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News Roundup: 11 Startup Stories That You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [5 December – 10 December]

News Roundup: 11 Startup Stories That You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [5 December – 10 December]

Paytm has announced a toll-free number 1800-1800-1234, which will enable consumers and merchants without an Internet connection, to pay and receive money instantly. Using the service users can also recharge their mobile phones. The feature is aimed at feature phone users and non-smartphone users.

In another development, Paytm’s parent company, One97 Communications issued a public notice that it would be transferring its wallet business, after necessary approvals, to the newly-incorporated Payment Bank entity. As a part of the merger, a customer’s Paytm wallet will now move to the Paytm Payments Bank Ltd., in the same capacity. So, if Paytm doesn’t receive any communication from the user before December 21, 2016, each user will have a bank account with Paytm.

The company also announced that it would have a deep integration with India Stack to leverage the platform’s open-stack technology and ensure the best possible experience for its customers and merchants. The company has implemented India Stack components like eSign and eKYC to ensure great scalability for its mobile payments and commerce solutions. UPI compliance and interoperability are key to Paytm’s Payments Bank strategy. As part of its compliance, all Paytm Payments Bank customers will be able to add money to their Paytm wallet through any UPI-enabled app, transfer money to any bank account from their existing bank account through Paytm’s UPI interface, and all Paytm merchant QR codes will be UPI-interoperable, which means all merchants in the Paytm ecosystem can accept payments from other UPI apps.

Important Developments Of The Week

RBI Relaxes AFA Norms For Payments

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has relaxed norms for an additional factor of authentication (AFA) for payments up to INR 2,000 for online card not present (CNP) transactions. Users selecting this facility will have to go through a one-time registration process that would require the entry of card details and AFA by the issuing bank. Thereafter, the registered customers will not be required to re-enter the card details for every transaction at merchant locations that offer this solution and consequently save time and effort.

Gujarat High Court Relaxes Entry Tax Barrier

Gujarat High Court has granted some relief to the ecommerce companies. The tax liability can now be reduced to the extent of central sales tax paid in the state of origin. The ruling will ensure that the total tax paid on the goods purchased by consumers in Gujarat from ecommerce companies is equal to the tax paid levied on similar goods in the state.

ShopClues Launches Payment Gateway ‘Reach’

In order to help offline merchants opt for cashless transactions ecommerce platform ShopClues, announced the launch of ‘Reach’ – a payment gateway, under its Business Edge initiative. Reach will help brick-and-mortar stores across India process hassle-free cashless transactions for customers who prefer making payments digitally.

Amazon Brings Launchpad Programme To India

Ecommerce giant Amazon has unveiled its Launchpad programme in India. The move is aimed at helping Indian startups to increase their customer base in India and abroad. Startups can access the premium programme offered by Amazon’s seller support services for a fee of INR 5,000 per month. The benefits of the programme include account management, marketing, and warehouse management among others.

Gaana App Now Available In Nine Indian Languages

The Gaana App, is now available to consumers in nine Indian languages besides English, making the app more accessible for audiences outside Tier 1 cities. Gaana will now be accessible in Hindi, Tamil, Telegu, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Bengali, Punjabi, and Bhojpuri. Gaana already allows users to filter music by their language preference, but the app interface has been in English only until now. With this update, new users will be prompted to select their preferred languages, and existing users change their language preferences in Settings. This feature is now live on Android and will come to iPhone users soon.

Hyperloop Transportation To Enter India

US-based Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has proposed to link Mumbai and Pune with its ultra-high speed transport system. If this proposal is accepted, the three-hour travel time between Mumbai to Pune will be reduced to a mere 25 minutes.

Ola, Flipkart Cry Nationalism

Flipkart’s Sachin Bansal and Ola’s Bhavish Aggarwal have urged the government to design policies which will favour homegrown companies and help them battle with foreign players, such as Amazon and Uber. “What we need to do is what China did (15 years ago) and tell the world we need your capital, but we don’t need your companies. We need to take a more India-centric approach than trying to become an ideal country based on standards set by the rest,” said Sachin Bansal.

RBI Allows EKYC Via OTP

The amendment now allows banks to open new accounts and perform electronic KYC using one time pins (OTPs) on mobile phones. The amendment states that there must be a specific consent from the customer for authentication through OTP. However, the aggregate balance of all the deposits in these accounts should not exceed INR 1 Lakh. Also, the aggregate of all credits in a financial year, in all the deposit taken together, shall not exceed INR 2 Lakh. For loan accounts, only term loans shall be sanctioned, using eKYC and the amount of these term loans shall not exceed rupees INR 60,000 in a year.

Flipkart Launches Private Label ‘Smart Buy’

Ecommerce platform Flipkart has launched its first private label business under an umbrella brand called Flipkart Smart Buy. According to a source, the company will be launching another private label in early 2017 and will target companies like electronics, accessories, home decor, and furniture.

