We bring to you the latest edition of News Roundup: Indian Startup Stories Of The Week!
In one of the most important developments this week, the union cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had approved the Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill, which is said to protect the personal and sensitive data of Indian citizens. The bill was tabled in parliament on Wednesday and is still under review. The bill contains broad guidelines on the data collection, storage and processing of personal data, consent of individuals, penalties and compensation, code of conduct and an enforcement model among others.
The initial draft was introduced by the chairman of expert’s committee, Justice BN Srikrishna in 2018. However, the current PDP bill, 2019 which is now designed by the government, calls for a lot of speculation. The committee chairman himself had shown signs of disappointment with the new PDP bill proposed by the government.
Several industry stakeholders and companies across industries, including epharmacy, social media and others, have also raised several questions among the authorities and opposition leaders related to the data privacy of Indian citizens and the government’s hidden motive behind the access of personal information of Indian users. The bill allows law enforcement to use personal data without consent.
Companies claim the policy and stringent rules by the Data Protection Authority (DPA) will hamper business in the country and isolate India in the global economy as service providers who do not comply will the law will not be able to offer their services in the country.
However, the government is optimistic about the PDP bill and believes that this would help them in ensuring the safety of Indian citizens as it embellishes data localisation and helps the government monitor data misuse in the future. If the bill is passed in the parliament, the tech companies are likely to get two years time to comply with India’s data protection bill.
Bookmyshow Revenue Jumps Up By 52%
As per filings by parent company Bigtree Entertainment, online ticketing platform Bookmyshow has narrowed down its net loss by 30% from INR 161.44 Cr in 2018 to INR 115.19 Cr in the financial year ending March 2019. The company has witnessed a 52% jump in terms of revenue. It generated a revenue of INR 619 Cr in FY19 as compared to INR 406 Cr last year.
In the past two financial years, the company has nearly doubled its income, where the total revenue for FY18 saw a rise of 20% compared to previous year’s INR 332.38 Cr income. In terms of expenses, Bookmyshow reported 30% higher expenses at INR 733.55 Cr in FY19. The expenses include employee benefits and marketing costs. It reported a net loss of INR 115.19 Cr, a 30% slump compared to FY18, where it was INR 161.44 Cr. This year, the company noted an increase in online ticketing, live events and turnkey ticketing. It has invested heavily in developing tech abilities.
Ola Denies Massive Layoffs
Bengaluru-based cab-hailing unicorn Ola has denied laying off around 20% of its workforce, as reports said 1K employees were let go in a measure to cut costs. However, Ola spokesperson told Inc42 that it laid off only 5 to 7% of 4,500 employees. The company said that the decision comes as part of relocating the resources within its group companies.
Earlier last month, Ola reportedly confirmed laying off around 7-8% of its employees. It had said that the employees were transferred to other ventures, including Ola Electric, Ola Financial Services and Ola Foods among others.
PhonePe Super App Plan Gets A Push
The online payment company PhonePe raised INR 585.66 Cr ($80.26 Mn) from its Singapore-based parent entity PhonePe Pvt Ltd, formerly called Flipkart Payments. In a Ministry of Corporate filings accessed by Inc42, Phonepay has allotted 13,81,278 shares to its parent company at a premium of INR 4,230 per share. Prior to this, Phonepe’s parent company had infused INR 698 Cr in the digital payments company.
The recent investment is expected to help Phonepe strengthen its position in the mushrooming payments segment in India where it competes with the likes of Paytm, Google Pay, and Amazon Pay among others.
Binny Bansal’s Xto10X Flies To Singapore
Former Flipkart CEO Binny Bansal-led software and consulting company Xto10X recently expanded into the Southeast Asia market by setting up an office in Singapore. The company plans to help startups in this region. As part of investing and mentoring startups in these regions, Binny Bansal will be moving to Singapore to support the team and will be serving as an advisor to startups based in Southeast Asia. Chai Jia Ji, a former executive at Airbnb will be heading the operations in the region.
Google Recommends UPI Payment System To The US
The tech giant Google recently submitted a letter to the United States Federal Reserve Bank for the bank’s plans to introduce FedNow, a new interbank real-time gross settlement (RTGS) service. Citing the example of Unified Payments Interface (UPI) success in India, the company said it supports inclusive and open digital payments and recommended that FedNow also develop an open payment system akin to UPI.
FLP-Visa To Build India’s Mobile-First Credit Card
First Principle Labs Technologies, Pune-based fintech startup recently partnered with global card payments company Visa to launch India’s mobile-first credit card. The mobile applications developed by FPL will provide users to manage their credit life cycle. With this collaboration, FPL will issue credit cards in partnerships with banks. Through Visa’s technology, the banks will get global acceptance footprint to make the credit card available across various use cases.
Walmart, Flipkart Invests In Ninjacart
The supply chain startup Ninjacart gets backing from Walmart and Flipkart, where both the companies have announced a joint strategic investment. Through this collaboration, the company is said to bring high-quality fresh produce to more retailers and consumers across India. Additionally, it will also be boosting farmer income and arresting revenue leaks in the agrarian economy.
With this, Niacart will be expanding its customer base, reach new cities and gain exposure to create global best practices to increase the efficiency of the local fresh produce ecosystem.
Big Blow For Shein, Club Factory As Import Of Goods As Gifts Barred
Chinese ecommerce companies Shein and Club Factory who have been caught importing ecommerce orders as gifts to avoid paying duty in the past might be hit by the new customs rules in India. On Thursday, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade under the ministry of commerce prohibited the import of goods under ‘gifts’. The trade body further clarified that a gift with rakhi is also prohibited. Hence, the import of goods as gifts with “payment of full applicable duties is allowed.”
Myntra Ties Up With Pernia’s Pop Up Shop
Online fashion platform Myntra recently partnered with multi-brand luxury wear marketplace Pernia’s Pop Up Shop to enter the luxury fashion segment. With this collaboration, Myntra’s customers will be able to shop designer wear which goes up to INR 1.5 Lakh in terms of pricing. Additionally, the platform will be offering premium women’s apparel from around 25 Indian designers wear labels including Gopi Vaid, Namrata Joshipura, Masaba Gupta and Ritu Kumar.
Blue Origin Brings Human Spaceflight Closer With Record New Shepard Launch
Jeff Bezos-owned Blue Origin successfully launched its New Shepard spacecraft from Blue Origin’s West Texas flight facility on Wednesday. This was a sixth successful attempt done by New Shepard, in terms of flights and safe landing on Earth.
The reusable vertical-takeoff-vertical-landing (VTVL) space vehicle New Shepard was launched by proprietary BE-3 engine (Blue Engine 3). It has been preparing to take astronauts to space since 2018. This mission marked the ninth commercial payload mission for New Shepard and also onboarded its 100th customer.
WeWork’s Failure Now A TV Show
The bitter reality of WeWork in the recent past will be turned into a television drama. Actor Nicholas Braun will be playing Adam Neumann in the upcoming limited television series.
The television series will be based on an upcoming book coauthored by Wall Street Journal reporters Eliot Brown and Maureen Farrell. The book is said to be published by Penguin Random House imprint Crown. For television series, Chernin Entertainment and Endeavor Content have acquired the copyrights.
Canada Electric Plane
Magnix, an Australia-based electric motor manufacturer for electric aircraft in collaboration with Canada-based seaplane airline Harbour Air recently tested out world’s first all-electric seaplane called DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver in Vancouver, Canada. The company said that this marks the start of the third era in aviation, the electric age.
Stay tuned for the next edition of Roundup!