We bring to you the latest dope of the Indian startup news stories of the week from the Indian startup ecosystem.
Following talks surrounding Flipkart-Walmart deal, Walmart is planning retention of senior leaders, like Ananth Narayanan, Sameer Nigam, Rahul Chari, Kalyan Krishnamurthy as well as founder Sachin Bansal. Also, Walmart has reached an agreement on buying the stakes of Tiger Global, Naspers, Accel and Tencent Holdings.
One of the barriers for the Flipkart-Walmart deal appears to be eBay which had invested $500 Mn in Flipkart in October 2017 against a 5.44% stake and also handed over eBay India operations to Flipkart. Adding to the trouble is the point that “eBay also has the right to take back control of the eBay India brand name should Flipkart get acquired,”
Amidst the acquisition talks, Flipkart has further signed an exclusive partners deal with ASUS. Under the partnership, Flipkart will be the primary sales channel for ASUS ZenFones.
Important Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
NPCI Launches Pilot For Proximity Payments
National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has launched a pilot to allow proximity payments through UPI. The pilot project has been rolled out in collaboration with three startups: PhonePe, ToneTag and UltraCash.
Paytm To Enter Cross-Border Remittance Space
In the digital payments space, Paytm might soon set its foot in the foreign exchange and cross-border remittance space under its banking identity Paytm Payments Bank. Paytm has already received the authorised dealership (AD Category II) license from the Reserve Bank of India. Airtel, Fino and Jio Payments bank have also received the license. The license will help the payments banks in becoming full-service financial entities.
Uber Will Double Investments In India: COO Barney Harford
Uber COO further shared that the company’s recent deal with Grab in South East Asia has “freed up resources” which can help them serve their Indian audience better. He added, “We will be doubling down investments in India mainly into people, products and strategic partnerships in the country. India is a core market from Uber for now as well as the future.” He is in India for a four-day trip to meet Business and government leaders.
Mobile Wallets Register 80-90% Fall In Customers
As per industry estimates, the fall, in terms of the number of digital wallet users, has been somewhere around 80% to 90% and is largely the result of most customers shying away from full KYC authentication. Of the total wallet accounts in the country, only around 15% are full KYC compliant.
RBI, ED To Look Into FDI Violations Charges Against Amazon, Flipkart
The decision came in the wake of allegations by Indian Cellular Association (ICA) and retailer giants that ecommerce major Amazon and Flipkart are violating FDI rules by “influencing prices on their platforms and illegally funding “abnormal discounts”. At the same time, Union Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia revealed that the government has now set up an inter-ministerial group to study issues related to ecommerce sector in the country. However, she highlighted that there was no time-frame for coming out with recommendations.
IAMAI Voices Against RBI’s Mandate For Data In India
An industry grouping has termed the decision as “heavy-handed” and is planning to send a formal representation to the regulator highlighting its concerns. Paytm however, stands in support and stated that India requires stricter data privacy laws to prevent free movement of user details across the border, especially by global companies that have entered the country’s digital payments space in the recent times. Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma has expressed his willingness to support data regulation in the country.
Amazon Launches ‘Internet’; Ranking Falls On The App Store And More
‘Internet’ is a lite web browser suited to Indian landcape. With claims to offer a private user experience by not asking any additional permissions or collect private data like other browsers, Internet is available for download via Google Play and is compatible with devices running Android 5.0 Marshmallow and above. With the size of 2 MB, it is touted to be “lighter than the competition”.
In its latest Annual Shareholder letter, Amazon Inc. founder Jeff Bezos termed Amazon India as one of the fastest growing marketplaces and the most visited site, on both desktop and mobile,in the country, citing data from comScore and SimilarWeb. He further claimed, “Amazon India’s mobile shopping app was also the most downloaded shopping app in India in 2017, according to App Annie.”
In another development, following a promotional activity with bollywood actress Swara Bhasker, Amazon has been facing online protest with protesters giving it one-star and uninstalling the app alleging that Bhasker repeatedly insults people of the Hindu faith and is an “anti-national,” and are leaving making their displeasure known through scathing reviews.
Google, Smart Card Lobby Don’t Want Aadhaar To Be A Success
UIDAI levelled charges against the Google and the smart cards lobby, alleging that they didn’t want Aadhar to succeed because if UID is able to become a foolproof way to authenticate identity, they will run out of business. The court, however, termed the arguments, presented by senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for UIDAI on April 17, “inconclusive” and the matter is currently being heard.
Facebook Bullish On Karnataka Elections, Payment Feature On Halt In India
In a blog post, Facebook revealed that it has “partnered with BOOM, an independent digital journalism initiative, for a pilot programme that will first roll out in the state of Karnataka, the state where an election is to be held next month.” To debunk fake news, Facebook plans to show the story lower in News Feed when the fact-checker rates a story as false.
