News Roundup: 9 Stories You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [18May – 23May]

News Roundup: 9 Stories You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [18May – 23May]

State Bank of India, has partnered with the ecommerce behemoth, Amazon. Under the signed memorandum of understanding (MoU), the partnership will facilitate frictionless payments and commerce solutions for customers and small businesses. SBI said that the small and medium enterprises or SMEs are unable to payback their loans in the given tenure which is due to the economic downturn. With this strategic partnership, SBI can help mobilize business for its SME clients. The businesses under SBI loans will obtain ready sale orders placed on ecommerce portals, along with sourcing raw materials at discounted rates.

Let’s have a look at important developments of the week:

SEBI Ropes In Narayana Murthy To Head Alternative Investment Policy Advisory Committee On Startups

Paving way to its idealisation, the capital market regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has roped in Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy to head 18-member panel committee to advise on policy matters for the new regulatory framework for startups and alternative investment funds (AIFs). The panel is expected to give recommendations to SEBI on issues related to the further development of the alternative investment and startup ecosystem in India. The group is expected to advise SEBI on any matters that might hinder the development of these ecosystems in the country.

Lookup launches Lookup Lite; accessible through SMS and WhatsApp

Lookup uses Chat to disrupt local commerce in India.Now,they have launched Lookup LITE  to help connect with the customers through SMS or WhatsApp on the number 9773997739. With a growing partnership network of 7,000 offline stores,including national retailers like Sangeetha Mobile and UniverCell, as well as high end fashion stores such as ZARA and Tommy Hilfiger, Lookup provides the best deals and offers nearby.

Fast Track ready to withdraw CCI complaint against Ola,demands written commitment to stop discounting and Driver Incentives

In a move that could bring a sigh of relief for Cab hailing app Ola, Chennai-based radio cab company, Fast Track has said that it is ready to withdraw a complaint registered with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) against Ola, if it receives a commitment that it will stop discounting and hold down driver incentivisation.It is to be noted that earlier in this month, Fast Track filed a complaint  against ANI Technologies, the parent company of Ola.

Online Hiring Platform myNoticePeriod Rebrands As Hiree; Expands Focus To Regular Job Seekers

Bangalore-based online recruitment platform, myNoticePeriod, has rebranded itself as Hiree. The company is now expanding its services from candidates in their notice period to job seekers too. Hence the need for a new name which is ‘Hiree’. With Hiree, the company plans to grow even more faster, add innovative features and deliver further efficiency gains for the users, as told by Manjunath Talwar, Co-founder, Hiree.The company had recently raised INR 18Cr. in series A funding from IDG Ventures and also  launched an Android App for recruiters to connect with candidates through call, Whatsapp, SMS, e-mail or schedule meetings for future discussion

SBI Partners With PayPal; Users Can Now Purchase Products From Overseas E-tailers

The State Bank of India has partnered with the online payment platform PayPal to enable its customers to use their debit cards on PayPal for buying products from overseas ecommerce websites.The partnership will also provide financial solutions to SBI’s Micro Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) customers using PayPal services. creates new milestone; Crosses 50mn+ Monthly Active Users, digital entertainment service, has achieved a new milestone in the Indian digital entertainment space by becoming the first company to cross 5 0Mn monthly active users across its entertainment service. This milestone places Hungama among the top 5 music and video streaming services globally, including platforms like Pandora and Spotify. Neeraj Roy, MD & CEO of Hungama Digital Media Entertainment said, “The milestone is the result of initiatives that we at Hungama began undertaking about 15 months ago. Over the next year, we plan to continue to build on this momentum.Hungama is on track to reach 100Mn MAUs by March 2016.”

An Open Letter By A Commonfloor Employee To Housing’s Rahul Yadav

Following the Housing’s two months of creating headlines; Commonfloor employee wrote an open letter to Rahul Yadav. He started off with asking, why is he creating all this speculation and asked them to stop acting as the impeccable piece of work. He also warned him about the transient nature of the tech industry and thus humility should be his forte and not rage.He also added, “It’s high time that you let go of this arrogant and I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude towards the world and take a chill pill.”

Sebi plans further easing of listing norms for startups

In a bid to make it easier for startups to access capital in India, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) is likely to exempt them in case they plan to sell shares to the public through the proposed alternative capital raising platform from the mandatory promoters’ holding lock-in period, facilitating easier fundraising and investor exits. Besides, the capital market regulator may also exempt all classes of stakeholders in startups from any lock-in clause while listing on exchanges, according to the LiveMint report. The final listing guidelines for startups will be announced next month.

