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News Roundup: 11 Startup Stories You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [23 January – 28 January]

News Roundup: 11 Startup Stories You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [23 January – 28 January]

In the latest episode of PhonePe versus ICICI bank, the former has temporarily stopped payments via the UPI (United Payments Interface) option, days after launching it on the platform. The move from Flipkart-owned PhonePe, has come as a result of the ongoing battle between ICICI and PhonePe, where the National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI), has now declared that the app is not interoperable as per UPI guidelines.

Important Developments Of The Week

Karnataka Government Declares Ride Sharing Services Illegal

Karnataka’s Transport Commissioner M K Aiyappa has declared the cab-sharing services of online cab aggregators Uber and Ola as ‘illegal.’ The government will take action against the violators after conducting a meeting with the company representatives on Monday, January 30th, 2017. Uber and Ola had introduced ride-sharing services by the names of ‘Uber Pool’ and ‘Ola Share’, respectively, in order to facilitate rides at lower rates and improve traffic conditions as well.

Government Of India Integrates DigiLocker With UIDAI

The key initiative under Digital India, DigiLocker has now been integrated with UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India), as a registered issuer. Registered Issuers are the entities who are authorised to issue e-documents to individuals in a standard format, making them electronically available, e.g. CBSE, Registrar Office, Income Tax department, etc. This integration will enable more than 1.09 Bn (INR 109 Cr) people in India to access their digital Aadhaar through the DigiLocker desktop and mobile applications, as the DigiLocker Blog.

Swiss Fintech Delegation Visits India

A fintech delegation from Swiss corporates and academia visited India on a whirlwind, one-week fintech tour as part of the Swissnex initiative to connect Switzerland and India in science, education, art, and innovation. The fintech tour, included pioneering companies from Swiss fintech space like Qumram AG, investiere, B-saferand newly-launched ValUbot.

Ola, Uber Drivers To Increase Protest

In the wake of the recent strike between cab aggregators Ola, Uber, and their drivers, the government has backed out of the tiff, saying that it cannot intervene in the matter. Cab drivers in Bengaluru have started an indefinite strike as a result of the companies’ move to acquire more cars, that has led to shrinking incentives for the current drivers.

Okinawa Launches E-Scooters In India

E-automobile manufacturer, Okinawa Autotech Pvt. Ltd has launched an e-vehicle named ‘RIDGE’- with zero emission and clock speeds of 55+ km/hr. With only a normal charging duration of 6-8 hours, Okinawa’s e-scooters can reportedly cover distances of almost 200 km in upcoming models. Being an Indian company, the founder’s vision is to be a leading electric two-wheeler manufacturer by offering a solution to the daily commuting needs of the average person. They plan to invest $40 Mn in the next three years.

UKTI’s Tech Rocketship Award Winners Head For A Business Trip To UK

The 10 winners of the UK Trade and Investment’s (UKTI) Tech Rocketship Awards are headed off to UK along with the two winners of their Dev Tech awards from 29 January -3 February 2017. The TECH Rocketship Awards are aimed at fostering technology, innovation, and collaboration between startups, universities, and industry leaders in India and in the UK. The top 10 startups have won a trip to the UK and a chance to pitch in front of potential investors. The winners were selected from over 10,000 companies evaluated in a multi-city tour. Out of the 600 companies shortlisted in the first phase, 35 emerged successful in the pre-finals.

Jugnoo Partners With Yatra, Unveils Subscription Model

Jugnoo, a hyperlocal startup, power-driven by its vast auto-rickshaw network, has announced its partnership with online travel giant Yatra.com, in a bid to maximise its user base across Tier II & Tier III cities, by facilitating better commuting options. With this association, Jugnoo becomes the first auto aggregator to tie-up with Yatra. Customers will now be able to access Jugnoo’s services via Yatra’s mobile app (both Andriod and iOS version).

Also, adding value to its bouquet of services, Jugnoo has unveiled a brand new ‘Jugnoo Star subscription model’ for customers in Chandigarh Tricity. The subscription comes with two star plans viz INR 199 per month and INR 999 per year. With these subscription packages, users now have a chance to grab great cashback offers and enjoy exemption from various forms of service charges.

OYO Launches OYO Townhouse

OYO, an online hotel aggregator company has launched OYO Townhouse, positioned as a friendly neighbourhood hotel. OYO’s innovation in this all-new category of neighbourhood stays is targeted at millennials, for whom price, convenience and a differentiated experience play an important role in determining choices. Unlike the one-size-fits-all approach of traditional hotel chains, every Townhouse is designed to complement its neighbourhood.

