We bring to you the latest dope of Indian startup news stories of the week.
In one of the major development this week, food delivery Unicorn Zomato’s newest investor — Ant Financial — has secured the right to become the largest shareholder in the company replacing Indian online classifieds company Info Edge. Fintech company Ant Financial, an affiliate of Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba, is aggressively seeking to expand its presence in India.
Further, Walmart has filed a share purchase agreement with the US securities regulator which states that Flipkart’s minority stakeholder Tencent has the first right to purchase any shares in the event any stakeholder in the online retailer plans to sell them to rival Chinese internet giant Alibaba.
Important Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
Google, Telangana Battles Against Data Localisation
Google has agreed to abide by all the RBI requirements but has sought around two months extra to comply. The official added that the government is still firming up its recommendations on storage of personal data after the Justice Srikrishna Committee submitted the draft Personal Data Protection Bill last month.
In a letter to Union IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, thanking him for the visit last month to the Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, Google CEO Sundar Pichai has pitched in for free flow of cross-border data on the internet, emphasising on security and privacy of users.
In another development, Telangana’s IT Minister K T Rama Rao may write a letter to Union minister for electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad, expressing concerns on the Draft Personal Data Protection Bill’s excessive notice requirements, its restrictive grounds of processing, and harsh cross-border transfer norms could threaten Telangana’s startup initiatives and hurt its business-friendly image.
FreshMenu Addresses 2016 Data Breach Of 110K Users
Data breach-tracker HaveIBeenPwned.com (HIBP) revealed that a breach in the systems of FreshMenu in July 2016 had exposed personal data, including the names, email addresses, phone numbers, home addresses, and order histories of its customer. When advised of the incident, FreshMenu acknowledged being already aware of the breach but stated they had decided not to notify impacted customers.
UIDAI Says Reports On Aadhaar Software Hack Are ‘Incorrect’ And ‘Irresponsible’
Recently, reports surfaced that the Aadhaar database could be compromised with a cheap software patch costing as little as $35 (INR 2500) that disables critical security features used to enrol new users. However, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) dismissed the reports as “completely incorrect and irresponsible” and said that no operator can make or update Aadhaar entries unless an individual furnishes his/her biometric details.
In another development, the Supreme Court has questioned the Centre on the UIDAI tender which aimed to launch a social media wing in order to “counter” the negative ideas on Aadhaar. A petition was filed by Trinamool member Mahua Moitra against the move to create an online surveillance on the people was heard by the top court bench including current Chief Justice Dipak Misra, AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud.
New GST Provision Requires Ecommerce Cos To Collect Tax At Source From Suppliers
The tax collected at source (TCS) provisions, introduced as a part of Section 52 of the Central GST Act, will come in effect from October 1. The ecommerce companies will have to deduct tax at the rate of 1% (CGST)+1% (SGST) before making the payment to the supplier for proceeds of a sale, as per the provisions of the act.
In another development, after depositing $1.02 Bn (INR 7,349.4 Cr) with the Indian income tax (I-T) department as withholding tax for its Flipkart acquisition, US retailer Walmart might have thought its legal obligations in the deal are close to completion. However, the work has just started for the I-T department, which has sought further details of the amount deducted from payments to each selling shareholder. Walmart also expects that Flipkart’s ongoing operations can negatively impact its fiscal 2019 and 2020 net income
J&K Startup Policy Gets Approval
In order to improve and enhance growth in the startup sector, the State Administrative Council (SAC) of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) approved the J&K Startup Policy 2018. The policy was approved during a meeting held on September 13, which was chaired by Satya Pal Malik, the governor of the state.
First Meeting Of Ecommerce Secretary Panel Gets Initiated
The first meeting of the recently formed ecommerce panel of secretaries was held on Thursday (September 14), during which issues related to the definition of ecommerce and grievances related to the industry were discussed. The panel of secretaries, which is headed by industry secretary Ramesh Abhishek, will meet again next month. This committee is different from the inter-ministerial task force that is working on the draft ecommerce policy.
Deposits Of Payments Banks In India Were Under $74.5 Mn
Payments banks in India have deposited a total sum of $74.5 Mn (INR 540 Cr) as on May 2018, of which Airtel Payments Bank deposited the highest — $42.3 Mn (INR 306 .74 Cr). Paytm Payments Bank deposited $26.7 Mn (INR 193.68 Cr), while Fino Payments Bank and India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) deposited $5 Mn (INR 37 Cr) and $191K (INR 1.39 Cr), respectively, as on May 2018.
