Monthly Archives: October 2019 - News
  • Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister for Electronics & Information Technology inaugurated the summit
  • Startups will try to bring the focus of venture capitals and government around their processes and strategies
  • The telecom minister also launched the MeitY Startup Hub (MSH)

With a vision to discuss how leveraging emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT) would catalyze the socio-economic growth of India, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister for Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) on Monday inaugurated MeitY Startup Summit 2019. The summit is seen as a step forward towards bringing together key stakeholders and startups under one roof.

During the course of the summit, startups and entrepreneurs will share techniques and strategies that they find effective with one another. Further, they will work with practitioners to capture viable techniques to bring the focus of venture capital and government around their processes and strategies.

At the summit, the telecom minister also launched MeitY Startup Hub (MSH). The startup hub has been set up in order to facilitate MeitY’s vision of promoting technology innovation, startups, and creation of intellectual properties.

As a nodal agency, software technology parks of India (STPI), an organization under MeitY, is entrusted with the implementation of MSH in the country.

STPI working for the creation of a startup ecosystem in India has so far created 28 centers of excellence (COE). During the MeitY Startup Summit 2019, STPI further signed four Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with Intel India Pvt limited, IIM Calcutta Innovation Park, Pontaq and IBM.

The MoUs are expected to help in promoting innovation in information and communications technology during the MeitY startup summit 2019. Additionally, these MoUs are also expected to connect technological institutions, venture capitalists, industries and government agencies.

These MoUs can also be seen as  a massive step forward for various STPI CoEs like IoT OpenLab at Bengaluru, ESDM incubation centre at Bhubaneshwar, Varcoe at Bhubaneshwar, Autonomous Connected Electric Shared Vehicles, CoE at Pune, MedTech & health informatics CoE at Lucknow, Rural & Agri IoT CoE at Guwahati,  BlockChain CoE at Gurugram and IoT in Agri CoE at Patna-Motihari and others.

Further, STPI has initiated the activity of setting up of various domain-specific CoEs across India. Moreover, IIM Calcutta Innovation Park (IIMCIP), has been engaged for providing their expertise in the call for application, screening, onboarding & review of startups across STPI CoEs.

Government’s Push For Startup India

The Union government has been continuously working towards building the startup ecosystem of the country and make it easier to grow.

Recently, showing confidence in the ability of startups to bring innovation and drive business in the Indian economy, Modi said that the Indian startup ecosystem will help India achieve the $5 Tn target for the economy set by the government.

Modi also highlighted that India is one of the top three startup ecosystems in the world and lauded startups for powering the startup ecosystem. The Prime Minister also claimed that the world is looking at new India as a land of unique opportunities.

The Startup India scheme has played a significant role in channeling the entrepreneurial spirit of India’s innovators and has penetrated Tier 2 and 3 markets as well. With plenty of initiative from the central and state governments, startups and early-stage businesses have been given every encouragement and incentive to grow and innovate. - Indian Economical news

India’s economy has challenged the entire world with a great increase in GDP Growth, from the past four years; the country has grown strong in terms of purchasing power parity. India’s economy has increased by about 6.8% in the year 2018-2019. The country has a developing mixed economy, being the seventh-largest economy in terms of GDP and third-largest by purchasing power parity. India has now been declared as the world’s fastest-growing country in terms of GDP surpassing China.

But the real challenge arises now, as India faces new challenges from other nations and also with international trade deficits. ”It is high time to bring about a lot of changes in India’s public expenditure sector,” says the economists of India. India’s great economists have shared their opinion and have suggested a few points to bring about a change and growth in the GDP.

Read also >> Truebil Raises $1 Mn From Spiral Ventures To Strengthen Technology Stack

A few suggestions include; change indirect tax, which is being imposed on transactions. New rates have to be included in the goods and service taxes (GST)such as 6%, 12%, and 18%, pruning the numbers of public expenditure policies might lead to the increase in nominal GDP rates. Privatizing the “central” public sectors may also lead to an increase in nominal as GDP as well as purchasing power parity. I hope the Indian Government reconsiders all these points which may lead to a humungous growth in the nation’s GDP and Hope the Government is ready to face the challenges which are ahead of them.

India has high national debt, accounting for 68% of GDP, while its fiscal deficit stood at 3.4% of GDP. However, the actual fiscal deficit as reported by the CAG in 2019 is 5.85 percent of GDP - News 1

As stated, Singapore’s DBS Bank to enter India’s Credit Card Market by 2020, the company confirmed on Tuesday. The banking giant is betting on its efforts to reach other parts of the world in order to nullify weakness in the local economy.

