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Today ChatableApps releases the hearing aid app on iOS, with a larger android update likely to follow. Backed by Mark Cuban, and based on the work of Dr. Andy Simpson, an auditory neural signal processing researcher, the app removes background noise in near-real – time so that one-to-one conversations can be heard better.

And, unlike other business strategies, its developers insist it works with any modern, standard smartphone and earbuds. Originally “preclinical” Chatable Device trials say to show it matches or the efficiency of certain new hearing aids, also exceeds that of eighty-six per cent of participants report the ‘universal ChatableApps hearing assistance “for communication was stronger than their current hearing aid.

When I covered the latest financing round for the startup, ChatableApps co-founder Brendan O’Driscoll explained to me the technology of the business and approach is “wholly special” since noise filtering is not used or other techniques used in DSP. “It is really a deep neural net of learning separation approach to speech and noise that does not apply filters to initial audio but listens and re-prints instead a brand outsider audio stream in near-real time that is just a vocal imitation initial audio modules,’ he said.

Or, put simply, in contrast to traditional background noise approaches removal-trying to label and remove unwanted sounds- AI of ChatableApps, called “VOXimity,” recognizes the voice that we like hear, and create a new (more or less) identical voice book similar to the original but without any other history Sounds …… sounds. The technique is called synthesis of end to end neural speech.

Meanwhile Giles Tongue, CEO of ChatableApps, tells me the team was racing to release the app as soon as possible after it has been realized it could help bridge the gap for people who can’t access a hearing clini during the coronavirus crisis, or because of the inability to liprea face masks prevail.

We agreed to launch the pre-clinical trials after positive immediately because of the urgent call from the audiologists to help people struggling with coronavirus,’ he notes. “With others incapable of doing so lipread because of face masks or incapacity to attend a hearing center in an our technology is a lifeline to support people in an emergency communicate.

The software will also help control distancing from society. “You should blend in telephone next to the talker, put in your Bluetooth buds, walk ten feet apart, and even someone with full clarity can hear, tongue adds.

The team has also revisited the company since we last covered it pricing model ChatableApps. The startup formerly planned to offer a only paid subscription version, but now has a free version, although somewhat level, tight.

Do you want to manage your remote team effectively? Here are some tips and tools to manage a remote team effectively during this COVID-19 pandemic.

With the COVID-19 pandemic more and more businesses are switching to the remote model of work. Medics advocate social isolation and quarantine because it prevents the spread of the virus.

Companies that have never previously used remote teams continue to make faults in successfully handling their remote teams. On the other hand, not much has changed in the routine of freelancers and companies that used remote work from the start.

Services for software development, web design, and IT services have traditionally been called remote-friendly. A change from the office job to remote work, however, also involves tension.

How do you set up effective management of your remote team? We suggest you learn from other people’s mistakes. Most of the tech firms at one point or the other made remote team management mistakes.

Here are four of the most common remote team management errors you make may address in weeks time:

1. Give up Time Tracking

This sounds counter-productive but so many companies found it useless to track time. For some kind of tracking software, most companies that shift to remote team management fall. The trackers go as far as making screenshots of the computer screen, or recording mouse movement.

Thing is, the more advanced a controlling system is, the more incentive to hack it and work around it. Excessive control is always stressful and combined with the stress of switching to remote work, this builds up discontent in your team. Ultimately, productivity suffers.

Instead: switch to outcome-oriented work. Measure your team’s work in tasks and not in hours. If you bill your customers by the hour then you need to take advantage of the self-reported time or average time required to complete similar tasks.

2. Set up clear communication rules & do not demand anything over them

Tracking is frustrating with the staff you need to be on the same page. Practice shows you need strict rules of communication that work with everyone on your team, with no exceptions.

The rules can apply to a medium of communication and response times. For instance, set rules that employees need to respond to Skype / Zoom calls or call back within 20 minutes of a missed call to warn their supervisors if they leave the computer due to a family emergency.