Govt. Launches ‘India Code’
India Code is a database of all central enactments being developed by the Govt. Various ministries and departments in the government of India will provide the content for India Code website. The government is working on arranging all the enforced laws in India, and stack them on the website. The development comes post the 2016 writ petition, filed by Vansh Sharad Gupta, seeking online access to Indian laws
Amazon India Says No To Self-Censorship
It was earlier reported that OTT players in India, including Amazon, allegedly met in New Delhi to discuss the possibility of censorship codes and what they would look like. Amazon offers access to Prime Video and Music as part of its Amazon Prime membership, which currently costs $13.82 (INR 999) in India. The company feels that its subscribers might express outrage if the former adopts an industry censorship code and makes any alterations in movies and shows that the subscribers have paid to watch.
In another development, Amazon has stated that it may share payment data of its users with the Indian government’s enforcement agencies. The company’s digital payment arm, Amazon Pay, is responsible for its e-wallet and payments business.
Other Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
Foodpanda To Integrate With Ola App
The integration, starting with key markets, will be rolled out in October this year. Since its acquisition by Ola, Foodpanda India has been working as an independent entity. Foodpanda India recently claimed to have achieved a major milestone of registering three lakh orders per day. It now aims to add another 150 Mn customers in India.
India Launches Pan-African E-knowledge & Health Network
The five-year project, unveiled by external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, aims at providing free tele-education courses in various academic disciplines to 4,000 students annually from African countries. In addition, it will help provide free continuing medical education to 1,000 candidates comprising African doctors, nurses and paramedical staff. Indian doctors will provide free medical consultancy to African doctors who seek such consultancy.
Portugal Based NOS Collaborates With India’s Tata Elxsi
NOS, SPGS S.A., one of the leading entertainment & communication provider in Portugal announced its collaboration with Bengaluru-based Tata Elxsi to launch a Digital Centre of Excellence (CoE). The centre will focus on digital transformation initiatives that are geared to deliver next-generation services, enhance subscriber experience, and improve operational efficiency across their entire portfolio. This announcement comes as an expansion of the existing partnership around RDK solutions.
Andhra Pradesh Govt Launches ‘e-Rythu’ App
The app seeks to connect stakeholders in the agricultural supply chain — buyers, farmers, and agents — on a single platform to offer an easy and secure way of trading agricultural products via their feature phones. With its commercial launch expected soon, the platform will be first implemented by Tamil Nadu-based fresh produce supply chain company Lawrencedale Agro Processing India Ltd (LEAF) and four farmers producers organisations (FPOs) based in the cities of Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam.
Payback To Partner With PoS Firms
The company is looking to join hands with local PoS solution providers with an aim to penetrate deeper into its targeted customer segment. Payback, which was founded in 2011, is controlled by US-based financial services company American Express.
Amazon Plans To Add Benefits To Prime
Amazon now plans to add benefits to its Prime subscription services which will benefit its offline expansion and encourage frequent use of the programme in the country. The company is looking to add more Prime members from small towns in India and that its assisted shopping initiative Udaan and recently launched Hindi interface are aiding this target.
Cult.Fit Tops Consumer Satisfaction Chart
RedSeer Consulting recently carried out a sectoral analysis of consumer satisfaction across the industry. Fitness chain CultFit has topped the chart with near 60% NPS, compared with a sector average of more than 45%. In the online fashion and e-tailing sectors, Amazon’s NPS is well above 25%. In the online ride-hailing or cab aggregator space, the average NPS is around 25% but Uber’s NPS rate is more than 35%
Also, Cure.fit will launch two quick service restaurants (QSR) in the next 4-6 weeks, offering healthy food to people who are on-the-go in Bengaluru. This move makes Cure.fit one of the early firms in the food tech sector to foray into the offline space. This development comes just a month after the company raised $120 million in a financing round led by IDG Ventures, Accel Partners and Kalaari Capital, bringing the two-year-old firm’s total funding up to nearly $170 million.
MobiKwik Partners With ONN Bikes
With the partnership, MobiKwik users will be able to rent a bike, scooter, or a scooty through the digital wallet mobile application. The aim of the partnership is to make intra-city travel hassle-free, affordable, and convenient.