One of the top-level executives of DBS India, Shantanu Sengupta said- the credit card will be rolled out by the second or the third quarter of 2020.

The credit card market is still smaller in India in comparison to the debit card market. Latest stats from May indicate that debit card (825 million) users surpass credit card (48.9 million), users.

The Singaporean bank, which aimed earlier to create a customer base of 5 million in India by 2023, is likely to achieve the target earlier than expected.

Other companies such as Citigroup (C.N.) are also betting on India to increase its customer base there. India’s Paytm unveiled plans to roll out a card in collaboration with Citi, allowing the American banking giant to service some of its clients which is over 300 million.

Moreover, India is focusing to boost adoption of e-payments and recently made it mandatory for banks and card payments networks not to charge on debit card transactions.

Half of the customer base has already been achieved by the company and hence, expects to cross the mark before time, added Mr. Sengupta.

Financing gap delays start-ups targeting international robotics clubs

Blog source:

taxi business

  • Ola’s self-driving service Ola Drive will available on Ola app, starting with Bengaluru
  • The company has major plans to take on rival startups such as Zoomcar and Drivezy and is looking to undercut the competition on pricing
  • India’s self-drive car rental is estimated to be valued at over $100 Mn with major investment coming in from auto giants in this sector

Riding on the unicorn status or its core ride-hailing business and Ola Electric, SoftBank-backed Ola has now forayed into the self-drive car rental market with the launch of ‘Ola Drive’.

The company that transformed daily commuting for Indians is now setting sights on the consumer auto market, which is reeling from slowing sales and the drop in consumption thanks to the credit crunch in auto loan providers as well as among citizens. Thanks to this drop, the market size for self-drive rentals and car subscriptions has increased tremendously.

A Mobility Insights 2019 report estimates the self-driving market to be a $100 Mn opportunity in India, which is currently highly under-penetrated. Plus, there’s a huge gap between driving license holders and car owners in India as one of the major driving factors for the self-driving market growth. India is said to have 127 Mn driving license holders as compared to the ‘cars to people’ ratio of 22:1000 in 2019. Also, the consumer preference for renting bigger, safer and powerful cars for intercity trips has added to the market size.

Read also >> Huawei’s revenue hits record $122B this year

That’s exactly why Ola is stepping into the field. “The paradigm shift from ownership to usership has created a tremendous business opportunity in the car-sharing space,” an Ola spokesperson told Inc42.

To tap into this huge market opportunity, Ola has planned to invest around $200 Mn initially with the aim of increasing it to $500 Mn over the next couple of years. Currently hosting a 500 cars-strong fleet in Bengaluru, the company aims to expand its fleet to 20K cars by the end of 2020.

Ola Drive Competes On Price

The rental period proposed for Ola Drive is between two hours to three months, along with Ola’s claim to offer its services at 30% lower rates than the existing players. Ola Drive will initially be launched in Bengaluru, accessible through pick-up stations located across the city. The Bengaluru launch will closely be followed by other metros such as Hyderabad, Mumbai, and New Delhi. In addition to the rental costs, Ola Drive will also charge a security deposit starting at INR 2K.

Ola will also be standardising the services in all Ola Drive cars to include GPS, Ola’s connected car platform ‘Ola Play’, media playback, and Bluetooth connectivity along with access to the platform’s support and safety features such as a 24×7 helpline, emergency button (which prompts an immediate call from Ola’s dedicated safety response team), roadside assistance, and real-time car tracking.

Ola was founded in 2011 by Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati as a cab-hailing service and since then expanded its services to include electric vehicles, micro-credit, food delivery and micro-insurance and now, self-driving car rentals. Till now, Ola has raised around $3.28 Bn in funding from prolific investors such as Ratan Tata, Sachin Bansal, Steadview Capital and more.

“With over 200 Mn subscribers, Ola Drive has the largest user base for a car-sharing service in the country,” the company said in an official statement.

Content Source: - Tech Mahindra news

Tech Mahindra is to Create Next-Gen Tech Solutions in collaboration with the University of Sydney (USYD), Australia.  The main goal of the software company behind this launch is to prepare students for future jobs by mastering their skills.

In collaboration, USYD’s newcreation, i.e. developed Industry and Community Projects Unit (ICPU) will pave the way for students to provide them with real-world experience.  ICPU helps to carry out activities on projects across a wide range of fields such as health, banking, tech, law, farming,anda few others.

