News from the startup world – July 19


A compilation of important news from the startup world:

1. Strapped Indian startups now get support of global VCs with long-term view & domain expertise
A new set of global venture capital investors armed with deep pockets and a longterm view of the market is stepping up to back Indian Internet companies at a time those who poured money into the sector in recent years are slowing down pace of investments, reports the Economic Times. New York-based Stripes Group and Thrive Capital, and Sands Capital from Virginia, US, are among those taking a bet on a slew of companies such as ticketing platform BookMyShow, healthcare technology venture Practo and grocery portal Bigbasket. Their entry is a boost for this sector as these funds with their unhurried investment style, deep domain expertise and focus on minute due diligence are introducing a strikingly different flavour to the Indian startup sector, accustomed to the frenetic pace of investments led by investment firms such as Tiger Global, hedge funds and strategic investors like Japan’s SoftBank.

2. How incubators can help startups
Young startup founders are not that experienced. Their businesses too demand a certain depth of expertise in areas like technology, marketing and creating value proposition. Here, incubators can assist them in their initial phase of development by providing these various services, reports The Financial Express. In India, it is estimated that there are about 200 startup incubators of which, about 50% are set up in non-metro cities—outside NCR, Bengaluru and Mumbai, it says. According to the newspaper, even the government has stepped up to help startups take benefit from incubators. With the rise in the number of startups and growing interest in entrepreneurship and the need to recognise good incubators, the Central Government has certified 20 private organisations as incubators under the Startup India Action Plan.

3. India’s bio start-ups and some of their big ideas
Rookie start-ups from across the country could soon be part of major global discoveries in life sciences, or in rolling out novel technologies and products, says the Deccan Chronicle. Some of them have teamed up with Silicon Valley (San Francisco Bay area)’s cluster of innovation facilities, popularly known as the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3), which figures in the list of the best cutting-edge research facilities. A few others are on the verge of forging partnerships with clusters in Cambridge, while few others are looking East as well. The report claims that such connections are falling into place because Indian start-ups have announced their arrival with some unusual products and technologies: from immunotherapy-based treatment of cancer (which helps patients build immune systems to combat cancer) to identifying chemo drugs which have the highest efficacy for a particular patient, from improving the yield of crops and vegetables by 15 per cent with an extract of seaweeds to growing seaweeds for generation of bio-fuels.

4. Gadkari asks NRI Silicon Valley professionals to join startups India movement
Union Minister of Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari has invited Silicon Valley professionals of Indian origin to participate in the startups India movement and take advantage of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious policy initiative of “Ease of doing Business” to contribute towards the success of “Make in India”, according to a report in the Free Press Journal. Addressing a series of meetings organised by various outfits of Indian origin professionals San Francisco in the last two days, Gadkari said that the NDA government’s revolutionary policy initiatives have brought about a lot of positivity among entrepreneurs across the globe, and today, India has the world’s third largest number of start-ups.

5. Old family businesses don’t understand technology, hesitate to invest in startups
The global business community may be swearing by the startup ecosystem in India, which is third in the world after the US and China in terms of numbers of startups, the old family business is lagging behind when it comes to jumping onto the bandwagon. According to Saurabh Srivastava, one of the founders of IT industry body Nasscom and co-founder of Indian Angel Network (IAN), traditional businesses are not investing in startups. “Startups are a new asset class and many people don’t understand the risk. Ratan Tata is a unique phenomenon, and globally, investors are usually first-generation entrepreneurs. In India, the scene is interesting. People in traditional family businesses don’t understand technology , and so hesitate to invest in startups. Today’s entrepreneurs lack the wisdom of running large enterprises,” he told The Economic Times.

6. Indian start-ups look to disrupt jewellery making with 3D printing
The traditional art of jewellery making is ripe for disruption in India, with new age firms such as BlueStone, AuGrav and Caratlane swapping out handmade one-offs in favour of 3D printed pieces, says a report in the Business Standard. According to it, one of the biggest lures of 3D printing in jewellery making is the reduction in time to make pieces, a big requirement when selling online. Moreover, with no physical interaction, 3D renderings serve as a much better way to show customers of designs they are getting commissioned. India consumes nearly 1000 tonnes of gold with nearly half of it is used to make jewellery by thousands of small craftsmen across the country. Bulk of gems and ornaments, processed by skilled workers is exported to global customers. The domestic market is also witnessing a shift towards jewellery buying from organised and branded players, but the customisation of the ornaments is done by millions of workers in shops and factories.

7. Startups shift track: From on the job training to trained candidates
Cash strapped to spend on training freshers, startups are now employing trained freshers for tech roles, as opposed to the conventional on the job training. These companies, who cannot lose out on their resources’ productivity by investing time on training, get newbies trained by other startups, which double up as training grounds, says The Times of India.Mugilan, an employee with Ather Energy , the Bengaluru-based electric vehicles startup gave up a lucrative job offer in a software company to undergo training in Lema Labs, an IIT Madras incubated startup. ” As someone interested in electronics, the training was a gateway to getting placed in a startup of my choice,” he said.

8. SRI capital adds to its SaaS Startups, Invests $1.3 million
Serial entrepreneur Sashi Reddi, through his seed-stage venture capital fund SRI Capital, has invested $1.3 million in two SaaS startups — Yellowdig in Pune and Zuppler in Delhi making it a total of 15 SaaS startups in his current portfolio of 23 companies, according to the Economic Times. Reddi believes that enterprise software startups are going to be the new wave in the market. “We need to realise that the Amazon of India will be Amazon,” said Sashi Reddi.

9. India gets in to the IOT bus
After missing electronics manufacturing opportunity bus in 90s, India trying hard now to enter the second electronics system design and Manufacturing (ESDM) opportunity, which is now possible. The modern electronics manufacturing is highly related to the IOT technology. In the fast emerging IOT space, India do not want to miss the opportunity. India gets inside the IOT bus by taking some good initiatives so that both the start-ups and well-established companies can leverage to cater to the needs of domestic market as well as export, reorts the Electronics Engineering Herald. Though fragmented and highly related to every sector of industry including agriculture, IOT is an opportunity for Indian IT as well as electronics entrepreneurs. The IOT market demands a lot of embedded software and hardware knowledge, where Indian industry has some strength.

10 Predictions for the Indian food-tech market
Touted to be a $78 billion dollar market that’s growing 16per cent yearly, VCs have hurried to place bets in India before it becomes too late. Unsure of which US food tech model may work, they have adopted a spray-and-pray approach. Given this approach, many food tech startups will go out of business in the next few quarters while a few winners will emerge. In 2015, Dazo and Spoonjoy shut operations and we hear of troubled times at Foodpanda and downsizings at Zomato, reorts website Your Story. So, will most of these companies die or are their business models sustainable? Ideally, it’s the latter. Evolution of food-tech in the US has given us insights into the models that work. Let’s take a deeper look at the evolution of these models, how they create value, and what will ultimately lead to their success in India.




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