The moral here is to play by your own rules. If you set up a rule that your employees need to respond to telegram messages within 30 minutes, do not call their phone for 15 minutes after a message has been sent.

3. Be Understanding

If you are shifting to a remote work model because of the worldwide pandemic, you need to understand that this change is stressful for both the team and the management. In fact, no one at your company initially subscribed to remote work, and not everyone may love it.

Working at home often presents challenges, especially with concentration. At first, your team will need to learn proper time management – most will be slightly disoriented.

Same goes for the managers – they will need to get used to the fact that not everyone replies immediately,

Pandemic times are hard on every family, and employers need to be understanding. A workday at home is often accompanied by chores, children, and other distractions, and the lack of understanding from the manager contributes to more stress and even less productivity.

Read 5 TOOLS TO COORDINATE THE REMOTE TEAM

4. Use The Right Tools

The switch to remote work is your opportunity to upgrade your Project Management toolset. It takes time to re-evaluate the project management program but it’s still worth it. Ensure you are testing the market and seeking one that fits your needs.

Even if you spent weeks relocating the remote engineering team to the latest one tool – it’ll pay off with faster, more efficient processes managing Time.

Its tools must be intuitive, scalable, and not overwhelming Terms and Conditions.

Also, make sure different teams use the tools that fit their levels – while developers may stay with Jira, marketers, and copywriters are all set with Trello & Asana and the management may need TeamGantt or GanttPro.

You can use Restyaboard, one of the best tools to effectively manage your remote team. You can easily plan, collaborate, organize, and successfully deliver projects of all sizes on time using this tool.

Here are eight of the best collaboration platforms to help communicate effectively with your teams, and even your business partners for your Startups.

With today ‘s rise in e-commerce, investors can create their own startups a lot easier. There are various markets to study and to try to invest in. If you’ve decided to start your own company, you ‘re going to work with various teams to make your business successful.

For this purpose, communication is essential to your company. Some tools will help you to effectively interact and collaborate with teams and even with your business partners.

Restyaboard

Restyaboard is a project management tool for both small and large businesses that can make your projects move faster. This tool gives you a safe space for users to collaborate. It can be used for scheduling, monitoring, and for discussing the projects at hand. It’s an organized way of working on a project with various people. While you can communicate through social media platforms and schedule using calendars, it would be a lot easier to keep track of everything when you can do all of these tasks using one tool.

From team chatting, proofing files and designs, time tracking, task management, note-taking, etc. — Restyaboard helps throughout every phase of work. It also has multiple task views — list view, board view, calendar view, Gantt chart view (timeline view), so you can manage work using the one that suits your needs the best.

Additionally, Restyaboard is a simple tool, and it’s very easy to use. You won’t have to provide months of training to your employees for them to learn and master the interface of this tool. It is an open-source version if you are interested in trying this platform for your business.

BlueJeans

It can be a bit overwhelming to talk to a business partner, especially with the manufacturers. In doing so we can give you a few tips, here. Aside from the difficulty of choosing the correct one, you also have to set up a meeting where you can answer all of your concerns, and maybe reach a compromise that will help both sides. Fortunately, today’s technology helps us to organize conference meetings without physically meeting each other with people from all over the world.

BlueJeans is an example of a tool that businesses can use when they decide to hold video meetings with someone else. This program allows users to take part in the meeting through a cell phone, a web browser or even a desktop application. Besides this, it’s filled with methods of collaboration that business owners would enjoy.

Cisco WebEx

Addition to working with your business partners and workers, you also do have to provide the staff with training sessions. Doing so would allow you to make sure their skills improve. There will also be times you’d like to carry out sales demonstrations.

Cisco WebEx allows you to do that, and much more. It helps you to make presentations, send HD video conferences and even share files. Doing this makes the meeting more comfortable for you and your friends, and working together.

Google Hangouts Meet

Google Hangouts Meet is one of the most common resources used by startups for their collaborations today. Operating easily plus, people with Android smartphones can access it without any trouble. You can make voice and video calls, send chat messages, generate group chats and use this platform to send multimedia messages.