Magicbricks Launches A Dedicated Site for Property Deals
With the festive season around the corner, realty portal Magicbricks has launched India’s first dedicated site for property deals. Through magicbricks.com/deals, homebuyers will get a chance to clinch the best value deals offered by top developers across the National Capital Region, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai and Pune. Over 100 developers across the five cities have already listed themselves on the site, offering more than 2,000 deals across 150 projects to homebuyers. The developers include L&T Realty, Godrej Properties, Rishabh Group, Parsvnath, Sare Group, Saaya, Ashiana Homes, Kanakiya Group, Airhant Group, Puranik Builders, Naiknavare Developers and Jain Housing.
Treebo Launches Hero App, partners With Ixigo And More
Treebo Hotels has announced the launch of its new mobile app — Hero — aimed at tapping into traditional offline sales channels with a view to expanding its customer base and creating new avenues for sales. With the Hero app, Treebo aims to target intermediaries such as auto-rickshaw and cab drivers, individual agents, small shopkeepers, and others who typically operate at airports, railway stations, and bus stands.
In another development, ixigo, one of India’s leading travel marketplace, has announced a partnership with Treebo Hotels for sales and distribution of Treebo’s hotel inventory on ixigo’s apps and website. With this partnership, ixigo has become the most comprehensive hotel inventory aggregator for budget hotels, covering hotel inventory from Treebo, OYO, MakeMyTrip, Yatra, Cleartrip, Booking.com and Agoda.
Also, Ixigo is reportedly betting on the underserved rail-ticketing segment to drive growth, as it prepares to hit the market for its next round of fundraising for an estimated $50-75 Mn.
Google Launches Blog Compass For Online Bloggers
The app which is currently available in open beta, or in a public data form, in India offers services for English and Hindi language users. It has been designed to integrate with blogging platforms such as WordPress, Blogger.com, etc. As users log in to their blogging accounts, the app will connect to their accounts on Google Analytics and Search Console.
Here Are The Top 10 Emerging Jobs In India From The LinkedIn Report
LinkedIn has released its report on the top 10 emerging jobs in India — identifies the fastest growing and, up-and-coming jobs — that saw the largest growth in frequency in years between 2013 and 2017. The report also highlights the skills needed for each role. LinkedIn crossed 50 Mn members in India in July this year, from 3.4 Mn users in 2009. Check out the key trends observed by LinkedIn here.
Cashfree Launches Cashgram
Bengaluru-based payments technology company Cashfree has launched Cashgram, a smart payout system for one time payments, like Cash on Delivery refunds in ecommerce. Cashgram is an extension of Cashfree’s Payout system that enables businesses to send money to their user and vendors. Using Cashgram, companies can send a web link to their users requesting bank account information. On receiving the information, a one click refund can be processed instantly. Currently, e-commerce companies do this manually over multiple emails between customer, finance team and customer support team, very often leading to errors and delays. Cashgram also gives the users the option of sharing their UPI IDs or PayTM, instead of their bank account.
LALA World Announces Global Expansion In 150 Countries
LALA World, a global fintech organisation aiming to develop an AI and Blockchain powered global, digitally-decentralised financial ecosystem, has announced its partnership with TransferTo. TransferTo is leading global digital value services network. A first for a Blockchain-based company, under this collaboration, LALA World iOS and Android app users can use the services not only in India, but they can now recharge the mobiles of friends and family in 150 countries across the world. TransferTo first launched its digital value services network in 2005 and has since processed more than 450 Mn transactions.
Housing.com Launches RealtyVision 2.0
RealityVision 2.0 is said to be India’s first native Virtual Reality (VR) product for 3D presentation of real estate projects. Also, the company claims this to be the first global integration between touch devices and virtual reality. The portable product offers 3D walkthrough support and can be controlled from both the buyer’s as well as the seller’s end. It will reflect the consumer’s real-time journey via a touchscreen.
Indus OS Partners With Flickstree
Flickstree now powers short-format video content in 10 Indian languages, for their property Indus Hub, that brings content directly on the mobile screens of users. By partnering with Flickstree, Indus OS aims to bring the best of vernacular video content directly in the hands of the users
Stay tuned for the next week edition of News Roundup: Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week!