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News Roundup: 10 Stories You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [4 May – 9 May]

News Roundup: 10 Stories You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [4 May – 9 May]

Just 5 days after putting his papers, Housing CEO Rahul Yadav withdrawn his resignation and even apologised for the comments he made about the board members. According to a source close to the development, the authority to take financial decisions have been taken away from Rahul. Softbank, which holds 32% stake in Housing, will form an executive committee that will control the finances and operations of the company on a weekly basis. Adding on, Rahul now can take decisions only with the executive committee’s approval and all top employees will report to Bullock.

Lets have a look at the important developments of the week:

PayU India rebrands PayU Enterprise as PayUbiz, Plans To Spend 60 Cr. In Branding & Marketing

Naspers subsidiary, PayU India has rebranded both its products PayU Enterprise and PayUmoney. The move was taken to establish the two as clear independent businesses with a strong social  identity, distinguishable from its counterparts. PayU plans to spend about INR 60 Cr in a nine week  branding and marketing campaign. That sums up to an expenditure of about INR 94 lakhs per day. Followed which will be the second phase of the campaign with a new budget later this year. Co-founded by Shailaz Nag and Nitin Gutta in 2011 PayU is a Gurgaon-based payment solution provider operating as a subsidiary of a multinational media company, Naspers.

MP Govt Orders FIR Against Paytm Directors

Paytm directors Vijay Shekar Sharma and Harendra Pal Singh have been booked by the Madhya Pradesh police on May 3, for allegedly aiding a fraud of INR 22 lakh in which over 313 people were duped using the Paytm service. An FIR for Forgery under the IT Act has been booked against the directors.

FirstCry to roll out same-day delivery across 18 cities  

Baby care portal FirstCry is starting  its same-day delivery proposition across 18 cities for no extra cost. They have roped in logistics player XpressBees to launch the service in metros and tier-2 cities, with an option of next-day delivery at 51 centres. The orders will be fulfilled from warehouses and stock points of FirstCry, which works on an omnichannel strategy with 100-plus physical stores. The parent company of FirstCry, Brainbees Solution, incorporated in 2010, has been simultaneously developing its logistics arm XpressBees since 2014. The logistics arm is headed by Harshal Bhoi, senior vice-president at XpressBees and former head of ecommerce solutions at logistics service, Gati.

The Price War Begins: Big Bazaar To Launch Price Comparison App Next Month

To combat the heavy discount offered by giant ecommerce firms, Kishore Biyani’s Big Bazaar takes one step further and announced the launch of a price-comparison app which will feature a price-match offer where if you shop from Big Bazaar and anybody else is selling cheaper than them at that moment, you will automatically get credits in your account – anything online or offline.Customers will have a week from the date of purchase to make the price comparison. The price comparison app is currently being tested by Future Group employees at the Food Bazaar store in Vikhroli in Mumbai. The app is expected to be launched in the next month.

Nasscom InnoTrek Is Back: Meet 39 Tech Startups Heading To Silicon Valley For Exposure

To encourage Indian startups, through workshops, networking sessions, investor panels, expert roundtables and corporate briefings with subject matter experts and global veterans, the IT trade body National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) is all set to host the second edition of Nasscom Innotrek 2015.

Finally, Lok Sabha Passes Much Awaited Goods And Services Tax Bill

Lok Sabha has passed the much-delayed and debated Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill, paving the way for implementation of the new indirect tax regime from April 2016. GST will give fillip to the trade.  The bill that was introduced last year in Lok Sabha includes a single rate GST that will replace central excise, state VAT, entertainment tax, octroi, entry tax, luxury tax and purchase tax on goods and services to ensure seamless transfer of goods and services. The bill also introduces a new article (246A) that says Parliament, and the legislature of every state will have power to make laws with respect to goods and services tax imposed by the Union or the state.Once implemented, GST will be the biggest tax reform since 1947.

