We bring to you the latest dope of Indian startup news stories of the week.
With the change of power in Karnataka, the impact has also fallen on Bengaluru Vision Group– which was formed to find solutions to resolve infrastructural and civic bottlenecks in the Bengaluru city with members like Infosys founder N R Narayana Murthy, Flipkart co-founder Sachin Bansal among others.
Recently questions were posed by the Bengaluru High Court upon the requirement of such a group, along with the existence of the Bangalore Metropolitan Planning Committee (BMPC). The court also stated that Vision Group was not formed under the law and its existence alongside BMPC would only create confusion.
At the same time, Congress MLA K J George has bagged the portfolio of information technology, biotechnology and science and technology (IT, BT and ST), replacing Priyank Kharge, who has been given another portfolio — the ministry of social welfare.
Further, Mohit Goel, who once made headlines by claiming to offer a smartphone -‘Freedom 251’ at less than $4 (INR 251), has been arrested by Delhi Police in an extortion case. Reportedly, Goel along with two other suspects was allegedly trying to extort money for settling a rape case in Delhi.
This is not all. Let’s have a look at the major happenings of the week!
Important Developments Of The Week
Amazon India Introduces Third Party Loans For Sellers, Invests In ToneTag And More
- Seller Lending Network offers sellers on Amazon India loan options from multiple third-party lenders. At the same time, it expects to help sellers save 150-250 bps on interest rates due to the competitive rates offered by the lenders.
- Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal has asked the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) to relax restrictions imposed on Amazon’s food retailing plans as DIPP had asked the company to keep separate equipment, machinery and warehouses for its food products and not to mix or share anything with its marketplace business.
- With $5 Mn funding round from Amazon, digital payments company ToneTag is now looking to roll out new payment modes for Amazon in the next three to four months. ToneTag is also experimenting with new use cases for making payments through its sound wave technology.
Amazon Partners With HUL, Will Launch Audible Soon
Hindustan Unilever (HUL), India’s largest consumer products company, and US-based etailer Amazon’s Indian subsidiary have co-developed a line of hair and men grooming products. The new range of products includes beard oil, beard wash, balm, hair cream, and gels under the Brylcreem brand.
Amazon plans to introduce locally produced Audible books, which will be narrated by Indians. For this, Amazon Publishing has signed a six-book deal with writer Chetan Bhagat, as part of which, it will publish these books globally in print, eBook, and audio formats, the first title of which is expected to be out in October 2018.
Gram Panchayats To Get $587 Mn-Worth WiFi Hotspots Under BharatNet Programme
The vendor deploying WiFi services will need to operate and maintain the entire infrastructure for a minimum period of four years from the date of successful completion. The estimated budget for installation of Wi-Fi hotspots per gram panchayat (GP) has been kept at INR 1.5 lakh. Around 2.3 lakh GPs are estimated to be covered in the project.
Karnataka Govt To Unveil Job Portal For Private Sector
With the job portal, Karnataka government plans to help private sector firms recruit candidates skilled under the government programmes. The government has tied up with the UN Development Programme for this initiative. The department will enrol online the candidates trained under government funding, put up their profiles and connect them with potential employers through the proposed online portal.
Myntra To Expand Offline Presence With 100 Stores In Two Years
Ananth Narayanan, CEO at Myntra-Jabong said that the sales of Roadster — Myntra’s first offline store — has shot up after the offline expansion. Of the 100 stores, 50 will be Roadster stores, followed by HRX and Mango, among others. Myntra plans to close FY19 with a GMV of $1.9Bn, riding on the back of private labels and offline expansion.
Zomato To Shut Down Its Own Cloud Kitchen Operations Under ZIS
Zomato had also committed to investing $15 Mn in Bengaluru-based Loyal Hospitality. The first tranche of $5 Mn has already been invested in Loyal Hospitality which will help its team to expand operations and outlets further through a shadow kitchen model. Zomato confirmed the investment and further iterated that it is shutting down its own cloud kitchen operations under Zomato Infrastructure Services (ZIS).
Reliance Industries May Foray Into India’s Ecommerce Space
A plan is being put together by converging RIL’s two consumer-oriented units—Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd and Reliance Retail Ltd—to develop an ecommerce platform based on O2O (online-to-offline) business strategy. The company’s plan is to consolidate merchants under an e-commerce platform who, in turn, will cater to the demand from the untapped markets.
Paytm May Introduce PoS Terminal For Merchants, Brings Over 3 Mn Semi-Urban, Rural Merchants Online
Paytm claims to have driven digital payments across the country’s semi-urban and rural areas by enabling cashless transactions in more than 3 Lakh villages for over 3 Mn merchant partners. The company also claimed that merchants in these villages are witnessing 20% higher transactions as compared to merchants in the metros.
