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News Roundup: 11 Startup Stories That You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [30 May – 4 June]

News Roundup: 11 Startup Stories That You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [30 May – 4 June]

In a circular dated May 27, The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) said the 6% levy would come into force from June 1, 2016. The EQL is aimed at nullifying the advantage of foreign ecommerce firms, ‘without a physical presence in India’ over its local competitors. Currently, the equalisation levy will only apply on B2B transactions. Google and Facebook, etc are among firms that will be hit by the levy.

Important Developments Of The Week

Ravi Gururaj’s Venture QikPod Runs Into Legal Hurdle

Neeraj Ray, who was being considered for a role in the startup has filed an injunction suit against Qikpod, accusing Ravi of not giving him the promised equity in the startup. A Bangalore civil court has passed an interim order, that refrains Ravi’s venture from either “allotting or issuing new shares in the company”, or from “commercially launching the Meralocker Qikpod product during pendency of the suit”.

FreshDesk Opened Office In Berlin

FreshDesk, the Indian SaaS startup that provides a cloud-based customer support software, has opened a new regional office in Berlin, Germany. It will enable the company to support and grow their mid-market and enterprise business in Continental Europe. The office will be led by Arun Mani, Managing Director in Continental Europe.

Myntra Brings Back Its Desktop Site

Myntra finally brought back its desktop website, ditching its app-only strategy.The desktop site has been built from scratch to be more responsive. The company expects to get 15-20% of its sales in the current financial year to come from the desktop website.

Karnataka Govt. Issues Warning To Uber And Ola

According to recent notification by the Karnataka Transport Department, Ola and Uber, might have to shut down their services in Karnataka which apparently is the largest market for the two. As per the circular, those who are operating un-licensed cabs in the city will have to shut operations with immediate effect as this is violation of the section 193 of the motor vehicles act.

Snapdeal Opens Data Science Center In California

New Delhi-based online marketplace, has established its Data Sciences Centre in San Carlos, California. This is in line with the company’s vision to onboard top global talent to help build high-value solutions and develop a high impact growth strategy. The center will be headed by Nitin Sharma, Senior Vice President, Data Sciences.

Amazon Invests $200 Mn In Its India Unit

Amazon has invested INR 1,350 crore (about $200 Mn) in its India unit of Amazon Seller Services, as it seeks to accelerate the momentum gained in the past 18 months. As per the latest regulatory filings, the total capital infused into the main India unit since early 2015 to Rs 8,618 crore. The money came in March, a few weeks before India introduced discounting and vendor-related restrictions for online market. Expects $10 Mn Revenue This Fiscal

Online property site,, after recently restructuring its business model, is expected to have  $10 million revenue in the current fiscal. As said the portal’s revenue is growing 200% month-on-month. Presently, the company has 11,000 developers and 18,000 brokers active on its platform.

Jabong Revenue Grows In Q1

The losses for online fashion retailer, Jabong, shrinked for first quarter of the year, as compared to those with previous year. The firm has simultaneously cut down its operating loss, attributed to ‘improving intake margins and an increase in the de-risked business, including consignment, partly offsetting continued high levels of discounts’. It touched $66 Mn in GMV in January with growth of 56% in gross orders and 59% in gross items. It expects to reach $1 Bn GMV mark by the end of this year.

Other Developments Of The Week

Localoye Recasts Its Business Model

Household and personal service marketplace Localoye has shifted its focus on business-to-business (B2B) customers for better monetisation. The startup is said to be struggling with weak unit economics and high cash burn while dealing with retail customers.

Qyk Rebrands Itself To PaperToStone

Mobile Marketplace Qyk has rebranded itself to PaperToStone and will now be an house building service aggregator. It will now provide home construction, renovation and interior designing services. With this shift, the company is trying to disrupt the $100 Bn construction market.

Bahrain Wants India To Mentor Its Fintech & Gaming Startups

Bahrain, impressed by PM Narendra Modi’s startup plans, now wants Indian startups working in areas of financial technology and gaming in particular to expand base in the country and provide mentoring. The government of Bahrain hope to help the Startup India campaign by helping them access the Gulf Cooperation Council region.

LimeRoad Enters MensWear Segment

In a bid to increase revenues, online fashion retailer LimeRoad has entered into menswear segment. The price range of the products for men begins at INR 300, within 23 categories from over 250 Indian and international brands. It claims to have over 100,000 style suggestions and products for men on the site.

Yes Bank Partners With T-Hub’s Portfolio Company Click&pay

The partnership will facilitate cashless, secure and flexible transactions for customers.  As a part of this alliance, Click&pay will issue Yes Bank sponsored mobile wallets to reach out 1 Mn customers this year. The target customer base will fall in the age group of 18-40 years, spread across tier 1 and 2 cities in India. It will also employ Yes Bank’s immediate payment service (IMPS) payments platform which will help Click&pay to process instant proximity transactions with merchants and person to person.

Now Pay At Hindustan Petroleum Via Paytm

The company has entered into a strategic partnership with Hindustan Petroleum  for its strong user base of 120 Mn. This will allow payments through the Paytm wallet at fuel stations. Hindustan Petroleum has presence in cities across India with over 13,250 filling stations. Currently, transactions take place majorly through cash followed by Credit and Debit cards.