Throughout the four weeks, various academics supervisors and industry specialists will help the students to conduct group work that will help them to leverage modern-day techs like AI, VR, IoT,and ML at the lab of Tech Mahindra.

The new initiative will allow various students from different disciplinary backgrounds to conduct research and then work out to deliver solutions to real-world problems.

Homepreneurs: Seven Accounting Tips Of All Ages

Tech Mahindra will be looking to build a tech workforce for the future through the collaboration.

The company is envisaged to make a talent pool which is good with practical insights around disruptive techs and it can also help the Australian market, enabling Tech Mahindra to recognize young talents.

The new development is the first ICPU partnership in India.

For the new collaboration both the bodies have signed an MoU this month itself. The MoU will see both the bodies working together on security, AI, ML, blockchain, data analytics and many more.

Read more at, - Amazon news

  • Cloudtail’s growth is despite running into regulatory hurdles that resulted in some downtime in the January quarter
  • The company is a joint venture of Amazon and NR Narayana Murthy’s Catamaran Ventures
  • Cloudtail’s expenses went up by 27% to INR 8,899 Cr during the previous financial year

Amazon’s Largest Seller Cloudtail India reported revenue growth of 25% to INR 8,945 Cr in the year ended March 2019, the Amazon affiliated company announced. Cloudtail is the single largest seller on Amazon’s India marketplace. However, the revenue growth at Cloudtail comes even though seller ran into regulatory issues that resulted in some downtime in January and February. It is owned by Prione Business Services, a joint venture between Amazon India and Infosys founder NR Narayana Murthy’s Catamaran Ventures.

The company had reported a loss of INR 4.11 Cr in FY18 and a profit of INR 1.6 Cr in FY17. Cloudtail reported a profit of INR 29.4 Cr in 2018-19.

The filings also said that Cloudtail’s expenses went up by 27% to INR 8,899 Cr during the previous financial year, even as its revenue grew. The majority of those expenses (INR 8,537 Cr) went into purchasing stock or inventory. The Cloudtail revenue growth comes in spite of the company witnessing a major change in ownership of its holding company to comply with foreign direct investment regulations, which affected Amazon’s India business gravely.

In February this year, Catamaran Ventures had increased its stake in Cloudtail’s parent company to 76% from 51% earlier. This reduced JV partner Amazon Asia’s stake to 24% from 49% after the implementation of Press Note 2. Cloudtail thus was not an Amazon group company anymore and became eligible to sell on the marketplace.

It was reported that thousands of products remained missing from the virtual shelves of Amazon and Flipkart, which together accounted for 70% of India’s online retail market. Amazon, however, said in the following earnings call that the impact from the changes were minimal, even though both Walmart and Amazon lost close to $50 Bn in market cap following the changes.

Cloudtail was now reportedly onboarding independent sellers to trade imported food products that ARIPL had prohibited from selling. Government norms only permit the selling of local and packed food items on both offline and online retail channels. The government had emphasized on following the new rules.

Read also >> Huawei’s revenue hits record $122B this year

Commerce minister Piyush Goyal had also said that these rules should in no way be violated by any company, both in letter and in spirit. He added that the government would not allow ecommerce discounting practices from affecting small shopkeepers.

Amazon India only invested INR 2,800 Cr this year, compared to INR 9,450 Cr in 2018. The reports have also cited analysts stating that the last year’s spike in investment might be due to Amazon’s venture into the grocery business and for the supply chain needed for the same.

Source: amazons-cloudtail-sees-25-revenue-growth-despite-downtime/ news

  • True Balance will use funds to expand its loan book and bolster its technology
  • Till date, the company has raised $65 Mn from investors such as SoftBank Ventures Asia among others
  • The company website shows that it has 70 Mn downloads, as of December 2018

Gurugram and Korea-based mobile balance management service startup True Balance has raised $23 Mn (INR 164 Cr) in a Series C funding round.

The investments reportedly came in from Korean investors which include NH Investment & Securities, IMM Investment, HB Investment, IBK Capital, D3 Jubilee Partners, SB Partners and Shinhan Capital. Till date, the company has raised $65 Mn from investors such as SoftBank Ventures Asia among others.

True Balance will reportedly use funds to expand its loan book, bolster its technology and business-focused talent acquisition efforts across geographies, as well as towards marketing.

True Balance (introduced by Balance Hero) was launched in 2014 by Charlie Lee. It converts a text message with an available balance to infographics so that the users can easily check the balance, purchase a prepaid account, recharge their balance and track data usage.

