We bring to you the weekly dose of important Indian startup news of the week.
From exercising caution over Bitcoin cryptocurrency, the Government of India could finally be moving towards compliance. As per recent reports, a committee of finance ministry officials, IT ministry officials, NITI Aayog, and Reserve Bank officials, may be inching closer to legalizing virtual currencies in India. The Inter-Disciplinary Committee’s report is expected to be announced by the end of July, after which the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) may be asked to step in to regulate transactions.
The biggest Indian startup news of the week was Jasper Infotech, the parent company of ecommerce marketplace Snapdeal, filing a FIR against the promoters of Quickdel Logistics Pvt Ltd, the parent company of the ecommerce logistics company, GoJavas. The FIR comes at a time when the Indian startup Flipkart is conducting due diligence on Snapdeal as part of the merger talks between the two.
Also, another startup news came in from Bengaluru-based healthtech startup Practo, which is reportedly undergoing a tax probe. The Indian startup is being investigated by the Income tax authorities for tax evasion through a cross-border corporate restructuring. The Income Tax Department has summoned Practo officials to explain discrepancies in valuations, that seem to have fluctuated within a short period of time in 2014.
Important Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
Future Group To Take A Break From Ecommerce For Two Years
In a statement, Kishore Future Group has witnessed a loss of around INR 250 Cr on FutureBazaar.com, Big Bazaar Direct, and Fab Furnish. Biyani stated, “It’s stupid to be in the online space. Having burnt our fingers, we have decided to take a break of at least two years before even thinking anything remotely about online.”
PM Modi Launches India-Portugal International Startup Hub
The launch was announced during PM Modi’s three-nation tour to Portugal, US, and the Netherlands. “Startup sphere is an interesting space for cooperation. It is a great means to generate value and wealth for society,” PM Modi said in a tweet.
Also, During the US visit, PM Modi had a roundtable meeting with the top 20 American CEOs in Washington DC where he invited them to invest in India. The CEOs present at the roundtable included Apple’s Tim Cook, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, Jeff Bezos, John Chambers from Cisco among others.
Zomato Cuts Losses By 34% For 2016-17
This was another Indian startup news that gained media attention. Zomato announced $60.2 Mn (INR 389 Cr) in losses for 2016-17. This is a substantial dip from last year’s losses of about $91.3 (INR 590 Cr). The decrease in loss can be attributed to Zomato’s forward-facing strategies, which it applied over the last two years. A key factor that contributed for the same is self-fulfilled deliveries.
Nirmala Sitharaman Asks MPs To Set Up Incubators, Coworking Spaces
This was another important Indian startup news of the week. In a letter to the MPs, Sitharaman urged them to utilise the funds from the MPLAD (Members of Parliament Local Area Department) to work on the same. Just last week, she used her MPLAD funds for setting up an incubator and coworking space in Mangaluru. She has invested $183K for the same.
Uber Launches UberEATS In Delhi-NCR
The service is first being launched in Gurugram. UberEATS will give local restaurants in Delhi-NCR a delivery option. The company also claims that it has appointed hundreds of delivery partners in the region to facilitate the service. For the food-delivery service, the company has reportedly partnered with over 300 restaurants in Gurugram.
AP, Telangana Governments Leveraging Blockchain For E-Governance
Governments, including Karnataka, Gujarat, and Maharashtra, have started evaluating the technology for purposes of e-governance. With blockchain technology, the governments of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are looking to secure government data. Telangana has even begun a pilot programme in parts of Hyderabad to use blockchain technology. The Andhra Pradesh government will start moving some of its departmental data onto blockchain technology in the 8-12 months.
Finance Ministry Delays TDS, TCS Under GST For Ecommerce Players
This was the most interesting Indian startup news this week. The move is made in a bid to ensure the smooth rollout of GST. This comes as a relief to ecommerce players as they will not be obligated to collect tax on payments to vendors from July. The goods and services (GST) tax is scheduled to roll out on July 1, 2017.
Amazon Prime Day Debuts In India On July 10
Prime Day is an exclusive ecommerce sale event for Amazon Prime members. Prime members can avail of exclusives sales and deals for a 30-hour period starting 6 pm on July 10, 2017. Amazon Prime Day is an annual sale event. This year it will run in 13 countries.
MRPs, Expiry Dates A Must For Products Sold On Ecommerce Websites From 2018
This is as per a new notification by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs. The rules will become effective on January 1, 2018. Under the new rules, ecommerce companies will also have to display the country of origin on their online product pages.