It can be used for your meetings and conferences, too. The standard version is free, but you’d have to pay for it if you’re going to get the business edition that will allow you to interact with up to 25 participants all out once. Another great thing about this platform is that your old conversations would be recorded.

Office 365 

If you have a kit for Office 365, you will have access to both Skype and Yammer. Skype is one of the best sites for video chatting that anyone can get this evening. It also has a version of the business which offers more features. It allows you to hold a group meeting at the same time, with up to 250 people. The old version of Skype may not be the best choice, but there are a lot of new features in the latest version that will allow you to interact better with your team.

Yammer, on the other hand, is designed for businesses having to share essential and internal information. Using this platform is also enjoyable, as it looks just like Facebook. Using this kind of forum, you may encourage cohesion in your organisation.

TeamViewer 13  

TeamViewer 13 has been one of the main tools to have when starting up a startup. This software is particularly useful when you have several members of your team who are working at home remotely. This tool has a conference feature that helps you to hold meetings and a screen sharing feature that you can use to show how to do it to people.

This app works like magic and its advanced features can also shock you. Using this program you can also run a computer screen of another user. TeamViewer is a nice tool that you can use to work together and even solve another team member’s problem when you need to.

Asana

Asana ensures you are still on schedule and alerts the staff of their deadlines. This platform also features a smartphone app that can be installed by your staff so they can access your workspace anytime, anywhere.

It is important to keep track of your tasks, so you don’t end up losing them. If you have a lot of team members and there are a lot of ongoing tasks, some of them will easily be ignored. Asana should help you avoid issues, as it has a template that streamlines the business’ workflow. Besides this, it can also speed your job.

Slack  

Last but definitely not least is Slack. Slack is a perfect networking device for your squad. You will split the chat groups and block other people in the company from watching the discussions in other team chatrooms. Through this platform, you can submit files and even integrate them with other platforms, such as MailChimp, Google Drive and Zendesk.

It’s also a very flexible device because, if you’re an Android or an iPhone user, you can still access it from your smartphone.

This blog is about the few tools for remote teams to coordinate and handle as a manager.

Working from home can be difficult for many teams, particularly when you’ve relied heavily on each other’s face-time. As rising numbers of teams adapt to working from home. Here are a few tools for remote teams which can help you handle as a manager:

1. PROJECT MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE

Don’t let you hold back the initial setup time. If you work with many stakeholders within the organization, it can be very time-consuming to organize all your tasks and promotions via Slack, Email, and Phone Calls. Establishing a program for project management would help you coordinate the workload of your team and boost transparency as well. Especially if some members within your organization are finding it hard to get into a routine. It can also help with a more straightforward process of approval and feedback on ongoing projects, without going back and forth with emails.

Recommended Project Management Tool

Restyaboard: https://restya.com/board

2. A CHAT & VIDEO CONFERENCING TOOL

Now, you might think that Zoom is the ultimate option, but for talk and video calls, our personal preference is Google Hangouts or Slack. Slack is perfect if the team needs to stay linked but if team members keep it open all day, it can also impact productivity. Seek to impose a no-slack hour each morning and once each evening. Not everyone would feel excessively linked in this way. The introverts inside your team, in particular, can feel tired of all the contact going in their direction. We recommend that you schedule a maximum of 2hours of video calls a day.

Read Free Tools To Handle Your ”Work From Home” Day Easier

3. SPARK

You’re now inundated with texts, and you feel like you need to get back to people right now. Here’s Fire, the email app that makes life so much easier for you. Build templates for emails that you regularly send. Spark also lets you snooze emails to remind you, at your convenience, of getting back to the user.  For eg, if you have many comms requests to send to clients but work on the comms plan at 11 am on Thursday, Spark will let you snooze the emails until Thursday at 11 am. And when you need them, they are right in front of you. Achieve the smart way inbox Zero. In addition, you can delegate tasks from your email into Restyaboard to your team members.

