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News Roundup: 11 Indian Startup News Stories You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [14-19 Jan]

News Roundup: 11 Indian Startup News Stories You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [14-19 Jan]

Govt liberalises angel tax regulations

OYO gets income tax notices

Video streaming players sign up for self regulation

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, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) has provided for a simpler mechanism for startups to claim exemption from angel tax retrospectively. Under a gazette notification on Wednesday (January 16, 2018), exemption mechanism is applicable for all the DIPP-recognised startups whose aggregate amount of paid-up share capital and share premium after the proposed issue of share does not exceed INR 10 Cr ($1.4 Mn).

Under the new rules, a startup can seek angel tax exemption by applying to DIPP with all the necessary documents. Henceforth, the earlier rules of inter-ministerial board certification for approval and the report of a merchant banker specifying the fair market value of shares have been removed.

This came days after 70 startups and the iSPIRT Foundation issued a letter to the PM asserting that startups require significant capital early on and that raising equity funding via angel investors is the only option for them, which can only be raised at a premium for various reasons.

Another upcoming policy under discussion is the Sports (Online Gaming And Prevention Of Fraud) Bill, 2018 introduced by MP Shashi Tharoor in Lok Sabha. Tharoor said that the largely unorganised gaming sector needs a regulatory mechanism. The bill was introduced “to establish an effective regime to maintain the integrity of Sports in India by preventing and penalizing Sports Fraud, regulation of Online Sports Gaming; and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.”

Also, music streaming service Spotify and T-Series signed a global content deal wherein T-Series will provide its entire music catalogue on the Spotify platform, a development that is being seen as a precursor to the Sweden-based company’s India entry. The deal, announced on Monday, will see Spotify users gain access to T-Series’ entire Indian song catalogue including Bollywood and regional movie soundtracks, as well as non-film albums and emerging artist content.

Here’s a look at the other important developments for the week.

Important Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week

OYO Gets I-T Notices

The income tax department has sent notices to parent company Oravel Stays in November and December for the assessment year 2016-2017. The case is speculated to be linked to non-deduction of tax deducted at source (TDS) on payments made by the company in the assessment year 2016-17.

Swiggy Delivery Execs Clash With Hotel Empire Employees

The incident took place after the vehicles of Swiggy’s partner delivery executive and a hotel worker brushed against each other near the hotel premises on Bannerghatta Road in Bengaluru. The two men got involved in a heated argument and were separated by traffic police personnel present at the spot. But the matter did not end there as the Swiggy delivery executive then rushed to the hotel along with about 20 supporters.

FDI Ecommerce Circular: Amazon, Flipkart Seek Extension Of February Deadline And More

  • Amazon has asked for time until June 1 and Flipkart has asked for six months to comply with the changes introduced in the circular. Amazon reportedly said that it would be difficult for the company to comply by February 1 as this involves extensive overhauling of its business model and systems.
  • CAIT has said that Press Note 3 rules should also be applied for domestic players to ensure level playing field. At the same time, they have threatened a nationwide agitation if any changes are made in the FDI policy to support the ecommerce marketplaces now.
  • Ecommerce platform Amazon’s food retail arm Amazon Food will stop selling products through its website if the government does not modify the foreign direct investment (FDI) guidelines by next month.
  • Indian ecommerce sector may reportedly suffer a $45.2 Bn (INR 3.2 Lakh Cr) loss in sales by 2022, owing to the new foreign direct investment (FDI) rules in the ecommerce policy, according to an unreleased PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) study.

Ecommerce FDI Policy: Changes Not Against Customers Says DIPP

IAMAI Helps OTT Players Introduce Self Regulation Code

The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has now officially announced the self-regulation of video streaming apps which include Hotstar, Voot, Zee5, Arre, SonyLIV, ALT Balaji, Netflix and Eros Now. The leading video streaming players have “voluntarily” signed a self-regulatory Code of Best Practices under the aegis of IAMAI. The companies are looking to protect consumer interest while offering them a variety of content choices and exercising creative freedom.

Mukesh Ambani Announces Launch Of Ecommerce Platform

Reliance group companies, Reliance Retail and Reliance Jio Infocomm will jointly launch a new ecommerce platform. The company has been planning to set up ecommerce kiosks at Jio point stores to allow the potential buyers to place orders online with the help of the store executives.

Amul Sends Notice To Google India Over Fake Ads

The Gujarat-based dairy company claimed it had raised the issue with Google India but no action was taken, instead Amul alleges that Google and web hosting service, benefited from the revenue generated through advertisements (subscription in the case of GoDaddy) on their platform.

