We bring to you the latest edition of News Roundup: Indian Startup Stories Of The Week!
In one of the most important developments this week, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) released guidelines on tokenisation for debit, credit, and prepaid card transactions.
Also, the reports surfaced that the Centre’s Credit Guarantee Fund (CGF) worth INR 2,000 Cr ($285.2 Mn) to boost startup growth in the country by providing funding facilities is yet to be operational.
Here’s a look at the other important developments for the week.
Important Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
DIPP Floats Guidelines For Startup Ranking 2019
After releasing States’ Startup Ranking 2018 on December 20, the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has now published a draft discussion document for States’ Startup Ranking 2019. DIPP has released a set of six suggested pillars and their action points to setup the framework for States’ Startup Ranking that intend to evaluate the progress made by states from May 1, 2018, to May 31, 2019.
Centre To Make Linking Of Aadhaar With Driving Licence Mandatory
The Union minister of law, electronics and information technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad is of the view that at present, duplication of licences is very easy and this helps the guilty to flee in case of road accidents and apply for a new licence. However, linking Aadhaar with driving licences will help police trace the guilty as they can change neither their biometrics nor iris or fingerprint scans.
Ecommerce FDI Policy, Angel Tax Issue And More
- The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), an all-India traders’ body, has written a letter to Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) secretary Ramesh Abhishek opposing the extension of the February 1 deadline for implementation of the ecommerce foreign direct investment (FDI) policy. As said, companies such as Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart, are looking to seek an extension on the deadline.
- Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said that government will find a solution to Angel Tax problems. While speaking at the third edition of the National Entrepreneurship Awards, held on January 4 in Delhi, he added that the government is completely supportive of new entrepreneurs and that efforts are being made to solve regulatory and financing issues for enterprises. The angel tax issue has become a bane for the Indian startup ecosystem and there was quite an uproar after recent income tax notices and demand orders were issued to startups and angel investors.
- Minister of commerce and industry and civil aviation Suresh Prabhu believes that the upcoming ecommerce policy and FDI policy are in line with securing the interests of the small retailers in the country. While sharing his thoughts in a recent interview, the minister said that the government will not be going to interfere with the business dealings or business models of the others.
Financials FY18: BigBasket, Zomato And More
- Bengaluru-based online food and grocery store BigBasket, reported a 34% hike in its revenues for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2018, reaching INR 1,606 Cr ($ 230.95 Mn), as against INR 1,197 Cr ($172.14 Mn) in the previous year. At the same time, the company managed to control its losses very well as it reported a net loss of INR 310 Cr ($44.57 Mn), a 53% fall from INR 653 Cr ($93.88 Mn) in FY17.
- Zomato claims to have achieved 28 Mn in monthly order run rate as of December 2018, up from the 21 Mn monthly orders it claimed in October 2018. At the same time, Swiggy is said to have clocked in 28 Mn monthly orders in absolute terms.
- Online fashion retailer Myntra witnessed an 80% drop in revenue for the year ended March 2018 as it clocked in a revenue of $60.6 Mn (INR 427 Cr). Myntra’s losses for the year stood at $21.4 Mn (INR 151 Cr) while its total expenses were recorded at $131.5 Mn.
- BYJU’S has posted a revenue of $69.4 Mn (INR 490 Cr) for the FY 2017-18, a 97% jump since FY 2016-17. It further reported a net loss of $4.1 Mn (INR 29 Cr) during the same financial year, a 53% decrease from the previous year. The company’s total expenses were $73.6 Mn (INR 519 Cr) during the FY 2017-18.
Jio Bids For Same Licencing Regime As Telcos
Indian telecom operators such as Reliance Jio and fintech startup Paytm have recommended lawful interception of messages on internet applications and services. The companies claimed that the step would help keeping tabs on criminal, anti-national, and anti-social activities.
Alibaba Cracks Down On Chinese Sellers Importing ‘Gifts’ Into India
Indian customs officials said that Chinese online sellers are sending in large shipments of products marked as gifts as the Indian government has exempted gifts with a value of up to INR 5,000 ($71.5) from import duties to allow non-resident Indians to send back gifts to relatives and friends in India. Aliexpress — the online retail business of Alibaba — said it respects the regulations of the areas it is operating in and reportedly said it would crack down on sellers that encourage buyers to avoid taxes. Such sellers could also face store closure.
Hotel Lobby Rails Against OYO, Threatens Boycott
The Budget Hotel Association of Mumbai has said that it is planning a city-wide boycott of hospitality unicorn OYO, which has been facing severe criticism from hotel owner associations over its policies. The Mumbai-based lobby has also formed a pan-India association called the Hotel Association Confederation of India (HACI) with a claimed strength of 8,000 hoteliers in a bid to broker better business terms with OYO.
Other Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
RIL Launches ‘Lite’ Jio Browser For Android
The company is touting the browser as a ‘fast and lite’ solution for web browsing. The Jio browser currently supports eight Indian languages apart from English. This includes Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu. One can download the Jio Browser for Android directly from Google Play Store. The app size is 4.8 MB and it is compatible with devices running on Android 5.0 Lollipop and above.
In another development, Reliance Jio is reportedly getting into the point-of-sale (PoS) devices space and has launched pilots with merchants in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune.
585 APMC Markets Integrated With eNAM Platform: Agri Minister
A total of 585 wholesale regulated markets/Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) markets have been so far integrated with the electronic national agricultural market (eNAM) platform. The connected APMC markets belong to 16 states and 2 UTs, which have carried out requisite reforms in their state APMC Act, stated minister of state for agriculture and farmers welfare ministry Gajendra Singh Shekhawat in the Rajya Sabha yesterday (January 4).
Amazon-More Retail Deal Comes Under CCI Scanner
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has sought details from private equity (PE) fund Samara Capital on whether the proposed deal with ecommerce giant Amazon to jointly acquire More, a retail chain of supermarkets, is in line with the government’s revised foreign direct investment (FDI) ecommerce policy, according to two senior industry executives. The policy was issued by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) on December 26.
In another development, Amazon Pay has now started rolling out doorstep know-your-customer (KYC) services for its mobile wallet users. The move comes after the Supreme Court’s September 26, 2018 verdict on Aadhaar which restricted its usage as a valid KYC document for the private entities.
Paytm Introduces ‘Bus Help Desk’
Bus Help Desk aims to provide customers assistance with their end-to-end, travel-related queries at individual boarding points. The platform will also provide free water bottles, free Wi-Fi connectivity and free porter assistance through this help desk. Paytm travellers can look out for ‘Paytm Crew’ wearing a Paytm bus jacket at bus boarding points to avail these services.
OYO Home Expands Global Footprint
OYO Hotels & Homes has announced the launch of OYO Home in Dubai. Starting with 40 beautiful homes in the city, the hospitality chain plans to ramp up the footprint to 200 homes in the next six months. It also plans to introduce the category to other emirates in the UAE. OYO Home is a Home Management service that utilizes the chain’s existing on-ground operations, hospitality technology, housekeeping skills, revenue management algorithms and distribution prowess to deliver a hassle-free solution to second home-owners.
SRiX Inks MoU with Cranfield UK
Emergent Tech Business Incubator SR Innovation Exchange (SRiX), in Telangana and Cranfield University (UK) have signed a collaborative agreement to provide British and Indian startup entrepreneurs access to new business development and academic expertise. Under the collaborative deal, a 10-week immersion programme is being developed with Indian startup companies mentored in the UK by leading Cranfield academics. Both organisations aim to leverage experience in industry partnerships, applied research projects, business education and entrepreneurial development programmes.
Stay tuned for the next week edition of News Roundup: Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week!