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In a surprising move, Online cab booking startup, Ola has announced thlaunch of its food delivery service in 4 cities i.e. Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore. The service is expected to be launched in other cities as well, over a period of time. Named as Ola Cafe, the service claims to deliver food in just 20 minutes!. As per the company, the food delivery service will be available during 12 PM till 11 PM. Users can place orders during this time and make payment via Ola Money or via Cash, however, part Ola Money and Part cash transactions are not supported at the moment, as it is when you book cabs/auto via the Ola App.

Let’s have a look at the important developments of the Indian startup ecosystem:

Chhattisgarh Govt Plans To Set Up Startup Village

In a bid to encourage the young entrepreneurs and promote innovation among startups, Chhattisgarh Government is planning to set up a Startup Village. The announcement was made after the high-level delegation comprising top officials of the state government visited the Kochi-based Startup Village to learn more about the incubation facility and explore ways to set up a similar service in their state. The delegation was led by Rajat Kumar, Joint Secretary to the Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh. During his visit, he discussed the working model of upcoming Startup Village with the executives. He also assured the possible support and expertise in setting up a facility at Naya Raipur.

RBI Mulls 2 Factor Authentication For Transactions Below INR 2000

With an aim to make online transactions easier, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has come out with a circular around the restrictive two-factor authentication for transactions under INR 2,000. However, according to the draft. relaxation of the norms applied only to ‘card present’ transactions where near-field communication (NFC) technology is used. The ATM transactions where the card is not present will continue to require the additional factor of authentication, a PIN or one-time password. At present, a customer has to key-in the personal identification number (PIN) for authenticating every transaction.

If the draft circular gets implemented, customers using contact-less cards will not have to key in the PIN for transaction up to INR 2,000.

Times Group Is Suing Housing.Com & Its Directors, Seeks $16 Mn In Damages

Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd, Times Group’s holding company has sent a legal notice to Locon Solutions Pvt Ltd., the parent company of of Housing.com for alleged defamation. The notice has been sent post the incident where Rahul Yadav had sent a mail to the Housing.com’s employees stating that the group is trying to “malign” Housing.com as it competes with the group owned real estate portal Magicbricks. In the notice, BCCL has asked Housing.com CEO Rahul Yadav and its directors to issue an unconditional apology, and further, it also seeks INR 100 Cr. ($16 million) in damages. The legal notice states if its demands are not met, BCCL will initiate legal proceedings.

TastyKhana To Merge With Foodpanda

Almost five months after the acquisition, Pune-based food ordering service TastyKhana, is soon going to be merged into Rocket Internet-backed Foodpanda. However, at the time of acquisition, Foodpanda said that post-acquisition TastyKhana will remain an independent brand, however, now it has change its decision. Recently, TastyKhana has also started displaying the foodpanda logo on its homepage. Besides, there is a merger message running on the site, which says “TastyKhana will soon be merged with foodpanda”. Shachin Bharadwaj, CEO & Founder of TastyKhana has also sent a mail to TastyKhana users confirming the same.

SEBI Plans To Ease IPO Rules To Encourage Homegrown Tech Startups To Go Public

Making it easier for homegrown startups to list their shares on local exchanges, market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is looking at options to ease rules on mandatory disclosure for the draft prospectuses of Internet-based companies. This move will definitely encourage domestic investors to bet on the country’s booming online economy. According to the report, one of the main items that could be removed is the need to detail the use of proceeds from the initial public offering of shares. The report further states that the other issues including accounting and financial reporting practices used by the ecommerce firms were also under review to ease pre-IPO disclosure requirements.

Flipkart Plans To Reduce Reliance On WS Retail To Focus On Marketplace Model

Following the footsteps of online marketplaces like Alibaba.com and Tmall, India’s largest ecommerce player, Flipkart is planning to reduce the reliance on WS Retail, the top seller on online marketplace, which currently accounts for more than 80% of the platform’s total sales. The move will allow Flipkart to concentrate better on the marketplace model. Flipkart changed its model to become a marketplace in February 2013. Recently, the ecommerce firm has told several companies and brands, which sell on the site through WS Retail, to sell directly to consumers through its marketplace in the coming months. As part of its new strategy, Flipkart has also informed firms that it will no longer hold their inventories in its warehouses and its logistics operators will pick up merchandise from sellers to deliver to end-consumers.

