Housing.com CEO Rahul Yadav, one of the most controversial startup founder of the year, has allotted all of his personal shares – said to be worth between INR 150 Cr. and INR 200 Cr. – to all of the 2251 employees of Housing.com, says the company (he owns 4.5% shares in the company). Rahul made this announcement in the company town hall that was attended by all employees of Housing.com, with this, Housing employees will get approximately one year of their annual salaries worth of Housing stocks. Rahul Yadav reasons the step with – “ I’m just 26 and it’s too early in life to get serious about money etc.”
Let’s have a look at important developments of the week:
Myntra is now app-only
Fashion and lifestyle startup, Myntra has shut down its web operations and is now “app-only” platform. Speaking on this new development, Mukesh Bansal said, “India ranks second to the US in terms of reach and engagement for shopping apps. With smartphones growing at tremendous rate, we see this percentage increasing.”
Zomato Separates Its Order Service From Main App, Launches As Zomato Order
The company has launched a separate app Zomato Order. The hyper growth of the company made it inevitable for it to enter into food delivery. Three months back, Zomato was all set to deliver food to its customers, as the company announced its plans to invest $50 Mn for the launch of food delivery business. It became apparent after a point and the company is now all set to go out in full swing. The app has been separated from the main app a month after it launched its online food delivery system in Delhi. On this move, Zomato stated three major reasons- More Focus means less clutter leading to a better UX, Independent release cycles mean fewer updates and Smoother app experience due to deep-linking.
CommonFloor Introduces ‘Live-In Tours’ for the secondary and rental properties
India’s leading online real estate platform, CommonFloor.com announced the launch of a first-of-its-kind feature – ‘Live-in Tours’. This new feature has been especially designed for the rental and resale reality market in India. Live-in Tour can be accessed on the Personal Computer’s web, mobile app and will soon be available on mobile web. It Reduces time and efforts of property seekers looking in the secondary market and also helps buyers in getting complete perspective and shortlist properties quickly.
Enterprise Software Startup Sapience Enters Into B2C With New Product, Seeks $20 Mn Revenue By 2018
Pune-based enterprise software tech startup, Sapience Analytics has forayed into the B2C segment with the launch of its new product – “Sapience Buddy”. Sapience Buddy a PC – based software application that automatically discovers daily work patterns and time spent on multiple work activities. The product uses the insights gained from over 200 Mn hours of workplace data to offer working professionals a user friendly and intuitive PC application to achieve more and with reduced stress. The company is expecting about one million users to be using the newly launched product and generate a revenue of INR 2 Cr ($312K) by 2015-16. The company aims at an overall revenue of $20 Mn in the next three years and are also expecting the revenue growth from the B2C segment to be 50% of the total revenue.
Playing The Domestic Way: Uber Experimenting With Cash Payments In Hyderabad
Cab hailing app, Uber which is known for the ease it provides in fare payments, has gone one step ahead to provide Indian customers a domestic touch of the app, as the company is now experimenting with cash payments. The cash payment option, which is currently running as a pilot Hyderabad, will be introduced in other cities as well in the coming time. India would be first country to have such option, the company says that the idea is to gain a deeper understanding of consumer behaviour/ preferences/ usage trends so that it can develop more robust payment options for the local market, but it is obvious that the move is a direct all and out war against rival Ola.
Japan’s SoftBank Names Nikesh Arora As President And Potential Successor To CEO Masayoshi Son
With an aim to expand its overseas operations, Japanese telecoms & internet giant SoftBank Corp has appointed Nikesh Arora as its new president. He is currently serving in the capacity of investments head. Besides, SoftBank’s founder and chairman Masayoshi Son also anointed Nikesh Arora as his possible successor. Arora is one of the four non-Japanese in the 14-member board of SoftBank. Although he is de facto number 2 at the Japanese giant, it pulls him out from the direct responsibility of handling SoftBank Internet & Media Inc (SIMI). He is an MS from Boston College, MBA from Northeastern University, US and B.Tech (EE) from IIT (BHU) Varanasi. Before joining SoftBank in September 2014, he was a senior vice president and chief business officer at Google.
