This week was marked by the international expansion of the Indian companies.
After weeks of speculations, OYO Hotels has finally confirmed its foray into China’s hospitality market with the launch in 26 cities, and a chain of hotels comprising over 11K rooms. Masayoshi Son believes that OYO Hotels is the biggest player in the hotels business Speaking at the Tokyo-headquartered SoftBank’s 38th annual general meeting on Wednesday, Son also called OYO Hotels a next-generation hotel company using the Internet service.
Also, BookMyShow announced its plans to foray into international event ticketing. The company is aiming to scale its non-movie business over the next two years and wants to bring it on par with its movie ticketing business. It will be venturing into segments such as international sports, live entertainment, and experiences across countries. BookMyShow is also looking to list between 500-1,000 international events on the platform this year.
Let’s have a look at the important startup news stories of the week.
Important Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week
Misuse Of Social Media For Elections Won’t Be Tolerated
Govt. Raises Red Flag On Misuse Of Social Media For Elections Embroiled in data privacy issues, the central government has reiterated that it would not allow any “covert or overt” misuse of social media to influence elections in the country, especially the upcoming 2019 general election. Earlier, in March 2018, too, the Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said that the government would not tolerate illegal use of data in the country.
Digital Payments Industry Urges Again To RBI On Easy KYC Norms
While the RBI examines mobile wallet interoperability rules, the digital payments industry has written to the central bank to delay implementation of its stringent customer verification rules until mobile wallet service providers are allowed to access the Aadhaar database for user authentication. This request comes in the wake of recent restrictions imposed by the UIDAI on digital payment companies accessing its database by classifying them as local authentication user agencies and citing concerns over their security systems.
One Million Indian Users Are Testing WhatsApp Pay
As per reports, WhatsApp is now working with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), and banks to expand the service to more users. The company is working closely with the Indian government, the NPCI and multiple banks, including payment service providers, to expand the feature to more people and support India’s digital economy.
Girnar Files Trademark Violation Case Against BigBasket
Girnar has approached the court against two registered operating entities — SuperMarket Grocery Supplies Pvt Ltd, the B2B entity that sources products and sells it to Innovative Retail, which, in turn, runs the online grocery portal and BigBasket. Girnar has alleged that BigBasket is using the ‘Royal’ trademark to sell several products, including tea.
CAIT Says Walmart-Flipkart Deal Is ‘Cancerous’, Flipkart-Walmart Seems Unaffected
- CAIT has claimed that its letter has also drawn the attention of the minister towards the inaction of the commerce ministry despite the trade body writing to the trade minister earlier. As many as 127 groups have now come together to oppose the Walmart-Flipkart deal.
- Aloof from these criticisms, Flipkart is busy creating its further strategies. It is now looking to launch a customer loyalty programme to compete with Amazon Prime, but in a unique manner. The company has set aside $173 Mn (INR 1,178 Cr) for expenditure on services under the programme for the next three years. The scheme is expected to be launched by the end of July.
- On the other hand, Walmart is busy arranging funds to pay $16 Bn for its 77% stake in Flipkart. The company’s filings have revealed that it is offering fixed- and floating-rate bonds in as many as nine parts. The longest part of the offering — a 30-year security — may yield around 1.2 percentage points above Treasuries.
GST Proving To Be A Hard Nut To Crack For Online Food Delivery Startups
The tax complications arising due to the goods and services tax (GST) is forcing the restaurants to either increase their food prices on online delivery platforms or pushing them to reduce the commission rates. In either case, the food delivery platforms have to bear the consequences. They have thus reached out to the government.
Myntra Debuts Wearable Platform, Launches Its First Product — Blink Go
With Myntra Wearable Platform, Myntra plans to bring in smart features through a combination of varied sensors and connectivity modules for audio wear, footwear, eyewear, and apparels with the aim to acquire 10-20% of the wearables market over the next three years.
Amazon To Strengthen Its Logistics Service, Plans Lower Seller Fees And More
- Amazon is working on a technology to get around the challenge of unstructured addresses in the country. With the help of geotagging, AI and ML, Amazon will be able to extract different parameters related to an address such as flat number, building number, building name, street name, locality, city, etc.
- Amazon has lowered its seller fees in categories such as furniture and luggage. The new fulfilment fees will come into effect from July 1, the new referral fees will be effective from July 15.
