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News Roundup: 9 Startup Stories You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [13 June – 18 June]

News Roundup: 9 Startup Stories You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [13 June – 18 June]

Flipkart faced threats from a group of merchants over its revised return policy. The merchants threatened to either exit or be inactive on the online marketplace, objecting to new conditions imposed on them. The two trade associations said that several group of merchants have decided to stop selling on Flipkart as the change in policy will result in increasing their cost of doing business.

Important Developments Of The Week

Amazon Files Lawsuit

Amazon filed a case against Gujarat state government for imposing ‘Entry Tax’. This tax is levied on goods purchased through ecommerce portals and delivered from outside the state. Amazon is challenging the basic definition and the concept of this tax.

Indian Patent Office Issues Guidelines For Startups

In order to promote awareness and adoption of intellectual property rights of startups and protect and commercialise them, Indian Patent Office issued some guidelines. This will guide the startups regarding the procedure to be adopted for filing/processing their applications for patents, designs, trademarks, and fees to be paid to the facilitators thereof.

Noesis Capital Advisors Drags OYO To Court

Hospitality advisory firm Noesis Capital Advisors filed a winding-up petition against Oravel Stays, the owner of OYO Rooms. As claimed by the firm, OYO Rooms has failed to pay back an amount of INR 1.5 Cr., despite of using their services during the scaling-up phase of the venture.

OYO Rooms sets up OYO Bazar

OYO Rooms is betting on online marketplace OYO Bazar, a one-stop shop for hotels to procure daily essentials required to run their business, to boost loyalty among its partners and maintain margins. In a statement,  founder Ritesh Agarwal, said that their margins are healthy enough to hit profitability but to continue to grow and maintain their partnerships with hotels, they need to expand their services.

MobiKwik Launches eKYC

MobiKwik launched eKYC for its users. eKYC is RBI approved, paperless process for fulfilling KYC requirements, that will allow MobiKwik users to upgrade their wallet with Aadhar card in real time. Once a user requests eKYC on the app, a company representative will reach the user’s location within 30 minutes and do real time wallet upgrade.

Innov8 Expands To Chandigarh

Innov8 CoWorking has opened its new centre in Chandigarh. The Chandigarh centre is built on an area of 7,000 sq ft and has a carpet area of 5,000 sq ft. The centre can accommodate up to 140 people.

NASSCOM, IBM Launches Techstartup.In For Mumbai

NASSCOM launched, a digital platform for the Indian startup & product ecosystem to network, stimulate local innovation and help grow the economy, in partnership with IBM, for Mumbai on IBM Cloud.

Zoomcar Pivots To Marketplace Model

Self-drive car rental startup Zoomcar has pivoted to a marketplace model as part of a broader strategy to drive efficiencies in its business. The startup aims to hit profitability by next year, expand into new markets and raise a fresh round of funding over the next 2-3 months.

Other Developments Of The Week

Siftr Launches Its Magic Cleaner In Six Indian Languages

Siftr Labs launched its junk cleaning app AI powered Magic Cleaner in six Indian languages including Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Bengali. The move is part of the company’s strategy to reach out to non-english smartphone users.

Uber Cuts Fares In Delhi & Expands Presence To 50 Cities

Uber slashed fares in Delhi to match Ola’s cheapest offering Micro. Uber dropped the price of UberGo to INR 6/Km from INR 8/Km earlier.

The company currently has operations in 27 cities in India and will try to be in 50 cities by the end of year. It is looking to partner with local companies to expand its business.

BigBasket Rolls Out Specialty Food Vertical

Online grocer BigBasket launched new business vertical – specialty foods. Aimed to shore up revenues, the new vertical will offer about 20-25% margin compared to thinner margins in the grocery business. The company has been running a pilot for this line of business in Bangalore even as it plans to take it to other major metro cities.

Inmobi To Discontinue Use Of Mascot Function On Miip Platform

InMobi Technologies, a mobile advertising technology firm, shuttered the animated-discovery commerce part of Miip for now. Instead, the firm will look to help ecommerce companies reach inactive customers using more traditional ad formats, using the underlying technology it built for the platform.

Motif mulls expansion in India

Motif, a US-headquartered business process outsourcing (BPO) company, has announced that it would expand its base in India by adding almost 1.2 lakh sq ft of office space in Ahmedabad.

