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News Roundup: 8 Startup Stories You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [15 August – 20 August]

News Roundup: 8 Startup Stories You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [15 August – 20 August]

Gurgaon-based consumer Internet search platform AskMe has shut down its operations and has laid off its remaining staff. The step was taken amidst severe cash crunch, alleged to the unplanned exit of Astro Holdings, its principal investor. The shutdown has left more than 4000 employees, vendors, and other creditors at AskMe and the investor, in a state of panic. As stated by Astro, Getit has not been able to make its business profitable and sustainable despite a huge investment of around $300 Mn to date. The company reviews state little prospect for turnaround and the business is insolvent.

Important Developments Of The Week

Ola Shuts Down TaxiForSure

Ola has shut down its TaxiForSure business and has laid off over 1,000 employees. This step is considered as a consolidation strategy in a bid to strengthen its core business against rival Uber. Of the total 1300 TaxiForSure employees, only 250 have been retained from three major cities and 30 each in the smaller cities.

Razorpay Launches Flash Checkout

To simplify online payments, payment gateway RazorPay has launched a service called ‘Flash checkout’. This will cut down transaction time by 60% when the card is saved with Razorpay. Also, it will eliminate the need for merchants to tweak any code that is integrated into their systems.

ICICI Bank Launches SmartKeys

ICICI Bank has rolled out a new feature, iMobile SmartKeys to enable users to conduct transactions without leaving their existing messaging apps or browser. It also uses a one-step secure verification process to do the same, with an aim to reduce transaction time to seconds while maintaining user data safety. The platform is available on both iOS and Android.

Flipkart Opens Office In US; Launches Web App

Flipkart has opened its new office in Palo Alto, California. The move is directed towards generating and receiving funding from potentially viable American investors. Also, it could be potentially beneficial for finding new talent for the company.

The company has launched a new look website termed as ‘web-app’. The step aims to tap into a multi-platform user experience where one shifts from the app to the website in the process of finalising the purchase. The new web interface loads 30% faster and uses 38% less data.

Kotak Opens Innovation Lab In Bengaluru

Kotak Mahindra Bank has launched an ‘Innovation Lab’ in Bengaluru. It aims to partner with startups in the FinTech space to test concepts and launch them into commercial products. While two startups in the cohort are from the US and Australia, few are Bengaluru-based.

IITs To Ban 20 Startups From Placement Drives

IITs are likely to blacklist about 20 startups and ecommerce companies this placement season. The step was taken in lieu of rising cases of deferred joining dates, changed job profiles or altered salary terms.

Restaurants Cancel Orders With Food Delivery Services

Restaurants associated with Swiggy and Shadowfax have now pulled back from having their orders delivered by the startups. They cite a sudden spike of 25% per order as commission charged, as one of the key reasons to end the partnership.

Other Developments Of The Week

Housejoy Launches Geo-Targetted App

An on-demand service provider, Housejoy has introduced a hyperlocal model and has updated its app with Geo-Targetted technology. This feature will enable a fully-automated interface for customers and the service providers.

Tendulkar Launches His Premium Men’s Wear Brand True Blue On Myntra

Cricketing icon Sachin Tendulkar has launched his premium men’s wear brand, True Blue, on Flipkart-owned Myntra.

Uber Allows Users To Book Cabs Without The App

Users can now book cabs from their mobile phones without the fuss of downloading the Uber app. To avail this service, one must log on to and request a taxi. The fares under this scheme are to be paid in cash.

Capital Float Partners With Payworld

Digital lending platform Capital Float has partnered with Payworld to provide small retailers with collateral-free loans. This will help them manage inventory and cash flows with added scalability. Once the loan is approved, the retailer can request for funds using the Capital Float mobile app and the funds are disbursed within 10 minutes.

Just Buy Live Has 2500+ Marquee Brands

E-distribution platform Just Buy Live has marked partnership with 2500+ marquee Indian and international brands, thereby claiming to become the largest distributor in the country. Selling over 500,000 products from 2500 brands, including competing brands, across categories

Rashi Sanon Narang Wins The Lufthansa Runway To Success

Rashi Sanon, founder of online pet shop offering luxury dog products & supplies, Heads up for Tails has won the Lufthansa Runway to Success season 4. 21 most innovative ventures were shortlisted by TiE experts to compete in the 10-episode television series. She was awarded a seat at the prestigious Design Thinking Boot Camp at Stanford University sponsored by Kalaari Capital, a Lufthansa Business Class ticket to any destination in the US and mentorship from TiE.

Lucideus Launches #SecureDigitalIndia campaign

IT risk assessment and digital security services provider Lucideus has launched a campaign named #SecureDigitalIndia. Through this campaign, the company wants to reach out to more than 10,000 students across more than 50 colleges spanning more than 30 cities to bridge the skill gap that exists today in the cyber-security industry.

Flipkart launches ‘Flipkart Assured’

Flipkart has launched Flipkart Assured – a ‘Quality and Speed assurance’ programme to ensure that high-quality products are delivered in the fastest time possible. From now onwards, most sought products across popular categories including fashion, mobiles, electronics, home, and appliances will carry the ‘Flipkart Assured’ badge. All products carrying this stamp will go through a rigorous process of six levels of quality checks, and have an accelerated delivery process to Flipkart’s customers.