From the startup world – August 06

A compilation of important news from the startup world:

1.Chinese Startups are From Mars, Indian Startups are From Venus
After a take no prisoners, spare no expense, two year battle in China, the world’s two largest ride hailing app companies, Uber and Didi Chuxing decided to cease hostilities and merge their operations in the country. This is somewhat of an anti-climactic end to a raging battle between the two companies. Both companies had recently raised significant money (Uber $8-9 billion; Didi $8 billion, as per data from venture capital research firm CB Insights ) to compete with each other and Uber was believed to be losing as much as a billion dollars a year in China.Uber will hold 20 percent (actually 17.7 percent, Baidu/other shareholders in Uber China will hold 2.3 percent) of the combined operation and in turn Didi will invest $1 billion in Uber. Both founders, Travis Kalanick and Chang Wei, will join each other’s boards. Uber is perhaps the world’s most valuable private startup valued at $68 billion; Didi is no shrinking violet either, it is valued at $35 billion.The experts, both global and local, are out in full force. The comments are wide ranging and very interesting. Some conclude that yet another U.S. company has given up on China while others believe it to be a masterstroke planned by Travis all along.

2.Amazon India discusses support to Goa’s startups
Amazon India and Goa government held initial discussions to explore collaborative efforts that could see Goan startups getting their hands on Amazon’s products and services. E-commerce adoption and private equity support were also discussed during the meeting, which was chaired by chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar and attended by young turks from the Goan startup community.”We would love to be involved with Goa and to enable growth for startups,” director public policy at Amazon India Avinash Ramachandra said. “This time that we are in is critical and it is important to make the best of the opportunity. This discussion indicates that there is scope for mutual collaboration and it opens a door for us. We will come back.”Ramachandra was accompanied by legal advisor Rakesh Bhakshi and a team of six officials. Parsekar welcomed the team and made a strong pitch to Amazon India to consider Goa in its business plans. Parsekar also offered the state of the art training facility to Amazon India so that training sessions can be held on Amazon Web Services for local startups.

3.Here’s what Indian startups, industry leaders have to say about the GST Bill 
After the 1991 liberalisation act which opened up India’s economy to a plethora of investments,  clearing the GST Bill was another major leap taken by the country. The government expects the amendment to increase the GDP of the world’s fastest growing economy by upto 2 percentage points.This tax reform will inevitably cause myopic repercussions but is expected to bring massive affirmative changes and is expected to boost the $2 trillion economy in the near future. According to the US India Business Council, the clearance of the bill will be a “game changer” and is likely to streamline domestic supply chains and remove the compliance burden of contradictory state tax regimes. The bill, introduced by Arun Jaitley in his 2006–07 Budget speech, should be in place by April 1, 2017. If not, it will surely be implemented by the end of 2017 he assured.  Having been passed by the Rajya Sabha yesterday, the bill will now have to be passed by the state assemblies, after which it will need the president’s consent as well

4.Israel scouts for the next big startup in India 
Israel is looking for exceptional women entrepreneurs in India in order to fly them to Tel Aviv for the “Start Tel Aviv” competition. The Embassy of Israel in cooperation with TiE Delhi-NCR will hold the India finals for the competition on August 12.The competition is an annual global event organised by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and Tel Aviv Municipality and the “startup nation” will host winners from 23 different countries for the event. The winners will convene in Tel Aviv, one of the important financial centres of the world, in September this year to take part in an intense, five-day startup experience. They will join local Israeli entrepreneurs and participate in lectures, workshops and meetings with leading Israeli and international investors and professionals.This is the first time that Israel is holding a special edition of “Start Tel Aviv” which focusses solely on women entrepreneurs. Speaking on the importance of women participation, Embassy of Israel, Head of Public Diplomacy, Ditza Froim said, “No socio-economic ecosystem is complete unless it incorporates all segments of society, even more so when it comes to building an ecosystem of entrepreneurship and innovation.”

5.Now, startups build social networks for doctors
When Dr Ashok Kumar (name changed) found a person bleeding profusely in his clinic in interior Tamil Nadu, he was flummoxed. Despite his experience and available facilities, he wasn’t sure what to do. A quick post on the Dr Bond mobile app drew responses from doctors across the country, based on which Kumar was able to arrest the bleeding and control vitals.This and much more is being made available to doctors by a slew of startups such as Curofy , Docplexus, PlexusMD and Swaas Systems which are piecing together the complicated jigsaw puzzle that the healthcare ecosystem is.For Phanish Chandra, who hails from a family of doctors, the idea behind his startup Docplexus came from an unfortunate event. He lost his 24 year old younger brother after spending 8 months attempting to diagnosis his illness. By the time it was diagnosed, it was too late. “There is a golden hour in any disease, a window of opportunity for the doctor to save the patient’s life, if they have the right diagnosis. With Docplexus, we are attempting to build a community where doctors can learn from each other,” said Chandra

6. Digital content platform Sportskeeda eyes fresh fundraiser
Bangalore-based Absolute Sports Pvt. Ltd, the company behind online sports content platform Sportskeeda, is looking to raise funds to grow its business, its chief executive said. The Seedfund-backed company has hired YES Securities to raise $4 million to $5 million to invest in technology such as analytics that would help it understand user behaviour and roll out new products, Porush Jain told VCCircle. The website caters to sports enthusiasts and presents news and reviews of national and international events sourced through freelance writers and its own reporters. It also allows readers to write articles, engage in debates and participate in quizzes and other contests.The company, started in 2009, was bootstrapped for the first two years. It got funding in 2011 from Seedfund, which invested again in 2013, Jain said. The platform has 100 freelance writers across India and the US and says it has published content from about 5,000 writers. It employs 40 full-time content writers at its offices in New Delhi, Kolkata and Bengaluru. Overall, it has 70 employees.

7.RIL backed program saw 22 startups graduate in last 2 years
GenNext Hub, a Reliance-backed start-up programme had 22 startups being rolled out in last two years. The program is backed by Microsoft Ventures and was launched in September 2014.It is also backed by GenNext Venture Fund (GVF). According to the group’s annual report 2015-2016,’ GVF is an arm’s length venture capital fund sponsored by Reliance. GVF invests in global start-ups (including India, Israel, UK and the Silicon Valley) which have the potential to build sustainable businesses, providing growth capital and scaling impetus. The program is expected to ‘to catalyse the start-up ecosystem for a digital India’ and is headquartered in Reliance Corporate Park, Navi Mumbai. The report added that ‘GVF has selectively invested in India and US based companies that have developed cutting-edge technologies and are scalable across global markets’.

8.InTandem Advisors focusing on helping fintech firms, startups with business strategy, sales 
Mumbai-based InTandem Advisors, an advisory firm launched by former Western Union managing director Anil Kapur, is focusing on enabling fintech players and other startups in the financial services space with business strategy, sales and distribution solutions. The startup, which launched its services a month ago, has already tied up with players including The Mobile Wallet, Paymart, Fino, Easypolicy among others. “Many early- and late-stage fin-tech and financial service players lack a strong distribution network, whether its remittance, payments, insurance or any other sector, engagement with channel partners and brick-and-mortar outlets is low. We are focusing on engaging the outlets and enabling them to purchase the product, this is especially important in rural parts of India,” said Kapur.




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