We bring to you the latest dope of Indian startup news stories of the week.
As the digital India initiative picks up the pace, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has encouraged states and ministries to increase the use of BHIM app. Concerned with the fall of BHIM UPI’s share in the total digital transactions, Prime Minister has asked the cabinet secretary to “resolve” the issue of bank transaction charges on BHIM-UPI usage with the department of financial services.
Speaking about the Indian startup ecosystem in a recent interaction with the entrepreneurs, PM stated that about $192 Mn (INR 1285 Cr) has already been committed towards startups since the launch of the Fund of Funds. He added “When the Fund of Funds matures over time, almost $14.9 Bn (INR 1 lakh Cr) will be available for startup funding in India”.
The PM further stated that 44% of all startups are found in tier II and tier III cities. He emphasized that 65% of the population is aged less than 35 years and the government is enabling them to think of innovative solutions. The government has constituted the Startup India Hub to address startup concerns and reply to queries.
While so much is happening in the Indian startup ecosystem, here are a few other major Indian startup news stories from this past week.
Important Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
Metro Shoes Vs Flipkart, Walmart-Flipkart Deal: Twisted Turn Of Events And More
- Metro Shoes, a multi-brand footwear chain in India, has alleged Flipkart of selling a private label by the brand name of Metronaut, which is deceptively similar to Metro’s eponymous brand. In an infringement case against Flipkart in Bombay High Court, Metro Shoes has also alleged the ecommerce company of selling shoes, among other products, under the brand name ‘Metronaut’. However Flipkart in a response to ET denied being aware of any legal proceedings.
- Over a 100 trade associations alleged that the Walmart-Flipkart deal will cause irreversible damage to small traders and endanger the jobs of thousands. Associations such as the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and the All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) called for the deal’s nullification. the All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA) and the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) have already approached CCI stating that the Flipkart-Walmart deal will create an uneven level playing field for domestic players.
- On the other hand, Walmart is open to bringing in new financial investors in Flipkart, to ensure a successful business. Binny Bansal says Flipkart won’t be changing its operating structure and eventually an IPO is down the line.
MakeMyTrip-OYO Partnership Raises Concerns Among Independent Hotel Owners
MakeMyTrip’s delisting of budget-focused hotel aggregators Treebo and FabHotels in keeping with its commercial agreement with OYO has raised the hackles of independent hotel owners, who reached out to the company to raise their concerns on the matter. A group of retailers some of whom are also a part of the Delhi Hotel and Restaurant Owners Association met MakeMyTrip officials individually and sought assurances that the arrangement with OYO wouldn’t impact their bookings and revenues on GoIbibo and MakeMyTrip portals.
UIDAI Limits Digital Payment Companies’ Access To Aadhaar Data
In an attempt to ensure data security, the UIDAI has imposed restrictions on digital payment companies accessing its database. UIDAI has segregated authentication user agency (AUA) into two — local AUAs, which can access limited information, and global AUAs, which can access the complete information in the repository.
In another development, UIDAI allows people to download their own Aadhaar update history. The update history will help people while applying for services such as passports and visa or for sundry jobs since it can ascertain their residency status for the past few years.
BigBasket Ready To Enter Cosmetics And Meat Business
In a bid to diversify and expand their business, BigBasket is all set to add two private labels: Beauty Products and Meat Products. Apart from new private labels, BigBasket as a part of its expansion plans is exploring numerous new initiatives, including an offline push and the launch of a subscription service. The report adds that in order to enter micro-delivery space BigBasket is going to launch a new milk subscription service as well.
Karnataka Govt. Vs Cab Aggregators: The Tussle Goes On
In an attempt to regulate transportation in Karnataka, the newly elected Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy has directed the Transport Department to form a committee which will resolve the differences between Ola and Uber with their aggrieved drivers.
Earlier this week, the state government had sighted charging of time-based fare as violation of Rule 11(a) of the Karnataka On-demand Transportation Technology Aggregators Rules, 2016 . The notice stated that fare should only be calculated on the basis of distance as notified by the government.
Nazara Technologies Expanding Its Operations To Kenya
With real money gaining popularity in African countries, Nazara Technologies is all set to exploit the sports betting and the fantasy market in the African countries beginning with FIFA 18. The product proposed to be launched in Kenya is a real-time social prediction sports game where players can bet real-time among their friends. Nazara is looking to build a network of synergistic companies for operations in India and other emerging markets.
Sellers Accuse Amazon On ‘Preferential Treatment’ To Few Sellers
Stating the fact that even though Cloudtail’ sales in 2016-17 increased, the commission it pays to Amazon India for selling on the marketplace dropped, other online sellers have accused the online marketplace of providing a preferential treatment to a few select sellers. According to some sellers, Amazon subsidised logistics costs for specific sellers. All India Online Vendors Association (AIOVA) will move to CCI. Amazon India stated that it maintains an equal relationship with all its vendors.
Value Of UPI Transactions Witness A 22.91% M-o-M Growth
The value of UPI transactions grew to $4.97 Bn (INR 33,288.51 Cr) in the month of May 2018, from $4.04 Bn (INR 27,081.85 Cr) in April. However, NPCI recorded a fall of 3.14% in the number of transactions. Since its launch in 2016, UPI has seen a huge growth with the cumulative number of UPI transactions standing at 1.12 Bn at the end of April 2018. Government is trying to lure in more and more customers for UPI.