True Balance had received an RBI license to operate its wallet service in India and began its operation in December 2017. True Balance wallet lets users pay in advance for mobile recharges, much like Paytm and Mobikwik. Users can also send money to each other using UPI. Since then, it has evolved into a financial services company.

The company website shows that it has 70 Mn downloads, as of December 2018. The company claims to clock three lakh transactions daily and aims to bring financial freedom to primarily unbanked users by giving them a safe, fast and convenient transacting experience. It also plans to launch new products, such as rail tickets, bus tickets, EMI, digi-gold, instant cash loan and personal loan by the end of the current fiscal.

“We aim to strengthen our data and ACS (alternate credit scoring) strategy to provide better financial services to our target—the next billion Indian users. Our goal is to reach 100 Mn digital touchpoints and become one of the top fin-tech companies in India by 2022,” Charlie Lee reportedly said.

True Balance’s FY 19 report showed that the company’s revenue increased by 49.8% from INR 5.97 Cr in FY18 to INR 8.95 Cr in FY19, while the loss stood at INR 46 Cr. It has partnered with a Mumbai based NBFC HappyLoans to provide the financial services and had received undisclosed funding from ICICI Bank Ltd. for its growth plans.

Read also >>How to Raise Funds for Your Startup? | Startup Funding Ideas

True Balance has also received its non-banking financial company (NBFC) license from the Reserve Bank of India. Funds and VCs from all corners of the world are ready to invest billions in the fintech sector.

According to the Global Fintech Report Q1 2019, more than one million borrowers and two million lenders have transacted with lending platforms, with the overall exposure remaining at INR 350 Cr. Further, between 2015 and Q1 2019, the total investment in Indian fintech startups was $7.62 Bn, out of which 25.49% ($1.94 Bn) was for lending tech startups, according to DataLabs by Inc42.

India’s digital lending market has the potential to become a $1 Tn (INR 71 Lakh Cr) opportunity in the next five years, according to a 2018 BCG report. Of this, personal lending is estimated to grow to a $50 Bn market, growing at a rate of 30% every year.


Startup news

New Delhi: United States trade representative Robert Lighthizer is likely to visit India within the next two weeks as the two sides work towards resolving their bilateral trade issues. Sources said a limited scope trade deal is on the menu for his visit.

This will be the second high-level visit of an American trade official this month. US secretary of commerce Wilbur Ross met commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal on October 3.

“The USTR will visit India soon but the dates are yet to be firmed up,” said one official aware of the development. This would be current USTR’s first visit to India.

Read also>> AR, VR can help guests make the right choice: Anil Goel from OYO Hotels

India and the US have ruled out any structural reason or major issue holding back a bilateral trade deal, which was expected to be announced during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting with US President Donald Trump last month. While the two sides have been entangled in a series of trade issues, restoration of Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), price controls on medical devices, duty cuts on Harley Davidson bikes and market access to American agricultural commodities were discussed to be part of the limited scope trade deal.

Lighthizer’s visit is crucial as the office of the US trade representative had previously linked market access in the two areas of dairy and medical devices to the continuation of GSP and also sought data-related relaxations, including in India’s eCommerce policy.

  • Tork has been readying for the launch of its first product, the T6X
  • In the past, Kapil Shelke-led Tork Motors raised funds from Bharat Forge and Bhavish Aggarwal, founder, Ola Cabs

New Delhi: Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus Tata Sons, will invest an undisclosed amount in Tork Motors, the Pune-based electric motorcycle startup said on Monday. While Tork has been readying for the launch of its first product, the T6X, Mint has learnt that the startup, for some time now, has been on a lookout to raise funds in excess of ₹250 crore to fund its operations.

In the past, Kapil Shelke-led Tork Motors raised funds from Bharat Forge and Bhavish Aggarwal, founder, Ola Cabs. Bharat Forge, one of the leading auto component manufacturers, had invested ₹34 crore and holds an equity stake of almost 49%. According to Tork Motors, collaboration with Bharat Forge has assisted the startup with engineering, plant designing, manufacturing and supply chain capabilities.

The startup said that its first product, T6X electric motorcycle, is powered by a lithium ion battery capable of providing a range of 100km in a single charge and can be charged up to 80% in an hour. Sources aware of the development at Tork Motors suggest that the startup has decided to go ahead with a 3.5kWh battery on the T6X wherein the battery unit will be dust and water proof. The T6X has been under development for over past 4 years.

