We bring to you the latest dope of Indian startup news stories of the week.
In one of the major development in the Indian startup ecosystem, the Indian Ministry of Civil Aviation has finally released Drone Regulations 1.0 for the country. The ministry has also released the standard regulations for operating drones in the country. It had first issued a draft stating the rules and guidelines relating to the use of drones in November 2017.
Further, the Commerce and Industry Ministry will be setting up three task forces. The new age and future technology task force will deliberate the use of big data, automation and artificial intelligence in government functioning, streamline the country’s data dashboards and mainstream the National eGovernance Plan.
Important Indian startup News Stories Of The Week
WhatsApp’ Radio Campaign On Fake News, Government Warns On Misuse Of Social Media And More
- WhatsApp has announced to roll out radio campaign across Indian states to raise awareness against fake news and how such information, users receive, can be verified before he/she circulates it. The radio campaign will air across 46 Hindi speaking stations of All India Radio (AIR).
- WhatsApp has notified its users that the end-to-end encryption it offers for messages and media on its app, will not remain so if the data is stored as a backup on Google’s servers.
- After a petition from the Centre for Accountability and Systematic Change, the Supreme Court (SC) of India has issued notices to the respondents, including WhatsApp and the IT and finance ministries of India.The government has also asked WhatsApp to come up with some sort of software or tool that could help trace the origin of the messages.
- IT minister Ravi minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said that the government has taken serious note of reported data misuse of social media platforms for extraneous means.
- WhatsApp’s payments arm WhatsApp Pay is unlikely to get further approvals from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), unless the government and the WhatsApp reach an agreement on issues such as offering traceability of message in the domestic market. The company started its peer-to-peer (P2P) payments on the UPI platform here but it is restricted to only about 10 lakh users.
India To Liaison With US To Strengthen Its Defence Teams With Tech
India and the US are finalising a proposal to enable defence teams of both the countries to liaison with a cutting-edge defence innovation unit in Silicon Valley that identifies and funds emerging military technologies. The proposal is being finalised following the 2+2 dialogue agreed in between India and US.
UIDAI Suspends Services Of Banks For Mis-Performing
UIDAI has suspended services for 13 banks and Aadhaar authentication agencies (AUA) after it found them performing dismally on their targets. However, UIDAI has restored the facility for five banks including ICICI Bank, IndusInd Bank, RBL Bank and IDBI Bank, after they assured the authority that they would undertake corrective measures and meet their targets.
RBI To Take Final Call On AePS
The Department of Financial Services (DFS) has requested the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to take a final call on the Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AePS) interchange fees fixed for banks. The April circular had revised the interchange fees for every AePS transaction at 1% of the transaction amount, with a minimum charge of INR 5 and maximum of INR 15.
Google And Paytm Mall To Form A Mega Alliance
Google and Paytm Mall are looking to pick up a 7-10% stake in Future Retail. The duo is planning to join forces to invest $500 Mn- $572 Mn (INR 3,500-4,000 Cr) for the stake. It is being reported that a private equity fund may also join the mega-alliance.
Amazon India To Start With Its Hindi Website, In Talks With Multiple Retail Giants And More
- Amazon India has started experimenting with a Hindi interface for its mobile website and has also launched a small pilot wherein the interface features text in Hindi. The idea behind the experiment is to make the shopping experience convenient for customers in India.
- Earlier, the reports also surfaced that Amazon is in talks to acquire a stake in Kishore Biyani’s Future Retail and Aditya Birla Group’s More chain of stores and is now in talks with Spencer’s Retail to pick up a minority stake in the food and grocery retail chain.
- Amazon has started its assisted shopping service- Amazon Easy with over 200 stores across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The service will be available in more than 14,000 stores across 21 states by the mid of next year.
Ministry Of Commerce To Keep Check On Ecommerce Policy Fundamentals
Traders organisation, Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has written to the Ministry of Commerce stating that the fundamentals of the proposed draft ecommerce policy should not be diluted. The Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) DIPP Secretary Ramesh Abhishek too sought a crackdown on deep discounts currently being offered by ecommerce platforms in India.
