We bring you the weekly dose of important Indian startup news of the week.
One of the biggest startup news of the week was Dhiraj Rajaram taking over his former spouse and ex-CEO Ambiga Subramanian’s 24% stake as well as employee stock holdings to gain major shareholding. The buyback was completed around two weeks ago. Furthermore, for the transaction, Rajaram acquired a $400 Mn credit line against his shares from four international banks.
Next up, Former Google and SoftBank executive Nikesh Arora is in the race for becoming the new Uber CEO, according to recent reports. Uber is pitching top executives such as Susan Wojcicki, who leads YouTube; Adam Bain, Twitter’s former CEO; David Cush, a former Chief Executive at Virgin America; Marissa Mayer, ex-CEO Yahoo, and Thomas Staggs, ex-COO Disney. However, it was unclear what level of interest, if any, have these executives evinced in the position. Earlier, Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg was also being considered by Uber Board member Arianna Huffington.
Important Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
Police Files FIR Against AIB
The cyber branch of the Mumbai police department has filed an FIR against comedy group AIB for allegedly insulting PM Narendra Modi. The FIR was filed after the group tweeted an image of PM Narendra Modi. The punishment for this offence is up to three years in jail, besides a fine of about $7,755 (INR 5 Lakhs). According to the police, the FIR or First Information Report was filed by the cyber cell after “due legal consultation.”
Google To Integrate Android Pay With UPI
Google is in advanced talks with the NPCI to integrate its digital payment service, Android Pay, with UPI. Apart from Google, Facebook and WhatsApp are in preliminary talks as well. As stated by NPCI Managing Director and Chief Executive A.P. Hota, “Google and apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook will have a pervasive presence in India. Such an integration is technologically possible but we are waiting for the Reserve Bank of India’s approval.”
Flipkart In Trouble Again – Receives Notice From Nitin Seth And AIOVA
Former Flipkart COO Nitin Seth has sent a legal notice to Flipkart. The notice alleged the company of wrongful termination. He resigned from his position as the Chief Operations Officer in May 2017. Following Seth’s abrupt departure, CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy took over his responsibilities. According to sources, Seth believes that he was illegally fired and has, therefore, decided to take legal action against Flipkart.
In another development, Flipkart also ran into trouble with the All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA) on account of a technical malfunction that caused the ecommerce marketplace to record wrong weights for shipments. As per reports, the financial impact of the problem ranged between 20% and 30% of a vendor’s gross merchandise volume (GMV).
DoT Sets Up Viability Gap Fund
Viability Gap Fund (VGF) is a part of the ongoing Bharat Net project. The fund will be used to forge partnerships with private sector companies for handling last-mile connectivity. The proposal will be presented before the Union Cabinet for approval within the next two weeks.
TRAI To Set Up Pilot WiFi Hotspot Network In Cities Around India
TRAI will be collaborating with existing telecom companies and Internet data providers to set up “pay-as-you-go” public data offices (PDOs) in different parts of the country. The PDOs will be offering small-sized data packs at under 2 paise per MB. In comparison, existing mobile network providers like Vodafone, Airtel, and Reliance charge upwards of 23 paise per MB, which is around ten times the cost of the TRAI’s proposed WiFi plan. It even claims to be cheaper than the consumer-friendly Reliance Jio, which currently offers 4G data at 5 paise per MB.
Reliance Jio Admits Cyber Breach, Registers Complaint
The registered complaint is in regard to the alleged “unlawful access to Reliance Jio systems.” As per a Reuters report, the police detained a suspicious person who might have been involved in the breach in Rajasthan. Although not much information was disclosed, police investigation revealed that the Aadhar information of Reliance Jio subscribers is safe. Earlier this week, a website posted the subscriber data of Reliance Jio customers, including email IDs, names, and Aadhaar numbers. The records were reportedly posted on magicapk.com.
Delhi Government May Ban Ola Share, UberPOOL
The proposed amendment will come under the purview of Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. As stated by a government official to ET, “In principle, we are in favour of cab-sharing as it not only provides affordable commuting option to passengers but also reduces the number of vehicles on roads. However, such operations don’t come under the present legal framework as taxis are only allowed to be hired from one point to another and cannot pick and drop passengers.”
Nirmala Sitharaman Envisions Startup Coast In Karnataka
The Startup Coast will comprise two innovation centres and up to five incubation hubs in colleges. Apart from this, it will also have a 100-seater workspace in Mangaluru. The project will also entail the installation of 20 to 30 laboratories in schools across the region. The Startup Coast initiative is spearheaded by the current Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who also represents Karnataka in the Rajya Sabha.