Baxi Launches New App Features

Gurgaon-based on-demand bike taxi company operating with commercial bikes, Baxi, launched two new features on its app. The new feature-Wallet Receipt will allow users to keep a track of expenses and submit receipts to their companies if their commute is paid for by the company. The other feature, ride-history, will help people to review any of their past rides with Baxi. It completed 200,000 rides last week, and does more than 2000 rides every day.

Dubai’s Websters Enters India

Established in the year 2011, the social media digital company, Websters is currently having presence in the Middle East region enabling leading brands like Zee TV, Zee Cinema and TOIFA to create a presence from scratch and scale it further through digital engagement. It now plans to grab its user base in India following the same pattern. It currently has a team of 12 employees and is backed by parent company SoftAge, India’s leading document management service provider.

Meru Cabs Enables Meru Messenger Bot

Meru recently announced the integration of their cab booking system with Facebook Messenger to provide automated cab booking facility. Through the feature called Meru Messenger Bot, Meru Cabs becomes the first cab services provider in the world to go live with Facebook’s Bot services. Users can simply search “Meru Cabs” on Facebook Messenger under ‘Bots and Business’ section and begin interaction.

Digital Ocean Launches Data Center In Bangalore

New York-based developers cloud computing platform, Digital Ocean, has launched its data center in Bangalore. It will feature Digital Ocean’s latest servers and network architecture, which will ensure a consistent and seamless experience for users everywhere regardless of which region they select. DigitalOcean has been growing rapidly, with over 700,000 registered customers globally, by offering simple on demand cloud computing resources. DigitalOcean will continue to offer a single pricing plan across all of its regions worldwide including Bangalore.

Automotive startup “Zaiuto” partners with “Zendrive”

On-demand roadside assistance and car-care startup, Zaiuto has partnered with San Francisco-based startup Zendrive to bring collision detection and notification technology to roads in India. The updated version of Zaiuto app on Google Play will alert chosen friends/family when crashes occur. For any collisions above the speed of 50kmph, the exact location coordinates of the crash will be notified to the specified contact.

ConfirmTkt Launches ‘Alternates’

The train PNR predictor ConfirmTkt has launched a new product ‘ConfirmTkt Alternates’ that helps waitlisted train passengers to get confirmed tickets by unlocking all the hidden and other best available travel options. If no direct tickets are available then ConfirmTkt Alternates looks for vacant seats by exploring un-used quota of seats on the same train from other stations. It also takes into consideration the delay in the train arrivals and departures while suggesting these alternates.

FreeCharge Partners With OYO Rooms

Digital payments platform FreeCharge has partnered with hotel rooms aggregator OYO. Consumers can use the Freecharge wallet to pay across OYO platforms in less than 10 seconds for over 5500 hotels. The partnership will also help OYO get access to FreeCharge’s robust partner network and bring more value to its consumers and partners. With this partnership, Freecharge is further expanding its footprint in hospitality segment. In the recent months, it has expanded its footprint across 15 sectors.

Swiggy Partners MobiKwik For Seamless, Cashless Transactions

Online food ordering and delivery platform, Swiggy, has tied up with mobile wallet Mobikwik, to enable a seamless, secure cashless payment option for its customers to enhance their online food delivery experience. MobiKwik has over 30 Mn users, nationally and is expected to cater to 70 Mn users by the end of 2017.

UBER Launches uberPOOL In Three More Indian Cities

Cab aggregator Uber, has announced the launch of its cab sharing service uberPOOL in three more Indian cities – Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai. In Delhi and Bangalore, over 50,000 riders are opting to share their trip via uberPOOL each week. Since the beginning of this year, uberPOOL riders in India have cut down the number of kilometers driven by 7 Mn, which translates to over 300,000 litres of fuel saved, and a cut of 798 metric tons of CO2 emissions.

Jugnoo Launches ‘Auto-Rickshaw Pooling’ Feature

Auto-rickshaw aggregator Jugnoo has announced the launch of its latest auto-rickshaw pooling feature ‘Jugnoo Pool’. The feature gives the customers an option to share their trip with those traveling in the same direction. It has over 10,000 autos empanelled under the brand at present.

Branch Launches New Mobile Growth Community

Branch, the deep linking platform for businesses to drive mobile growth with optimal user experiences, has announced the immediate availability of the Mobile Growth Community. The new online community aims to help professionals interested in mobile growth to communicate and collaborate on a global level to acquire the knowledge and skills critical to achieve growth success on mobile. It currently has over 15,000 active members and more than 51 Meetup Groups in 47 countries.

White Unicorn Ventures Launches Co-working Space

Mumbai-based early stage investment firm has launched its incubation co-working space called ‘Unigrowth Centre’. This is an All Suite Private, where offices can accommodate approx. six companies with a workforce of four to 10 people per company. The startups selected to be the part of first growth centre are Unstockify, Blue Blox Consultancy, PrimeSquares, Aarchon, and Nature-Nam.