From the startup world – August 05

A compilation of important news from the startup world:

  1. GST: India’s 21st century startups think they finally have a 21st century tax system
    The Indian e-commerce industry, for long a victim of an archaic tax regime, is thrilled that the country has moved closer to a unified tax regime. Late on Aug. 03, the upper house of the Indian parliament, Rajya Sabha, passed a bill that makes way for the rollout of Goods and Services Tax (GST), a system that will replace 17 state and federal taxes. This is perhaps the biggest tax reform India has had since its independence around 70 years ago. E-commerce companies have been struggling with the existing tax structure that was created long before the industry was born. The industry had complained often that the old system impedes online retail startups.
  1. Deftronics 2016, a big opportunity for startups in Aerospace and Defence industry
    In the Defence and Internal Security area as well, there’s a gold mine of opportunities sitting for Indian startups. Consider this market size. The total Defence budget is Rs 2.64 lakh crore, and the total input bill out of this is Rs 90,000 crore. And of this, Rs 45,000 crore is the electronics component.The recommendations of the Defence Electronics and System Design Policy will be announced by IESA-Nasscom at the event. The report will highlight the current sector-wise industry capability of the Indian Aerospace and Defence (A&D) industry. For the first time, Deftronics will honour companies and personalities for their outstanding contributions in the field. The different categories for nominations are: Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Lifetime Achievement Award, Best Embedded Product Design and/or Services company in A&D (Indian and multinational), Best electronics manufacturing company in A& D (Indian and multinational), and Promising A&D startups of the year.
  1. Pitney Bowes Global Accelerator Programme Names Six Indian Startups In Summer Batch  
    Pitney Bowes, a global technology company has selected six startups from India to the summer session of the Pitney Bowes Accelerator Programme. This programme provides mentorship, access to venture funds and networking to innovative startups in the areas of customer information management, mobile, data analytics, location-based services, ecommerce management and machine learning. The chosen startups will have access to selective Pitney Bowes software and APIs for six months. In addition, the company will provide mentorship with leading engineering and innovation experts for technical and business guidance. The startups will be placed in Pune or Noida for incubation and will have opportunities to network with prospective investors.
  1. Indian artificial intelligence startups aim to disrupt global fashion industry  
    Indian artificial intelligence startups are disrupting the fashion industry by helping brands identify trends on how consumers buy clothes. Brands are crunching time to bring new designs to market using the underlying technology that help predict consumer trends, while increasing sales of their new selections. Typically, brands freeze new designs nine months to one year in advance of the respective seasons. “More than half of the branded clothes by big retailers are sold in discounts. Brands think they know their customers, yet they have not been able to clearly identify what their choice is,” says Ganesh Subramanian, founder and chief executive officer of Stylumia, an artificial intelligence and computer vision startup. “Because these designs are frozen in advance there is a time lag. Consumer tastes will have changed by then.” Subramanian was chief operating officer of Myntra before he started Stylumia and works with brands, e-commerce portals and offline clothing stores.
  1. A Look into the Indian Startup Ecosystem  
    Ever since the beginning of 2016, when the PMO launched the ‘Startup India’ initiative, India has grown with over 3000 startups until today, and the figure is expected to rise up to 10,000 by the end of 2020, according to the NASSCOM 10000 Startups Report. The report also illustrates that India is the fastest growing startup community. The conference created a picture that 2016 has surely been a tough year for the startups, as the entrepreneurs faced several difficulty in raising funds and in turn gaining profitability. Being in the do or die situation, there has been a few startup firm that have done a good business in the tough and competitive environment. According to the following are the few startups that are leading the race of earning the maximum profitability and have been the most funded Indian startup.
  1. LegalDesk joins other startups to use Aadhaar-based business services   
    LegalDesk, a Bengaluru-based startup,  has become the latest firm to use Aadhaar, to authenticate legal documents helping reduce cumbersome paperwork. It joins other startups such as Novopay, a mobile payment firm that focuses on providing bank backed digital wallet in rural areas and  PhonePe, a mobile wallet owned by Flipkart and TrustID, a startup that provides background verification of blue collar workers. LegalDesk, founded by Krupesh Bhat and Ashok Kadsur, helps users seeking legal documents such as affidavits and rental agreements to authenticate their digital signatures using Aadhaar. Once a user fills in his or her Aadhaar number, an SMS code is sent to a registered mobile number and on submission, the document is authenticated with a digital signature and issued online.
  1. In latest blow to Uber, Didi said to back Southeast Asia startup  
    China’s Didi Chuxing and SoftBank Group Corp. are backing a new round of funding in the Southeast Asian ride-sharing service Grab — putting even more pressure on Uber Technologies Inc. The round, which may close as early as next week, could exceed $600 million and push the total amount of funds available to Grab past $1 billion, according to people familiar with the deal. Grab is seeking to raise a separate $400 million in the following weeks, said one of the people, who declined to be identified because the deal is private.The fund raising round shows that the truce between Didi and Uber in China this week is far from a global accord. Didi bought out Uber’s operations in the country and became a shareholder in the US company, but the Chinese firm’s investment in Grab shows it will continue to clash with Uber in Southeast Asia and perhaps other regions.
  1. What Happened To Honesty And Integrity? A Code Of Conduct For Startups   
    With so much wealth being created, people entered the ecosystem in droves, and the lines between right and wrong were blurred. It was truly like the “Wild West”. Dishonesty and backstabbing were the norm, and the perpetrators were rarely held accountable for their actions. But things have changed. If you think about it, the global startup ecosystem is very small. Sure, there are a lot of companies being created every year, but there are really only a few thousand major venture capitalists, law firms, banks, journalists, and other organizations that focus exclusively on startups. Whether you are first-time entrepreneur building an app in Asia or an industry veteran starting a venture capital fund in Silicon Valley, your “playing field” will still include many of the same circles of people.