Ola, Uber Slash Driver Incentives Up To 40% In Q1 2017
This is in accordance to a study conducted by research and advisory firm RedSeer Consulting. This decrease percentage was in comparison to the earlier quarters. The cut was reportedly done to focus on unit economics.
Other Indian Startups News Of The Week
Mypoolin Integrates AI And ML In Its Payment Software
Social, peer to peer and group payments’ company Mypoolin has integrated Artificial Intelligence and very specific Machine Learning models in their software products to provide smarter recommendations. The system maps ten key parameters based on the interaction of the consumer. Some of the parameters include transaction frequency, the amounts and of course the social engagement, etc.
WittyFeed Revamps Its Brand Identity
Wittyfeed aims to increase affinity within targeted audience. The new update from Wittyfeed is more user-friendly and will help marketers and brands make their campaigns go viral and more. The brand also relaunched its logo, tagline, and its look and feel keeping the new vision and brand philosophy in mind.
Indian Online Hotel Market To Touch $4 Bn Mark By 2020
This was an interesting news linked to the Indian startups in the online travel space. Google India-BCG report has projected the overall Indian travel market to reach $48 Bn by 2020 at a CAGR of 11%-11.5%. Air travel will reach $30 Bn by 2020 growing at 15%. The report also identifies the various touch points during travel, based on the online and offline behaviour of the travellers. An eight-week study was conducted during November 2016 to January 2017.
Stellar Software Technologies Launches Param.ai
Param.ai is an intelligent recruitment platform, powered by analytics and artificial intelligence, to discover, screen and engage with candidates. In addition to features like ATS (applicant tracking system) mining, candidate correspondence, automated tasks, analytics, and dashboard etc., the Indian startup also provides the recruiter with additional insights like the summary and social data for each candidate.
Elara Technologies Files New Patent For AR/VR
This is another startup news of the week we found worth mentioning. The company claims to be the first Indian online real estate company to file the international patent for 3D augmented and virtual reality technology. Elara Technologies has also acquired startups like OoBI and 3Dphy and has created an in-house world-class R&D team as well. The implementation of this state-of-the-art technology will bring down the turnaround time to develop and deliver 3D models of properties by almost 90% as claimed by the Elara team.
Amazon India Launches 6th Fulfillment Centre In Mumbai
The new Fulfilment Centre is spread over nearly 90,000 sq. ft. with over 300,000 cubic feet of storage space. It is situated in Bhiwandi. In May 2017, Amazon India announced plans to double its storage capacity, a move that claims to provide employment opportunities to about 5,000 people.
Also, Amazon has launched 16 ‘GST Cafés’. These GST Cafe’s are a kind of pop-up service centers which will educate sellers across 11 cities and help them transition seamlessly through GST. These cafés will be available from June 26, 2017 for a duration of two weeks. These support centers are set up at various Amazon Service Provider and Amazon partner sites across the country. Earlier this year, Amazon launched the ‘A-Z GST Guide’ programme that has trained and enabled thousands of sellers on the marketplace till date to get ready for GST.
Vodafone India Partners Netflix
Vodafone India has partnered with Netflix, the global Internet television network, to exclusively offer Vodafone Red customers a Netflix subscription of up to one year on select Red Plans.
New Vodafone Postpaid customers opting for Vodafone Red plans* as well as existing Vodafone Red customers will get Netflix subscription benefits worth INR 1000, INR 1500 or INR 6000 based on their Vodafone Red Plan.
In addition, Vodafone India has entered into a carrier billing partnership with Netflix, which will allow Vodafone subscribers to enjoy the benefit of carrier billing and seamless month-to-month payments within the same bill.
Paytm Mall Partners With LG
The partnership will bring 650 LG authorized stores across 70 cities online. In this arrangement, Paytm Mall will provide an online platform for the consumers to visit and select LG products wherein, post purchase LG brand stores will offer faster delivery and authorized installation services at customers’ doorstep.
Jugnoo Turns EBITDA Positive
The Indian startup claims to be the first ever on-demand services startup to generate positive cash flow in less than three years of inception in hyperlocal space. The net revenue recorded for last quarter was INR 11.5 Cr which has grown by 15% month-on-month. For the first quarter of the FY17-18, Jugnoo is well on track to clock more than INR 13.5 crores.
Stay tuned for the next edition of the News Roundup: Indian Startup News Of The Week!