We bring to you the latest edition of Indian startup news stories of the week.
The past week can be named to controversies surrounding the Indian digital payment and messaging app industry as Paytm and Patanjali’s Kimbo messaging app found itself in a maze of controversy.
For Paytm, this started with a sting titled ‘Operation-136 II’, which was carried out by investigative news outlet Cobra Post. It is a 13-minute long video that shows people from Paytm’s senior leadership team discussing a deal with an undercover journalist Pushp Sharma.
The video also discloses that Paytm was requested by the government to give user data. Following this, the company also gave a full page clarification and cleared its stance on the situation to state.
In another development, after trying to create much hype as a swadeshi answer to WhatsApp, Patanjali has withdrawn its messaging app Kimbho within a day of the test run. Kimbho app has been designed on lines of WhatsApp. Soon after the launch, while many users faced an issue in downloading the app on Google app store, and by the end of the day, Kimbho was facing some serious data security breach allegations by none other than Robert Batiste, aka Elliot Alderson on Twitter, who called it as a “security disaster”.
While so much is happening in the Indian startup ecosystem, here is the dope of other major Indian startup news stories from this past week.
Important Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
Flipkart-Walmart Deal Faces Allegations, Flipkart Plans Ahead And More
- The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) approached the Competition Commission of India (CCI) stating that the Flipkart-Walmart deal will create unfair competition and an uneven level playing field for domestic players. CAIT said in a statement that the deal would deny market access to non-preferred sellers and impact small traders.
- The Income Tax (I-T) department has started examining the Flipkart-Walmart deal. IT officials had sent queries to Flipkart-Walmart to which the etailer has responded. Walmart is yet to file its explanation.
- The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has now forwarded to various government agencies, some complaints made by RSS-affiliated Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) over the deal. The list includes Reserve Bank of India, Enforcement Directorate, Competition Commission of India and the tax authorities.
- As part of its expansion strategy in the Indian market, Flipkart has indicated its plans to launch grocery services in five cities by July. Flipkart’s grocery operations would start in Hyderabad, followed by Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, and Pune.
- Walmart, on the other hand, has backtracked from its plans of food retail in India. It plans to rather have a presence in the food products market through third-party retailers on Flipkart.
Amazon Is Bigger Than Flipkart: Amit Agarwal
This is another interesting Indian startup news story this week. Amit Agarwal, country head of Amazon India, has claimed that the global ecommerce giant is ahead of Flipkart both in gross merchandise value (GMV) and net sales. As he said, “I think Amazon India is priceless. We are missionaries and here to serve customers for decades.”
In another development, Amazon India has announced an expansion in the selection and the introduction of ultra-fast deliveries on Amazon Now app, rebranding it to Prime Now. Prime Now will provide exclusive Express two-hour delivery to Prime members anytime between 6 AM and midnight (order as late as 10:00 PM for midnight delivery). Same-day and next-day delivery will remain available for all customers, in a convenient two-hour slot from 6 AM to 12 midnight.
Ola Forms Group Company
Ola, which is owned by ANI Technologies Pvt Ltd, is setting up a group holding company that will own Ola Cabs, Foodpanda, and its other businesses that are still in the nascent stage, such as its electric cabs and international operations. Ola is said to be adopting a holding company on the lines of Flipkart.
Rajasthan Government Launches eSakhi
e-Sakhi is a digital literacy programme initiated by the Department of Information Technology and Communication (DoITC), Government of Rajasthan, with the aim of making every individual in the state being digitally literate.
Coolpad-Xiaomi’s Legal Battle On The Verge Of Moving To India From China
Ahead of its IPO, Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi is reportedly finding it difficult to wrangle out of its legal battle with Coolpad Group Ltd, a China-based investment holding company principally engaged in the provision of wireless solutions and equipment. The battle, which started over allegations of patent infringement by Xiaomi in China, is on the cusp of moving to Indian courtrooms now. The reason for this move is that Coolpad believes Indian laws protect patent-holders’ interests.
Hike To Lay Off 25% Of Its Workforce
It is speculated that most of these reductions are from its last two acquisitions — Creo and InstaLively. The total number of layoffs could be 50-75 employees across locations. The report added that the layoffs are expected in multiple functions including human resources, accounting, and finance, among others. The laid-off employees are being provided with a severance package, starting with two months salary and upwards.
AI Can Help Farmers Increase Their Income: Amitabh Kant
NITI Aayog chief Amitabh Kant said that beyond technological developments and applications, Artificial Intelligence can help farmers, artisans, and fishermen to substantially eliminate the gap between the market price and the price they actually get for their produce.
Snapdeal Dragged To Court By Its Sellers Over Non-Payment Of Dues
Snapdeal seller Veepee Electronics filed a criminal case in Gurugram court against the firm over non-payment of $738k (INR 5 Cr) and another $2.2 Mn (INR 15 Cr) worth products still to be recovered, Spacewood has filed a case in the Delhi High Court for the recovery of $2.6 Mn (INR 18 Cr).
In another development, media reports quoted a few sellers of Flipkart and it’s subsidiaries — Jabong and Myntra citing that their payment is being made in an interval of three months.
FY17 Numbers For BigBasket’s Wholesale Arm, Flipkart Internet, And More
- The wholesale B2B arm of online grocery delivery startup BigBasket, Supermarket Grocery Supplies, has increased its overall losses by almost seven times reaching $96.35 Mn (INR 653 Cr) in FY17 from $14 Mn (INR 95 Cr) in the year earlier. The company recorded a rise of 12% in its operating loss for FY17 which reached $46 Mn (INR 312 Cr) from $40.8 Mn (INR 277 Cr) in FY16.