Also, recently Facebook Marketplace integrates mobile recharge option to messenger but the feature is yet to launch in India. Both, Facebook Payments and WhatsApp Payments are currently being run in beta mode, with Facebook offering Mobile recharge option to kickstart. Facebook has already launched its payments feature in some other countries like the UK and France.
Further, WhatsApp has clarified that the company is not sharing its payment based info with Facebook. WhatsApp simply helps pass the necessary payment information to the partner bank and NPCI.
Supreme Court Website Hacked
On the official website, it read “hackeado por HighTech Brazil HacTeam,” i.e. “Hacked by HighTech Brazil HacTeam,” with an image of a Marijuana leaf along with the message. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s emergency response team has advised the Supreme Court on the steps that need to be taken to restore the website and will also analyze the details of the incident. A few hours later, the website was found to be working.
Other Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
Ad Spendings Of Google, Amazon On Voice Assistants To Skyrocket To $9.1 Mn
As per several industry sources, the ad spendings of both companies, on their respective virtual personal assistant (VPA) products, are expected to touch $9.1 Mn (INR 60 Cr) in the next one year. Having already introduced the Indian versions of its voice assistants, Google Home and Google Home Mini, global search giant Google is now directly competing with Amazon Echo to gain a stronghold of the thriving smart speaker market.
Environment Ministry Eases Targets For E-Waste Collection
Handset makers selling phones prior to five years or seven years have to collect e-waste equal to 10% of the sales done in the financial year five or seven years back, while those starting operations later will need to meet lower targets of 5%. The new e-waste collection targets “will rise by 10% every year for older companies until it hits 70% by FY24.
UberEATS Launches In Kolkata
Kolkata is the 11th city in the country to get UberEATS, enabling the gourmet to order food from 250 eating joints. Uber Eats app will also allow customers to schedule a meal, offers customised drop-off within a certain radius and tailored restaurant recommendations
Standard Chartered Bank Partners With Zoho
Standard Chartered Bank business account holders can now pay their suppliers—whether it’s cross-border payments or bank transfers—and automate reconciliation right from Zoho Books, Zoho’s cloud accounting software. Some of the benefits of the alliance are: Direct B2B payments, easy receivable reconciliation with virtual accounts, and reconciliation of transactions automatically.
Cleartrip Builds Alexa For Its Platform
This will allow travelers to conveniently search for the cheapest airfares between any source and destination city using their voice on their Amazon Echo devices. The integration enables Amazon Echo users to quickly search for flights using simple voice instructions. It also makes travel discovery a more engaging and social experience by taking the process beyond single-user web/mobile screens and allowing users to plan their travels with family and friends.
Udaipur To Get Its Startup Incubation Centre
With the capacity to host 700 startups, the incubation centre in Udaipur will give startups and entrepreneurs space, internet connections and other infrastructure facilities, free of cost. Some of the best incubators were being invited for the hub and the management would be handled by professionals. Mentoring for start-ups would be provided by top corporates.
PhonePe Partners With MMTC-PAMP
From choosing the purity of Gold customers prefer to selecting a provider of their choice, PhonePe is letting users choose their Gold savings journey. Customers can monitor live Gold prices to make purchases at transparent prices. All Gold prices are linked with rates in the commercial bullion market. Gold purchased on PhonePe is physically deposited into a secured vault and is fully insured at all times and can be delivered to customers.
Telr Launches TelrSecure
TelrSecure is a collection of antifraud features, designed to keep online merchants secure and their customers safe. This helps build the buyer behaviour of customers, who buy from more than 100 countries on Telr’s online payment platform.
Groww Launches Direct Plan (Zero commission) Mutual Funds
One can buy any Direct plan available on Groww app or website, without paperwork and within minutes. There are no charges for investing in Direct plans through Groww. Investors do not need to open a Demat account for investing on Groww. Investors, who have already invested in the Regular plans through any agent or platform, can move their investments to Direct plans and can start saving on the commissions, right away.
DailyNinja, Housejoy Partner To Provide Home Services
The major services which DailyNinja subscribers can avail are beauty, electrical, plumbing and cleaning. Available across all the areas Dailyninja reaches in Bengaluru, the option has already been rolled out to the Dailyninja Android users and will soon be rolled out to the iOS users as well.
Hero MotoCorp To Sell Its Auto Parts And Accessories Through Ecommerce
With www.hgpmart.com, Hero MotoCorp will sell its genuine auto parts and accessories for its two-wheeler products. Also, it will use a hub and spoke model to ensure timely deliveries to customers through its network of 100 Parts distributors across the country.
Stay tuned for the next edition of News Roundup: Indian Startup News Of The Week!