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News Roundup: 12 Startup Stories That You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [23 May – 28 May]

News Roundup: 12 Startup Stories That You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [23 May – 28 May]

Personal assistant platform Helpchat fired close to 100 of its employees as it is shutting down the chat wing of the business. The fired employees are being offered a three-month severance package.

Snapdeal Scales Down Operations

Snapdeal is reportedly planning to scale down operations in its regional offices including Bangalore, Mumbai, Calcutta, and Hyderabad. Sources close to the development said that the ecommerce biggie may even shut down a few offices in the next six months, due to lack of funding.

Tinyowl Halts Operations In All Cities Except Mumbai

Food ordering app TinyOwl temporarily withdrew its services in all cities except Mumbai.  The company has also said to have shifted to a smaller office in Mumbai.

Starbucks To Launch Mobile Payments & Loyalty App

Starbucks has announced that it will launch its mobile payment and loyalty app in India this year. The platform will allow users to make payments and to participate in the ‘My Starbucks Rewards’ program. It will also show the nearest store location and menu options.

China’s Tiens Group To Enter India

China’s Tiens Group is planning to launch its online marketplace, to mark its entrance in the Indian ecommerce market by second half of this year. It plans to sell over 3000 products from different countries and would compete with portals in likes of Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal and more.

Siftr Launches Magic Cleaner App

Siftr launched the Siftr Magic Cleaner App on Android and iOS that analyses and cleans junk images from messenger apps like WhatsApp, Hike, Line, Snapchat, and Telegram, from the smartphones. The startup has witnessed over 60K downloads on its Android version in a week’s time.

Snapdeal Pushes Ad Business

Snapdeal unveiled the new version of its advertising platform Snapdeal Ads, which will enable sellers to target the right customers, based on their browsing behaviour, geo-location and purchase history. Along with driving product discovery and revenue, Snapdeal sellers will also be able to curate ad campaigns for specific customer groups through targeted advertising.

Bangalore Gets First Startup Hostel

Bangalore got its first hostel for startup entrepreneurs – the Construkt Startup Hostel. The hostel aims to offer cost-effective boarding facility to startups along with creating touch-points for the community to mingle in the city.

Zomato Scales Back Operations

Zomato rolled back its operations from 9 countries out of 23 overseas market, reducing its operating costs to $1.7 Mn. This includes the markets of the US, UK, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Chile, Canada, Brazil, Italy, and Slovakia. With strong presence in India and UAE, it will continue to focus on these markets including others viz. Qatar, Lebanon, Turkey, South Africa, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Portugal, Poland, and the Czech Republic.

Patanjali Is Ready To Take On Indian Healthcare Startups

Baba Ramdev is reportedly lining up an online platform Chikitsalaya for ayurvedic consultation and treatment. This will take on Indian healthcare startups like Practo and Lybrate, as Baba Ramdev-promoted Patanjali Ayurved attained an INR 5,000 Cr turnover mark in 2015-16 is targeting a turnover of INR 10,000 Cr in 2016-17.

ZuperMeal Shuts Shop

Home food delivery startup ZuperMeal has apparently closed down its operations after operating eight months. The founding members were not approachable to clarify the reason, however, one of the three co-founders, Balasubramanian Anantha Narayanan, has joined logistics startup LogiNext as vice president – business development.

Fashionara Shuts Down Operations

fashion etailer, Fashionara, has shut down its operations. The company’s website is not working since last week and there has been hardly any update on the social media channels from a couple of days except the automated scheduled tweets. Co-founder Darpan Munjal had left the company in January this year, as confirmed by him. He is currently operating

Other Developments Of The Week

Tata CLiQ Partners With Genesis Luxury

Tata Group’s online marketplace, CLiQ, entered in a partnership with Genesis Luxury to offer an exclusive range of international luxury brands. The partnership will make the only authorised partner to offer several international luxury brands in India that the Genesis Group represents.

Sokrati Reveals Major Findings On Ecommerce Trends

Digital media firm Sokrati recently conducted a research titled “Indian Ecommerce Web Trends,” that included data from 100+ retailers during Q1 2016. It stated that Indian men shop online three times more than Indian women. It also revealed that 60% of all online purchases happen during business hours. Find out more of the report here.