Get Spark: https://sparkmailapp.com/

4. SERENE

If you’re the sort of person who has all four addresses, Slack, SproutSocial, Linkedin, and much more open all day. Odds are the productivity is lost. So using a Serene-like device to avoid all distractions. Allowing yourself to work 30 minutes on a particular task would also make your output turbocharged.

Serene: https://sereneapp.com/

5. TIME TRACKING TOOLS

Time-tracking is for many a point of contention. Especially if you find like the days turn into each other. Time monitoring can be of tremendous benefit to productivity. Using time tracking to ensure that you work just 7 hours a day, log tasks and link time with tasks/projects. If they fill out the timesheets, you can also give your team a 4 hour Friday. It will also help you understand the course of your time. For example, if you spend 14 hours a week at video meetings, you’ll know that and you can take steps to improve it.

Recommended Time Tracking Tool

Restyaboard: https://restya.com/board

If you don’t handle your time well, it can take all the hours of your day to work from home before you know it.

Besides, even after all that, monitoring all the tasks you’ve managed to get done, and the things you still need to do could become incredibly difficult for you.

So, if you need any support to work harder, quicker, and more effectively, you may want to consider these three programs that are designed to help you establish a discipline of work, and in return also leave you with time to spend with your family, free of guilt.

Forest

If you find yourself wasting time reviewing WhatsApp messages or TikTok videos and reaching for your camera, try Forest.

Not only does this software help you reduce the use of smartphones while you’re working, but it will also help you incorporate the Pomodoro technique into your everyday scheme.

Francesco Cirillo — an entrepreneur and an author — invented this technique in the early 1990s, which he named after the tomato-shaped timer he used to track his own student research.

Here’s how it works: Pick a task you want to complete; set an alarm for 25 minutes and work tirelessly on that task until the alarm rings.
Then take a brief five-minute break for the next 25 minutes before you get back to the job at hand. Take a longer 25-minute break after every four 25-minute work sessions before you start working again.

You start with a virtual seed which you plant in Forest. And this seed keeps growing into a tree for as long as you can resist the temptation to reach out for your camera. If you leave the app to do something else on your computer, the tree will willow away. The app sounds an alert after 25 minutes, letting you take your break.

Forest is free for Android users but is available on iOS only as a paid version. Choose a paid account on Android and you’ll get the same premium features as the iOS version: Software developers will plant real trees for your accomplishments in Forest, you’ll be able to white-list work-related applications on your computer, and you’ll even get accurate statistics on what’s your most successful hour, as well as the most successful one.

StayFocusd

Sounds familiar to this? You sit down to work, and three hours later, the next thing you know. In the meantime, you’ve changed your Facebook profile, scrolled through your Twitter feed, watched a bunch of YouTube “reaction” videos and even googled your college crush.

Now, to get your job finished on time, you’ll need to remove all kinds of internet distractions, and that’s where StayFocusd comes in This browser extension for Google Chrome lets you focus on work by minimizing the amount of time you can spend on favourite websites.

Build a list of non-work websites you are addicted to and key in the amount of time you are permitted to “waste” on them. After the allotted time is used, StayFocusd will block certain websites for the remainder of the day.

This “tough-love” tool is highly configurable: you can block entire sites, specific subdomains, routes, pages, even material in the pages (videos, games, images, shapes, etc.).

And the StayFocusd extension can’t even cheat by disabling it. You can not delete a link from its website

When your maximum time for the day has been reached, “Blocked Pages” list, and you can only do it the next day.

Those who use a Firefox browser can use the extension LeechBlock NG which does the same job.

Restyaboard

Kanban is the Japanese word for signboard and a Kanban-style work- management tool is one that uses a dashboard-like interface to give you a columnar overview of the tasks—whether daily, weekly, monthly, or even project-wise—that need to be done.

Now, there are quite a few Kanban-style apps and websites that will help you manage your time, but Restyaboard is still one of the best.

Start a free account on Restya.com for access to a very flexible interface that will help you plan your week, and even micromanage your day.

