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News Roundup: 9 Stories You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [30 January – 4 February]

News Roundup: 9 Stories You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [30 January – 4 February]

After last minute questions on whether the Union Budget 2017-18 will be presented on account of the demise of a sitting Member of Parliament, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the most awaited first budget post- demonetisation. From focussing on rural India, to digital India, to infrastructure, to real estate, to the salaried class to startups, he has tried to include something for everyone without going too far down the populist path.

Next up, US corporates have started revolting against Trump’s immigration ban. Ecommerce giant Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos has publicly taken a stand to oppose and criticise the order, along with Google, Facebook, Netflix, and Airbnb.

Important Developments Of The Week

Ola’s Valuation Takes A Downfall

American investment management company, Vanguard Group has slashed the valuation of its stake in Ola, the homegrown ridesharing platform. US-based Vanguard World Fund has marked down the value of its holdings in Ola’s parent firm ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd by over 40%.

Times Internet Launches ETInsure

Times Internet has launched an online insurance distribution platform, ETInsure. It claims to provide a transparent and user-friendly experience to its users. The mobile-responsive platform currently offers insurance services across car and two-wheeler segments from seven insurance companies.

Amazon Plans To Set Up Food Venture

Amazon now wants to enter the food etailing business. It has sought government approval to invest $500 Mn in a wholly-owned food venture in India that will allow it to stock locally produced food items and sell them online. The ecommerce giant has filed its application with Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) and plans to invest the money over five years.

Hero Electric Launches E-Scooter

A flagship company of the Hero Eco Group, Hero Electric has launched its latest product ‘FLASH.’ With the launch of FLASH, Hero Electric hopes to herald a new generation of riders. Founded in 1993, Hero Electric entered the electric two-wheeler segment after 12 years of research in the EV segment with its wide range of electric two-wheelers.

ICICI Bank Recommences UPI Transactions Via PhonePe

ICICI bank has allowed its customers to process UPI transactions via the Flipkart-owned wallet PhonePe, again. The bank resumed UPI transactions via PhonePe on February 1, 2017, after the guidelines for the Android Intent Call ended.

Ola, Uber In Trouble Again

Karnataka’s Transport department reportedly gave a three-day deadline to online cab aggregators, Ola and Uber, to stop their cab-sharing services in the state. Earlier this week, Karnataka’s Transport Commissioner M K Aiyappa declared the cab-sharing services of online cab aggregators as ‘illegal.’ In response, Uber started an online petition in the state, urging users and citizens of the state to support UberPOOL.

Idea Cellular Forays Into Ecommerce

Mumbai-based Indian mobile network operator, Idea Cellular will soon launch its own ecommerce platform for mobile services and devices, later this year. In a bid to transform into a digital services provider, the telco firm has also announced the launch of three apps —Music Lounge, Movie Club, and Game Spark.

Other Developments

Saavn Launches Programmatic Audio Advertising

Saavn has announced the launch of programmatic audio advertising in India. The platform is created in partnership with AdsWizz. It automates the real-time buying, targeting, optimisation, and reporting of audio ad inventory into a few simple steps. Major brands across India, including Saavn’s current base of over 250 advertisers, can now use relevant data to significantly simplify the process to access and communicate with Saavn’s 20 million unique listeners. Omnicom Media Group and its renowned clients plan to access Saavn’s digital audio advertising inventory.  In order to streamline operations, Omnicom’s clients are able to purchase audio inventory without wasting time in a lengthy direct sales process, protracted negotiation, and tedious campaign setup.

LawRato Ties Up For Promotion Of Jolly LLB2

LawRato, a legal advice and lawyer search platform, has tied up for a co-branded promotion with Jolly LLB2, starring Akshay Kumar and Huma Qureshi, in association with Fox Star Studios. The promotion includes a meet-and-greet programme with Jolly LLB2 star Akshay Kumar and movie tickets for the same. The contest is being held between January 31, 2017 till February 7, 2017, to drive brand awareness among audiences.

Industrybuying Announces Affiliate Programme In B2B Ecommerce

B2B ecommerce company, Industrybuying has announced the launch of its first ever affiliate programme called ‘IB Affiliate.’ This programme is essentially a marketing tool that will enable publishers to monetise their content by advertising contextually relevant products and referring visitors to the Industrybuying site.

The company will provide a cost-per-action advertising model where affiliate partners earn a percentage-based referral fee if a customer clicks the product link (created by that associate) and makes a purchase on the Industrybuying website.

RapidoPOOL Launches On Demand Bike Pool

Rapido, a platform providing bike taxi service has launched another service, an on-demand bike pool to reach out to more consumer needs. Bike Pooling essentially helps people travelling through the same route to share their ride. Rapido believes the service can be one of the major things which can solve the transportation problem in India.