Lets have a look at other developments of the week:

Startup Village Lab ties up with Federal Bank to Work on Mobile Banking Products

Federal Bank has tied up with Startup Village for setting up a ‘digital research laboratory’ at the incubator to nurture ideas from young minds for products in the banking and financial sector.  Shyam Srinivasan,CEO of Federal Bank said, “The process has begun. We have received around 200 ideas and are in the process of filtering them. Around 78 ideas have already been shortlisted.” The bank’s tech experts will conduct rigorous tests to filter out the products ideas,which have the potential, are scalable and can withstand the testing environment will be nurtured at the Startup Village. Pranav Suresh, CEO of Startup Village, said that ideas for the financial products are being nurtured at the ‘Startup Studio’ at the Village, and the first list of products would be announced in late May and the programme would commence from June. Federal Bank is looking for an out-of-the-box solution to fund the startups.

Aditya Birla Retail partners online grocer ZopNow as ecommerce partner

Online grocer ZopNow has secured the ecommerce based home delivery business of Aditya Birla Retail across its 16 ‘More’ hypermarkets in cities such as Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kolkata. The INR 2,500Cr. AB Retail is expanding its hypermarket format. Pranab Barua, Business Director, Retail & Apparel, Aditya Birla Group said, “We are starting experimenting in ecommerce in the food and grocery segment and have appointed ZopNow as our technology partner.” ZopNow is currently the ecommerce partner for 15 stores of HyperCity. Hypermarkets have limited capabilities in ecommerce and they come in as partners charging 10-15 percent of the margins, as told by Mukesh Singh, Founder & CEO, ZopNow.

Myntra banks on MobiKwik wallet for mobile app payments

MobiKwik, mobile wallet company, has become the first mobile wallet service to be available on the Myntra mobile app. MobiKwik’s customers can now make payments for their favorite fashion products and accessories on Myntra, from the safety of their MobiKwik wallet, instead of having to use their credit / debit / online bank accounts. This move follows the announcement by the Myntra to shut down its mobile and desktop websites and be available only as a mobile app.

IRCTC partners mydala to offer deals on its ticketing platform

Following its partnership with Amazon and Paytm, the government-owned ticketing portal has partnered with mydala to provide deals and offers to customers.The partnership will give travelers access to the best deals and offers while booking their tickets.Partnership looks to be a better proposition for both parties. While Mydala will have access to IRCTC’s two crore registered users and opportunity to lure 1.2 Mn daily visitors with deals, IRCTC gets an additional revenue channel.This partnership is an IRCTC’s move to deliver significant improvement in customer experience. Importantly, this is the third partnership in a row this year by IRCTC. Earlier it partnered with Paytm for train ticket booking through latter’s wallet and Amazon to power IRCTC’s online retail market. tied up with Citrus Pay; Drive cashback offers for flights & hotels, India’s leading mobile travel marketplace, has partnered with Citrus Pay to launch the ixigocashback offer. It is the first cashback promotion in the world by a travel search engine. The offer gives rewards in the form of cashback to users who book flights and/or hotels using ixigo or its partner websites.It is applicable over and above the offers, discounts or deals that are already running on travel websites,offering the best value to ixigo and Citrus Pay users. Travel websites that have already partnered for this cash back offer include, Jet Airways, GoAir, Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad for flights and & for hotels. Depending on the partner and the booking amount, travelers can avail anywhere between INR 500 to INR 1000 cashback for every booking.

Elearning platform launches a “Report Card” app for parents, an online learning platform has launched the “Report Card” app which gives a continuously updated real time digital report on a student’s progress. Over 92,00,000 parents of students on Meritnation’s platform can use the Android app to stay updated on the progress their children are making in their studies.

QwikCilver launches an  app named ‘woohoo’, to aggregate payment options

Bangalore-based QwikCilver Solutions Private Ltd., focused on gift cards programmes, has launched a new application named ‘woohoo’ to aggregate payment options and pay retail outlets through mobile.The app, which is currently available in Android, would provide a platform to retailers, currency partners and consumers. Through this, retailers would be able to accept multiple currencies. Similarly, it would allow currency partners like Oxigen wallet and loyalty rewards programme points under Payback to be accepted across thousands of retailers.It would also allow consumers to choose where the money comes from and they can seamlessly manage transactions from multiple wallets, gift-cards and loyalty points, through their mobile phones.

Snapdeal plans to hire 1,000 people to strengthen technology team

Online marketplace Snapdeal is looking to double its technology team by hiring another 1,000 people by the end of  2015. According to company’s statement, as Snapdeal continues to grow at a fast pace, robust cloud network will endow the company with the ability to rapidly scale up operational capabilities. Rohit Bansal, Co-founder of Snapdeal said, “It is Snapdeal’s stated plan to bring talented Indians from across the globe back to India because the company can provide the right set of opportunities in building technology that’ll make India a better place.”

