We bring you the latest news stories from the Indian startup ecosystem.
One of the most crucial Indian startup news stories this week was the shut down of Alibaba-backed Chinese bike rental company Ofo’s India operations following the reports of the cash crunch as it fired most of its 30 employees team in India. Ofo had begun its operations in India in January 2018.
Also, Niti Aayog has launched the blueprint for the most awaited National Health Stack (NHS), a shared digital healthcare infrastructure. The blueprint is in line with the implementation of the Centre’s flagship scheme Ayushman Bharat and other public healthcare programmes in the country. The National Health Stack will facilitate collection of comprehensive healthcare data across the country.
Important Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
UPI May Soon Be Used By Retail IPO Investors
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) is looking to introduce Unified Payments Interface (UPI) as an alternative payment option for the retail IPO investors. According to Sebi officials, under the new payment process, an investor will have to avail a 16 digit UPI Id from his/ her bank. The investors will then enter the bid details in the form as per current practice and also enter the exclusive 16 digit UPI ID.
Finance Ministry Proposes To Relax Data Localisation Drive
After the RBI’s directive to payment system operators in the country to store data within India, the finance ministry has now proposed to relax the directive. The finance ministry has suggested that a possible solution could be that companies would be allowed to store their data offshore, as long as a copy was kept in India. It has also proposed that the RBI should issue a clarification on the kind of data that needs to be stored in India and the time given to companies implement the directive.
Telecom Commission Accepts Net Neutrality
The Telecom Commission has accepted the November 2017 recommendation of the Trai (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) which emphasised on open internet. The commission has also cleared the new telecom policy- the National Digital Communication Policy 2018. The government will soon amend telecom licences to incorporate rules on net neutrality, including a bar on blocking or slowing down of content, while allowing fast lanes for only ‘critical’ services and keeping ‘content delivery networks’ out of their ambit.
Paytm Goes Global With Forex Card And Cash
Digital payments company Paytm has now ventured into forex services for top 20 international currencies. It supports partial payment to lock in the current exchange rate and a doorstep delivery within 48 hours. At present, the service is live on Paytm’s website and will soon be launched on its Android and iOS apps. Paytm will initially start with foreign exchange services but it may enter cross-border remittance services, both outward and inward, as well in future.
In another development, Paytm has announced that it has achieved an annual run rate of 5 Bn transactions and $50 Bn in gross transaction value (GTV). The growth is said to be on account of the phenomenal adoption in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities such as Surat, Durgapur, Rajkot, Meerut, Imphal, Rohtak, Panipat, Mangalore, Ranchi, Puducherry, Rajamundri, Warangal, Jodhpur, Thrissur, Karnal, Madurai and Jamnagar.
India Rank In GII, Andhra Pradesh Tops Ease Of Doing Business Index And More
- India was ranked 57th in the latest Global Innovation Index (GII) rankings, where it escalated for the third year in a row. Switzerland maintained its number one position in the GII rankings.
- Andhra Pradesh has scored the top position in the DIPP (Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion) and World Bank’s jointly released ease of doing business index for states, leaving behind industry-focussed states such as Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka. The next two spots for ease of doing business were grabbed by Telangana and Haryana respectively.
- PM Narendra Modi said that India is fast emerging as a global manufacturing hub.he made the above statement at the inauguration of Samsung’s largest mobile manufacturing plant. The plant has been set up with an investment of $726.74 Mn (INR 500 Cr) and is touted to be the world’s largest owned by any handset brand. The plant is expected to create 2K new jobs in the country in next few years.
Govt. Proposes New Wing To Monitor FDI Violations
The government officials have proposed to create a special group to keep a check on any violation of its Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Policy by online retail platforms. The Special Group will comprise of officials from the industry departments and Enforcement Directorate.
In another development, ecommerce companies such as Snapdeal and ShopClues have welcomed the government’s decision to reinforce the implementation of Press Note 3 for FDI (foreign direct investment), stating that it would facilitate a level-playing field for marketplaces as well as sellers. These companies believe that the new rules will dissuade “malicious practices” being carried out by certain platforms for some “proxy sellers”.
Ola Aims To Be Profitable In 2018
Ola will now be making profit on its every ride after taking into account expenses such as driver incentives and customer discounts in the home ground. The firm will be becoming ENTR (effective net take rate) positive. ENTR is an important metric for ride-hailing companies. Take rate is the commission charged by companies from their drivers and ENTR is the take rate after removing costs such as discounts per ride. The firm is aiming to be profitable this year.
Walmart-Flipkart Deal Tax Obligations, Flipkart Big Days Sale And More
- Walmart has assured the Income Tax authorities that it will comply with all the tax obligations related to the Flipkart acquisition deal. The global giant will be fulfilling all the regulatory requirements and get the tax implications of the deal examined. It is planning to close $16 Bn deal by the end of 2018.
- Flipkart has announced its Big Shopping Days starting from July 16 to July 19 this year. The customers will avail top deals in over eighty categories with deals across Mobiles, Laptops, Cameras, TVs, Washing Machine, Furniture and Toys. Big Shopping Days will also include a chance to win rewards worth lakhs through various contests that will run on the platform from July 12-19.
- Flipkart is now planning to double its annualised sales from digital advertising to roughly $200 Mn by March 2019. The annualised sales figure implies that Flipkart will generate sales of $16-17 Mn in March 2019.
- Binny Bansal, in a firechat with Subrata Mitra, shared that Sachin Bansal exited Flipkart at the right time. Binny disclosed that Sunny – co-founder of Flipkart wanted to do different things in life and he left the company at the right time when Walmart had acquired a 77% stake in Flipkart for $16 Bn and, subsequently, investors such as SoftBank and Accel Partners exited from the company.