BookMyShow Rolls Out A New App

The new app comes with a host of features such as choice of multiple languages like Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and Kannada besides the default English language option. To aid easy discoverability, users can now choose their preferred movie by filtering them either by language or by cinema. New features such as Mini Maps have been introduced for movies as well as events to give a user a birds’ eye view of the full layout of the premises.

Other Developments Of The Week

Industrybuying Introduces RS Pro (UK) Product Range In India

B2B e-commerce company Industrybuying has announced the launch of high-quality RS Pro UK brand products in India. With this launch, Industrybuying anticipates extending its international products’ offerings and brands that are inaccessible to Indian customers. This will also help Industrybuying in assessing the product offering gaps in the market and incorporating best practices in procurement.

Uber Ties Up With Coverfox

Online insurance portal Coverfox has inked an exclusive partnership with Uber in India to facilitate car insurance solutions for its driver partners as part of Uber’s exclusive reward-oriented program, UberCLUB. Uber driver partners will have easy access to avail car insurance with best-in-class insurance premium rates and a host of value added services like insurance advice from experts through one-on-one interaction and Express Claims Service to name a few.

FreeCharge Partners With IFC

Digital payments platform FreeCharge has partnered with International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of World Bank Group, to help women entrepreneurs sell their products on Snapdeal. This partnership will support startups and early-stage women entrepreneurs to join the ecommerce platform for the first time. The programme will also address their non-financial needs through skills and capacity building.

nexGTv Enables Mobile Carrier Billing In UAE, Sri Lanka, and Qatar

Subscription-led video entertainment app, nexGTv, has enabled mobile carrier billing for its users in three key international markets. The development will allow nexGTv users in UAE, Sri Lanka, and Qatar to enjoy its expansive catalogue of entertainment content by paying for their subscriptions through Dubai Telecom, Dialog, and Ooredoo respectively.

ToneTag Unveils Cashless Payments

ToneTag has introduced mobile payments through feature phones. The technology enables anyone with a standard phone to make cashless payments seamlessly without having to download an app or worrying about internet connectivity. This means that small town and rural consumers will become part of the digital payment ecosystem by just dialling ToneTag’s toll-free number 180030101887.

ClearTax Launches ClearTaxStartup

Income tax returns e-filing website ClearTax has launched the ClearTaxStartup programme, a business platform that provides holistic and premium business services and helps new entrepreneurs to navigate the maze of setting up a business. Services delivered to the startup will be done using ClearTax’s proprietary cloud-based platform and workflow management system which ensures visibility, transparency, timeliness and accuracy of service delivery by an expert at every micro-step.

Trainman Partners With Ola

Trainman, the online platform that caters to Indian Railway travellers by assisting them with extensive train-related information and intelligence, has partnered with Ola. The tie-up enables Trainman consumers to book Ola rides while travelling to and from railway stations or anywhere in the city. The service will be made available to users of the Trainman android app across India where Ola is currently operational.

Available in seven Indian languages apart from English, namely, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu and Bengali Trainman has close to 6 lakh app downloads and receives over 2.5 lakh visits a day across its site and app.

Punjab National Bank Partners With Ola

Ola has partnered with Punjab National Bank (PNB) to aid cash withdrawals for the citizens of Delhi NCR. The month-long activity that started on December 1 has served more than 15,000 customers in the city and will continue for the next three weeks. PNB ATM machine equipped Ola cabs are stationed in areas like Gurugram, Laxminagar, Janakpuri, Civil Lines, AIIMS, NSP, Manesar, Nehru Place, Bhikaji Cama Place, Mayur Vihar, Faridabad, Tilak Nagar, Rajouri Garden and Greater Kailash; with Ola volunteers and PNB executives, to assist people in withdrawing cash without any hassle.

Network 18 & Babajob.com Become Partners

Babajob.com has partnered with Network18’s PRADESH 18 that will help the platform in connecting with their potential employers and job seekers, but also help the news portal provide significant value to their audience base. By simply giving a missed call on 0-888-000-4444, a job seeker can build his or her profile and search jobs with ease through their feature mobile phones. They have a different number of employers – 8880006666 – who want to reach them to hire. Pradesh18 last month reached out to 15 Mn unique users last month with more than 50 Mn Page views.

Author

Meha Agarwal

Inc42 Staff

Meha has engineering and MBA degrees, but she has always been a writer at heart. It was the perfect combination of utilising her research and analytical skills and her enthusiasm for writing that sparked her interest in writing about the Indian startup ecosystem – the latest tech and gadgets and the startups that create them. She is always on the lookout for industry-specific stories in niche areas of interest such as ecommerce, fintech, greentech and more.

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