No taxing ecommerce in Tamil Nadu for now

Tamil Nadu’s tax officials have put on hold their plans to amend the state’s value added tax (VAT) laws which were aimed at taxing ecommerce transactions, as the new uniform goods and services tax (GST) expected to come into effect by April 2016. A commercial taxes official in Tamil Nadu told TOI that with GST likely to be rolled out from April 2016, they expect ecommerce to get specific attention from policy makers in the next few months and hence amendments in state tax laws being mulled earlier, are not a priority right now. In the past, ecommerce players faced scrutiny from tax authorities of various states, including Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, who believe that companies like Amazon and Flipkart were acting as agents for the vendors selling through their portals and hence needed to come under the tax net.

eBay launches online perfume mall; will showcase over 1000 product ranges and 100 plus perfume brands

eBay India, launched an online perfume mall, which the company claims, is the largest in the online space. The company would showcase over 1000 product ranges and 100 plus perfume brands. Navin Mistry, head retail (exports and lifestyle category), eBay India said that the overall size of the perfume industry in India is estimated to be around INR 2000Cr. (both online and offline) and of this around INR 150Cr. is online perfume market. While offline sales are expected to grow by 50% to INR 3,000Cr., online is expected to grow by INR120Cr. to INR 345Cr. in the next one year.

Snapdeal appoints Gaurav Gupta as vice-president for engineering

Ecommerce marketplace Snapdeal, has appointed Gaurav Gupta as vice-president (VP), engineering. Gupta will spearhead the company’s cloud platform and technology infrastructure. 35-years old Gaurav Gupta who has almost one-and-a-half decades of experience in building enterprise products, has worked with several startups and large organisations like Cisco, Symantec before joining Snapdeal. eyes international foray

Property portal, is eyeing international realty market for expanding business and is looking at regions like South East Asia and Middle East. These regions are on their list, but there is no finalisation as of yet. Rishabh Gupta,Chief Operating Officer, said, “At present, our focus will be on deeper penetration in Indian markets as the scope here is immense. We are already live in 101 cities and we will like to increase it to more than 150 in the next one year.” He also said, “The intent is to reach to the Tier-II cities that have shown immense potential and are increasingly becoming investment hubs backed by rapid growth and substantial cost advantage,in terms of land prices and manpower.”

Zomato leases 1.2 lakh sq ft office space in Gurgaon

Online restaurant listing startup Zomato has leased an 1.2Lakh sq ft of office space in the One Horizon Center, one of the most expensive buildings in Gurgaon. Zomato plans to move its headquarters to the One Horizon Center on the Golf Course Road from Gurgaon’s Sector 44. Zomato’s Founder, Deepinder Goyal said, “In this space, we are planning to accommodate about 750 people that we are going to hire. We wanted that much space and couldn’t find any for a while. We only had three or four options and this is the best option.” The rental in the building is around INR 135 per sq ft per month. At this rate, Zomato will pay close to INR 1.6Cr. a month as rental. celebrates one million customer milestone with Rajasthan Royals

Online furniture and home marketplace, celebrated its milestone of serving 1Mn customer orders, along with the Indian Premier League cricket team Rajasthan Royals. Ambareesh Murty, CEO and Founder Pepperfry, unveiled a special edition bat to mark the occasion. Pepperfry is an official partner of the Rajasthan Royals this association will allow the brand to closely identify with the state of Rajasthan, which acts as a main sourcing hub for the company.

Amazon India will lease out 1.2Mn sq ft space in phases over three to four years

Ecommerce major Amazon India has leased out 1.2 Mn sq-ft prime office space with information technology (IT) park developer Bagmane in the city.The deal was concluded on 20th May. According to sources, Amazon India will lease out the space in phases over three to four years. A source also said “They will first start an incubation centre at the facility and occupy the entire space over a period”. This is the second-biggest deal in this space in recent times after Flipkart leased out about 3 Mn sq ft in phases in Bengaluru from realty firm Embassy Group few months back.

After Prescription Drugs Ban, Now Selling E-cigarettes Online Can Land You In Jail

Punjab government has asked the district police chiefs to lodge FIRs against all the ecommerce companies selling/marketing electronic cigarettes despite a complete ban on sale of cigarettes in the state.On the sale of e-cigarettes in the state, Health Minister Surjit Kumar Jayani  said that the government will register FIR against ecommerce companies for openly selling e-cigarettes in the state. He also asked for cooperation of people with police to help in registering FIRs against the companies on the basis of bills of e-cigarette products sent by them.“To make them aware of the ill-effects of e-cigarettes, government has sought help from NGOs along with authorities of educational institutions advising them to stay away from tobacco and other such products,” Jayani added.

Aggregator of beauty and wellness, Ziffi projects category leadership, one-stop-solution for booking appointments in the beauty and wellness sector, has announced the launch of its mobile app to offer services to customers on-the-go. The application brings to life its unique ‘One wallet for all wellness needs’ concept, thereby accelerating loyalty. The app  connects consumers with a multi-range of wellness options in a click. A central repository offering access to all lifestyle/wellness services, Ziffi wallet offers an easy and effective platform to reward customers for repeat bookings at their preferred salon/spa. Ziffi currently provide bookings across 75% of Tier I and Tier II salons and spas across Mumbai, Delhi-NCR, Bangalore and Hyderabad.

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