You can, for instance, create a Kanban board that’s broken up into daily time blocks such as 9 am–11 am, 11.15 am–1 pm, 2 pm–3.30 pm, 4 pm–5.30 pm.. and accordingly create tasks for each of those blocks.

Restyaboard’s drag-and-drop interface is user friendly, but you can head to its YouTube channel for tutorials and tips on how to leverage on its multiple features effectively. For every job you list on your dashboard, you can add a description, checklists, due date, comments, and even add collaborators.

Having your day planned for you will allow you to be more efficient and even give you a sense of purpose for each day.

Startup

The number of seed-stage deals dropped sequentially by 29 percent in Jan-Mar, while the number of early-stage deals dropped by 30 percent. The biggest impact was the early-stage funding levels, dropping by about 40 percent to $534.48 million in January-Mar.

Investors and entrepreneurs in India’s startup ecosystem are planning for a winter funding in 2020-21, as suggested by the seed slump and early-stage funding—considered crucial to startups—in the March portion.

In particular, in the consumer Internet market, the COVID-19 pandemic has threatened start-up valuations. A change in consumer consumption trend due to the nationwide lockout, coupled with limited partners (LPs) making their fund allocations cautious, would hit early-stage funding in the forthcoming quarters, said, investors and industry experts.

In India, the number of seed-stage deals dropped sequentially by 29 percent in the March period, while the number of early-stage deals (Series A and B) declined by about 30 percent, according to data from Tracxn, an investment monitoring website.

Early-stage funding volumes took the biggest hit in the reporting period, falling from $890.62 million in Q3FY20 by around 40 percent to $534.48 million.

The number of seed-stage deals also dropped from $108 million in Q3FY20 to around $84.62 million in Q4FY20, down 22 percent.

Seed-stage funding volumes have declined by around 24.2 percent relative to the fourth quarter of the previous fiscal year (Q4FY19), although early-stage volumes have declined by around 18.5 percent.

Nonetheless, FY20’s overall amount of deals (early, seed, and late-stage) grew by 18 percent to $14.15 billion compared to $11.9 billion in FY19. Tracxn data also showed that in FY20, the number of deals in India’s startup ecosystem dropped by 14 percent to around 1,175 deals.

Though the overall funding volumes increased in FY20, primarily driven by unicorn companies and late-stage firms, early-stage deals are expected to take a significant haircut in the upcoming quarters.

“In the next quarter, seed and early-stage funding will decline by 70-80 percent. Very few small funds and early-stage funds in the country today are capable of honouring already-fixed term sheets. There will be some refreshing papers, delay in cash disbursements and a relook at valuations,” said Anand Lunia, founding partner of India Quotient early-stage fund.

He added that because LPs have no visibility of easing the national lockout, and in particular because of the losses they have suffered in the public markets, they are adjusting the allocation of funds in private equity markets.

“Most LPs have specific allocations of their funds between options available on the public and private markets. And if public-market returns fall drastically, they would immediately their allocation to private-equity funds. Even if their equity portions continue to produce reduced returns, then they will reduce the allocation of funds in debt options,” Lunia added.

Many investors, however, point out that in 2008 and 2009 the tech sector, including the startup ecosystem, had experienced a similar crisis. Most investors in the early and late-stage made respectable returns from their investments, which were financed during that time.

“About nine companies, including major names like Zomato, Dream11, Druva, Paperboat, Practo, PolicyBazaar, Capillary Technologies, and many others who launched their businesses during or just after the 2008 and 2009 economic crisis, have crossed billions of dollars worth of valuations. These companies’ early investors made an excellent return on their investments

He added that because in the last economic downturn, both founders and investors were wary, most of the deals went through further scrutiny. “It was then negotiated a better price and value (2008-09), and I expect that to be replicated in the current scenario.”

India’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, WazirX, has seen its average volume rise in the last 30 days by more than 470 percent.

Because of COVID-19, cryptocurrencies have seen a strong price movement that naturally has caused further trades

Crypto-currency startups in India have gained ground with the Supreme Court lifting the controversial ban on cryptocurrency trading in the country by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

In addition, several startups in the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak have also benefited from market uncertainty.