Walmart Files A Caveat In High Courts Of Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru
Walmart has now filed a caveat in multiple high courts across the country filed by law firm Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas & Co in high courts of Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad.Walmart has taken pre-emptive action against threats raised by the trade organisations Confederation of All India Traders and Swadeshi Jagaran Manch from obtaining any interim order against Flipkart-Walmart deal without it getting a chance to present its side.
Related Article: 2018 In Review: Policywise, A Year Of Awakening For Indian Startups
Google Tez Becomes Google Pay, Launches Navalekha And More
- Google has changed the name of its digital payments application Google Tez to Google Pay on August 28. It has also partnered with four Indian banks including HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, and Federal Bank in order to offer instant, pre-approved loans to customers through the Google Pay in seconds.
- During its fourth Google for India event, Google announced a new initiative Navlekha to help Indians publish their content in regional languages.Under this, a user is provider with a tool that uses AI to render any PDF containing Indian language content into editable text, which helps the publishers create mobile-friendly content.
- Google is planning to get neighbourhood stores to join its overhauled Google Pay platform, as part of its offline strategy, by offering them extended support through its vast internet ecosystem.The development comes with an aim to empower small merchants, as that will help in expanding consumer adoption of its Unified Payments Interface (UPI)-based Google Pay.
Other Indian Startup Stories Of The Week
Rivigo’s Ex-Employees Encash $10 Mn In ESOPs
Over 30 ex-employees of Gurugram-based logistics Unicorn Rivigo have encashed on their stock options in the company, reaping in an estimated amount of $10 Mn. The shares were picked up by existing as well as new investors. However, the company’s founders, including its chief executive Deepak Garg, did not buy back the stock.
BHIM App To Revise Cashback Scheme For Merchants
Government-owned UPI app BHIM which aids in cashless transactions using a mobile phone, is working on a revised cashback scheme targeted towards the merchants. With the revised scheme, the ministry will focus more on providing incentives to the merchants.The scheme is being currently developed and now the government is planning to seek an initial seed funding of $18.5 Mn – $ 19.9 Mn (INR 130-140 Cr) before rolling out the scheme.
Amazon Alexa Introduces Two New Features
Amazon Prime Music introduced two new Alexa-powered features to its music streaming service on the mobile application as well as the echo family devices. Users will be able to can now simply ask Alexa to play recently heard songs and songs they haven’t heard in a while by artist, genre or time.
Google To Work On New Technologies And Product Range
Google has announced to have been working with multiple partners to use new-age technologies such as AI/ML, to improve the response time to natural disasters such as floods. With this step, Google also aims to address the healthcare challenges. It has invented a new systems that uses A for early and accurate flood warnings.
Also, Google is planning to launch a mid-tier smartphone in the INR $564.4- 704.7K ( INR 40,000-50000) range, which will be launched mainly in India and the emerging markets, is expected to hit the stores early next year.
OYO Launches Palette Resorts
Pallette Resorts is an upscale hotel category. Here Gurugram-based hotel chain company OYO will be partnering with select resorts that offer amenities such as spacious and aesthetically designed rooms, private villas, beaches, gourmet dining, spa, and other recreational provisions.
VOOT To Expand Its Footprints Internationally
Viacom18-owned digital video on demand platform VOOT looks to take the services to the UK in November 2018. The company will also bring news as a new addition to its content offerings, starting with a partnership with News18. It will begin its United Kingdom services in November,2018.
Eros Now Partners With Grofers
With this partnership, Eros Now, the on demand video service of Eros International, aims to grow its userbase. Post partnership, the annual subscribers of Grofers’ Smart Bachat Club (SBC) will get access to Eros Now’s library of over 11,000 film titles, original shows and music videos.
Pepperfry.com Launches COD Service
Online furniture company, Pepperfry.com, has launched cash on delivery(COD) service for up to $704.8 K (INR 50,000) for consumers in Mumbai and Delhi NCR. Pepperfry is further targeting 1 Mn customer transactions in the next three months through the new COD service.