Homeshop18’S CEO Sundeep Malhotra Quits, Sanjeev Agrawal Of Skechers Takes Charge

Noida-based television home shopping network and online marketplace, Homeshop18’s CEO Sundeep Malhotra has resigned from his post to pursue other entrepreneurial ventures. However, he would still be part of the company for three more months as part of the succession plan. Sanjeev Agrawal has replaced Sundeep as new CEO of Homeshop18, effective 4th May, 2015. He comes with over 26 years of experience across FMCG, fashion & retail sector and will be based in Noida.

SEBI To Alter Rules On Alternative Investment Funds, Narayana Murthy To Head Seven Member Panel

The capital market regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is considering to make changes in the rules on alternative investment funds (AIFs). For this, the market regulator is planning to create a seven member panel committee led by Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy to create an environment in which enterprises can raise private capital efficiently. The alternative investment funds (AIFs), which is expected to be overhauled will include private equity, hedge funds and venture capitals. These funds will buy into private companies, restructure them and then liquidate their positions by selling to other firms or via stock offering.

Amid Ongoing Net Neutrality Debate In India, Facebook Finally Opens Up Internet.Org To Developers

Facebook Inc has opened its free Internet access site, Internet.org for online content and application developers to join their service. Their goal with Internet.org is to work with as many developers and entrepreneurs as possible to extend the benefits of connectivity to diverse, local communities. The parameters for developers to come on board Internet.org would be to make data-light content for both feature and smart phones. The company has also issued technical requirements which can be viewed on the Internet.org site, it added. It has emphasized that neither operator nor content developer was paying for Internet.org, which was a platform to give consumers a taste of access until they become paying customers. The service is currently launched in 9 countries including India, and brings over 8 Mn people online.

Other developments from the startup ecosystem include:

Competition Commission Orders Probe Against Ola For Predatory Pricing

The Competition Commission of India has ordered a probe against cab hailing app Ola for alleged predatory pricing. The organisation has ordered a detailed investigation against the company after it found that Ola was violating the commission, as per provisions of section 26(1) of the Act. During this 2 months’ investigation, the Director-General will be investigating the conduct of officials of Ola for fixing liability with respect to contravention of the Act.Also, the Allegations apart from predatory pricing, which include restriction on taxi drivers, incentives, loyalty rebate offers, predatory discounts to customers, etc will also be probed.

Competition Commission Rejects Allegations Of Unfair Business Practices Charges Against Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon & Others

The Competition Commission has rejected all the allegations of unfair business practices against ecommerce players including Flipkart,Snapdeal, Amazon, Jabong and Myntra, as it couldn’t find any type of unfair practices being followed by the above mentioned companies. The complaints were filed against them in the late last year. After deeply analysing the companies, the organisation has ruled that these entities did not violate any sort of competition norms by indulging in cartelisation or by abusing their dominant position.

Sachin Pilot Stands Up For Snapdeal After FDA Ordered FIR Against Kunal Bahl For Allegedly Selling Drugs Online

FDA had ordered to file an FIR against the Snapdeal CEO, Kunal Bahl, for selling drugs online, last week. Former  Minister of Corporate Affairs, Sachin Pilot has now come to voice his opinion on the action taken by government. He slammed ham-handed enforcement saying that it is akin to holding highway builders responsible for lane violations and added that the move is contrary to government’s plans to promote business and home-grown entrepreneurs. He said that authorities must be clear about whom to act against as ecommerce websites are enabling platforms for buyers and sellers only.

Alibaba Joins Hands With Paytm To List 100 Mn SKUs

Through its marketplace AliExpress, Alibaba has entered into a strategic tie-up with Indian mobile wallet company Paytm. It plans to list 100 Mn stock-keeping-units (SKU) on Paytm by this month.AliExpress has a lot of sellers and this tie up will allow Chinese sellers to sell in India. Also, AliExpress tie-up will help Paytm build on its portfolio of unstructured products. Paytm has already shared its application programme interface (API) with AliExpress. The APIs will allow AliExpress to interact with the Paytm platform and help in listing. Paytm’s already launched Seller App will be used by the Chinese sellers to list their products and sell it on the marketplace.AliExpress’ Alipay wallet will not be available in India due to regulatory limitations, which is why sellers will use the Paytm mobile wallet for payments. Also, in order to solve pricing issue, AliExpress will now offer Indian prices for these 100 Mn SKUs.

