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News Roundup:  11 Startup Stories You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [9 January – 14 January]

News Roundup:  11 Startup Stories You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [9 January – 14 January]

Amazon India Head Amit Agarwal has apologised to Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj on the issue of selling Indian flag-themed doormats in Canada and the US. Apparently, the ecommerce retailer has also pulled down the product from its Canadian unit.

The demand came in after a Twitter user shared that the company’s Canadian unit was selling doormats bearing the likeness of the Indian flag. Also, the company was notified to withdraw all such products. In case of failure, Sushma had threatened to stop issuing visas to the company’s employees and cancel those already granted.

In another development, Yahoo has been rebranded to ‘Altaba,’ leaving the $4.8 Bn buyout by Verizon uncertain. The concluding part to this announcement is the stepping down of beleaguered CEO Marissa Mayer, who has been struggling for years to keep the company afloat, after the formation of the new outfit.

Important Developments Of The Week

Jugnoo Launches Menus; Forays Into Mid-Night Meal Delivery Service

On-demand autorickshaw aggregator Jugnoo has forayed into restaurant food delivery segment, with the launch of ‘Menus’. The company is betting big on its in-house logistics services and will now allow consumers to order food from empanelled restaurants on Menus.

Also, the company has expanded its Meals category with mid-night delivery service. Effectively gratifying its customer demands, the late night service is aimed at filling in the gap of midnight food service in the tri-city area, offering quality home-style food with doorstep delivery at reasonable prices.

Airtel Payments Bank Commits $440 Mn Investment

Airtel Payments Bank has finally begun operations in 29 states of the country. With this move, Airtel aims to take digital banking services to the unbanked over their mobile phones in a quick and efficient manner, especially in the rural areas. Also, it has committed to an initial investment of $440 Mn (INR 3000 Cr) to develop a pan-India banking network and digital payments ecosystem.

BYJU’s To Launch International App

The company will soon be launching the international version of its app. The new version will be targeting school students in countries such as the US, UK, Australia, and South Africa.

Government To Help E-Vehicle Projects

Taking the Make In India campaign a step ahead, the government has announced to bear up to 60% of the research and development (R&D) costs for developing indigenous, low-cost, electric technology. The project will be undertaken under the Technology Platform for Electric Mobility (TPEM) – a joint initiative of the departments of heavy industry (DHI) and science and technology (DST).

Zeta Launches Paperless LTA Claims Platform

Mumbai-based Zeta, a fintech startup offering smart employee benefits for tax saving under its Optima brand, has launched the first, fully digital Leave Travel Allowance (LTA) solution. The new Optima LTA Card will help organisations manage employees’ leave travel allowance claims/reimbursements digitally and enable employees to submit these claims instantly.

Now Pension, Insurance Regulators To Fund Startups

In a bid to offer easy access to capital for upcoming entrepreneurs the Indian government has suggested that it will hold talks with pension and insurance fund regulators to invest in the startup ecosystem. The DIPP invited feedback and suggestions from the incubators on the Start-up India Action plan as well. The said meeting will be held on February 20, 2017. DIPP will also look into old laws which need revisiting such as the Societies Act of 1860.

Freecharge Partners With IndusOS

Mobile wallet firm FreeCharge has partnered with India’s second-most popular mobile operating system Indus OS, for direct integration on smartphones using the platform. With the move, FreeCharge expects to tap the 6 Mn+ existing Indus OS user base and new users of Indus OS powered-devices. This is likely to boost its recharge transactions and volumes by nearly 20%.

IRCTC Launches Revamped Rail Connect App

Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corp. Ltd (IRCTC) has introduced a revamped version of IRCTC Rail Connect for faster and easier rail ticket booking. The new features include simplicity, an easy-to-use interface, and mobile friendliness along with an additional layer of security.

Paytm Adds New Feature To Its App

Paytm has added new features to its mobile app to offer a more intuitive user experience while introducing an array of new features ranging from being able to accept up to INR 50,000 for merchants and additional security layers for users. The updated app remains light and loads 3X faster even on low-end smartphones and slow network areas.

Other Developments

TicketGoose Partners With

Online bus ticketing company has partnered, a startup focussed on artificial intelligence, to provide customers with a simplified and convenient bus ticket booking experience with the launch of an intuitive chatbot. This partnership is aimed at enhancing the customer experience on the mobile app. The partnership will enable customers to book bus tickets online through conversing with Niki on the TicketGoose mobile app.

Capital Float Achieves 400% Growth

Capital Float, a leading digital lending platform has claimed to have delivered 400% growth, both in terms of value of loans disbursed and the number of customers. Strategic partnerships with companies like Snapdeal, Shopclues, PayTM, OfBusiness, and Industrybuying, among others, have also aided Capital Float to make the most of the opportunity in this fast growing market.

BYG Partners With Nearbuy, Ola, Snapdeal, And Giftxoxo

BYG (Book Your Game), an online aggregator of fitness centres in India has introduced a feature called BYGPASS. It is an all-access pass that lets users access to over 30 types of workouts at more than 3,000 fitness centres across top cities in the country. BYG has also partnered with OLA, Snapdeal, Giftxoxo, and Nearbuy, among other brands, to make the BYGPASS available on their platform.

Revv Launches One-Way Product For Urban Commuting

Revv, the Delhi-NCR based shared mobility solutions platform, is launching a new product for customers looking to use car-sharing for urban commute purposes. The product is slated to go live next week. Users will be able to rent a car, have it delivered to their place, and have it picked up from a different place within the same city. The newly-launched product comes on the heels of Revv’s freshly acquired Series A round of funds led by Edelweiss Private Equity.

HackerEarth Enters North America And Japan

HackerEarth, today announced its entry into the global markets through reseller partnerships with DICE in the US and Webstaff in Japan. HackerEarth is a hub for programmers to practice and improve their programming skills, compete in coding challenges/hackathons and showcase their profile. Businesses use HackerEarth to assess the technical skills of developers and build developer relations. Through these partnerships, HackerEarth’s core products, the Recruit and Sprint, will now be available in North America and Japan.

TeaBox Reaches Over 100 Countries

Mumbai-based ecommerce team company TeaBox has reached more than 100 countries globally in the span of four years. It is currently creating a market for Indian tea across the globe, including countries such as the US, Russia, Kiribati, Siberia, Federated states of Micronesia, Chile, Argentina, Fiji, and the Ural Mountains (Siberia).

Aeris Partners With MapMyIndia

IoT company Aeris has formed a partnership with MapmyIndia, working in the space of digital maps, global positioning system (GPS) navigation, tracking, location-based apps, and geographic information system (GIS) solutions. They will now jointly address the market by offering geo-spatial intelligence-based IoT solutions in India.