EasemyApp Launches Mobile Application For Offline Retailers
Boutique enterprise mobility solution-EasemyApp has announced the launch of its mobile app for offline retailers to personalise store shopping experience and offer better dynamic discounts than online stores to shoppers based on their buying behaviour and store inventory, product ageing etc. With this patented technology solution, the shopper will be able to choose the product combos and discover dynamic discount offered by scanning the products of choice.
Instamojo Launches MojoXpress And MojoCapital
Bengaluru-based micro products and digital payments platform for SMEs Instamojo has launched MojoXpress and MojoCapital. To boost its offerings, the company has partnered with lending and logistics service providers to deliver high-quality and reliable services to its registered merchants and make businesses more efficient and cost-effective for both merchants and end-users alike.
Freshworks Introduces Freshconnect
SaaS-based platform Freshworks has announced the launch of Freshconnect-a new solution designed for collaboration between support and sales teams. The software will be available to Freshdesk and Freshsales users and the tool will make it easier for customer-facing and internal teams to work more efficiently with each other on customer issues and sales deals.
Foodpanda Looks To Hire 60K Delivery Riders
Online Food Delivery Company Foodpanda is looking to boost its order volume by over 10 times. With a range of discounts and offers in place, it is looking to steadily scale its delivery fleet to match the expected growth in order volumes.
Moglix Expands To Eastern India And Other States
B2B commerce company Moglix has started with the city of Kolkata in West Bengal. The company has also added two new centres in Aurangabad, Maharashtra and in Pant Nagar, Uttarakhand. With Moglix further stepping-up their presence catering to manufacturing sector of India, the company has ambitious plans to increase its hiring by 30 percent across functions in FY 19.
Airtel And Netflix Enter Into A Strategic Partnership
Airtel and Netflix have announced an expansion of their partnership in India through which subscribers of select Airtel Postpaid and V-Fiber Home Broadband plans will receive a three month gift of a Netflix subscription. Post these three months, these subscribers will be able to pay for their Netflix subscription seamlessly, using their Airtel postpaid or home broadband bill.
Flipkart Launches A Range Of Washing Machines
Flipkart has launched a new, innovative range of washing machines under its private label brand, MarQ by Flipkart. The new line of washing machines address some of the key customer need gaps such as top-of-the-line quality, superior tech-specification, affordable pricing & energy efficiency. The washing machines launched at a price point starting at ₹6999, come in two washing capacities — 6.5 & 7.5 Kgs, the most common among medium sized families.
Ola Launches Ola Mobility Institute
Ola has announced the launch of a policy research and social innovation unit – Ola Mobility Institute. A specialized think tank has been set up to develop knowledge frameworks that will focus on the intersection of mobility and public good. The institute will focus on leveraging the disruptive potential of mobility as a growth and innovation engine for India’s economy.
OYO Launches OYO Wizard With Guaranteed Discounts
OYO Wizard isa new membership program designed to recognise and reward frequent customers. Wizard is a benefit membership programme that aims to deepen and strengthen customer relationships by providing highly-rated and curated hotels to its loyal guests at the best price.
Equity Research Firm William O’Neil India Launches SWINGTrader
SWINGTrader is a product that combines fundamental analysis with technical analysis to increase potential for success. The SWINGTrader is specially designed for the Indian equities market and allows users to track all publicly traded stocks and can screen the database with hundreds of different criteria to screen for superior stocks.
Freecharge Partners With AbhiBus
Freecharge has announced the launch of a new category of service offering in partnership with AbhiBus. The partnership will allow Freecharge to enable more than 1 lakh routes and 2500 bus operators on its platform for its users. Consumers will also be able to track and manage their trips on the app itself along with zero convenience fee and 24×7 customer support.
RBI To Explore Rupee-Backed Digital Currency
The Reserve Bank of India has created an inter-departmental group to check the feasibility of introducing a rupee-backed digital currency. The RBI is introducing digital currency as there have been rapid changes in the payments industry, and also because of the emergence of private digital tokens.
Stay tuned for the next edition of News Roundup: Indian Startup Stories Of The Week!