Indian Express Digital Launches Techook

Publication major Indian Express Digital has launched a stack-based portal for tech gadgets, Techook. The platform aims to simplify the process of buying a smartphone and is enabled with a card-based User Interface for both, desktop and mobile. The platform claims to focus on ensuring information credibility and data-backed review processes for gadgets.

FreeCharge Launches ‘Google Play’ Category

FreeCharge, a digital payments platform, has launched ‘Google Play’ category on its app and website. Through the new category, FreeCharge will allow consumers to buy a Google Play recharge code on its platforms. Customers can select the ‘Google Play’ option on their FreeCharge app & website, enter their mobile number, enter the desired amount, make payment, and receive a Google Play recharge code. Payment for these recharge codes can be done using FreeCharge wallet balance, debit cards, credit cards, Netbanking or UPI. The recharge code can be redeemed instantly through the “Redeem Now” link on the Google Play store.

Other Developments Of The Week

Paytm Now Accepted Across All Major Hospital Chains In India

Paytm has partnered with several hospital chains to expand its acceptance across the country’s healthcare sector. The company’s new tie-ups cover a wide range of outlets including pathology labs, diagnostic centres, pharmacies and hospitals like SRL, Thyrocare, Dr Lal Pathlabs, 98.4, Dr Batra’s, Fortis, Max and Apollo Group Hospitals. Registering more than 75,000 transactions a day, the company is looking to achieve more than one million transactions a day.

Rentomojo Launches Bikes On Subscription Model

RentoMojo, a  leading subscription-based furniture company has expanded into automobile space. They have launched bikes on a subscription model for consumers in Pune, Bengaluru, Delhi, and Mumbai. With this launch, RentoMojo aims to solve problems for working class professionals tired of waiting for the cabs, tired of getting a “No” or negotiating with the auto guys and pioneer the ‘New Mobility’ economy in India. Also, RentoMojo has recently released a quirky and interesting digital campaign on “Smart ownership”. The campaign creatively builds awareness among consumers about smarter lifestyle choices with rental subscriptions without actually owning.

Tapzo Hits More Than 100K Daily Transactions

Tapzo claimed to be India’s first all-in-one app, has hit 1,00,000 daily transactions up from 65,000 daily transactions from December 2016. During the same time, the company hit $72 Mn annual GMV run rate on the back of its successful TV branding campaign. With 5 lakh visits from across the nation, Tapzo saw 79 transactions per minute and now has 3.5 Mn installs.

back2basics Launches Its Mobile Cart

back2basics, an organic farming body that sells farm-fresh produce, has announced the launch of its Mobile Cart – an innovative store-on-wheels that delivers organic fruits & vegetables to select gated communities and apartments across Bengaluru. With this launch, back2basics aims to extend its services on a broader scale with a transparent and unadulterated production and delivery process that directly delivers farm-fresh produce straight from the farm to the customer’s home.

Rapido Rebrands To Rapido Captain

Bike Ride-sharing startup Rapido has rebranded itself to Rapido Captain. The startup currently has more than 10000+ DAU & 1 Lakh+ MAU & more than 1,50,000 registered customers. Also, they have more than 5,000 rider partners registered on the platform.

Meru Restructures Its Service Offerings

Meru cab service has launched a new line of services and revamped its mobile app – “Meru Cabs”. The company has added three new categories – Sedan, Hatchback, and SUV – as separate services at competitive pricing compared to any other service available in the market. Available exclusively on Meru’s mobile app, the new categories have been first launched in Mumbai and will be available in other cities over the next few months. Within last month, Meru has attached over 2000 cabs for the new categories in Mumbai city that are priced at Rs.9/km for Hatchback, Rs.10/km for Sedan & SUV at Rs.15/Km.

Now Capital Partners With Kwals

Delhi based investment and advisory firm Now Capital Group, has partnered with and infused funding into KWALS Group, a leading food court operator in India and operator of major food brands such as the upcoming American restaurant chain- IHOP. The aim is to further increase the portfolio and scale of both companies. In addition to the current capital infused by KWALS and Now Capital, the firms plan to infuse over $29.3 Mn (INR 200 Cr) to execute their national expansion strategy through organic growth and acquisitions of key businesses.