Bloomberg|Quint Hits 1 Mn Monthly Users

Bloomberg|Quint has launched its first major feature – comprehensive coverage of the Union Budget on the back of stellar growth on its digital platform. The premier business and financial news brand crossed 1 Mn monthly users on its platform within 6 months of going live and a month after exiting its ‘beta’ phase. Bloomberg|Quint is a partnership between Bloomberg Media and Quintillion Media, founded by serial entrepreneur Raghav Bahl.

Staqu Collaborates With Intex

Gurugram-based artificial intelligence startup Staqu has announced its association with consumer technology company, Intex. As part of the association, Staqu announced the launch of Vistoso, an AI-enabled Neural Graphic Technology transforming everyday images into artistic and classic portraits. Taking that a step ahead, users can also order apparel and merchandise customised via the same images, the orders being fulfilled by VistaPrint, providing finest quality printed products at affordable prices.

Airbnb Signs MoU With The Andhra Pradesh Tourism Department

Airbnb, a global home sharing venture, has signed an MoU with the Department of Tourism, Government of Andhra Pradesh to help promote Andhra Pradesh’s rich art, cultural, and craft heritage to a global audience. The deal will help rural artisans engaged in creating the flagship craft works of Andhra Pradesh to list their accommodations and experiences on the Airbnb platform for domestic and international travelers visiting Andhra Pradesh.

Simplilearn Launches JobAssist™

Bridging the gap between job aspirations of candidates and skill expectations of hiring companies, professional certification training provider Simplilearn has announced the launch of its new value-added service – JobAssist™.  JobAssist is a placement assistance service that is aimed at placing Simplilearn graduates in front of the top hiring companies for relevant job openings, based on the industry skill requirements.

GOQii Expands Into Cardiovascular Healthcare

GOQii,a global health ecosystem and preventive health platform has introduced its latest service offering – GOQii Heart Care which focusses on cardiovascular health. The key feature of this service is its ability to connect consumers to cardiovascular specialists through the GOQii application and a new GOQii tracker which has capabilities to measure heart rate.  For this new service, GOQii has partnered with Max Hospital, known for its specialised heart care facilities.

epaathsala Launches ERP Solution For Institutes

epaathsala, a Bengaluru-based startup has launched the first-of-its-kind, end-to-end integrated accreditation and ERP technology solution for managing colleges and universities with multiple accreditations for standards such as NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council) and NBA (National Board of Accreditation) etc. The accreditation assists institutions to get access to more funding, improve the quality of education and get higher student enrollment ratio. Releases Chat SDK, an AI startup has released its Software Development Kit (SDK) for businesses to sell smart with AI. The SDK empowers brands to enable conversational commerce on their mobile and web apps. Post the SDK integration, brands can offer multiple services, which are built on’s custom Natural Language Processing and Machine Learning technologies, and add value for their consumers.

Indian Express Group Launches in Kerala

Growing from 4.5 Mn unique visitors a month to 75 Mn unique visitors a month over the past four years, Indian Express Digital has emerged as India’s third-largest digital news players. In keeping up with this rapid growth, it has now stepped into regional language segment with operating out of Kerala. It will be a completely ad-free platform. This, along with custom fonts and a cleaner page design, gives the user a far superior experience than the other local news sites that have been in the market. The launch of ieMalayalam comes a week after the launch of — a tech review platform for experienced gadget fans.

Rubique Launches Rubique Advantage

With technology at the core of Rubique’s vision, it has announced the addition of new technology features in its platform. The Rubique Advantage feature will now enable users to get their loan applications processed faster through e-KYC, enhanced logic in proprietary matchmaking algorithm and addition of new data science methodologies. They can also receive online in-principle approval on few products and keep a track of their status through their Rubique account.

Paytm’s Journey Now A Part Of The Harvard Business School Case Study

Paytm revealed recently that it has been included as a case study by the India Research Center of the Harvard Business School. The study focusses on the company’s journey from being an online recharge platform to now building India’s largest mobile payments platform. The company’s unique focus on enabling offline payments even for the smallest retailers and businesses by using smartphones and QR codes that has disrupted the payments ecosystem in India, is a part of the case study. The study titled  ‘Paytm: Building a Payments Network’ is currently in the process of being published and will be available for teaching purposes both within and outside Harvard.

Handikart Announces Global Selling Programme

Taking skilled craftsmanship beyond the geographical boundaries of India, – an online handicrafts store that offers an assorted range of genuine handicraft products from India announced its global selling programme. Under this, will be delivering products worldwide, including the US, UK, Middle East, and Latin America.