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Housing.com has informed of its decision to focus on home buying and selling business and scale down all other verticals including listings and rentals. The company has laid off over 200 employees. This layoff is also meant to drive further efficiencies across the company. With this development, the company will be reorganising its teams to execute the new strategy.

Startups also lent a hand to Chennai in mitigating the woes of the flood. Ola deployed boats in water logged and partially submerged areas of Chennai in order to help citizens who were stranded in waterlogged Chennai. This was done in cordinatyion and on the basis of information provided by the Fire and Rescue Department of Tamil Nadu. The boats manned by professional rowers and fishermen were also used to provide food and drinking water in specific areas. Both the ferrying services and supplies were offered free of cost. Similarly, budget hotel aggregator Oyo offered rooms at discounted prices to provide a safe stay for people stranded due to floods. Lookup partnered with Bhumi, India’s independent youth volunteer non-profit organisations, to conduct collection of clothes as well as other materials from residents living in different areas of Chennai for donating to the victims of the floods.

Important Developments Of The Week

Govt To Probe 21 Ecommerce Companies For FDI Law Breach

The Indian ecommerce players are in a tough spot again after the Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the Delhi government to probe 21 websites for possible breach of foreign direct investment (FDI) laws.

Bluegape Launches Murmur

Bluegape has launched a new app and rebranded itself Murmur, as part of its mobile-first approach. The move came after Bluegape managed to garner impressive traffic on its platform – over 28 Mn unique views and about 47 Mn sessions.

SilverPush Faces Allegations Of Privacy Breach

SilverPush, a cross-device retargeting company, raised concerns in the US over allegations of privacy breach over its technology. Washington-based Centre for Democracy & Technology has submitted a written statement to the Federal Trade Commision that the exercise of connecting a mobile device with other electronic devices creates ‘new privacy issues’ as it enables user activity to be tracked in a more efficient manner.

Frankly.Me Lays Off Almost 40% Employees As It Pivots

Video micro-blogging platform, Frankly.me, laid off close to 30 employees – about 40% of its team, as the company pivots its business model. The company has shifted its focus from a Q&A platform to a more horizontal video social network.

Flipkart Adopts A New Employee Retention Strategy

In a pioneering move by an Indian ecommerce company, Flipkart sold a marginal stake worth $27-30 Mn (INR 180-200 Cr.), in its employee trust fund to high net worth individuals, over the past few weeks.

Snapdeal Launches Snaptrends

Snapdeal has launched an online fashion trends forecasting service, Snaptrends, for its sellers. With Snaptrends, Snapdeal aims to act as a definitive guidebook for fashion and design product development exclusively for Snapdeal seller partners.

Ixigo Launches Super Value Hotels

Ixigo has launched a new meta-search across curated budget hotels, ‘Super Value Hotels’, on its website. It compares deals across branded budget hotel providers such as OYO rooms, Wudstay, ZO Rooms, Vista Rooms as well as independent hotels in popular locations of all major cities of India.

OYO Readies Cafe, Room Service To Woo Customers

OYO Rooms is venturing into food technology and on-demand housekeeping service to expand customer base. With OYO Café, the company will aggregate the kitchens of its listed hotels to prepare food and sell under its own brand. OYO Care will facilitate on-demand housekeeping service in its listed hotels.

LocalOye Lays Off 60 Employees

LocalOye has laid off 60 members of its 100-member call servicing unit staff as part of it restructuring plans. The company said that the move was a result of the company’s decision to automate the process of hiring service professionals.

Other Developments Of The Week

Pigen Rebrands As “GoPigeon”

On-demand first mile and courier service startup, Pigen, rebranded itself as GoPigeon. The website and the logo have also been accordingly upgraded in line with the company’s new branding, as it moves forward in its endeavour to simplify shipping for more and more users.

Transerv Strengthens Its Upper Deck

Transerv Pvt Ltd has brought in former OnMobile global digital marketing head Asutosh Upadhyay as chief product and marketing officer. TranServ has also named Kaushik Mitra and Amit Kumar Gupta as SVP – product and SVP and head – engineering, respectively.

Mahindra Comviva Enters Local Deals Space; Launches Zerch

Mahindra Comviva, the mobility solutions arm of IT services major, Tech Mahindra, has ventured into the B2C commerce space with a new discovery app for local deals, Christened Zerch. The app aggregates deals/offers from nearby merchants in categories such as food and beverages, spas and salons, and apparels, among others.

Bizpluss.in Adds 32 Suppliers From China

Bizpluss has opened doors for suppliers in China and added about 32 suppliers with 50 brands to its portal, giving them a direct entry into India’s retail ecosystem. It is also planning to expand its wings to add suppliers from the UK, UAE and European countries soon.

Domino’s Pizza Partners With Zippr

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Jubilant Food Works, which operates Domino’s Pizza chain, has partnered with Zippr to use latter’s coding method for delivering the orders. The location management platform has developed an 8-character code called a ‘Zippr’ which replaces the four line address. Now, Domino’s online customer will simply use a Zippr code while checking out after placing the order online, instead of entering a four-line address.