“RBI lifting India’s ban on cryptocurrency trading has sparked new momentum in the market. The market uncertainty due to COVID-19 also allows more people to trade in the exchanges, “said Ashish Singhal, CoinSwitch’s chief executive.

CoinSwitch, backed by Sequoia Money, is a virtual currency exchange aggregator with around 400,000 active users a month present in more than 160 countries. “About 10 per cent of our user base is in India as of today but the number is expected to increase substantially with the new regulations and current environment,” Singhal said.

The Supreme Court quashed a ban on trading in virtual currencies such as bitcoin, imposed by the RBI on 4 March. As part of the ban, on 6 April 2018, the central bank issued a circular banning RBI-regulated entities from providing any service relating to virtual currencies, including those relating to the transferor receipt of money in virtual currencies accounts.

India’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, WazirX has seen its daily volume rise over the past 30 days by more than 470 per cent. WazirX, recently purchased by Binance, has over 300,000 registered users and has clocked cumulative volumes estimated at $286.3 million to date.

“The Indian market has a population of over 1 billion and is a sleeping giant. The news about lifting the ban on RBI would further improve the acceptance of crypto in India, “said WazirX founder and CEO, Nischal Shetty.

People continued to trade even during the ban with the aid of peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, but approval by the RBI is expected to serve as a catalyst to the growth momentum.

“Crypto exchanges like WazirX now have the INR deposit and withdrawal banking channels available. With banking networks now open, inputting crypto has made it easier for Indians. Indians had to use P2P because of the banking ban which was successful for WazirX but the banking channel would be even more successful because it is more convenient for users, “Shetty said.

Cryptocurrencies have seen a strong price spike due to COVID-19 that has inevitably caused further trades as market volatility is crucial to deciding trading strategy and investment decision. “But while crypto shows signs of stability in this financial chaos right now, we’re going to have to wait and watch the next few weeks to understand how cryptomarkets are really coping with their first-ever exposure to the global financial crisis,” Shetty says.

“Stablecoins (a form of cryptocurrency designed to sustain a stable market price) saw their combined market value nearly double in Q1 … If crisis conditions continue to escalate in emerging markets, we may see a more drastic rise in the use of stablecoins.”

The three-year-old bootstrapped startup, originally a consultant called Etrix, finds the market more favorable for its goods in Europe

Unlike bandwidth-intensive and hard to deploy AR applications, Scotty uses WebGL, a JavaScript API, to render graphics on a compatible browser

The invention of a Bengaluru company helped to deal with it at the height of the Covid-19 outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the coronavirus originated. After two and a half months of a lockout, Wuhan will be coming out of quarantine on April 8, with new infections dropping to zero. As a Chinese official said to Bloomberg in February, “It’s like fighting a war.

Some of the steps Wuhan took was to set up on a war footing emergency medical centres. Ventilators were critical and many were from Huber & Ranner, a German manufacturer. The problem was that technicians had been unable to go to Wuhan to help mount them. That is where BlinkIn, based in Bengaluru’s Nasscom CoE, came into the scene.

To provide visual feedback from Pocking in Germany, Huber & Ranner used BlinkIn’s AR (augmented reality) app Scotty. Staff at the Wuhan hospital simply had to click on a button to get tech help. While pointing a phone at the ventilator and installation point, AR markers helped determine what to do as a technician talked to them about the process.

“WebGL lets you access the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) of a cell phone to run algorithms for computer vision. That is how we offer AR interactions through the Web rather than a smartphone device, “explains BlinkIn’s CEO and co-founder, Harshwardhan Kumar.

The concept behind a lightweight app like Scotty is to have only enough AR for tech support “to get the job done then and there.” Unlike a full-fledged AR app, this involves limited computing resources and will entail heavy downloading and finding out how to use it.