  1. Australia’s startup scene is finally setting its sights on China   
    While much of the Australian startup scene is attempting a Silicon Valley redux, only with far less people and more sunshine, a number of key players are looking to China. On Thursday, the startup hub Fishburners announced it would be launching its first overseas office in Shanghai this month. The company currently hosts around 170 startups in Sydney, and the Shanghai space will have 50 desks to start with, CEO of Fishburners, Murray Hurps told Mashable Australia. It will act as an outpost of the current Fishburners community, he added, and as a supportive landing pad for startups looking to investigate the Chinese market. “If you’re in a group of startups in Australia and you’d like to go to China to try addressing a market or address an investor, it’s nice to be able to do it with those other startups,” he said.
  1. Tern to inspire and arm travel talent and startups with new skills   
    To answer this demand for new skills and address the opportunity for new jobs, a one-day travel careers event will be launched in Singapore on August 27. The inaugural Tern, founded by Yeoh Siew Hoon of Web In Travel (WIT) and sponsored by Accor Hotels Asia Pacific, has three key objectives – to change perceptions of travel careers beyond the traditional jobs, help travel industry professionals remain relevant and adapt in a fast-changing market and address the mismatch between skills and new jobs emerging as more travel moves online and businesses adopt more technology. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, travel and tourism touches 10% of all jobs in the world and the fastest growing segment globally is that driven by technology. According to Phocuswright, the travel industry is currently valued at $1.3 trillion (not including $100b in private accommodation and $100b in tours & activities). In Asia, online travel gross bookings have escalated from a mere $4.8b in 2002 to $137b in 2016.
  1. Powerplant Ventures closes $42 million fund to back “plant-centric” food and tech startups   
    n recent years, venture capital has poured into food companies, from meal kit and grocery delivery services to the makers of environmentally sustainable, or health-promoting food products. Now, investors and entrepreneurs from tech, food and the restaurant industry have launched a firm, and closed a $42 million debut fund called Powerplant Ventures, to invest specifically in “plant-centric” and “better for you” food and tech companies. The firm’s co-founding partners include ZICO Coconut Water founder Mark Rampolla, who sold his beverage business to Coca Cola in 2013; Kevin Boylan and T.K. Pillan, co-founders of the vegetarian restaurant chain, Veggie Grill, which has served 1.2 million guests over the past 90 days; and Dan Beldy, formerly the Managing Director of Disney’s venture capital arm, Steamboat Ventures.
  1. How Silicon Valley’s Diversity Problem Created A New Industry   
    In the last two years, diversity practices at major Silicon Valley tech companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter have been held under a microscope. The big question everyone seems to be asking is “Why are these companies overwhelmingly made up of white men and what can be done to cultivate more diverse talent?” To address Silicon Valley’s continued failure to both hire and retain workers of color, a small market of recruitment tech and workplace collaboration applications have cropped up to show them the way—and profit in the process. Call it the “diversity market.” The majority of these companies popped up in 2014, the same year many tech companies first started opening up about who they were employing. Since then others have joined the flock.
  1. Truck maker, tech startup partner to build shipping platform   
    There are plenty of private-equity-backed Silicon Valley high-tech startups targeting the transportation industry, but probably only one funded by a heavy-truck maker. FR8 Revolution on Wednesday launched, a load tracking and fleet optimization platform aimed at smaller trucking operators and shippers. The company is being funded in part by an $8.5 million investment from Volkswagen subsidiary MAN Truck & Bus AG. Since last year, FR8 Revolution has raised $13.55 million in three rounds from seven investors, according to the tech-startup-tracking web service CrunchBase. The Munich, Germany-based original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, is the largest single investor. “They make trucks, but it’s a natural extension to go from the hardware, the truck itself, to the ecosystem that goes around that truck,” Matthew Kropp, co-founder and CEO of San Francisco-based FR8, said of Volkswagen and MAN in an interview.
  1. The Best Tech Startup Resources: The Remote Team   
    Remote working to this day is being debated by many people on how effective it is and if it even works. Putting that aside, remote workers are on the rise and companies hiring remote workers are increasing by the year. Although well-established companies do accept remote workers, a large amount of them only allow part-time remote work and part-time office work, because they’re not at the stage of hiring full-time remote workers. Tech startup resources have to support production and savings. Remote workers have proven to be more productive than workers in an office, they also get more work done. At Process Street, we are a remote team, with motivated employees who work to the best of their abilities when they want and when they can.  If you want to know why remote workers are your best bet, then read on.
  1. Existing investors, HNIs back food-tech startup Petoo   
    Bangalore-based food-tech startup Petoo, owned and operated by Kinematic Foodtech Pvt. Ltd, has raised $500,000 from its existing investors and high-net-worth individuals (HNIs) through online deal-making platform LetsVenture. The startup will use the capital to fund its ongoing food research initiatives and to roll out its new products across the country, Kumar Setu, co-founder of Petoo, told “We have been researching on ways to preserve food and have developed some products. We would like to use the funds to roll out those products to the market to test the right channels,” he said. Petoo has been conducting research to figure out ways to keep food fresh for longer times, up to months, without the need of preservatives or refrigeration. The company claims that it has developed innovated solutions for 30 odd food products to keep them fresh for longer period.



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