CCI Initiates Fresh Investigations Against Ecommerce Firms For Violating Resale Price Regulations
After the clear rejection of allegations from Competitive Commission of India (CCI), portrayed on the ecommerce players the turmoil is still not over. It has come to the notice that CCI will initiate fresh investigation against ecommerce portals like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon, Jabong and Myntra for violating resale price & discount rules, as mentioned in the Indian Competition Act 2002. If alleged charges are proved against them, then these ecommerce portals will have to bring a change in their business model along with experiencing a slew of penalties. Earlier in the month, CCI had rejected all the allegations of unfair business practices against ecommerce firms which were filed by a strong lobby of offline retailers. The firms came under the scrutiny after the massive billion dollar sales offered by them.
JustDial Makes A Soft Foray In Ecommerce
India’s famous local search service, JustDial has made a soft entry into the ecommerce space through tie-ups with restaurants, grocers, pharmacies and electronic stores for home delivery. The company had revealed its plans to enter this space last year. To start with, JustDial is operating in Mumbai, slowly expanding to other areas of the city.
Internet Service Provider Blocks TaxiForSure Website
In response to Department of Telecom (DoT) letter to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) on May 12, 2015; asking them to block the URLs of Uber, Olacabs, TaxiForSure and Angel Broking without mentioning the reason for the same; Internet Service Providers (ISPs) is going to write to the Department of Telecom (DoT) expressing their inability to comply with its directive to block the URLs of four websites including Uber, Olacabs, and Angel Broking. As they can only block http sites and not the https sites as the latter have higher encryption codes. Since, the Uber and Ola are https sites; therefore, it could not be blocked. However, TaxiForSure website has been blocked in Delhi with immediate effect.
RBI Allows Single Factor Authentication Regime For Transactions Upto INR 2000
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has finally allowed customers to transact with contactless card upto INR 2000 without punching a separate PIN for authentication. It means that now additional factor authentication is not required upto INR 2000 per transaction and a customer can now just wave the card before the PoS machines to complete the transaction.
Other developments of the week include:
Printvenue appoints co-founder and CMO Gagan Arora as CEO
Online portal for printing solutions and personalized gifting, Printvenue has appointed Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer Gagan Arora as its new CEO. He replaces Saurabh Kochhar, who was appointed India CEO of another Rocket Internet company, Foodpanda, in March. Arora will be responsible for the overall strategic growth of the company, enhancing customer experience and satisfaction and introducing new products. A graduate in chemical engineering from IIT-Roorkee, Arora previously worked at management consultancy Accenture, where he advised on marketing strategy and analytics and customer segmentation for Fortune 500 clients. As CEO at Printvenue, Arora will focus on consolidating the company’s operations in India and abroad, and aims to capture 10% of the INR 15,000 Cr personalized printing market in three to five years.
India Post Sets Up Ecommerce Centre, Targets Online Players
India Post has launched a mobile application and an ecommerce centre at Safdarjang, New Delhi for the exclusive handling of eretail. Equipped with modern technology, the India Post centre will be capable of handling 30,000 parcels per day. Online companies such as Amazon, Paytm, Yepme, Snapdeal are already using the Postal Department’s services for their parcels. The mobile app for India Post is Android-based and includes features such as real-time tracking, post office search and postage calculator. Through such facilities, the parcels can reach up to far-flung and remote areas of the country.
Kochi’s Startup Village Bags National Award For Tech Business Incubator
At a function in Delhi, the company’s Chairman Sanjay Vijaya Kumar along with its CEO Pranav Kumar received the National award for technology business incubator from Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Science & Technology. Startup Village is aiming to serve as a foundation to the culture of entrepreneurship among youth, particularly in engineering colleges by converting final-year academic projects into startups. Incepted in April 2012, the startup village is modeled on technology startup incubators in Silicon Valley, and is envisioned to provide all the facilities and services required to support student entrepreneurs.