Explara Is Trying To Solve Event Discovery In Social Way! Launches “Event Discovery Solution”

In a bid to bring ease for the people while they search for events, Explara has launched a new solution to solve the event discovery in social way! by launching a “Event Discovery Solution” to bring all events at one platform pertaining to users’ interest. The newly launched platform helps user customize their events basis their interest on topics like Startup, Marathon, Comedy, Professional Networking, Hiking, Software and other such relevant topics. The new design will allow users to pick up three topics of their interest and follow it for notification through email. The new user’s profile on Explara keeps the user updated about upcoming events, topics they follow and their communities. Explara has been AB testing the new features and found over 5000+ events and 10,000 personalization topics were shared by the users.

Mahindra to Merge Mom & Me’s Ecommerce Site With Babyoye

Mahindra Group has decided to merge the ecommerce site of its brand Mom & Me, a baby and infant products provider, with the recently acquired Babyoye. This type of merger is first of its kind in the ecommerce market, which has largely seen consolidation through mergers between common VC-backed ventures and shutdowns. The firm is expecting a generation of 10-12% revenue contribution from ecommerce in the next financial year and 20-25% in the coming years.

Godrej Shutting EkStop To Push Sales Of Nature’s Basket

With an aim to push the ecommerce sales of its own offline gourmet food retail chain Nature’s Basket, Godrej Group is consolidating the operations of online grocer EkStop, which was jointly run by EkStop Shop Pvt Ltd and Buy Daily Retail Pvt Ltd. There are reports that half of the 200 odd employees spread across HR, marketing and administration units of EkStop have been asked to leave the firm. If reports are to be believed than a formal announcement of the integration of the two sites is expected within two weeks.

Raghav Bahl’s Digital News Venture The Quint Goes Live

About eight months after announcing plans to launch a digital news business, Network18 founder Raghav Bahl’s digital news venture TheQuint.com has gone live. It is to be noted that Quintillion Media had started publishing stories on Facebook from January this year. The mobile-focused digital platform currently offers stories across various categories like current affairs, politics, entertainment and technology among others with a mixture of both wire stories and stories created by an in-house editorial team.

Haptik Accuses Akosha For Copying Its App Design & Content

Haptik posted a blogpost accusing Akosha for copying their app design and content. Interestingly, both the apps don’t compete with each other. As Akosha is a online consumer complaint forum and whereas Haptik is a instant consumer support app.

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Now, let’s have a look at the other developments of the week:

Electric-Cab Startup Lithium To Start Operations In Bangalore Next Month

Lithium, an electric-cab service has readied plans to make an entry into Bangalore next month. The new cab service, Lithium, will begin operations next month with an initial fleet of about 100 electric cars.

IViZ Launches SaaS Based “3D Unlimited Security Testing As A Service” In India

The cloud-based application security testing firm, iViZ has announced the launch of “3D Unlimited Application Security Testing” in India which will fundamentally change the way organizations manage and consume application security testing. It will offer a unique flexible testing model where customers can test any number of applications serially, any number of times they want to any depth they want giving them three way flexibility at a fixed fee model. After subscribing to 3D Security as a service, it will allow users to test their newly added applications to the portfolio by eliminating partial utilization of the current day licensing terms.

MapmyIndia launches its Map API a decade after Google Maps

Location-based services and maps startup, MapmyIndia has formally launched its Map API platform for software developers and enterprises. The APIs are REST (HTTP/JSON) and JavaScript based, hence will support app development across web, mobile and cloud platforms. The API will consist of individual APIs for interactive mapping and visualization of location-based data, geocoding (location search), reverse geocoding (address look-up), routing (driving directions), and other location-based analytics such as distance matrix (distance from multiple locations). To use the API, developers need to visit the API website and sign up with their details, post which a license key is provided. The API is available for free to all developers to build and test applications.

Saavn Introduces New Feature; Follow Your Celebrity Playlist

Saavn, music streaming service, has launched a new exciting feature in its app at the India Today Conclave in New Delhi through which you could access to the playlist of your favourite celebrity. It is looking forward to enhance the user experience by introducing new services and features. Earlier in last year, it had launched a tweet-based online radio station after tying up with Twitter India. Back in November, it also collaborated with online ecommerce platform Snapdeal by which users could make online purchases and get free subscriptions for two months.

Power2SME Ties Up With NBFC Vistaar Finance To Help SME clients

Power2SME, a buying club for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), has tied up with non-banking financial company (NBFC) Vistaar Financial Services Pvt. Ltd., to finance procurement transactions of Power2SME’s clients. This first stage pilot project for NBFC funding will be up to a credit limit of up to INR 25 Lakh. It has committed to look into the matters of SMEs and improve their financials and cash flows. This tie-up will be beneficial for Vistaar Finance too as they are provided with a better opportunity to expand their operations.