Amul Google case

Hotels In Sikkim Terminate Contracts With Goibibo-MakeMyTrip

Effective January 16, 2019 hotels in the state have indefinitely closed inventory to the OTAs and have decided to not honour any new bookings that might come through. During the meeting, SHRA member hotels have also decided to terminate their contracts with Go-MMT immediately.

Govt Asks For Safety Chips In Drones

The government has directed drone manufacturers to install hardware that can disable a drone remotely in case it turns rogue. Also, the security agencies in India have raised their concerns about allowing drones to operate. The government wants drone makers to manufacture in India, as it expects the demand for drones to grow exponentially once the drone policy is fully implemented.

Drones Will Not Fly On Indian Sky From December As Proposed

Other Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week

Amazon, Samara Capital Get CCI Nod

CCI has done its due diligence of the deal only from the point of impact on competition, and it’s for the Samara-Amazon JV Witzig to ensure that the deal is in compliance with the revised ecommerce FDI norms issued last month. A detailed order is expected from CCI soon which may specify certain conditions.

Paytm Plans To Launch OTT Services

Paytm had already partnered with OTT content provider YuppTV along with Hungama, UC News among others for providing content through its Paytm Inbox service. The company believes that it would need more content to compete with its rivals such as Amazon which is providing video and audio streaming services through Amazon Music and Prime Video.

In another development, The digital payments company has partnered with food delivery company Zomato to take food orders using its payment app from across the country, especially focussing on Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. The feature is already live in Delhi-NCR, Paytm’s parent company One97 Communications Ltd.

FAME II To Get Govt Approval By March

The Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises is hoping to get final approval from the central government for INR 5,500 Cr ($772.4 Mn) outlay in the second chapter of FAME scheme before March 31. This scheme will be valid for the next five years.

RBI Eases Norms For Foreign Investments In Indian Cos

The Reserve Bank of India announced “New ECB Framework” and under the revised regulation, it reduced the ECB maturity tenor, increased borrowing limits and removed qualification restrictions for companies wanting to borrow funds from abroad.

Hotstar Earmarks $16.9 Mn For Launch Of Original Content

Hotstar Specials will be available to the users in seven different languages. The company earmarked $16.9 Mn (INR 120 Cr) for original content. For its first set of originals, the company has partnered with some of the popular film makers, directors and actors including Shekhar Kapur, Neeraj Pandey, Kabir Khan, Sudhir Mishra, Tigmanshu Dhulia and Salman Khan.

Ixigo Introduced New Subsidiary Travenues

Travenues will be based out in Bengaluru and will be looked over by ixigo vice president of special projects Chandramouli Gopalakrishnan, who will serve as the chief digital officer. So with this, once a user gets into an airline website for booking the tickets, it will be powered by the platform being developed by Travenues.

Truecaller Safeguards Data Of Indian Users

In a statement, the company said that its entire Indian user data is stored in India, and it is one of the first international companies to do so. “This is a user-centric move that is aimed at safeguarding personal data and encouraging more transparency in the ecosystem,” the statement said.

Forever21 Re-launches Ecommerce Website

ABFRL has now refurbished the looks of Forever 21’s website taking inspiration from the US Forever 21 website. “The website has been revamped with consumer-friendly features for more accessibility and product discoverability. The site also provides a recommendation on the basis of your search history,” the company said in a statement.

Capetown’s Angaza Ventures Enters India

Capetown based edtech company Angaza has launched a smartphone app, MindZu. The revolutionary app endeavours to help 9th grade students become brilliant at maths. It has been exquisitely crafted to deliver a personalised maths learning experience for the smartphone generation. Users have access to animated lessons, each with layers of interactive exercises and motivating game missions, which bring learning to life and make it more engaging and effective.

GoIbibo, RedBus Partner With Acko For Customised Insurance Products

Two innovative insurance covers are the highlights of Acko’s travel insurance for redBus users and novel in the industry. The first is an insurance cover on cancellation where the user can claim 50% of the ticket value in case a bus operator cancels and does not provide a replacement on the same day. The second is a bus-type mismatch, where a customer can claim 50% of their ticket value in case the bus that is provided is not what they had booked (for eg. if a customer booked an AC bus but the bus was non-AC).

Innoviti Accelerates POS Adoption In Small Towns

Innoviti-POS is targeted at enabling rapid scale-up of digital payment acceptance through POS amongst smaller retailers in tier-2 and 3 towns across India. Innoviti-POS has a unique feature that transfers funds for settlement of digital transactions to the merchant’s account, on the very same day that those transactions are made.

Stay tuned for the next week edition of News Roundup: Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week!