Flipkart creates record, sells over 30 million books
Starting in 2007 when founders Sachin and Binny Bansal delivered a book themselves to their first ever customer to 2015 when Flipkart has logged a record selling 30 Mn books through its ecommerce platform. Flipkart is India’s leading ecommerce marketplace offering over 30 Mn products cross 70+ categories including Books, Media, Consumer Electronics and Lifestyle. Flipkart, currently employs around 33,000 workforce, and has 45 Mn registered users clocking over 10 Mn daily visits.
FoodPanda Appoints Himanshu Ratnoo As First Delivery Head
Online food ordering startup, FoodPanda, has appointed Himanshu Ratnoo as its first country head of delivery. Ratnoo, an IIM Calcutta alumnus, started his career with the Aditya Birla Group in 2011. Ratnoo’s last appointment was as a consultant at Rocket Internet-Lazada Group based out of Singapore. Recently, Foodpanda raised $100 Mn from Goldman Sachs and existing investors including Rocket Internet. Most of the funds will be used to build its delivery and technology operations across its 40 markets including India.
Zomato Appoints EX Web18 CEO Durga Raghunath As SVP Of Growth
Restaurant discovery service, Zomato has appointed Durga Raghunath as Senior Vice President (SVP) of Growth to help spearhead its customer acquisition and retention efforts across the globe. Durga will also work closely with the founding team at Zomato on key aspects of certain new business verticals – online ordering, table reservations, and restaurant POS – the company is getting into. Prior to joining Zomato, Durga was the CEO of Network18 Digital vertical, and apart from being responsible for all the company’s digital properties, built Firstpost from scratch. She has also served stints as India Editor of The Wall Street Journal, was the Managing Editor of Livemint and worked in New York with HarperCollins Publishers.
India Post Launches Its First Android App ‘Post Info’
In a bid to make the postal service customer-friendly, the Indian postal department has launched the India Post’s first Android app ‘Post Info’ that would enable one to track speed post, electronic money orders and parcels sent through the postal service. The citizen-centric Android Mobile application of Department of Posts was developed by Centre for Excellence in Postal Technology. A postal department official said that through the mobile application, user can track his mail or parcel besides conduct a search for post office.
Google to open its largest campus outside the US
Google is set to have its first own facility in Asia, which is claimed to be one of its biggest campus, outside the United States. The campus will be settled up in Hyderabad and made operational by the summer of 2019. Google has signed an MoU with the government of Telangana, deciding upon to build a facility of two million sqft at an investment of INR 1,000 Cr. Once fully equipped, it could house about 13,000 employees, which is the double of company’s present strength in India.
MMPL to aid Flipkart in CoD service
Digital wallet provide, My Mobile Payments (MMPL), backed-by private equity investor Calpian, has tied up with the ecommerce giant, Flipkart to help overcome problems associated with cash-on-delivery (CoD). The tie-up will enable customers without access to electronic payment either through banking or payment cards to load their wallets in one of the 2.36 lakh shops that top up wallets against cash. Funds in the mobile wallet — Money on Mobile (MoM) — can be used to generate an electronic voucher through which customers can make purchases from the ecommerce site. Besides enabling purchases, the tie-up also allows MoM’s customers to gift the vouchers to anyone through a simple SMS, which provides the voucher and PIN number. MMPL is one of the applicants with the Reserve Bank of India to set up a payments bank in the country.
Flipkart Leases 2 Million Square Feet Office Space In Bangalore
As part of consolidating all offices under one roof Flipkart Campus, the company has leased 2-million-sq-ft office campus in Bangalore with a seating capacity of 20,000 people. The office space leasing was done as a part of company’s strategy to expand its operations as well as its workforce. The duration of the deal is 20 years and comes at a cost of INR 50 a month per square feet. The new campus will set up as a part of Embassy Tech Village on the Outer Ring Road at Devarabisanahalli. The property is owned by US private-equity firm Blackstone and Bangalore-based builder Embassy Group.