Lenskart To Launch Around 500 Stores To Enhance Its Offline Presence

Online eyeglasses etailer, Lenskart has announced its plans to open up around 500 bricks and mortar stores in India in next 6 months to improve its offline existence. This move is expected to give positive outcomes and achieve the goal.  Besides, In-home eye checkup is another business feature it is planning to expand as it had resulted in increased revenues of INR 2.5 Cr.

ZipDial laid off its employees soon after its Twitter acquisition

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ZipDial laid off around 50 of its employees after its acquisition by Twitter, according to a ET report. 20 of them were laid off just the next day of acquisition. “Twitter does not have a Quality Assurance or QA team. The engineers do their own testing. And some people on the cloud telephony side and sales side were taken off,” Former ZipDial chairman Sanjay Swamy said. This incident has brought up the dark reality of uncertainty in the Indian startups and acquisition business.

SignEasy launches an iOS extension which lets you sign from third party apps

E-signature solution provider, SignEasy has launched a new feature through an iOS extension which lets you sign documents from third-party apps and saves you from hassles of switching between emails and documents for signing and sending them. Users can now use this feature in thousands of iOS apps like Dropbox,Mail App, Box, CamScanner, OneDrive and Slack. Other new features it has introduced includes freestyle drawing feature, ability to assign multiple email ids to your SignEasy account, and integration with Evernote for Business.

Snapdeal Ropes In Aamir Khan As Its Brand Ambassador

Ecommerce player Snapdeal has roped in Bollywood star Aamir Khan as its brand ambassador for around INR 15-20 Cr. Snapdeal is planning to unveil its promotional campaigns through TV and Internet. The whole campaign has been planned by Leo Burnett, which has a substantial part of company’s creative account. The campaign will go air from next week where Aamir will be seen endorsing the brand.

Primarc Expands Into Ecommerce, Plans To Infuse $10 Mn

Primarc Group, a Kolkata-headquartered retail and reality player, has decided to expand its operations through entry in ecommerce through a specific wing called Primarc Pecan Retail. It has planned to invest $10 Mn in the first two years of market traction. Currently, operating in eastern India through 45 stores, Primarc Group is famous for having brands like Raymond, Color Plus, Park Avenue, Essence and Esquire. The group has also diversified into Angel and Venture investing and has invested in a few startups like Tab Square, I-Kure, Ketto, Catapoolt and Carve Niche.

Vizury Partners With Apsalar For Mobile Measurement and Intelligence

Vizury, a performance marketing and retargeting firm, has collaborated with Apsalar, global leader in mobile app attribution and measurement, for analysing performance measures and attribution of Vizury’s App-App retargeting campaigns. “Marketers are faced with the challenge of deriving precise analytics for their mobile app’s performance. Through this partnership we can now offer a sophisticated mobile app tracking and attribution mechanism to our clients. Our partnership with Apsalar is yet another step in our efforts of making data count and maximizing ROI for our clients. Apsalar is the leading mobile attribution and intelligence platform in India and we are glad to work with Apsalar,” said Amjad Puliyali, GM India, Middle East and Africa, Vizury.

CCAvenue, Enables IMPS for merchant payments

CCAvenue has introduced an Immediate Mobile Payment Service (IMPS) for its users who can now make real-time inter-bank payments via mobile phones. Users are required to select IMPS as an option while making payment, enter their Mobile Money ID number (MMID), which is provided by the bank through application, mobile number and the One Time Password (OTP). IMPS transactions have been trending since last few months to around 10-20 Mn transactions. Recently, Paytm also introduced IMPS service to allow uses to use their mobile wallets to transfer money into bank accounts.

Mydala partners with Airtel to provide deals and offers to Airtel users

Mydala, an online coupon and discount marketing platform, has tied up with Airtel to provide exciting deals and offers to its customers while recharging through ‘My Airtel’ app. Mydala has had similar tie ups with other network operators too like Aircel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular and Tata Docomo. This collaboration will provide benefit to the Airtel subscribers with the help of deals and offers in diverse kinds like beauty and wellness, food, shopping and entertainment among others and coupons for popular brands like PVR Cinemas, Flipkart, Amazon, eBay, Myntra, Pantaloons.

To check the fundings of the week click here.

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