At the same time, it is being speculated that the company will bring both traditional PoS terminals, which work on GPS or landline, as well as mobile PoS terminals, which mostly work through a smartphone.
CAIT Threatens Countrywide Stir, CCI May Ask For Structural Changes In Walmart-Flipkart Deal
The officials indicated that the CCI might take a cue from the deal between Walmart and South African entity Massmart and might recommend setting up of a long-term fund by the US retail company to modernise kiranas going forward, besides supporting local manufacturing by SMEs. CAIT is further of the view that Flipkart is a combination of exclusive tie-ups and preferential sellers, where even online vendors face discriminatory conditions, and that Walmart could sell its inventory on the platform of Flipkart.com either directly or through a web of associated preferred sellers.
RBI May Soon Introduce Mobile Wallet Interoperability Rules
The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has already cleared the safety and security aspects of taking wallets onto the interoperable platform. The RBI is ironing out a few final issues before releasing operational guidelines and is expected to introduce these rules within a month.
India Is Finalising The New Policy For Logistics Sector: Suresh Prabhu
The plan is expected to boost government’s mission to come out with the most cost-effective method to transport goods till 2035. The new logistics division within the department of commerce is preparing the national integrated plan, with an aim to identify bottlenecks and gaps prevailing in the sector.
Aadhaar: Face Recognition Feature Gets Delayed, Virtual ID Will Launch On July 1
UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) has decided to allow virtual IDs as valid authentication for mobile service users. “After implementation of such changes in Aadhaar ecosystem, licensees shall give the option to the subscriber of feeding either Aadhaar number or virtual ID as per his/her choice,” the DoT said in the notice.
However, the plans for face recognition feature have hit a roadblock and might be delayed till August 1, revealed UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey, who said that some more time will be needed to prepare for the rollout of the new facility which was earlier planned to be introduced from July 1.
India Is One Of The 3 Key Markets For Airbnb
Chris Lehane, the head of global public policy, Airbnb, said that since its entry into the Indian market in 2016, Airbnb has registered more than 31K listings and is now looking at the country as one of its three most important strategic markets with triple-digit growth on-year. So far over 1 Mn Indians have already travelled to some 160 countries on Airbnb globally, while its listings in India have grown 115% over the past year.
Other Developments Of The Week
IndiaMART Eyes $88.24 Mn IPO
Delhi-based online marketplace IndiaMART is ready to go public with an initial public offering (IPO) of $88.24 Mn (INR 600 Cr) through a mix of the primary and secondary share sale. Some of the investors of the company could sell part of their stakes. The company will soon file the draft papers for the same.
FabAlley Records EBITDA Profitability, GMV Of $11.85 Mn In FY18
FabAlley recorded 30% of its revenues from offline channels and expects to increase these offline revenues to 50% in the next 18-24 months. At present, the company is also investing $889.86K- $1.03 Mn (INR 6-7 Cr) towards the offline expansion of its stores to 30 by December 2018.
Xiaomi India Partners With Dixon To Make 55K Xiaomi TV Sets Locally
Dixon will likely ensure an August launch for the Make-in-India ‘Mi’ brand of TVs. The local production for this is expected to start next month at Dixon’s new Tirupati plant. Xiaomi is expected to make 32- and 43-inch sets through this arrangement, which may later be expanded to newer models.
Uber Launches Made In India ‘Uber Lite’
Uber Lite will pilot in Jaipur, Hyderabad, and Delhi for now. The app will continue to be rolled out across India this summer and in other countries around the globe later this year. The company claims that the new app not only saves space but also works in low connectivity areas — common in India — and on 99% of Android devices.
Women’s Development Ministry To Discuss Safety Concerns With Cab Aggregators Ola, Uber
The ministry would seek greater accountability from the cab aggregators, who tend to simply wash their hands off the matter by dismissing the accused drivers. Further, it was suggested that the ministry would emphasise on thorough background checks of the drivers and ask the aggregators to ensure that the taxis disable the child-lock feature in the vehicles that ply for them.
Northern Railways To Monitor Cleanliness Of Trains Via WhatsApp Groups
Every department — pantry, bedrolls, etc — will have a separate WhatsApp group, in which status reports on the cleanliness of the trains will be uploaded on a daily basis. Northern Railways is also in works to commission an automatic coach washing plant at the Hazrat Nizamuddin railway station.