“Tork is aiming at retails of 5,000 units in the first year starting off from Pune city. In its second year of sales, they plan to expand to Bangalore and ramp up their annual retails to up to 20,000 units,” said a source who did not wished to be named. He added that the T6X is pegged to cost around ₹1.5 lakh once it is launched and will compete with premium 125cc-200cc motorcycles.

“We have recently opened up our first fast-charging station in Pune. Our flagship product is ready and we plan to launch it soon. The T6X is a completely indigenized electric motorcycle,” Shelke, founder and CEO, told this publication. He refused to disclose the amount he plans to raise from Ratan Tata, citing the non-disclosure agreement. “The formal procedures are underway,” he told Mint today.

Read also >> GDP Growth Boosts Indian Economy

Commenting on the investment in e-bike startup, Tata said, “In the last few years, there has been a sea change in the attitude towards electric vehicles. This industry is changing rapidly and I place good value on the sound logic and the approach that the team at Tork Motors has taken.”

“I am glad that Mr Tata’s office representative visited the (Tork’s) factory, understood the concept, evaluated the product and had ridden the (electric) motorcycle. Post this, Mr Tata took an informed decision,” Shelke said in a press note issued today.


  • Growth stage funding boom is due to new investors in this space rather than broad-based funds, say investors
  • The funding boom comes in the face of a macroeconomic slowdown in India, and an internet funding slowdown in China and the US

Mumbai: Startups breach investments crossed the billion-dollar mark in the September quarter and hit a four-quarter high, driven by a handful of investors deploying capital more aggressively than ever, data indicates.

Series B and C rounds, generally defined as the growth stage for startups, saw $1.13 billion in funding in the September quarter, more than double the capital raised two quarters ago, and 33% more than the $848 million raised last quarter, according to Venture Intelligence, a startup data tracker.

According to investors, the growth stage funding boom is due to a number of new dedicated investors in this space, rather than broad-based funds, as well as existing investors, such as Tiger Global, Steadview Capital and Ribbit Capital becoming more aggressive this year, after a hiatus or selectively investing in the last few years.

Till about a few years back, the same set of venture capital (VC) funds would invest across multiple stages. As it has happened in other large venture markets, several Series B and C specific funds like A91, B Capital, Epiq, Fundamentum, Vertex, Avtaar, Iron Pillar etc have now emerged in India,” said Rahul Chowdhri, partner at Stellaris Venture Partners, an early stage investor.

“In addition, several Series A companies over the last couple of years have scaled very well which has attracted the attention of several global investors. Both these factors have led to an increase in B/C investments,” he added.

The growth stage boom has been one of 2019’s biggest funding themes.

Growth stage investments in Indian startups breached the billion-dollar mark in the first half of this year, Mint reported on 8 July. However, this time, funding crossed a billion dollars in a single quarter.

Read also >>Startups by 2020: Key questions asked

To be sure, despite more investors and capital coming in, the deal pipeline does not seem to have broadened, with only 40-45 growth deals in each of the last eight quarters, the data indicates. This is in contrast with the general expectation that as the ecosystem matures, more founders and companies will come in.

(Graphic: Paras Jain/Mint)
“(I am) surprised that the number of investments is the same. The quality of entrepreneurs is vastly improved and while one can question valuations, even the biggest critics acknowledge that some high-quality and valuable businesses are being built leveraging technology. Which is why it is surprising that the opportunity pipeline has not widened. It should improve overall as a lot many ideas are now getting the initial funding and purchasing power continues to improve,” said Abhay Pandey, partner at A91 Partners, a growth investment firm.Pandey added that “three to four firms have been super-active over the last few quarters, causing a frenzy in parts of the growth market.”The funding boom comes in the face of a macroeconomic slowdown in India, and an internet funding slowdown in China and the US. These are beginning to make investors more watchful, as valuations rise with young companies raising hundreds of millions of dollars rapidly.“The capital from India-based funds has been stable. Strong flows from overseas over short periods cause the frenzy as we are witnessing today. With China certainly slowing and doubts emerging on valuations of a few large global companies, it is only a matter of time before the India sentiment gets sober,” Pandey said.To be sure, investors continue to see the Indian market’s long-term value, with valuations being cyclical.

“Valuations are like stock prices; they go through their own cycles of highs and lows. As a long-term investor, we are more focused on value that the portfolio will build over the next decade. More late-stage investors mean Indian startups will have enough cash to scale up in the later stages of their evolution,” said Chowdhri of Stellaris.