- Amazon is further expected to debut its Prime Wardrobe in India on Prime Day sale, where it will bring the fitting room directly to the customer for trial before purchasing.
Online Travel Company Yatra Revenue Jumps 36%, Loss Fall To $5.57 Mn
Showcasing strong growth for both its primary businesses — air ticketing and hotels and packages, online travel company Yatra has posted results for the three months ended March 31, 2018. Yatra reported a loss of $5.57 Mn (INR 38.09 Cr), an admissible success in comparison to $12.16 Mn (INR 83.02 Cr) on Q-o-Q basis. At the same time, the revenue jumped by over 36% to $48.13 Mn (INR 328.57 Cr), compared to corresponding quarter of last fiscal year.
Other Indian Startup News Stories of The Week
Paytm Inbox Now Offers Live TV, Games, News And Cricket Content For Free
Digital payments giant Paytm has added a host of new features to Inbox, its in-app messaging service that allows users to chat with friends and family and send and request money at the same time. Users will now be able to access in-app content across categories such as Live TV, News, Cricket, Entertainment Videos, and Games on the go, for free. It is now rolling out the full-stack service under Paytm Inbox on its app. For this, it has partnered with several content providers to ensure the best of infotainment is delivered to users directly in their Paytm Inbox.
Use RuPay Cards To Help Build Roads, Hospitals, Schools For Poor: PM Modi
The Prime Minister has emphasised that the government’s digital payments push with initiatives such as the BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) app using the Unified Payment Interface (UPI) platform was to wage war against touts and middlemen. Google and the Boston Consulting Group estimated that the digital payments sector of India is set to reach $500 Bn by 2020, contributing 15% of India’s GDP. This figure definitely explains the digital payments push of PM Modi.
Consumer Protection Bill 2018 To Address Woes Of Ecommerce Customers
India’s ecommerce market is expected to touch $200 Bn by 2026 from $ 38.5 Bn as of 2017. With the rapid rise of the ecommerce sector in the country, the Indian government has identified the need for regulations in the segment and is coming up with the Consumer Protection Bill 2018.
The framework will deal with sectoral issues like physical and digital infrastructure, regulatory regime, taxation policy, data flows, server localisation, intellectual property rights protection, and FDI, among others.
Google To Train Indian Journalists In Debunking Fake News
At a time when data security and fake news continue to cause ripples across the globe, Google has launched its Google News Initiative Training Network in India in partnership with BoomLive, DataLeads, and Internews. Across India in their fight against misinformation in-depth and hands-on verification training will be provided by Google. The training will be imparted to 8,000 journalists across English and six other Indian languages over the coming year.
Karnataka Government Partners With CropIn For Data Driven Farming
The partnership between Bengaluru-based agritech startup aims to start a programme that can help farmers create more value for their crops and foster their socio-economic development. The project further looks to bridge across 20 districts of Karnataka, assisting 4.15 lakh farmers and covering 3.4 lakh acres of land.
India Remains A Priority Market For Uber
Last year, after global car-hailing platform Uber closed a massive $10 Bn funding from SoftBank for a 15% stake, there were news reports of a possible exit by Uber from India to minimise market competition with Ola in the Indian market. SoftBank now owns the largest stake in both the car-hailing platforms, Ola and Uber.
NSDC And The World Bank To Develop National Platform For Skilling Data
The ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship looks to converge all skilling data across sectors, gender, social, and geographic landscape on this platform. With this initiative, the Government aims to ascertain the rise in the number of skilled persons in the country under the Skill India Programme.
Andhra Pradesh Govt. Online Medical Store Leaks User Data
An unsecured dashboard on the Anna Sanjivini website published the customer information from all such stores on the site. This data leak of medical information might seem small in comparison to some bigger data breaches in recent time, but for citizens, this is a major breach of trust by the government, which is mandated to keep their privacy secure.
True Balance Ties Up With BBPS
Partnership with Bharat Bill Payment System (BPPS) will allow the users to reap maximum benefits while making payments and get an advantage of True Balance features like Rate cutters, etc. It will offer accessible bill payment service to customers, through a network of agents which can provide instant confirmation of payments.
