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 the I&B ministry announcement to partake consultations since a month on regulating news content on digital media platforms. This is also being accredited to allowing more FDI in the online space. The ministry had set up a committee to formulate a policy for digital broadcasting and news portals saying “that there was no online regulation, so the code of conduct that applies to print and TV media cannot be imposed on online news portals.”
In another development, the government has now set up a think tank to encourage homegrown ecommerce players and mull over a domestic policy on ecommerce. This comes in the light of doubts raised on the world stage over India’s stance on cross-border digital trade.
Important Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
Team Indus Gets Second Chance For Its Moon Mission
Just two months after calling off the Lunar XPRIZE mission, the XPRIZE team has decided to relaunch it. The startup is currently in the process of finalising the terms of the competition and will share more details soon. It will now continue as a non-cash competition and new parameters will be decided for the competition.
Flipkart Partners With MakeMyTrip To Enter Online Travel Market
As part of the alliance, Flipkart will, henceforth, offer travel services on its platform. Additionally, under the tie-up, all offerings of three of MakeMyTrip’s brands – MakeMyTrip, Goibibo, and redBus – will now be available to Flipkart consumers.Through the partnership, MakeMyTrip will be able to leverage Flipkart’s growing consumer base to drive online bookings in travel services. At present, Flipkart has over 100 Mn registered users.
Zomato Registers 45% Y-o-Y Growth In FY18
Zomato claims to generate $74 Mn revenues in FY18 (unaudited results), compared to $51 Mn in FY17. This comes on the heels of 26.66% reduction in its operating cash burn rate. Earlier this week, Zomato also revealed a two-fold growth in its revenues to $61.2 Mn (INR 399 Cr) for FY17.
Cloudtail Looks To Onboard Third Party Sellers On Amazon; ICA Claims Amazon India, Flipkart Flouting FDI Rules
Cloudtail will focus on the growth segments like the FMCG, lifestyle products and consumer electronics in the future. These products have the much lower unit value as compared to smartphones and Cloudtail will be able to comply with the limit mandated by the FDI ecommerce vendor norms. The letter sent to commerce ministry also sought “necessary amendments in Press Note 3 and other related laws to ensure that violators face severe consequences under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act by treating the behavior of the companies as an act of economic terrorism against the country.”
Aadhaar: A Reasonable Restriction On Privacy, UIDAI Introduces VID and More
- KK Venugopal, Attorney General of the Government of India told the Supreme Court that Aadhaar law satisfied the tests of proportionality as there is a rational nexus between the ends and the means through which it is sought to be achieved. He also added that the Supreme Court cannot second-guess the legislature’s value judgement, and the Act is a reasonable restriction on the right to privacy of citizens.”
- The fintech startups across the insurance, lending and broking sectors are being denied access to authentication agencies to verify customer antecedents on the Aadhaar database amidst rising concern over data privacy. Also, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has clarified that Aadhaar is not required to buy an insurance policy.
- Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad shared that personally, he is not in favour of linking Aadhaar with electoral photo identity cards (EPIC) of voters as the “government was not willing to face the accusation of spying on the people.” However, he shared that the EPIC card has been linked with the web portal of the Election Commission of India and the public will get election-related information such as polling booth and its address.
- As UIDAI lifts the ban on Airtel to conduct eKYC, Airtel will have to submit quarterly reports on compliance with the Aadhaar Act and adhere to directions issued by the UIDAI. However, the suspension hasn’t been lifted for Airtel Payments Bank’s eKYC processes.
- UIDAI has introduced Virtual ID feature for authentication of Aadhaar. With the virtual ID, there will be no need to share the real Aadhaar number at the time of authentication. Instead, a randomly generated 16-digit code will be shared with the agency every time. This ID along with biometrics of the user, like the name, address and photographs, can provide the necessary details to the concerned agency, without being able to track the actual Aadhaar number of the user.
As UPI Goes International, Records 1 Bn Transactions In FY 2017-18
UPI enabled app BHIM recorded one billion transactions in FY 17-18, crossing the value worth $15.36 Bn (INR 1 Tn). At the same time, NPCI is in works to enable international remittances using UPI. “The Virtual Payments Address (VPA) of the consumer is connected to an underlying bank account, therefore inward international remittance transfers can now also be settled through UPI,” the reports said.
IRCTC Might Launch Its Own Digital Payment Gateway
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 IRCTC uses for its online transactions.
Amazon Enables Indian Sellers To Sell Globally Amid Layoffs
As part of the B2B selling programme, Amazon India will make five markets — the US, UK, Germany, France and Japan — available to Indian sellers and exporters. Amazon also claims to provide pricing customisation tools, lower fees on large business transactions in core B2B categories, display company profile and display quality and diversity certifications exclusively for the exporters under B2B selling programme.
Also, Amazon India let go of nearly 60 employees from its recruitment team last week. The company has put 25% more employees on performance improvement plans (PIPs) in the December quarter as compared with a year earlier. Rarely known for layoffs, the global ecommerce behemoth Amazon purportedly cut hundreds of jobs at its Seattle’s headquarter and in global operations.
