Money Market Fund
Related Article: Uber Employees Want CEO Travis Kalanick Back, Float A Petition
Founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma has applied to the RBI for a license to set up a money market fund. The rate of interest is not immediately known but, as claimed by the sources, the market fund will offer better returns than the current interest rates banks offer on savings accounts.
Apart from this, Paytm Mall showed intent for hiring 3,000 agents. The agents will onboard local shopkeepers to sell online, thereby enabling them with its QR code. This will help local shops sell products without having to manage inventory, payments and logistics, and at the same time, will open up additional revenue streams for them. Additionally, online merchants and brands can leverage this influencer network to expand their presence in the offline world.
In another development, Paytm Payments Bank is set to adopt Unified Payments Interface (UPI). Paytm Payments Bank account holders will soon be able to send and receive money using a UPI ID ([email protected]). Moreover, merchants across online and offline space will also be able to accept money from Paytm Payments Bank users through UPI.
Fino Payments Bank Board Gets RBI Approval
Fino Paytech has received approval from RBI, for a nine-member-board of Fino Payments Bank. MD & CEO, Fino Paytech Ltd, Rishi Gupta will be the Managing Director and CEO of Fino Payments Bank as well. Fino received the final nod from RBI on March 31, 2017 to start the payments bank.
Hike Messenger Launches UPI-Enabled Digital Wallet
The wallet services are available on the Hike 5.0 version introduced recently. It has a new design, a few new features like ‘Multiple likes,’ and new app themes for a personalised experience. The homegrown unicorn has made the launch months ahead of the proposed launch of digital wallet of rival WhatsApp in India, making an interesting Indian startup news of the week.
Government Launches Startup India Hub
The Government of India has announced the launch of the Startup India Virtual Hub, making it a good news for the Indian startups. It will serve as an online platform where all the stakeholders of the startup ecosystem can collaborate and synergise their efforts. For the past one month, the portal has been live in the pilot phase. Over 500 stakeholders have participated in the pilot.
During the launch, Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry announced the plans to have SAARC meet for startups. The initiative aims to organise an ‘Exchange programme for startups’ between these South Asian countries. This will help startups to understand the startup ecosystem in SAARC countries. It will further give them an opportunity to share their ideas.
Amazon Suspends Platinum Seller Program (PSP)
The PSP is suspended temporarily until there is further clarity on Goods and Service Tax (GST) regulations for sellers. PSP is a growth-oriented programme, wherein the sellers are asked to achieve specified metrics and sales targets. Later, the company picks sellers to become a part of the PSP.
In another development, Amazon India plans to open 12 temporary offline stores in Bengaluru, NCR, and Mumbai tech parks. The company has termed it as an ‘end of season fashion sale’ from June 23 to June 25, 2017.
Indian Digital Economy Will Be Worth $4 Tn By 2022
This is as per an assessment of technology companies. The government had earlier assumed the growth to be about $1 Tn by 2022. The government is currently looking to formulate a new set of strategies to support this growth. This includes a ‘new electronics policy, software product policy, and a framework for data security and protection.’
Bankruptcy Board Fast Tracks Insolvency Resolution Process For Indian Startups
Making it the one of the best Indian startup news of the week – the Bankruptcy Board has fast-tracked the Insolvency resolution process. The process in such cases will be completed within a period of 90 days, as against 180 days in other cases. Also, the adjudicating authority will have the power to extend the period up to 45 days for completion of the process.
Other Developments Of The Week
InMobi Releases Indian Mobile Video Advertising Trend Report For Q1’17
The report highlights that travel brands are the highest allocators of spend on mobile video, spending 86% of their total budgets on mobile video. Also, mobile video advertising registered a superior growth majorly over native ads and banner ads.
Cleartrip Launches Arabic Version Of Desktop Websites
The move aimed at consolidating its regional footprint by catering to the massive traveller base. The launch will help Cleartrip platform reach Arabic audiences, particularly those in markets belonging to the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (formerly Gulf Cooperation Council). The Arabic website will have airline-focussed content, which is a top consumer preference in the region. The latest development is in sync with Cleartrip’s long-term strategy of consolidating its global footprint, particularly in large and high-growth markets like Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.
LegalRaasta Launches Loan App
The Loan App will allow borrowers to apply directly from the mobile app and get a loan at lower rate of interest compared to 40+ banks/NBFCs. The LegalRaasta Loan App is primarily available for download on Google Play Store right now while the IOS version is in the works. The only permissions it requires are access to the Camera, Microphone and the Internet.
Cardiotrack Expands To North America
Bengaluru-based startup Cardiotrack will set up operations in Mexico to create breakthrough diagnostic products in the cardiac space. The startup deals in predictive diagnosis for cardiovascular diseases. The IoT- and AI-based platform has already signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) with the Governor of Nuevo Leon, Jaime Heliodoro Rodríguez. Cardiotrack will set up operations in Nuevo Leon’s capital, Monterrey and also invest in a unit to train people. This collaboration will create close to 200 jobs in Nuevo Leon.
Facebook Hosts India’s Largest Student Startup Delegation To Silicon Valley
Thirty-one student startup founders from six states are on a week-long visit to Silicon Valley to pitch, network, and learn from the best at the tech mecca under a flagship #StartInCollege programme. The programme was instituted by the Startup Village Collective (SV.CO) in partnership with Facebook.
SV.CO’s startup programme for first-time founders is supported by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, the US Embassy in India and has multiple state partners giving support to their respective students. Startup industry leaders Paytm and Freshworks are on board as partners providing scholarships and mentoring to students.
Andhra Pradesh Government Signs MoU With Ola
The tie-up aims to boost transportation services and create employment opportunities in the state. As part of the deal, Ola will create 25,000 employment opportunities in the state over a period of 5 years. It is currently present in six cities and connecting 30+ destinations in the state and plans to expand it further. Ola will also set up kiosks for booking rides across key locations in the state. The two entities will also collaborate to provide training to driver partners pertaining to information about the tourist destinations in the state
Taxmantra And CAclubindia Launch GST E-learning Module
There are more than 2.5 Mn professionals other than qualified professionals that require training on GST, for the implementation to be successful. This course is designed to address the all the users alike. The course consists of two modules- (i) Basic and (ii) Advanced. Each course will be accompanied by an examination and passing candidates will be eligible for certification.
MobiKwik Extends Wallet Service To Mi.com
Users of mi.com users will now be able to pay using the MobiKwik app while purchasing Xiaomi products such as smartphones, Mi Router 3C, Mi Air Purifer 2, Mi VR Play, Mi Power Bank(s), audio accessories etc. Mi Fans can use the wallet on mi.com and Mi Store app to accelerate the growth of digital payments in India. This is an initiative by MobiKwik to facilitate the ease of payments among the growing consumer durable customers.
Stay tuned for the next edition of the News Roundup: Indian Startup News Of The Week!