Uber-Foodpanda-ZoRooms Partners To Enrich Customer’s Travel Experience

Global cab aggregator Uber, food delivery platform Foodpanda, and budget hotel chain ZO Rooms have undergone a collaboration to make travelling an amazing experience. The partnership will allow travellers a free ride up to INR 500 and 50% off coupons on Foodpanda orders. Travellers will also receive 100% cashback upon checking in to any one of the 150+ properties ZO Rooms – which currently holds in 13 cities. This three way strategic collaboration will ensure travellers a delightful time at the click of a button.

Matrix Partners Sets Up Its Second Office in India’s Silicon Valley, Bangalore

VC firm, Matrix Partners India has set up its second office in the country. The new office is located in India’s Silicon Valley, Bangalore. The firm that includes startups like Ola, Quikr in its investment portfolio will have its managing director Vikram Vaidyanathan to lead the new office. Prior to this the Matrix has its office in Mumbai and had also set up a co-working space in Mumbai’s startup hub Powai, tying up with real estate developer K Raheja.

Toonz Kids Opens Its Own Web Portal, Target Sales Worth INR 100 Cr

Kids retailing firm, Toonz Retail India plans to open its own online retail shop as it aims to reach INR 100 Cr revenue this fiscal. Toonz presently has around 10,000 SKUs which can be offered through ecommerce platform. The company plans to continue its partnership with Snapdeal, Flipkart and Jabong however, offering some exclusive stock through its website only. The company also plans to expand to around 100 stores by FY2017 with special focus on Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra.

Paytm to start offline transactions, teams up with likes of Cafe Coffee Day & Domino’s

Paytm’s mobile wallet to rise from, only online transactions to payments at quick service restaurants, including Domino’s and Cafe Coffee Day by the next two months.Alibaba backed, One97’s flagship brand, Paytm has  partnered with various QSRs covering 7,000-10,000 outlets in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. The service should be available by mid-June. Founded by Vijay Shekhar Sharma in 2010, Paytm expects revenue run rate to be $4 Bn by year-end from $1.5 Bn now.

Paytm ties up with Adivasi Yuva Seva Sangh

India’s largest mcommerce platform, Paytm, is selling and marketing ‘100 artisans’ distinguished art pieces on its online marketplace. The company recently entered into an association with an NGO, Adivasi Yuva Seva Sang, which works for the empowerment of tribal craftsmen. The line of handiworks that will be presented on Paytm’s website includes Warli painting articles, paintings on canvas, paper and clothes, paintings on wooden articles, bamboo products and stationery, interior design products, wall hangings, curtains, pillow covers, key chains, key holders, pen holders and corporate gifts to name a few.

Tinder Early Investor And Co-Founder Dinesh Moorjani Joins ‘Vee’

Indian social discovery, dating and matchmaking app,‘Vee’ has gained the co-founder and early investor of Tinder, Dinesh Moorjani as an advisor in their venture. Dinesh will provide valuable inputs to Vee about disrupting the Indian social discovery app space. He is currently an EIR at Warburg Pincus and is expected to bring more UX and massive product scale in Vee. Vee has crossed the milestone of 40 Mn interactions,with over half a million connections for made by the users.The users spend 10 sessions per day on an average day at Vee.

Mega Cabs integrates Paytm Wallet to make payments easy on the go

India’s leading radio cab service provider, Mega Cabs launched its new android application integrated with the  Paytm wallet service. The app itself debits the amount from the wallet at the end of the journey and the notification is sent to both driver and the customer. To make the whole system glitch free the same can be validated with the customer care center which provides 24/7 support. One only has to install the new app where you can easily complete the registration process, and once done the user can enjoy a hassle free experience. Mega Cabs operates in 6 major cities providing the best fleet of first class luxurious air-conditioned, metered taxis in the country, providing complete transport solutions for point-to-point travel within the cities it operates in.