Delhi Transport Department Sues RedBus
The government initiated legal proceedings alleging redBus of ‘issuing tickets’ for buses that are plying on illegal routes. App-based bus aggregator Shuttl has also reportedly been penalised by the transport department for allegedly plying on illegal routes in the capital.
G20 Praises India On Startup Funding, Ease Of Doing Business
India was praised for promoting inclusive growth in the country. This development comes after the increased efforts of the Indian government to provide security to workers and increase female percentage in the work force under the labour reforms. Also, as stated in the Hamburg Action Plan, India is facilitating external commercial borrowings (ECBs) by startups, thereby promoting ease of doing business in the country and encouraging innovation.
RBI Cautious Of First Loan Default Guarantee Cover By P2P Lending Companies
The FLDG is the way micro-finance institutions and NBFCs in India protect the lender’s interest, especially in cases of default. Under the FLDG security cover, lenders can ask for collaterals as a way of safeguarding their money. This comes at a time when the central banking institution is gearing up to release the official guidelines for peer-to-peer lending in India by July 2017.
Other Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
Ecommerce Is Still The Most Paid Sector
The startups in ecommerce tend to pay 20% higher salaries than other sectors. This data has been announced in a startup salary trends report by AI-based professional platform CutShort.io. The study also found that recruiters prefer tech and marketing talent from ecommerce companies.
HDK Cabs To Start operations In August
Former Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy-backed cab aggregator HDK Cabs is all geared up to compete against Uber and Ola. The cab aggregator will start operations in Bengaluru in the second week of August. The cab aggregator, which is registered as Huli Technologies, will soon expand to other cities in the region, such as Mangaluru, Belagavi, and Mysuru.
JustRide Rebrands To Drivezy
The rebranding exercise comes as part of the self car rental startup’s strategy to make the transition from an aggregator model to a marketplace platform. It now aims to become a peer-to-peer car sharing platform. Drivezy will allow individual car owners to list their cars on the app when they are not in use, which is then micro-leased by Drivezy.
Deals And Coupons Startup GrabOn Launches BestPriceOn
BestPriceOn is a consumer electronic items price comparison platform which aims to make product discovery and price comparison easier for online shoppers. It currently provides price comparison in 13 categories such as mobile phones, laptops, tablets and other consumer electronic goods. It aims to reach 2 Mn-3 Mn unique users and over 10 Mn pageviews every month by end of 2017.
Digital Economy Of India Offers Greatest Market Potential Globally
The Harvard Business Review (HBR) stated this projection in the latest edition of Digital Evolution Index 2017, indexing the digital state of 60 countries. The Digital Evolution Index 2017 has India bracketed in the list of ‘Break Out’ countries along with Kenya, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Mexico etc. China is also in the Break Out zone, but veered more towards the ‘Stand Out’ category. India’s digital economy potential lies in its vast population, currently at 1.29 Bn, increasing adoption of technology, and the rise of skilled and global language-speaking youth.
Trip Tap Toe Introduces Self-drive Car Renting
The company has signed an MoU with Avis Cars for renting out self-drive cars at International destinations. The online travel platform users can now rent self-drive cars at any international destination they travel to.
Jugnoo Launches Bumbl
Bumbl is a workflow automation tool. It is a B2B, SaaS-based offering which tends to streamline workflow with easy automation. It will be used by companies where the information moves between web pages through API, making workforce focus on important work saving time and with ease, leading to effective results.
iCubesWire Launches INSTATALK
Digital Marketing Solution and concept provider iCubesWire has forayed into the technology segment by launching ‘INSTATALK.’ It is an artificial intelligence platform to accelerate digital transformation for its clients. This product will facilitate instant communication with brands so that the customer’s requirements can be addressed immediately while lowering the costs through automation.
DJUBO Launches AutoCollect, Partners With Spreedly and Ipay88
DJUBO’s AutoCollect is an Intelligent Payment Collection feature tightly integrated with the DJUBO Centralised Reservation System. AutoCollect reduces late cancellations, reduces no shows, automates payment follow-ups and maximises upfront payment collection to improve better revenue yield for hotels. To top it all, DJUBO has also completed its certification for PCI DSS compliance which is the global standard for Payment Cards Industry Data Security.