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News Roundup: 10 Startup Stories You Don’t Want To Miss This Week[27 February – 4 March]

News Roundup: 10 Startup Stories You Don’t Want To Miss This Week[27 February – 4 March]

CEO Travis Kalanick has recently come under the spotlight for arguing with one of his own drivers in a video. In the video, Kalanick is seen getting into a heated argument with one Fawzi Kamel, over Uber’s fares. Following the incident, Travis apologised to Kamel for treating him disrespectfully.

Next up, Uber India Head Amit Jain stated in a recent blog post that it is a “smaller numbers of individuals, who do not represent the majority of the driver community” who have been behind the protests in Delhi and Bengaluru. He also clarified issues around driver earnings and incentives and reiterated Uber’s commitment to the driver community and India for the long term.

Important Developments Of The Week

Ringing Bells CEO Arrested

Mohit Goel, Director of Noida-based Ringing Bells Pvt. Ltd which owns phone brand Freedom 251, was arrested after a FIR was filed by Ghaziabad-based Ayam Enterprises, accusing Ringing Bells of defrauding it to the tune of $23,932 (INR 16 Lakhs).

Tolexo To Fire 85% WorkForce

Sources claim that the move to fire 300 employees came as a result of reduced business after demonetisation. Reportedly, post-demonetisation, sales have drastically gone down and operations would considerably shrink. While around 30 to 35 people have been shifted to parent company IndiaMART, the rest have been asked to leave.

Grofers Partners With Reliance Fresh

In the first phase of a nationwide rollout, the partnership will bring Reliance Fresh stores in 14 cities onto the Grofers platform. Grofers users will be able to order from categories including groceries, fruits, vegetables and general merchandise from Reliance Fresh and Reliance Smart Outlets. The service will be available in – Bhubaneshwar, Ranchi, Madurai, Bhopal, and Kochi, along with existing cities in Grofers’ network – Gurugram, Jaipur, Indore, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Ahmedabad.

HomeShop18 Fires 200 Employees

The layoffs include employees across levels and was done in an effort to bring down the cost of operations. Homeshop18 posted losses of about $12.6 Mn (INR 84.2 Cr) for the period ended March 2016. The company employs 600 people, in all, and is looking at reducing staff strength by about 40%.

Paytm Launches Paytm Mall

It is inspired by the model of China’s largest business-to-consumer (B2C) retail platform, TMall. Currently available on Android, it is a new version of its three-year-old ecommerce arm and will offer a combination of the mall and bazaar concepts to Indian consumers.

LeEco Fires 85% Indian Workforce

As per sources close to development, the layoffs are a precursor to the company’s eventual exit from India. The company has fired employees in both the Delhi and Mumbai offices and further plans to layoff members of its research and development staff in Bengaluru office.

Snapdeal Vendors Get Nirmala Sitharaman’s Support

Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Ministry of Commerce & Industry has  stated that she is going to conduct an inquiry into the vendors’ complaints of default payments by the ecommerce unicorn. In February 2017, sellers went to Sitharaman to appeal to her to safeguard their money that Snapdeal holds, in the form of outstanding dues.

Flipkart Lowers Merchant Fees

With hopes to revive its sales volume, Flipkart has reduced its marketplace fees for sellers. Also, the company has reduced forward-shipping fees by at least 10% and the fixed fees it charges merchants for selling on the platform by more than 30%. These changes will bring down the overall cost of doing business through Flipkart by about INR 30 per unit (of 500 gms shipped in the same zone or state) on an average.

Other Developments

Urban Ladder Goes Offline

Urban Ladder has launched its first store-in-store, with Balini, a sub-brand of renowned furnishing brand Floating Walls Pvt. Ltd. The move aims to bridge the touch-and-feel gap for customers who prefer to shop offline.

DHL Express Introduces Flexible Delivery Options

The new service will enable shippers in India to give their receivers across the border, the power to select from a range of delivery options. With On-Demand Delivery, shippers can choose to activate specific delivery options, and transfer the power of choice to them. DHL Express will proactively notify customers via email or SMS about a shipment’s progress and, at the same time, allow receivers to select from a range of delivery options.

Mahindra Comviva launches Mobilytix

MobiLytixTM customer engagement for digital payments is an offering to drive a higher level of customer engagement in the digital payments space. MobiLytixTM revitalises existing mobile money life cycle leading to top-line as well as bottom-line growth.

PropUrban Launches In India

With real-time data as its core strength, the company has a strong research and advisory wing to help clients make informed property decisions. Based out of Bengaluru, PropUrban is a technology-driven platform to showcase, search and transact real estate business. It aggregates and showcases properties listed by individuals and institutional sellers to global investors and end-users, thereby making it an ideal platform for industry service providers and vendors.

Now Find a Shuttl On Google Maps

The latest integration enables users to find a Shuttl ride on Google Maps whenever the commuter searches for public transport between two locations. The feature is now live for users in Delhi/NCR region, where Shuttl currently operates.