FERST CUSTOMER

“Our strategy differentiates us from other businesses who are stuck in a showcase trip to create cool AR / VR experiences that are rarely rolled out. We’re really trying to understand a issue and create value for a customer, “says Josef Seuss, the German co-founder and MD of BlinkIn.

“What I do on a daily basis is create communication between us and our customers,” adds Reinhard Kurz, who is overseeing business development for BlinkIn. One difficulty, for example, was making a live video call when connectivity was poor. “We came up with an instant picture chat solution.”

Seuss was a digital transformation consultant to companies in Germany when he first linked to Kumar in order to do a project for one of his clients. Later, when BlinkIn was at last year’s iCreate accelerator programme in Ahmedabad, Kumar told him they were developing a smart visual bot.

He saw much interest in the drug when Seuss started asking around in Germany. He ended up moving to Ahmedabad to participate and becoming a co-founder of the BlinkIn founders in the accelerator programme.

Although Scotty opens doors to businesses with easy-to-use AR, BlinkIn’s deep-tech tool is the AI-powered visual bot Houston. Imagine an automated call to video conferencing that is getting smarter as it progresses. Houston can be deployed in multiple scenarios.

One of the early users is the German automotive association Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club (ADAC). The bot will help a consumer do an oil-level inspection in his vehicle, fit a child’s safety seat, and so on. “We will be doing a broader pilot around Europe with an automotive business,” Seuss says.

An Indo-German startup is taking advantage of the best of both worlds. AI and AR talent in Germany are limited and costly so the engineering side is in Bengaluru. And Europe is the main target market where Seuss and his team will directly communicate with potential customers.

CONNECTION DE GERMAN

After the Ahmedabad programme, the Indian creators of BlinkIn — Harshwardhan Kumar, Nitin Kumar, and Dhiraj Choudhary — went with Seuss to join an acceleration program for insurtech in Germany. They linked there with insurance firm VKB, which now runs a pilot to see if a visual bot can enhance the process of claims and reduce the time taken.

The three-year-old bootstrapped startup, originally a consultancy called Etrix, found the market to be more favourable for its goods in Europe. “We reached out earlier to companies in India that are eager to take our goods forward.

We have reached out to investors willing to invest in us. Yet after having a taste of the German environment, we had to rethink what we could lose in equity by raising funds in India or entering into agreements with Indian customers, “Choudhary says.

“We learned from day one to work remotely and to trust each other in both India and Germany,” Seuss adds. “We don’t have to sit next to each other all the time.”

  • Late-stage and stage companies plan to make a profit over the next four years
  • With the COVID-19 outbreak, start-ups and large companies have experienced a concentrated impact on their businesses, especially in the travel segment

A recent 2020 survey conducted in February shows that many Indian companies have prioritized growth over profitability, but that could change because of the COVID-19 outbreak that has affected thousands of businesses around the world.

A majority of startups in India still tend to expand quickly and users on a rapid scale, rather than increasing profitably, reveals a survey undertaken by InnoVen Capital, a venture debt capital provider. About 79 percent of InnoVen’s surveyed start-ups showed a strong bias towards growth over profitability.

Both late-stage startups and nearly 91 percent growth stage startups surveyed said they planned to be profitable over the next four years. Although 82 percent of consumer brands and 53 percent of fintech companies claim to be profitable in the next 1-2 years or at least expect profitability.

This notion of growth over profitability prevails, even as the report highlighted that startup founders in India are anticipating a weaker venture funding climate in 2020. Approximately 75% of founders surveyed by InnoVen said they had a favorable financing experience in 2019, but approximately 58% of founders expect fundraising to be more difficult in 2020.

InnoVen’s survey also showed that most founders will see funding and improving top management as the top priorities in 2020. Certain goals include enhancing suitability for the product market and concentrating on productivity, the survey showed.

Just 14 percent of the funders surveyed by the venture debt firm said profitability is a top priority for 2020, compared with about 27 percent who said fundraising was the top priority.