In another development, Nazara Technologies has forged an alliance with Amazon to provide localised Indian gaming experience on Fire TV. Amazon Fire TV offers access to a vast selection of movies and TV shows, popular apps, and features designed specifically for customers in India, including voice search for Amazon Video titles in Hindi and English.
Jio Payments Bank Begins Its Operations
In a statement, the Reserve Bank of India said, “Jio Payments Bank Limited has commenced operations as a payments bank with effect from April 3, 2018.” Jio Payments Bank is a 70:30 joint venture between RIL and the government-run State Bank of India. Through the partnership, SBI is looking to leverage Reliance Jio’s telecom network to connect last-mile customers, especially in the country’s unbanked rural areas. Jio Payments Bank was one of the 11 applicants that were issued in-principle approvals to set up payments banks back in 2015.
Zoho, Paytm Revamp Their Apps
The latest version of Zoho’s Creator 5 has enhanced and refined the core functionality of the platform, with an added ability to design and develop native custom mobile apps alongside web applications.
In another similar development, Paytm has revamped its app to make it more user-friendly and intuitive. According to a media statement, the new update personalises the app experience for the user, showcasing frequent use cases at a customised level.
Facebook-Cambridge Analytica Fiasco Cost 5.62 Lakh Indians’ Data: Facebook
A Facebook spokesperson said that while 335 people in India were directly affected through an app installation, another 562,120 people were potentially affected as friends of those users. The company is now “investigating” the specific number of people whose information was accessed, including those in India. Facebook team is now busy finding the glitches and implementing the new privacy settings in the app and the website.
Other Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
Mobile Internet Users In India To Cross 478 Mn Mark By June 2018
According to the IAMAI report, the country recorded 291 Mn urban mobile Internet users and 187 Mn rural mobile Internet users as on December 2017. The number of mobile Internet users reached 456 Mn by December 2017, an increase of 17.22% from the previous year. Also, the report claimed that Mobile Internet is predominantly used by the youngsters, with 46% of Urban users and 57% of Rural users being under the age of 25.
Metropolis, iCubesWire Launch AI Enabled Digital Campaign
Mteropolis will use iCubesWire’s technology solutions aiming to seamlessly bridge the gap between consumer and the brand. The campaign was initiated to acquaint the viewers of their unhealthy, unfit lifestyle and let them know the correct way towards a healthy life.Through this campaign, Metropolis is generating a questionnaire with the help of the Artificial Intelligence Tool which seeks answers based on health habits of the individual and working hours on the basis of their routine and lifestyle.
Ixigo Opens New Product Development Center In Bengaluru
The centre will focus on research and development of technology solutions to enhance the direct-selling capability of travel suppliers. Chandramouli Gopalakrishnan will head the new centre as Vice President – Special Projects. He will setup a special projects team, which will work closely with ixigo’s Gurgaon based product and technology teams.
Microsoft Kaizala Partners With MobiKwik For Digital Payments
With this,Microsoft Kaizala users would be able to make person to person (P2P) as well as person to merchant (P2M) payments quickly both in one to one and group chat conversation via the MobiKwik wallet. Also, partnership will enable businesses to accept payments from their customers and allow business to business transaction over Microsoft Kaizala.
Ola Offers In-Trip Insurance Programme
Under ‘Chalo befikar’ insurance programme a user booking an Ola ride can opt for an in-trip insurance cover while booking the ride at a premium of INR 1 for all intra-city travel; INR 10 for Ola Rentals; INR 15 for Ola Outstation. The comprehensive insurance program provides benefits in cases of loss of baggage or laptops, missed flights, accidental medical expense, ambulance transportation cover etc.
ICICI Bank Enables Money2India For NRIs
‘Social Pay’ will enable NRIs to send money conveniently to their friends and family, to whom they occasionally remit money, like on special occasions like festivals and birthdays. To transfer money, users need to generate a secure link from the M2I app and share it with the beneficiary on their social media profile or email for adding his/her bank details, who can then fulfill the details and after M2I users confirmation, the transaction is completed.
Scootsy Now Offers Long Distance Food Deliveries In Mumbai
Through this offering Scootsy intends to create more value for its customers by taking the instant gratification quotient to the next level. Scootsy will begin with a few restaurants and will continuously add more names to this network. It is also expecting an increased subscriber base in the app through this introduction.
IndiQube Launches New Business Workspace In Pune
IndiQube will offer its services like in Bengaluru at the 300-seater building in Baner, Pune, to be operational from June 15. With household brands like Bluestone, Micromax, and Fresh Menu currently headquartered out of IndiQube’s offices, the company is looking to collaborate with brands with similar growth stories in Pune as well. The company believes that IndiQube’s ecosystem of growth can offer the right kind of flexible and scalable options to cater the steady demand in the city for managed office spaces.
PayPal Digitises FIRC Payment Option For Indian Sellers And Freelancers
With the new process, PayPal account holders receiving payments from across the globe can apply for an FIRC online by filling a form on the PayPal website and paying the FIRC fee via NEFT. PayPal will directly share the details with Citibank for the FIRC. The certificate can be directly collected by the sellers and freelancers from their beneficiary banks.
Stay tuned for the next edition of News Roundup: Indian Startup News Of The Week!