ItzEazy And Quikr Enter Into Strategic Partnership
Itzeazy.in is working towards making Government documents easy, efficient and accessible. Quikr will be focusing on marketing meanwhile ItzEazy will be looking after the service delivery for the same. Currently, ItzEazy.in operates across more than 200 cities in India and has a delivery network that works with expert consultancy and convenience for Govt. documentation services and Quikr boasts of memorable footprints across 1000 cities.
Discovery India And BYJU’S Join Hands For A Quiz Show
It will be an integrated school quiz show – Discovery SCHOOL SUPER LEAGUE POWERED BY BYJU’S. It targets to reach 25 lakh children tapping over 12000 schools across 30 states and union territories which transverse across on-ground, digital and television media. This is Layered into three rounds – at School Level, City Level and State level, and the quiz will conclude into a six-episode TV quiz show which will premiere on all the other channels of Discovery starting on Feb 2019. The winners will get an all-expense paid trip to NASA.
Fresh Milk Delivery Platform Doodhwala Expands to Hyderabad
Doodhwala will initially offer Hyderabad customers milk and dairy products, and over a period of time it will add a selection of grocery items including eggs, fruits, etc.
Simpl Goes Live With Integrations On Meru And Bigbasket
Other new merchant partnerships include NoBroker, Fynd and Guarented. Meru has enabled Simpl payments across every kind of ride that can be taken on its Android and iOS platforms. Also, Simple is providing Bigbasket customers with a pay later option, similar to having a khata at a Kirana store.
Smartworks Unveils Hyderabad Center
This takes its total footprint in India over 1 Mn sq. ft. Smartworks’ newest center is spread across 86K sq. ft., and has a seating capacity of 1700 seats. With this launch, Smartworks is taking its total number of centers in India to 15 across nine cities namely, Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Kolkata, Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai and Hyderabad..
Online Shopping May Get Costlier Due To Maharashtra Plastic Ban
The e-commerce industry has started using corrugated box particles and paper softeners to online package products shipped all over India, which will lead to rise in packaging cost and automatically delivery cost. E-commerce companies are thus planning to pass on the extra cost to buyers.
Capital Float Forays Into Consumer Finance
Through its Consumer Finance solution, Capital Float offers small ticket size loans to consumers aged between 23 – 60 with an average loan value of INR 50,000 and tenure of 6-12 months for repayment. The loans can be availed for a variety of uses.
Adhaar Data Now May Be Shared With Police For Criminal Cases
The Centre would look for sharing of Aadhaar data with police for the purpose of cracking cases and for identification of unidentified bodies. Suggestions for allowing Aadhaar information sharing and amendments to the Identification of Prisoners Act would be discussed in the ministry. It was proposed that, to connect all the 15,600 police stations in the country and in future the system would also be linked both with the crime and criminal tracking network and systems and the interoperable criminal justice system.
Bloomberg|Quint Launches Two New Properties
Bloomberg|Quint has launched.BQ Learning which is a weekly tutorial will make Indians more familiar with the various terms and concepts used in the business and finance domain, be it for markets, insurance, portfolio building, or taxation. Another new product BQ Portfolio is a daily 10-minute capsule aimed at helping Indians to invest wisely and build strong portfolios.
Payworld Partners With Reliance Mutual Fund
The companies are to announce a one-of-its-kind Mutual Fund Solution/ Scheme for its customers. The scheme is to be launched with the aim to create a positive environment for financial inclusion of low-income households at the bottom of the pyramid. The brand has built a formidable presence in India with over 100,000 active retail touch-points across 630 cities and 23 states providing access to untouched market segments to the service providers.
Goibibo Announces Partnership With PhonePe
Goibibo will be live with their ‘Hotels’ store (microapp) on the PhonePe app. In the industry first, PhonePe users will also be able to use their goCash balance (Goibibo promotional currency) in the PhonePe app, to book domestic and international hotels.
38% Smartphones Are Sold Online
The Counterpoint Research in its “Market Monitor” service revealed that Flipkart continued its dominance in the online smartphone market with 54% share, with Amazon at second place with 30% followed by Mi.com with 14% market share. Further, Xiaomi led online platforms with a share of 57% during Q1 2018, followed by Samsung (14%) and Huawei (Honor) (8%).
Stay tuned for the next edition of News Roundup: Indian Startup News Stories Of The Week!