BHIM App Records 16.3 Mn Transactions In June
National Payments Corporation of India has witnessed an increase in the number of transactions done through the government-owned UPI app — BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money). The number of transactions increased from 14.2 Mn in May to 16.3 Mn in the month of June, a 15% rise.
Other Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
Airtel Payments Bank Can Now Take New Customers
Owing to the trouble for Airtel and Airtel Payments Bank, the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) and the UIDAI (Unique Identification Authority of India) have permitted the payments bank to onboard new customers and use Aadhaar e-KYC for the same. The airtel payments bank has also received requisite approvals from the Reserve Bank of India to start onboarding new customers and has received permission from UIDAI to resume the onboarding of customers using Aadhar based e-KYC.
Whatsapp Launches Forward Label
The Forwards label will help users identify if a text or a video has been forwarded by another user and not originally composed. WhatsApp has also proposed the use of machine learning techniques to identify malicious content.
Tata Capital Launches Online Working Capital Lending Platform
The platform will provide loans up to $291.8K. It will allow customers to access their loan account details and utilise the loan limits anywhere anytime. The newly launched lending platform has been developed in partnership with Biz2Credit– a US based fintech company.
Google Is Now Expanding Its News Initiative To YouTube
Google will provide expertise with other organisations to develop new features. It will also provide funding for nearly 20 global markets to support news organisations in building video operations. The company said it will now also focus on the video specific content on YouTube to build sustainable video operations and improve the news experience, at the same time attempting to curb fake news on the video platform.
Zomato To Launch Zomato Piggybank For Its Loyal Users
Zomato Piggybank, is a reward points programme for loyal users of the food delivery service. Every time a customer will order food online on Zomato at any restaurant, 10% of the order value will be credited back as Z Coins into his/her Zomato Piggybank.
The development comes in line with Zomato completing 10 years of its service. Zomato, on its 10th anniversary, will be creating a landmark birthday by celebrating it in line with their vision – better food for more people – by distributing 250K good and hygienic meals to the homeless and underprivileged.
Also, Zomato will now be launching its food delivery services to cities like Surat, Vizag, Bhopal and Bhubaneswar. The startup has partnered with 500 restaurants in these cities – ranging from city favourites, legendary restaurants, and Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs). Moreover, now the services of Zomato will be available in 21 cities.
BigBasket Aims To Reach $1 Bn Gross Sales Run Rate
BigBasket is looking to touch $43.5 Mn in sales by September and $72.6 Mn by March 2019. It had an annual exit rate of $435.8 Mn in March 2018. It is also piloting its new offline service with a separate app — ‘BB Instant’
Rentsher Expands Its Operations Further In India
RentSher, an online product rental marketplace in India and the UAE, after successfully launching in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Delhi, and Dubai, is more than doubling its geographical footprint by launching in seven new cities. It has initiated operations in Chennai, Pune, and Cochin in India, and in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi in the UAE. It will also be entering its third country, Saudi Arabia, in two weeks’ time when it will launch operations in Riyadh and Mecca after deploying a bilingual website.
ClearTax Partners With Zerodha
The partnership aims to offer tax filing solutions to traders and investors across India. Integration between ClearTax and Zerodha platforms will help in making tax filing possible with just a few clicks. Users can view a detailed summary of total turnover, long-term gains, short-term gains, total capital gains and audit eligibility on the ClearTax portal by simply uploading the Zerodha P&L report.
AUS Adds Two New Clients To Its Portfolio
Aarav Unmanned Systems (AUS), a commercial drone technology startup has locked in new clientele in a move to strengthen its growth. AUS has deployed its PPK based survey grade drone Insight-PPK technology solution at Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) and Thematic Infotech Private Limited to help them to improve accuracy in drone based mapping and reduce cost in real time.
VIP Partners With Ecommerce Aggregator Buymore
Luggage and baggage products providing company VIP,has partnered with BuyMore- a brand of Counfreedise Retail Services Ltd for the online retail sector in India to expand their online reach. Counfreedise will help VIP in getting listed on its base of 10 ecommerce websites in the Indian marketplace and eight websites across 12 countries around the world.
Ixigo Partners With ePayLater
Mumbai-based fintech company ePayLater, has partnered with travel marketplace ixigo, . Through this partnership, ePayLater’s ‘Book Now, Pay Later’ service will be made available to customers purchasing train tickets from ixigo. This will allow customers to book travel without making a payment, while availing the benefits of interest-free credit for a period of 14 days from the date of the tickets purchase.
In another development, ePayLater has partnered with OnlineTyari to provide its customers a convenient option of making payments for online job-oriented tests and courses and paying for them later. Partnership with ePayLater will help OnlineTyari in eliminating frictions involved in payment process and offer greater value to users.
Infibeam Avenues Launches The New UPI App Intent Feature
Infibeam Avenues has introduced the feature of payment acceptance through the new UPI App Intent flow for CCavenue.com payment gateway merchants. The new UPI App Intent will process payments on native mobile applications using existing UPI supported apps like Phonepe, BHIM, and Tez etc, installed on the customer’s phone offering a quick and seamless payment experience. There will be no need of using multiple apps (merchant, SMS, UPI app) while making payments.
Happay Launches Enterprise Edition With AI Capabilities
Fintech company Happay has launched an enterprise edition of its expense management platform with AI-powered capabilities to auto-populate expenses incurred during official travel by employees. The new enterprise will help to reduce the tax burden for both corporates and its employees.
Stay tuned for the next edition of Indian Startup News Stories of the Week!