We bring to you the latest dope of the Indian startup news stories of the week from the Indian startup ecosystem.
One of the biggest news impacting the Indian startup ecosystem was Indian government sending show cause notices to both Cambridge Analytica as well as Facebook over the issue of social media data misuse. In wake of these events, Facebook accepted and apologised for misuse of the platform, and have also revealed new privacy and security settings.
At the same time, the Election Commission issued a statement to continue using the Facebook platform during upcoming Karnataka Polls terming the entire fiasco as mere ‘aberration’.
Another interesting development of the week was announced by music streaming majors in India. Reliance Jio Music and Saavn announced that the two have merged their synergies at a combined valuation is pegged at $1 Bn. The deal will combine the streaming media expertise of Saavn with the connectivity and digital ecosystem of Jio.
Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
Consumer Affairs Ministry Conducts Survey For Consumer Protection Act 2018 And More
- The survey sent to ecommerce companies seeks to know the nature of consumer complaints, steps being taken on protecting consumer data and privacy, and policies needed to regulate the sector. The queries sent to consumers include liability of the ecommerce marketplace on private information being used by sellers, liability around defective products and whether regulations are required for the ecommerce sector.
- Ministry of Health has introduced the draft of Healthcare Security Act. The draft highlights that the owners have the right to privacy, confidentiality, and security of their digital health data and can also give or refuse generation and collection of such data. The Ministry has invited comments on the draft till April 21.
- The Indian government is looking to focus on artificial intelligence and has recently released its report on the adoption of AI in India. The report has suggested building an AI policy with a five-year mission with a targeted investment corpus of $184 Mn (INR 1200 Cr) spread across the different initiatives under various government departments.
Flipkart To Focus On Online Grocery and Books Business
Bengaluru-based Flipkart has earmarked several hundreds of millions of dollars of its investor money to bolster its online grocery arm. The company is also in works to launch an indigenous range of consumables and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) under its Billion private label. It is also planning to enter online ticketing segment.
Flipkart is also planning to revive the sale of books on its platform. For this, the company has doubled its catalogue of books to 7 Mn titles over the last six months and has also partnered with publishers to stock books closer to the customers ensuring speedy deliveries.
Also, Flipkart is reportedly planning to enter the online travel agency services through tie-ups with partners from specific industries.
No Aadhaar Breach From Our End, UIDAI Tells SC
In his recent presentation to Supreme Court, UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey stated that Aadhaar is privacy by design and biometric is not shared with anybody except for purposes of national security.
UIDAI also announced that it will launch Face Authentication feature from July 1, 2018, to aid biometric authentication of those who have troubles due to old age, hard work or worn-out fingerprints. The face authentication would be permitted along with either fingerprint or iris or OTP for verification of Aadhaar details.
UPI-Based Payments Lead The Digital Payments Revolution
RBI’s data revealed that UPI transactions reached nearly 50% of the value of debit and credit cards swiped at stores in February. Transactions using UPI increased 100 times from a modest 92,000 to 9.2 Mn transactions in the first nine months of operation, according to a report.
WhatsApp Enables QR Code Based Payments
At present, the app comes with two payment options: pay through UPI and Scan QR code. To make payments through QR codes, WhatsApp’s Android beta users will have to scan the code under Settings > Payments > New Payments > Scan QR code, following which they will be asked to enter the payment amount along with the UPI ID. Furthermore, users have the option to view their own QR code through “Show QR code” on the payments panel of the app.
Amazon Prime Music Signs Three New Partnerships; Kindle Lite Launch And More
Amazon India has signed three content deals for Amazon Prime Music with Lahari Music, Muzik 247 and the Indian Performing Right Society. IPRS will provide Prime Music with an access to the IPRS repertoire of more than a million titles across multiple languages, eras and genres of Indian music. Muzik 247 will add Tamil and Malayalam music and Lahari Music will add more than 25K film and non-film music Telugu, Kannada and Tamil tracks.
Amazon also launched Kindle Lite App in India. The Kindle Lite App is less than 2MB and provides Kindle features including personalised recommendations, Whispersync (syncing your eBooks across devices) as well as free eBook samples and titles across English, Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Gujarati and Malayalam.
Also, Amazon India announced that the company will continue to invest aggressively in its digital payments arm over the next several months.
NPCI To Enable UPI Based Payments Across The Globe
The transactions, which were being done through Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) and or National Electronic Fund Transfer (NEFT), can now also be done using UPI. Till now, banks were using IMPS and NEFT for such transfers, but with UPI it would open up another channel for instant settlements.
IRCTC To Introduce Its Payment Gateway
IRCTC is looking for additional revenues and reduce dependency on third-party payment services providers. For this, the company is planning to start a pilot project for its in-house payment gateway, which is being initially called ‘ipay’, over the next 4-8 weeks. The gateway will be rolled out in phases after testing, but until then ipay will be one of the payment gateways the e-ticketing platform uses for its online transactions.