UberEATS Coming Soon To India

UberEATs, an on-demand food delivery app powered by Uber will soon be coming to India. UberEATS was started in 2014 as a small delivery pilot in Los Angeles. Currently, its operational in 58 cities around the globe. Following India, the app will be launched in Bangkok, Singapore, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Taipei.

Bengaluru-Based Xoxoday Enters US

Mahindra Group-backed Xoxoday, the newly-minted entity formed by the merger of the experiential gifting solutions firms Giftxoxo and Frogo, is in the process of going global. The merged entity Xoxoday currently has over 700 enterprises, including Infosys, Snapdeal, Flipkart, Adobe, Google, Boston Consulting Group, HCL, World Bank, L&T etc. to name a few. It has served to over 200,000 guests last year through 5000 registered partners across the country.

NoBroker.com Launches In Gurgaon

NoBroker.com, a brokerage-free property search portal that connects flat owners and tenants directly with each other has announced its launch in the real estate market of Gurugram. NoBroker has served 1.5 Mn customers till now and is adding more than 1 lakh new registered customers on a monthly basis and witnessing 5 lakh customer connections every month.

Medikoe Launches ‘WE’

Medikoe, an online medical platform to provide value-added offers on 360-degree Healthcare & Wellness  products  and services, has launched an innovative platform called, ‘WE’. As claimed in an official statement, this is for the first time in the world that an online medical platform has come up with a social health network with more than 2000+ content pieces, more than 100 establishments.

Revv Launches Operations In 3 New Cities

Revv, the Delhi-NCR based shared mobility platform is planning to launch its car sharing services in three new cities – Mumbai, Chennai and Jaipur. Chennai and Jaipur are live already and Mumbai is slated to go live later this month. All three cities get a brand new fleet, which includes hatchbacks, sedans and SUVs. The fleet has been curated to fit the needs of the customers, based on the demand pattern in these markets. Revv is already available in DelhiNCR, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chandigarh.

CASHe Partners With Paytm And Andromeda

CASHe, a loan giving app for young salaried professionals has entered into a strategic sales partnership with financial distributor, Andromeda. With this, the customers registered with Andromeda will now have easy access to instant short-term credit facility from CASHe through its multiple loan options ranging from INR 5,000 to INR 1,00,000 payable over 15, 30 & 90 days. CASHe has also partnered with mobile payments and commerce firm, Paytm to allow its users to deposit cash transfers from CASHe to their Paytm wallets. With this integration, users of CASHe now have an option to transfer their loan amounts into their Paytm Wallets in part or in full and credit the rest of the amount into their bank accounts.

McDowell’s No. 1 Soda Partners With DriveU

McDowell’s No.1 Soda by United Spirits Limited – a Diageo Group Company has joined hands with the app based startup, DriveU which offers on-demand driver service, to launch a new feature within the app called SHARE, through which friends can commute together and share the cost. Through this long-term revenue sharing partnership, McDowell’s No.1 Soda will provide marketing support and generate demand for DriveU with an ambition of generating half a million downloads and completing 1 Mn rides in the first year of association. A strong mainstream and digital campaign will be rolled out with celebrity drivers championing for the SHARE feature. The partnership also supports United Spirit’s celebrate responsibly motto and will reinforce the Never Drink and Drive message.

Flock Launches The Budget Beat App

With Union Budget 2017 just around the corner, team messenger app Flock has launched the Budget Beat app to provide authentic, curated news, and views on the budget, right within Flock. Budget Beat shares all important tweets and updates, such as those by the finance minister, the PMO, and all major national publications. Moreover, the app features a Sensex ticker, which provides instant updates on the stock market, including the NSE and the BSE. Users can download the Budget Beat app from the Flock App Store. Once integrated, the app showcases the newsfeed in the side panel in Flock. Users can easily track the budget and its monetary implications in real time, without having to switch tabs or rely on second-hand updates.

DATAMAIL App Launches DATA RADIO

DataMail.Bharat, an email address service, which was launched about three months ago in India including 8 Indian languages and has now launched yet another feature called Data Radio. Data Radio is is designed to flash one-way information to the audience. Data Radio feature can be used by Ministries and the allied Departments in the Country, Panchayats, Banks, Education Universie, A’Lister personalities etc. to amplify their messages amongst their peer groups. Since Data Radio is a one way messaging feature it is designed to keep controls on revealing identities of neither the sender nor the receiver keeping them safe and secure from the malice of ‘TROLLS’.

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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