Bengaluru Leads The Way With Maximum Technology Job Opportunities In India
The city leads the chart by occupying 22% of the job market share in the tech domain, while Delhi/NCR and Pune followed closely with 11% and 10% share respectively. Talking about the age bracket, while the active job seeking age group of 20-29-year-olds is the most actively hired; interestingly, senior job-seekers above the age of 55 are also showing significant interest in the sector.
Google Cloud Sees Increased Adoption In Indian Retail, Media
Rick Harshman, MD, Asia-Pacific, Google Cloud, said that the company has seen “overwhelming demand from businesses and startups in the retail, media, entertainment, and gaming segments.” He further claimed that Google has emerged as a leader in cloud AI services. Harshman also emphasised that the company has witnessed a surge in its cloud offerings in the financial services and insurance (FSI) segment, more so around insurance and manufacturing.
Mobile Wallet Payments Show 11% Growth In April: RBI
At the same time, card-based transactions have also shown consistent growth. While Credit cards recorded 133 Mn transactions in April, against 128 Mn in March, debit cards clocked in 1 Bn transactions in both March and April. Further, the number of PoS terminals in the country grew to 3.16 Mn against 3.13 Mn in March.
PhonePe, Ola Partner To Launch AutoPay Feature
Users can now book an Ola using the PhonePe app and PhonePe users will have access to Ola’s multi-modal commuting offerings, along with the benefit of using the industry-first AutoPay feature. Through AutoPay, users just need to link their preferred Credit/Debit card for an Ola ride in the PhonePe app once, and their ride-fare would automatically be paid at the end of every ride.
LenDenClub Launches InstaMoney Android App
LenDenClub launched an Android-based application to connect lenders with creditworthy borrowers. Now users can get advances on their salary or an instant cash loan as he applicant merely has to confirm that they have employment and have a monthly income in excess of INR 12000 and enter their Aadhaar number to have their application for credit processed.
OYO Forms Strategic Partnership With Motherland
This partnership will enable OYO and Motherland to co-develop a series of exciting new hotel formats and enhance various aspects of customer experience – including key touch points such as Interiors and ergonomics – all of which will offer guests an unprecedented combination of style, efficiency and affordability.
Amazon.in Launches School Bookstore
Right from nursery to 12th standard, parents can find books for all subjects across different boards – CBSE, ICSE & IGCSE – and publishers such as NCERT, with delivery at their doorsteps. The store is segregated into books for each class and subject, across different syllabi, for an easy shopping experience. In addition to textbooks, students getting ready for competitive exams like the JEE, NEET, Olympiads can find study material on this store.
BankBazaar Operating Revenue Up By 91% in FY18
The operating revenue grew to $15.1Mn (INR 103 Cr) up from $7.91 Mn (INR 54Cr) in FY17. The company’s total revenues for FY18 also grew to $17.29 Mn (INR 118 Cr) from $10.40 Mn (INR.71Cr) in FY17. According to the company, this revenue growth was fueled largely by an increase in organic visits, which accounted for almost 70% of the total traffic. BankBazaar’s focus for FY19 is to dive deeper into the paperless value chain by bringing new partners and customers into the fold.
Zomato Gold Expands To Ahmedabad and Chandigarh
With this launch, Zomato is further expanding its product offering and making the dining out choices even more irresistible for all the Gold members in these cities. Zomato Gold members in Ahmedabad can avail 1 complimentary dish at all the Gold Food partner restaurants – once they place an order at the restaurant. Gold members in Chandigarh can avail 1 complimentary dish at the Gold Food partner restaurants, and up to 2 complimentary drinks at the Gold Drinks partner restaurants – once they place an order at the restaurant.
ONN Bikes To Foray Into Dockless Scooter Sharing
ONN Bikes has been piloting this model for over two months in certain pockets and will soon introduce this service across all its service locations across India. The Dockless service will further enhance last mile connectivity and provide commuters with an additional commute option that is efficient and affordable.
Deven Choksey Partners With Anthill Ventures For Deal-Flow In Tech Startups
The two entities signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which is effective from June 2018. Through this partnership, Deven will invest an undisclosed amount in Anthill Ventures and as a member of Anthill’s Investment Committee (IC) lend his expertise in screening incoming opportunities.
CashKaro Launches Mobile Cashback App
In line with CashKaro’s mobile-first approach, it is loaded with benefits that make it more lucrative than the website. The CashKaro App promises to give users a smooth and unified Cashback experience. CashKaro App users will also get special access to App Exclusive deals of up to 100% Cashback on many retailers. This essentially translates into free shopping opportunities for App users every month. The App Exclusives section offers users nothing but the best cashback deals in the country.
Stay tuned for the next edition of News Roundup: Indian Startup News Of The Week!