- Amazon Wholesale has recorded a profit of $413.7K (INR 2.8 Cr) in FY17. The ecommerce giant’s B2B wholesale distributor purchased goods worth $1.14 Bn (INR 7,734 Cr) in FY17, in comparison to $591.1K (INR 4 Cr) in the previous year.
- Flipkart Internet Pvt, the unit that operates the online retail platform of Flipkart India, has reported a loss of $244.2 Mn (INR 1639 Cr) versus a loss of $343.6 Mn (INR 2,305 Cr) in the year-ago period and this was mainly led by a drop in logistics and storage costs.
MeitY Shares Concerns With NPCI On Data Security
This is one important Indian startup news story around the digital payment industry. The ministry of electronics and IT (MeitY) has written to the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) seeking a clarification on how WhatsApp Pay will abide with Indian laws on sharing of user data. The Facebook-owned WhatsApp plans to launch its digital payment service WhatsApp Pay in India this month. This is the second letter by MeitY to the NPCI on the matter.
MUDRA Scheme Protects The Interests Of The Entrepreneurs: PM Narendra Modi
Another Indian startup news story worth pondering upon for the entrepreneurs. Narendra Modi stated that the Mudra Yojana has become a job multiplier. He further added that the initiative has helped in relieving the entrepreneurs from the vicious cycle of moneylenders and middlemen. It has opened up new opportunities for the youth, women and those who wanted to start or expand their businesses.
Other Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
Google Launches Neighbourly App In India
Neighbourly acts as a social point for people to ask and find local information from people in their neighbourhood. The new app lets users ask questions like if there is a garage nearby, good haircut places and the mom and pop store (kirana) where you get a particular herb in the locality.
Zomato Plans To Expand Food Delivery Business
Zomato has said that the food delivery service saw a huge improvement in user metrics towards the end of FY 18 and that it has “significantly scaled up” after the investment from Alipay in February.
Elon Musk: I Would Love To Be In India
Tesla CEO Elon Musk in a tweet response said that he would love to roll out Tesla cars in India but the “challenging government regulations, unfortunately” have forced the electric vehicles behemoth to deter its India plans till date. He was replying to a tweet by @yoyovinzi who’d tweeted, “No Tesla in India” in Musk’s Twitter post: “Global map of Tesla Superchargers, including those coming soon”.
NASSCOM Sets Up Digital Plaza In Guiyang
NASSCOM established an additional Digital Collaborative Opportunities Plaza platform in China, in an effort to provide market access to Indian IT firms in the huge Chinese market. China’s Guiyang Municipal government and the NASSCOM have announced RMB 25 Mn ($3.9 Mn) worth of agreements between Chinese customers and the Indian service providers.
Commonfloor Relaunches SmartGuard
A new feature on the CommonFloor Groups app, it will provide residential communities with improvised security features to manage visitor information and enhance residents’ safety in the society. The robust, cloud-based online platform transforms security guards into Smart Guards who can connect, communicate and collaborate with residents and apartment associations in a hassle-free manner.
Snapchat Partners With Tyroo As Its Monetisation Partner
Through this partnership Tyroo will drive ad monetisation and infrastructure for Snapchat, fuelling its growth in the APAC region. Tyroo has also appointed Akshay Mathur as its Chief Revenue Officer to drive growth through such partnerships.
ClearTax Launches Tally Connector
‘Tally Connector’ enables users to easily import the accounting data from Tally to ClearTax GST in a single click. In case of errors in the data imported, ClearTax helps users with action to be taken to resolve the error. Once the data is in ClearTax, data validation and GST return filing is super easy and can be done within minutes, reducing both time and effort spent.
Housing.com Launches ‘Housing Partner Assistant’ App For Sellers
The initiative aims to enable the sellers to receive instant alerts and manage home seekers effectively with a single click. Moreover, the expert filter options of the app will enable sellers focus on priority home seekers and close deals faster. Using the app, the sellers can refer to the potential customer’s requirement summary to shortlist relevant properties before scheduling a meeting. The new app is available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store for iOS and Android users respectively.
Get My Parking Partners With Europe’s APCOA Parking
An Indian startup news story depicting cross-vorder collaboratioon! The collaboration leads to digital customer solutions for connecting parking with consumer mobility to customize and deploy an open IoT platform that provides a seamless mobility experience across all parking touchpoints. This digital platform will be scaled to all 13 countries in which APCOA operates more than 1.4 Mn car spaces at over 9000 locations. It is an interoperable platform, integrating varied parking equipment and connecting parking spaces to cars to create an overall mobility experience.
Serial Entrepreneur Satyen Kothari Launches Cube Wealth
This Indian startup news story depicts the new addition to Indan startup community. Cube Wealth, a “1 app, 1 minute” service that offers members wealth creation, automated savings, and expense management through an award-winning user-interface was launched in India this week. Headquartered in Mumbai, the Android and iOS app was launched by Satyen Kothari, the founder of Citrus Payments.
Zomato Expands Footprint In The North
Zomato further strengthens its position in the North through the expansion of food delivery service in Lucknow and Ludhiana. It has partnered with ~1000 restaurants in these cities. Zomato food delivery services now available in 17 cities in India – Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Pune, Kochi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Indore, Coimbatore, Vadodara, Nagpur, Lucknow and Ludhiana. Zomato also recently also launched it’s subscription based program Zomato Gold to Jaipur.
Stay tuned for the next edition of News Roundup: Indian Startup News Of The Week!