Your browser is currently blocking notification.
Please follow this instruction to subscribe:
Notifications are already enabled.

News Roundup Of The Week: 9 Startup Stories You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [6 March – 11 March]

News Roundup Of The Week: 9 Startup Stories You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [6 March – 11 March]

Uber is in the news again for engaging in a secret programme to evade law enforcement in certain markets. It used a tool called Greyball to systematically deceive law enforcement officials in cities where its service violated regulations. What this simply means is that officials attempting to hail an Uber during a sting operation were “greyballed” – they would see icons of cars within the app navigating nearby, but no one would come pick them up. The programme helped its drivers avoid being indicted by law enforcement officials.

Important Developments

Chinese Gaming Firm To Set Up Unit In Pune

Youzu Interactive, a China-based gaming company, is planning to enter the Indian market. Youzu Interactive’s India CEO Anuj Tandon stated that the company is planning to launch local Indian casual strategy games in 2017 through its unit which is set to come up in Pune.

Vulcan Express To Serve External Clients

Vulcan Express, Snapdeal’s fully-owned subsidiary, has announced that it will expand its logistics network across 80 major cities. With this development, the company will start serving new clients, in the B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) space, from next month onwards.

Netflix Expands On India Play

Netflix India, the subcontinent counterpart of the global streaming service, has struck OTT (over-the-top) partnerships with telco providers – Airtel, Vodafone, and Videocon d2h (direct-to-home). The move is part of the company’s vision to provide more India-based content (series and films) to its viewers.  These partnerships will be carried out via the carriers’ mobile and direct-to-home platforms.

IndiaMART Forays Into Fintech

The move will ease out payment issues of over 3 Mn sellers on its platform. The company has also launched its buyer and seller protection programme to address the bottleneck of trust deficit for the SMEs. It will enable sellers to remain free payment risk concerns and assure buyers that they will receive the exact product or service they ordered before paying.

After Delhi, Now Ola-Uber Drivers Protest in Chennai

The drivers are protesting against falling incentives, stiff performance targets, and “exploitation of labour” by the two companies. The strike in the city was announced from the Centre for Indian Trade Unions and follows a 13-point demand list put forth by the drivers. It includes changed tariff rates, as mandated by the state government, suspension of oversupply of vehicles by the two companies and other performance parameters that, as per the drivers, have hitherto remained unaddressed.

Indian Government Launches ‘OpenForge

OpenForge provides tools for managing projects, tasks, changes, defects, documents as well as version control, continuous integration, and social collaboration. The project could range anywhere from applications, frameworks, languages and libraries, to SDKs, APIs, datasets, components, and plugins.  It will play a pivotal role in preventing duplicity and fragmentation in e-governance projects, thereby helping build various software applications more collaboratively and faster.

UCWeb Inc Launches We-Media Reward Plan 2.0

Alibaba Group’s mobile business unit, UCWeb Inc, launched We-Media Reward Plan 2.0, a user-generated content platform in India. Alibaba has led the launch with an initial investment of $749K (INR 5 Cr). The Chinese ecommerce giant further plans to invest about $30 Mn (INR 200 Cr) in the next two years to drive the content distribution wagon in India.

DIPP Open To Alter ‘Startup’ Definition

The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) invited feedback and suggestions from various industries in India to alter the definition of startups. The secretary highlighted that the definition of enterprises vary as per the sector and one definition can accommodate all the ventures.

Other Developments

Uber Dreams Launches Uber Dream Auctions

Uber Dreams Auctions will open up a whole new section that will allow dreams to be auctioned and the winning bidder will have a chance to fulfil that dream. For this purpose, Uber Dreams has tied up with a number of influential personalities like actress Shilpa Shetty, Mohit Burman of Dabur/Aviva Life Insurance, Anupam Mittal of People Group, among others to feature in the category.

Udacity Makes Three Major Announcements

The company announced the launch of two new innovative Nanodegree Programmes- Robotics and Digital Marketing for students across the globe. They also announced a series of partnerships with global leading players in various sectors like Didi Chuxing, Paytm, 1mg, Zomato and others. The collaboration is to encourage students to build codes for self-driving cars and provide them with an opportunity to meet the experts in the industry.

ArthImpact Launches On-Tap Digital Lending In India

Mumbai-based ArthImpact aims to bring the benefits of India Stack and Jan Dhan to crores of families and small businesses in India. ArthImpact’s mission is to provide digital financial services, with credit as a first product, to the underserved mass market. Loans are now being selectively rolled out via partners.

MakeMyTrip And PayPal Partner For Hotel Bookings

As said by Paypal, the partnership with MakeMyTrip will help foreign tourists continue to enjoy the seamless and secure PayPal experience to book hotels and holiday packages. MakeMyTrip has 34,000 hotels across India and 240,000 hotels internationally and will be using the automated invoicing feature of PayPal. Through this facility, they will be able to automatically send invoices to customers by an email along with a link that can be followed to complete payment through PayPal.

Hiree Goes Freemium

With this move, Mumbai-based Hiree, an online hiring platform aims to further accelerate its growth. Acquired by QuikrJobs in July 2016 to strengthen its offerings in the white-collar job market, Hiree continues to disrupt online hiring with an alternative to the age-old subscription-based offering predominantly used across the industry. It will continue to provide all services free of cost to job seekers.