Toyota Signs Car Leasing Partnership With Uber

Toyota Motors entered into a strategic partnership with Uber. As a part of the agreement, the two companies have agreed to conduct ride-sharing trials in countries where ride-sharing is still expanding, taking various factors into account such as regulations, business conditions, and customer needs. The company also plans to invest an undisclosed amount in the ride sharing app.

Amazon India Reworks Return Policy

Amazon India said that no refunds will be offered on return of few electronic goods like tablets, laptops, desktops, cameras, and camera lenses purchased after May 11. The company will however avail replacements if required within 10 days of purchase. The company has enforced a similar policy for large appliances and furniture.

Mobikwik Offers Loans To Wallet Users

As part of its efforts to boost digital payment usage in the country, Mobikwik is expanding its services by offering instant micro loans to wallet users running short on balance. It has partnered consumer-lending marketplace CashCare for the service and has already given loans to about 25,000 users. It will also add 10-12 other similar banks and non-banking finance companies for the service.

Uber Signs Up With KIA

Uber signed up with Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) to have dedicated parking cum pick-up zone outside the P-2 terminal. The aggregator signed a MoU with KIA – Bangalore calling it U-Zone. The fares for KIA will start from INR 8/km.

Jabong To Focus On Premium Lifestyle Products

Online fashion portal Jabong is shedding several low-margin brands including three-fourth of its private labels, in a bid to cut losses and position itself as a platform for premium lifestyle products. The company said that it will instead focus on top 200-300 brands.

Faircent Launches eSign Facility

Peer to peer lending startup announced the launch of e-Sign facility, in partnership with eMudhra, in order to simplify the lending process for customers. e-Sign is part of the India stack conceptualised by the current government under the Digital India initiative.

Edugild To Set Up Two More Centres

EdTech accelerator Edugild plans to set up two more centres, MIT Institute of Design and the MIT Academy of Engineering, in Pune by July. It will function as both incubator and accelerator as it aims to make the programme more accessible to the students of these institutes.

App-based Bus Services Gets Delhi Govt Nod

The Delhi government notified a scheme for bus aggregators such as Ola shuttle, Shuttl and ZipGo, which will allow passengers in Delhi to book bus tickets on apps for premium or air conditioned buses. The scheme will come into force from June 1.

Oyo Rooms Starts Offering Holiday Packages

Oyo Rooms (Oravel Stays Pvt. Ltd) has started offering holiday packages consisting of transport, assisted services and local activities, besides stay across its leisure destinations since almost eight months, according to a top executive of the company.

Jugnoo Partners With Helpchat

Auto-rickshaw aggregator, Jugnoo, partnered Helpchat to further expand its market outreach. It is a two-fold partnership that enables users to seamlessly plan journeys using a combination of options such as cab services, bike-taxis, auto-rickshaws, local buses and trains, all from within the app.

Let’s Service Partners QuikrServices

Let’s Service, an on demand two wheeler service company, announced its partnership with cross category classifieds platform Quikr to provide unparalleled convenience to two-wheeler owners on QuikrServices. Under the partnership, Let’s Service will be available for Quikr consumers across the city and increase efficiency to Let’s Service partner service centers.

Coverfox Partners With Oriental Insurance

Online insurance platform partnered with Oriental Insurance Company to facilitate the public sector undertaking’s comprehensive motor insurance product for both four and two wheelers online.

Myntra Forays Into Fine Jewellery

Online fashion platform Myntra has forayed into fine jewellery by partnering with Tata Group’s jewellery brand Tanishq. As part of the partnership, Mia by Tanishq, a fine collection of work-wear jewellery will now be available on Myntra.

DataWeave Partners with Capillary Technologies

DataWeave partnered with Capillary Technologies to offer its competitive intelligence products to Capillary Technologies’ clients. This will help Capillary towards expanding the reach of its competitive intelligence solutions.

Ola Launches Ola Lux

Ola launched Ola Lux, a luxury car service which will be available in parts of Mumbai. It will offer cars such as Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, among others, at almost double the rate of Ola’s Micro and Mini categories.

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