Food Startup Hello Curry Ties-Up With IRCTC

Hello Curry has partnered with IRCTC, to supply rail passengers with “wholesome healthy meal options” during their journey by placing orders on IRCTC website.

Stayzilla’s Vedanarayanan Vedantham Joins Simplilearn

Simplilearn appointed Vedanarayanan Vedantham as Senior Director of Marketing and Rajeev K.G as Director of eLearning for enterprise business. Rajeev comes with over 20 years of experience and has been responsible for building and leading roles at companies like Pluralsight and Country Manager at Skill Soft.

Voonik Ditches Mobile Only Approach

Personal shopping app for women, Voonik, announced the launch new desktop experience at http://www.voonik.com. After demonstrating tremendous growth and scale through an app-only strategy, Voonik is all geared up to offer its large and growing customer base with a multi-channel experience.

Zenify.in Expands Product Portfolio

Bangalore-based Zenify.in, a residential rental management startup partnered with Rentomojo,to expand its product and technology portfolio for its customers. As part of the tie-up, Rentomojo will run an exclusive campaign for Zenify’s customers.

FreeCharge Launches Gas Bill Payment service

Digital payments platform, FreeCharge, launched Gas bill payment (pipeline gas connection) service for customers on its website and Android app.

MobiKwik Android App Gets A Complete Makeover

Mobile payments network, MobiKwik has updated its Android app completely by revamping its user interface. Reflecting its deep understanding of user behavior and tastes, MobiKwik has launched home screen cards that allow users to explore the different facets of the mobile wallet and couple of other new features.

Ticketgoose Forays Into West Africa

Ticketgoose signed its first International associate M/s SPuTT Integrated Services, in Nigeria, marking its foray into emerging markets. M/s SPuTT Integrated Services has invested in the platform that enables SPuTT to offer wide range of bus ticketing solutions, which include online booking to its B2C customers, agent ticket booking platform, and bus operator ticketing platform.

Practo – Uber Announced Partnership

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Healthcare booking platform, Practo, and ride hailing startup, Uber announced a global partnership. This will enable Practo users across India, Indonesia, Philippines and Singapore able to see the closest Uber available when they get a reminder alert for their appointments. Users can then click the reminder notification and complete the booking process.

Meritnation Crosses 1 Crore Users

Online education platform for K-12, Meritnation.com, crossed 1 crore users mark on its site. As per the company, it is adding 8000+ new K-12 students everyday, and over 60% of new students joining Meritnation do so from a mobile phone.

YatraGenie Launches Hotel Booking Service

Bus ticketing and cab-booking platform, YatraGenie, announced launch of hotel booking service on its platform. The new service has been introduced in 50 Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities that YatraGenie currently operates in. YatraGenie plans to partner with 5000 hotels and expand the hotel booking service to 100 cities by March 2016.

GREX Ropes Ashith Kampani & Joseph Bosco

GREX Alternative Investments Market, a seamlessly integrated exchange-like platform, appointed Ashith Kampani and Joseph Bosco as advisors to GREX, who will bring in their years of deep experience in Capital Markets with them to the company.

HomeLane.com Appoints Google’s Jayanth Mysore  

Jayanth will head consumer experience for HomeLane. Jayanth earlier played an instrumental role in launching and scaling Google Maps and Google Analytics.

DEN Snapdeal TV-Shop Announces Appointment

DEN Snapdeal TV-Shop (DSTS) appointed Amarjot Brar as the Chief of Business Operations and Amit Katyal as the Head of Finance. Prior to joining DEN Snapdeal TV-Shop, Amarjot has worked with Askme and set up Business Excellence, Quality and Customer management across organisations like IBM, Virgin Mobile and Wipro. While Amit had served as Head finance at digital media group TO THE NEW, India division.

MakeMyTrip Ropes In Former Goibibo’s Deepak Tuli

MakeMyTrip has appointed Deepak Tuli, former Co-Founder and COO at Goibibo as Senior Vice-President-Growth Business. In his new role, Deepak will focus on building and implementing strategies for growing new business lines in the accommodations segment for the company.

PayUmoney To Make Ticket Reservation For Heritage Monuments

PayUmoney is collaborating with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and Canara Bank to facilitate online booking of Heritage Monuments.The move is aimed towards supporting the digitization of ASI’s service offerings under the Digital India campaign, allowing tourists have fingertip access to several prominent cultural heritage sites.

Simplilearn Launches Course On Apple Watch Application Development

Simplilearn, a global provider of online training and professional certification courses, launched its Apple Watch Application Development course. Intended for both aspiring and professional developers, the course is designed to equip individuals with the knowledge and skills to develop any iWatch app they can dream up and aim to create.

ClearTax Launches TaxCloud Application

In a move that could significantly ease the process of e-filing tax returns for enterprises, ClearTax has launched the TaxCloud mobile application ​for CA firms. ​The tax cloud platform hits a key milestone of over 10,000 CA firms across India this November.

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