Niti Aayog To Adopt AI For India’s Economic Growth
Niti Aayog plans to use artificial intelligence in healthcare, agriculture, education, infrastructure, and transportation as revealed in its discussion paper National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence. The Aayog has proposed a two-tier structure to expand research on AI in India: The Centre of Research Excellence (CORE), focussed on pushing technology frontiers through creation of new knowledge, and the International Centre of Transformational AI (ICTAI), aimed at developing and deploying application-based research. India initially plans to fund its AI programmes from the $29.7 Mn (INR 200 Cr) allocated under the Atal Innovation Mission.
Future Group Will Launch 1000 Outlets For Milk Delivery
The Mumbai-based retail group plans to start delivering milk, eggs, and bread at customer’s doorstep by launching 1,000 outlets under the Easyday, Nilgiris, and Heritage brands. The service is to be launched in metro cities in the next two weeks and will be expanded to other parts of the country later. Other products such as fruits, vegetables, and groceries will also be added after the model is in place.
Ola Reports A 70% Jump In Revenue
According to the company filings with the ministry of corporate affairs, Ola posted a revenue of $190 Mn (INR 1,286 Cr) in 2016-17, compared with $112 Mn (INR 758.23 Cr) in 2015-16. With Uber facing losses in its global operations, Ola is all set to give its rival a fierce competition. To expand its reach to the international market Ola has already set up teams in Dhaka and Colombo. It has launched in Australia as well.
Other Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
Google Successfully Sets Up Free Wifi At 400 Railway Stations In India
Google has achieved the target set under Project Nilgiri in 2015, in partnership with the Indian Railways. 8 Mn people get online with Google Station every month and on an average consume 350MB of data per session.The company also plans to move beyond the train stations, into the cities which still lack internet access. The Dibrugarh railway station in Assam is the 400th station to be powered by public Wi-Fi.
Facebook’s Data Privacy Concerns May Delay Launch Of WhatsApp Pay
With Facebook still pondering over data privacy concerns, including how it will store and share user data in line with the RBI’s norms, WhatsApp Pay is set to be delayed again. NPCI has already restricted the testing of WhatsApp Pay’s beta version to a sample of 1 Mn users or 1% of WhatsApp’s total user base, whichever is lower. Elsewhere SEBI is going to crackdown on WhatsApp leak case in which price-sensitive financial details of over 24 companies were leaked ahead of their earnings announcements on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.
Also, the Indian government has sent another letter — the third following the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica debacle — to Facebook, seeking an explanation of reports that the social media giant has shared user data with device manufacturers without the explicit consent of users.
Shemaroo To Launch Its Own Online Video Streaming App
Shemaroo Entertainment Ltd holds right over 3.5K movies and is looking to grow its revenue fivefold in five years. The Mumbai-based integrated media content house is all set to launch its online streaming app in the next six-nine months. For the next year or so the firm looks to monetise its current content catalogue rather than adding on to it. After launching into own online movie streaming business, Shemaroo aims to grow its movie catalogue 3%-5% every year.
MoneyonMobile goes live with BBPS
MoneyOnMobile has gone live with Bharat Bill Payments System which is a RBI conceptualised and NPCI driven system. The company aims to help its retailers keep up with the growing demand for digital payment services among the estimated 600-800 million underbanked population of India, and increase the monthly spend of their existing customers.
Digit Insurance Partners With Flipkart
Digit Insurance has collaborated with ecommerce platform Flipkart, launching a mobile protection plan for people who purchase smartphones on Flipkart’s platform. The company has designed the product in a way that simplifies the insurance claiming process for the customers. It offers a cover for screen damage and has fixined the amount due at 20% of the invoice value of the phone.
Now An App For Visually Impaired Can Identify Five Currencies
Microsoft research project Seeing AI, an app designed for the low vision community can now detect five currencies including INR. It can identify all Indian notes in circulation including the new currency bills issued recently, for iOS users. Other currencies supported by the app are Euros, US and Canadian dollars, and British pounds. Using mobile phone’s camera, it can identify the currency note and the voice assistant feature will speak out the ‘Currency’.
Naaptol Inaugurates Its First Franchise Store
With an aim of extending its reach towards its customers and increasing its offline presence, the home shopping company Naaptol has launched its First franchise store at Telangana in Hyderabad. Naaptol is working towards strengthening its offline distribution network all over the country. The company has further identified five cities including Indore, Thrissur, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Jaipur to establish a strong network of offline stores.
iCubesWire Expands Operations To London
Delhi-based iCubeWire, a full-service digital agency and a product development organisation has extended its operations to London. This marks their entry into foreign market. The company plans to cater to brands with a strong presence in the international market and are looking for digital innovative solutions. The startup believes that unified digital technologies, performance marketing, digital media marketing and social media marketing will impart 360-degree solutions to the brands to enhance their presence in the digital domain.
CASHe Partners With BankBazaar.com
CASHe has entered into a strategic partnership with BankBazaar.com to offer short-term credit to its customers. Users of Bankbazaar.com will now have easy access to instant short-term credit facility from CASHe through its multiple loan options ranging from 10INR,000 to INR 200,000 payable over 15, 30, 90 days and 180 days. The company aims to achieve an overall loan disbursal of Rs 900 crores by March 2019. BankBazaar.com’s customers will benefit from CASHe’s differentiated product suite in the retail loan segment.
FabAlley Launches Its Largest Store in Bengaluru
High Street Essentials Pvt Ltd (HSE) has launched its first exclusive brand outlet for FabAlley at Commercial Street, Bengaluru. With an investment plan of 6 crores, the company targets to expand their presence throughout the country. The company expects to launch another 18 stores by December 2018. The store will give a chance to young women to get familiar with the brands and get access to western wear as well as fusion wear at the same location. The idea is to give customers an experience before they swipe their cards.
Stay tuned for the next edition of News Roundup: Indian Startup News Of The Week!