TaxiForSure Crosses 10 Mn Rides Milestone, Plans To Increase Its Customer Base From 2 Mn To 20 Mn By 2016
The Bangalore-based online taxi aggregator, TaxiForSure has announced its most economical ride starting at just INR 49. Besides, it also claims to cross the 10 million rides milestone. The firm is looking at increasing its customer base by 10 times this financial year and growing it from 2 Mn to 20 Mn. Just recently, the company also dropped its rates/charges and removed all surcharge fee or peak time charge.The company that began operations in Bangalore is now present in 52 cities across India and offers unique refer “ALL” program which allows you to introduce friends and family to the convenient service and earn money.
Snapdeal Woos Employees With ESOPs, Offers Stock Options To 1,200 Top Performers
Snapdeal has expanded the proportion of its equity to be distributed from 6% to 10%. This decision has not come just like that. Amidst the cut throat strategies between every ecommerce companies, the online marketplace, Snapdeal is keen to gain employee loyalty. Amongst the 4000 employees, the company has selected one third of its workers i.e. 1200 as the top performers to be rewarded with stock options. As compared to last year, which were 300 top performers amongst 1200 employees, this year the company has increased the count. In order to provide the stock options Snapdeal has also changed its vesting cycle from yearly to quarterly basis.
YouTube Development Chief & Google VP Venkat Panchapakesan Passes Away
Venkat Panchapakesan, who worked for Google as a VP and led engineering for YouTube, passed away on Monday evening after battling with cancer. The 49 years old lost his battle with the disease which has felled other tech luminaries, including, Steve Jobs. Venkat is survived by his wife, Sandy and two children. His career started in 1990, working with the eminent tech giants including, Hewlett-Packard,Yahoo and Google.
Uber Betting Big On India; Latest Series E Round To Be Focused On India & China, Says Uber’s Asia Head
The San Francisco-based ridesharing service, Uber has said that the amount raised in its last couple of funding rounds will primarily be utilized for investments in India and China. The app-based taxi aggregator is currently present in 311 cities in 57 nations, and this funding will help Uber to expand in India where it faces stiff competition from taxi hailing app Ola. Uber is betting big on Indian market, as the number of taxi service providers, especially in metros have seen a phenomenal growth in the past couple of years. If analysts are to be believed than the taxi market is estimated to reach INR 30,000 Cr.
Gul Panag Joins Health Startup MobieFit As Chief Fitness Officer
Actress Gul Panag has joined hands with startup incubator, Prototyze to start a venture focused on health and fitness mobile apps, MobieFit. The actress will be CFO, Chief Fitness Officer who will be responsible to increase the fitness quotient. The said startup will focus on building mobile apps to help users stay fit and help them in making healthier choices. Prototyze is an incubator, currently working in stealth mode on building mobile technology centered businesses in multiple sectors such as Financial Services, Health & Fitness, and Training & Learning.
Surpluss.in Expands its catalogue with Home décor and Healthcare products online
India’s leading eretailer of end of life, refurbished, open box, and fresh product deals is venturing into online emerging online categories like Home Décor, Home Furnishing, Health Care, Fashion Jewellery, and Lingerie. All new categories introduced are aligned with the company’s vision of – Powering People’s Aspirations. This basically means providing aspiration brands at a ‘never before’ price. In healthcare, Surpluss.in has added digital healthcare gadgets like glucose monitor, digital blood pressure monitors, weighing scale, leg and feet massager, infrared walkers etc. The startup is also planning to launch a mobile app soon to enhance the shopping experience to its customers.
Oyo Launches Mobile App
OYO Rooms, a technology driven chain of standardized budget hotels in Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Bangalore and Mumbai has now upped its game by a notch after launch of its mobile app ‘OYO Rooms’ The app released is as easy as counting to 3 because all it takes 3 taps to book a room. Not only this, the app also allows users to order room service directly from their smartphones.