Read Startups by 2020: Key questions asked

Although a majority of the founders (57 percent) surveyed believe the most likely exit scenario would be through mergers and acquisitions and secondary exits, many founders are now beginning to look at IPO’s as a viable exit choice. Approximately 42 percent of the founders said an IPO could be one of their 2020 exit choices, which is a small increase from 38 percent in 2019.

Approximately 54 percent of growth and late-stage start-ups foresee a 5-year exit, with 62 percent suggesting IPO as a possible exit. Over 50 percent of Fintech start-ups surveyed said IPO is the most likely exit mode. 60 percent of start-ups in e-commerce think that secondary exits are most likely, while 64 percent of start-ups in the consumer sector feel that a merger or acquisition could be the most possible way out.

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, however, startups and large companies have seen a concentrated effect on their industries, especially in the travel segment as many countries have approved foreigners ‘ travel bans and visa curbs. Venture capital firms have encouraged startups to hold cash and likely prepare for a downturn in funding.

Sequoia Capital, one of the most involved VC firms, said in particular supply chain disruptions are inevitable with a market slowdown. The firm has also advised investors and businessmen in an unpredictable world to challenge their cash cushion, fund-raising, revenue projections, headcount and capital spending.

Ashish Sharma, CEO, InnoVen Capital India said in a statement that the survey was conducted in February when the impact of Coronavirus was largely concentrated in China and that “it is reasonable to assume that the feeling has become more unfavourable in the past week.”

  • Leading car rental companies Zoomcar and Drivezy both cut short their current financing rounds
  • Zoomcar, which for its Series D round was supposed to raise up to $500 million, has now cut the funding round to just $100 million

Over the last two years, vehicle leasing companies running four-wheeler fleets have been facing a tough period. After their arrival in India in 2012-13, the startups have experimented with multiple business models, such as subscriptions and franchise. Now, investor pressure on car rental startups is mounting as they try a sustainable business model, taking a toll on financing.

Leading vehicle rental companies Zoomcar and Drivezy both shortened their ongoing funding rounds, three people said they were aware of the progress and requested not to be called. According to sources, Zoomcar had also discussed an opportunity to combine with its competitors.

Drivezy had discussions with SoftBank and Amazon in 2019 but both conversations fell through. Then, according to one of the people listed above, Drivezy cut its funding round from the $100 million it was targeting in early 2019 to less than half.

The company is now projected to collect only around $35-40 million to a valuation of $135 million, the individual said. Currently Drivezy is worth around $200 million.

In an emailed response Drivezy reported the developments. Digital news portal Entrackr announced in February that Zoomcar was having separate merger talks with Revv, a car rental startup based in Gurgaon.

But Revv and Zoomcar declined to hold talks.

Zoomcar, which was supposed to raise up to $500 million for its Series D round, has now cut the funding round down to just $100 million, two people added. The company recently said in a round led by Sony Innovation Fund, it raised $30 million with plans to raise another $70 million in the immediate future.

Nonetheless, a Zoomcar spokeswoman called Sony’s investment a “pre-series” round and denied that it will raise more money and slash funding.

All Drivezy and Zoomcar initially launched as an aggregator, buying vehicles directly from banks and other lending institutions on their balance sheets either through equity capital or through financing options. Nevertheless, as these companies started to grow, both companies switched to new business models to minimize capital (capex) spending on vehicle procurement.

In April 2016, Zoomcar had launched its’ Zoomcar Associate Program’ (ZAP), a model where private vehicle owners— individuals, fleet operators, dealers, etc.— could list their own vehicles on the website. For this, Zoomcar was reducing the vehicle production costs.

In 2019, too, Drivezy launched a similar franchisee model in which private owners were permitted to list directly on the website. The ZAP model, however, hasn’t scaled as planned, a mobility space investor who assessed Zoomcar said, asking not to be mentioned.

“In order for ZAP model to succeed on the supply side, you first need a lot of people who own cars to go and list on the platform for the weekend at least,” the investor said.

In 2018 Zoomcar launched a subscription service to solve this issue, enabling users to subscribe to a car for 6, 12, 18, and 24 months.