From the startup world – Aug 1

Compilation of news from startup world :

Start-ups in India to have $400-500 billion investment by 2026: Amitabh Kant

Investment firms have flown into India in a big way and they will continue to come in, said Amitabh Kant, chief executive officer of Niti Aayog on Saturday adding that by 2026 the country will have almost 100,000 start-ups with an investment of $400-500 billion. “India has seen huge energy, vibrancy and dynamism in its start-up movement. There are some unique innovations that have been done by start-ups. This need to be given further fillip. We have close to about 19,000 start-ups in this country. In 2015 alone, we have seen close to about $8 billion getting invested in start-ups and the total investment in start-ups is about $15 billion. By 2025-26, I visualize from 19,000 we will go up to 100,000 startups. The total investment that will get into the start-ups will be $450-500 billion in India and the reason for that is that a lot of young people are getting into the start-up (space),” said Kant.

Startup eShopBox manages brick-and-mortar businesses’ online operations

If you cannot beat them, join them. This has been particularly true in the case of traditional manufacturers and retailers trying to establish a Web presence. However, navigating the virtual world, for several traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, has turned out to be far more challenging than dealing with the real world bargain hunters. In solving Net issues of traditional businesses, Neeraj Choudhary, Ankush and Mayur Karwa (cousins) and Anant Bisht spotted an opportunity to start their own enterprise. They began by offering consultancy services to retailers on building an online presence and created Web portals for them. But traditional merchants were at sea when it came to implementing an online sales strategy. “Most of the merchants had a tough time handling their online operations—order and inventory management, curation, delivery logistics, customer relations, handling returns— even when they were advised on such matters,” says Choudhary.

These startups pushing augmented reality forward in India

With smartphones getting smarter, augmented reality (AR) mobile games like Pokemon Go are trending among the gadget freaks across the world. Mr Hemant Singh, Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Houssup, an ecommerce platform for interior design, told ANI: “Augmented reality market will radically increase the consumer engagement time with various brands, depending on the quality of the content, the engagement time will be 5X-10X, which in turn will raise the conversion ratio for the brands. Thus we can safely assume that brands doing Augmented Reality based advertisement will see 5x- 10x jump in there revenues. According to him, “The immersive nature of content delivery using AR will hook consumers and brand discovery as happening today will completely change.” India may have been slightly late in joining this technological advancement, but there are few startups that have opened the gate for AR and virtual reality (VR) and are changing the experience of customers.

How these startups are hoping to cash in on massive opportunity in internet of things market

Fresh from the sale of their first venture focused on the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) market, Shishir Gupta, Nithin David and Varun Gupta embarked on what they thought was their next breakthrough idea. In mid-2013, the trio decided to devise solar air conditioners based on their previous experience in the market but, after some pilots, they discovered the idea was commercially unviable. From the ashes of their second enterprise, they did manage one small gain — a connected controller that reduced energy use by 30% during the night. Using this, they pushed their entrepreneurial energy in a new direction — towards the rapidly emerging opportunity in the internet of things (IoT), or devices and objects that send and receive data over the internet. Rather than build large systems for this, their new venture Oakter is thinking much smaller. It is building out a series of IoT-based devices to “smarten” homes across India.

Layoffs continue at startups as Flipkart shows door to 700

Pink slips are flying thick and fast at startups and internet-based companies across the country. Flipkart’s the latest. It’s showing the door to around 700 employees. Previously, Snapdeal, Zomato, Grofers, Housing, TinyOwl and a host of others had laid off staff. Companies say they are letting go of their poorest performers based on periodic assessments. Employees say the layoffs have more to do with the fund crunch at startups than performance. Some allege companies are adopting unprofessional ways of getting people to leave so that they don’t have to compensate those being laid off. An employee at a startup in Noida said he was stunned when he was suddenly handed over a new set of performance goals, which were tough to meet. A week later, he, along with some 150 others, were asked to leave the company for non-performance. “It was impossible to meet those new parameters,” the employee told TOI. “The irony is, we had great appraisals a few months ago.” An employee at another company had a similar story. He said he was being appreciated for meeting 60% of his targets. But suddenly his manager told him he needed to hit 90%. “This created immense pressure. You eventually end up resigning. That saves the management the trouble of calling it a layoff,” he said.

Sebi eases startup listing norms

To encourage listing of startups, Sebi on Friday proposed an easier framework that allows more investor categories, relaxed shareholding norms and reduced trading lot amount. Sebi had mooted changes to the framework of Institutional Trading Platform (ITP), which has not seen much traction, though it was put in place in August 2015. Seeking to widen the eligibility ambit for getting listed on ITP, Sebi has proposed increasing the category of eligible investors when it comes to shareholding before the listing. Besides QIBs (qualified institutional buyers), family trusts or systematically important NBFCs registered with the RBI, intermediaries registered with Sebi and category III FPIs (foreign portfolio investors) would be considered, subject to certain conditions.

There’s no slowdown in early stage funding: Raj Mashruwala

Raj Mashruwala did his BTech from IIT Bombay and MS in engineering from the University of California, Berkeley. Soon after graduating from Berkeley, Mashruwala co-founded semiconductor equipment manufacturing firm YieldUp International and manufacturing software provider Consilium. He went on to be COO of US-based infrastructure and business intelligence software provider Tibco Software, from where he retired. Between 2009 and 2011, he helped the Aadhaar project as chief biometric coordinator. Now, he’s partner emeritus in Bengaluru-based seed investment firm Prime Venture Partners.

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