IFC To Ramp Up Its Venture Capital Activity In India

International Finance Corp is looking to ramp up its venture capital activity in India. The investor is scouting for more deals in the country’s startup ecosystem in the healthcare technology, edu-tech, consumer internet and clean technology space.

Practo To Expand Overseas In 2016

Digital healthcare platform Practo is intensifying expansion in key markets including Southeast Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and eastern Europe besides adding 65 new cities in India during 2016.  The company is presently present in over 50 cities in 15 countries around the world. Launches “Bespoke Luxury Travel Itineraries”

Online bespoke marketplace added “customised travel experiences” as a new segment to its bespoke offerings. To start, the company has launched customised experiences to the cities of Agra, Delhi, Varanasi, Jaipur, Udaipur, Mumbai and Kerela. It will soon be adding other destination cities in India to this list. Apart from this, the company plans to add themed luxury trips to foreign tourist destinations to its bespoke offerings by the end of this month.

ShopClues Launches Bath & Sanitaryware Category

ShopClues announced the launch of its bath and sanitary ware category under the Home & Kitchen segment. It has associated with leading brands such as Cera, Hindware, Parryware, and Jaquar to provide an exquisite collection of superior quality products to increase the cluster GMV (Gross Merchandise Value) by 15-20%.

Knowlarity Launches Call Centre Solution

Knowlarity Communications launched a solution for startups and SMEs to establish inbound call centers for connecting with their customers. This cloud-based telephony solution costs lesser than the traditional call centre as it cuts down on the expensive infrastructure, yet enables better scalability.

Tata companies & Uber Announce New Partnership

Tata companies and Uber Technologies announced a new partnership to offer driver partners, on the Uber platform, a comprehensive vehicle purchase and ownership solution. Owners and drivers on the Uber platform will now be able to buy fuel efficient cars like the Indica and Indigo, gain access to flexible and customised financing solutions, and get affordable insurance from Tata AIG.

Ola Lux Launches in Delhi NCR

Ola launched its newest luxury category ‘Ola Lux’ to Delhi NCR. Ola Lux will feature high end luxury sedans and SUVs like Jaguar, Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Toyota Camry & Fortuner amongst others. The service will be available on the Ola app at a minimum fare of INR 200 and INR 19/km.

Roposo Launches Business Profiles

Roposo announced the launch of Business Profiles. This includes a suite of features which will be exclusively available for businesses. Business Profile include a toggle option which allows people to mark their account as a business profile and this opens up options like adding the verified phone numbers as well as business location. With this update, users of the app can see a call button on business profiles which allows them to place a call to the number directly.

Grabhouse Revamps Website

Grabhouse has launched a new, revamped website with a few clear distinct features providing better user interface and user experience. The new version has been made to evolve into a faster, cleaner and a visibly superior website based on the learning from the previous version.

Grocery Marketplace AAGAAR Shuts Down

Hyperlocal grocery delivery service seems to have shut down its operations. The website is no longer functional and redirects the viewer to a temporary webpage. The founders have not confirmed the development however.

GetNow Shuts Shop

Hyperlocal marketplace for groceries, electronics, mobiles, computers, home and office supplies,, has reportedly closed its operations. The founder confirmed that the startup is thinking about a pivot and is also open for acquisition. The founders also stated that the reason for shutdown has been poor unit economics in the consumer facing front.

Parcelled Stops Self-Delivery

On-demand logistics service provider Parcelled has pivoted its business model, outsourcing its delivery services to third-party vendors. With this, the logistics services provider exits its core area of operations. It would now operate like an online booking agent, focussing on the technology platform only.

Over 400 Startups Register With DIPP

More than 400 startups have registered with DIPP for government recognition and availing tax breaks and other benefits. Inter-ministerial committee reviewed 189 requests, out of which, 148 applicants were given the go ahead to submit the relevant documents while 10 were rejected due to the lack of the innovative startup idea.

One Touch Response Ties Up With Droom

One Touch Response, safety & immediate assistance service, announced a tie-up with Droom, online marketplace for buying and selling automobiles, to make its Road Side Assistance Services available online on Droom’s portal to automobile owners. The intent is to step-up the safety quotient of the customers and also timely on-ground assistance.