Mobile analytics firm App Annie to set up shop in India

Mobile analytics company App Annie is firming plans to open an office in India by the end of this year. The app will provide local language support and local sales strategy in the startup ecosystem. App Annie also acquired Canadian mobile measurements firm Mobidia to provide usage intelligence on 100,000 apps in 60 countries, including in India. Launched in Beijing in 2010 and now headquartered in San Francisco/ App Annie provides analytics in app downloads, revenues, rankings, advertising and algorithm-based intelligence on market estimations. It recently raised $55 Mn Series D funding, led by Menlo Park-based Institutional Venture Partners, and launched a Singapore office last month.

Culture Machine expanding into analytics with Big Data platform

Tiger Global backed online video network, Culture Machine, has expanded into data analytics with the launch of its Big Data platform Intelligence Machine. This new software, will help content creators and brands to spot accurate trends about audience viewership across platforms such as Facebook and YouTube, among others. A team of 18 people including data scientists, former Google engineers and product managers at the company have built the platform to gauge the kind of content being consumed by the multiple audience segments present online. The company has also tied up with Facebook and will be launching its first set of Facebook video feed numbers in July. The major benefactor of this service will be advertisers as they want to back content which they know will succeed online.

Paytm Wallet is available as a Google Now Card

India’s largest mobile commerce platform, Paytm became the official launch partner for Google Now. As a part of partnership,  Paytm Wallet will  be available to its users as a Google Now Card that will help them keep track of the balance in their Paytm Wallets. Whenever the balance in one’s Paytm Wallet changes, Paytm pushes a Google Now Card to the Google Now app users, updating them with this information immediately. Google Now app is a recent launch of Google that helps its users stay organized and connected with the world through its Google Now Cards. Currently, the Google Now app is available on Android phones.

MobiKwik Joins hands with MakeMyTrip, Cleartrip,Yatra.com and Goibibo

MobiKwik, India’s leading Mobile Wallet, has tie-up with top 4 travel portals in the country viz MakeMyTrip, Cleartrip, Yatra.com, and Goibibo. Customers of these travel portals can now make payments for flight/cab /bus train and hotel bookings with the wallet. MobiKwik expects to facilitate travel and hotel bookings worth INR 200 Cr, over the next 12 months. MobiKwik recently raised close to $25 Mn Series B round from Tree Line Asia, Cisco Investments, American Express and existing investor, Sequoia Capital.

Enixta launches online product discovery platform Buysmaart.com

Enixta Innovations, a Hyderabad-based artificial intelligence (AI) technology startup, on Wednesday launched Buysmaart.com, an online product discovery platform that uses AI and proprietary algorithms to recommend the best mobile phones. Founded by Giridhari Devanathan in 2014, Buysmaart.com’s AI engine wades through over one million user reviews, currently being mined from various sources, 50,000 phone specifications, 5,000 phone variants and 1,000 phones produced by 160 mobile brands to help users compare, choose and buy.Buysmaart.com would expand its catalog to tablets, laptops, restaurant listings, cameras and automobile in near future. Also, the company is planning to launch  Buysmaart.com native apps on iOS, Android and Windows platforms within the next three months.

Flipkart Locks India’s Single Largest Office Space Lease Deal, Leases 2 Mn Sq Ft Space In Bangalore

Aimed to expand its operations and workforce, homegrown giant e-commerce firm, Flipkart has locked India’s single largest office space leasing deal by signing up for a 2 Mn sq ft custom-built office campus in Bangalore. As per the lease terms, Flipkart will pay rent at INR 50 a month per sqft for next 20 years. Flipkart will move all its operation from multiple offices to one location. The property will be delivered in two phases. The Phase I comprising 1.5 million sq ft will be handed over in the next two years.The new campus will come up as part of Embassy Tech Village on the Outer Ring Road. The property is owned by US-based PE firm Blackstone and Embassy Group.

Checkout this week’s Funding Galore.

Author

Yatti Soni

Inc42 Staff

An engineer who is in love with written word and the extraordinaire charisma of entrepreneurs. Her passion in written brought her to Inc42.

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