BookMyShow Losses Grow 138 Times
Mumbai-headquartered online ticketing platform BookMyShow reported a 27% jump in operational revenues to $46.2 Mn (INR 300.6 Cr) in FY17. However, its losses increased by 138 times, touching $21.4 Mn (INR 139 Cr) in the last fiscal, as opposed to a mere $153.6K (INR 1 Cr) of net loss in the year ending in March 31, 2016.
Government Rejects Proposal To Launch Google Street View In India
It has been suggested that the reason for such rejection was security and privacy concerns. Google wanted to cover most parts of India with the Google Street view. The app records 360-degree panoramic and street-level 3D imagery and posts it online. However, the app, since its launch in 2007, has been extensively used in countries like the US, Canada etc.
India’s Future Lies In Startups, Says Union Minister Suresh Prabhu
He believes that the Indian startups should focus on building “business models” for the society in his speech that reflects his intent on further motivating the startup ecosystem for India’s future. According to him, the startups should build solutions which can solve crucial matters like water insufficiency in households or bring mass healthcare solutions to the rural areas.
Other Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
Freecharge Enables UPI-Based Payments
Freecharge users can use all UPI based payment services via their @freecharge UPI ID. Customers can register for UPI in three simple steps; verify the mobile number, link it to the bank account of choice and set the UPI PIN.
Fino Payments Bank To Issue 10K Mobile PoS Terminals
The mobile PoS terminals will include an inbuilt fingerprint scanner, card reader, camera, printer, and tablet, in a portable form factor. The device is also interoperable and therefore, enables customers to use cards of other banks. Fino banking points will offer a host of services to customers- account opening, deposit, withdrawal of money as well as the purchase of financial products.
Udacity To Build KUKA Robot Learning Lab, Udacity Universe
KUKA Robot Learning Lab is a practical, hands-on learning experience available exclusively to students of Robotics Software Engineer Nanodegree programs, Self-Driving Car Engineer, and Flying Car Nanodegree Program. Udacity Universe is a virtual world where Self-Driving Car and Flying Car Nanodegree students will be able to simulate self-driving and self-flying vehicle fleets in urban and rural landscapes to tackle complex mobility challenges.
OLX Works Towards Online Safety With Webwise
Webwise will raise awareness among users about measures to keep oneself safe while transacting online. Under Webwise, OLX will be promoting online safety through its initiatives which include, product updates, user safety guidelines, awareness programs with law enforcement authorities and customer support.
Tribal Artisans Get Access To Global Ecommerce Market
Union Minister for Tribal Affairs, Jual Oram has launched ‘e-Tribes: Tribes India’. It includes the launch of TRIFED’s websites including Tribesindia.com, Trifed.in and Retail Inventory Software and M-commerce app. The minister also launched ‘Tribes India’ Banners at ecommerce platform to bring tribal artisan made products to platforms like Snapdeal, Flipkart, Amazon, Paytm and government eMarketplace.
Grofers Enables E-Rickshaw Based Delivery In Delhi NCR
This will help Grofers to reduce the cost of delivery by 25% and cater to the growing influx of orders. In the initial phase, customers in South Delhi’s Okhla and Lado Sarai will receive their groceries via e-vehicles. Through this initiative, Grofers aims to transform the doorstep delivery ecosystem as well as contribute to building a better environment.
Facebook, Google, Hotstar Compete For BCCI Media Rights
These three packages are Global Television Rights plus ROW Digital Rights Package; Indian Subcontinent Digital Rights Package and Global Consolidated Rights Package. The BCCI extended the e-auction date from March 27 to April 3 to reach out to make the necessary clarifications to those who had picked up the tender document.Among those who have picked up this tender are Facebook, Google, Hotstar, Yupp TV, Jio TV and Sony Pictures Network.
Nissan May Set Up A Digital Hub In Kerala
If realised, the facility will be set up in Kerala’s IT park, TechnoPark. It will basically work as an R&D centre for the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance, as part of the Franco-Japanese strategic partnership. The facility will be a host to a team of engineers and scientists working to create innovations in automated and electronic vehicles space. The digital hub is further expected to create 300 to 500 high-end jobs in the first phase.
Hotstar Launches AdServe For Advertisers
A self-service ad tool, AdServe, aims to empower advertisers and allowing small and medium-sized companies to harness the power of digital video at scale.The tool also offers regional players an opportunity to scout for new markets nationally at affordable prices.The beta version of the service will allow advertisers to place in-stream video ads on Vivo IPL 2018. The service will be expanded to include entertainment programming over the next few weeks.
Stay tuned for the next edition of News Roundup: Indian Startup News Of The Week!