From the startup world – August 08

What's happening around the world...

A compilation of important news from the startup world:

1. Navitas joins with universities to back start-ups in educational technology
Four universities and Australia’s largest education company Navitas are offering backing to new tech start-ups to help them carve out a space in the rapidly growing area of education technology. They are backing EduGrowth, a new company that is an accelerator network for edtech, bringing in mentors and offering financial backing to start-ups with promising ideas.”It’s about bringing everyone in the industry together to work with edtech start-ups to focus on this huge opportunity,” said EduGrowth project manager Riley Batchelor. Austrade is also supporting EduGrowth, which it sees as a plank to support its ambitious strategy for Australia to reach 100 million students worldwide by 2025 through online education.Mr Batchelor believes Australia has a comparative advantage in edtech, with many successful start-ups including Smart Sparrow, Open Learning, Inkerz, SEQTA and 3P Learning.The four universities backing EduGrowth are Deakin, Monash, LaTrobe and Charles Sturt. They and Navitas are founding members of EduGrowth and each have committed to invest $300,000 over five years.

2.Bay Area startups developing the high-tech way to make a baby  
As Silicon Valley technophiles use devices to collect data on everything from how many calories they burn to their fluctuating stress levels and their posture, a group of entrepreneurs is bringing that technology somewhere new — into the bedroom.For couples trying to get pregnant, failure can be frustrating and heartbreaking. Traditional options can seem low-tech — urinate on a stick, take a daily temperature reading or provide a semen sample. Or they are prohibitively expensive and invasive — spend $10,000 to $20,000 on in vitro fertilization. Now, tapping into what they say is a booming market of want-to-be parents, a number of startups are developing high-tech alternatives that give men and women detailed fertility readings at home.Lea von Bidder, co-founder of Ava, which shipped its first wearable fertility sensors last month, said the common ways to track fertility don’t cut it for Silicon Valley’s career-driven, tech-savvy women.

3.Trading Tech Accelerates Toward Speed of Light 
A handful of financial-technology startups are arming many of the world’s most powerful trading firms and exchanges with devices that promise to handle stock-market transactions at rates rivaling the speed of light, as the race for speed in financial markets remains alive. Engineers at Sydney-based Metamako LP and Exablaze Pty. Ltd., and Chicago-based xCelor LLC are rolling out switches that take around four nanoseconds — four billionths of a second — for messages to transit from one side to the other, sending data from exchanges to electronic traders.When the process of collecting orders and firing them back to the exchange is included, the new switches complete the circuit in around the time it takes a beam of light to travel from home plate to first base on a baseball diamond. That is several times faster than many of the switches used in exchange server rooms now. And in the world of high-frequency trading, fortunes can be made or lost many times over in the blink of an eye.

4.Disrupt Asia 2016 Part Two: The opening sessions  
The opening keynote speaker at Disrupt Asia 2016 was Jean-Francois Gauthier – COO of Compass. He shared with us that there’s an explosion of startups in every industry. This is a revolution. What does it mean for jobs? Old companies want to increase productivity from employees bit eventually they destroy jobs by automation and outsourcing. This is why startups are now the number one job generation engines. Jean-Francois then shared with us that the younger generation learns faster. Today a 22-year-old will build a startup. Within 2 years he/she will learn to do financial planning, dealing with customers, design products, hiring etc. This means in 10-20 years we’ll have 5-10℅ of the population with a wide range of skill. And it’s happening globally. In Canada, Asia, Europe, and Latin America it’s growing. This will happen in Sri Lanka too.

5.Startups must innovate for India
India is buzzing with entrepreneurial activity like never before. Entrepreneurship is the next big economic force in India, not only because it helps in the creation of jobs and wealth, but also because it attempts to resolve the real problems of India. What we expect from startups is the mind-set to turn India’s vexing issues into opportunities.What worked in the US and Europe may not work for the Indian market because competitive conditions, availability of technologies, nature of resource endowments and educational infrastructure are vastly different. Startups need to re-evaluate commercial opportunities in Indian market. Our economy, which generates thousands of local products every year, best demonstrates our local innovation.India has a unique infrastructure and market which should be leveraged for innovation. The raison d’être for today’s startup buzz is the needs of middle and low-income populations. This offers huge potential and opportunities to create innovative goods and services which can fill existing gaps of affordability, accessibility and availability.

6.VCs are not the right people to go to, say startups in the aerospace and defence sector
Their world operates outside the orbit of GMVs and high valuation numbers. The startups in the aerospace and defence sector are like the stars in the sky. Always there, but visible only in the night. The bright light of billion dollar funding that shines upon the market favourite e-commerce sector makes it difficult to spot them. But they are there, not one, not two but several that are part of the nearly 550 small and medium industries catering to the space sector in India. At Deftronics, a two-day event organised by the India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA), the premier trade body representing the Indian Electronic System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) industry, and Nasscom along with Roland Berger in Bengaluru on August 4 and 5, the panel on aerospace and defence startups gave unique insights into the challenges faced by these startups. The biggest of which was, no prizes for guessing, availability of funding.

7.India Now Has Its Own Version Of Shark Tank: Startups, Here Is Your Chance To Win Upto 1 Crore Funding
Hair pulling, name calling, and general cattiness, have made reality shows a nail-biting affair, especially in India. Now imagine adding the drama and thrill of startups to it! In a bid to offer upcoming entrepreneurs a chance to showcase their innovative ideas to industry veterans and fund their ventures, comes a brand new Reality TV series, The Vault. If you’ve ever dreamt of becoming an entrepreneur or think, that you have a unique business proposition that could make a difference, The Vault is the place for you! The show is open to SMEs, the student community, household & rural ventures, and startups at an incubation stage. The televised series will give a platform for entrepreneurs-in-the-making to pitch their innovative business ideas, to a panel of investors and secure on-the-spot funding. Just not a funding but also, a chance to groom yourself and to expand your reach to the Indian audience.

8.India Dealbook: Startups Wefly, VST Travels, LEH LEH Sports raise funds
Mumbai-based indoor skydiving company Wefly Indoor Skydiving LLC has raised $40,000 as seed funding Hong Kong-based investment firm Swastika Company Ltd. “The funds shall be spent on infrastructure development that includes engineering and assembly of Mobile Hybrid Vertical Wind Tunnel, in addition to creating a roust technology and R&D backbone,” Amit Patel, Founder and Managing Partner, Wefly told DEALSTREETASIA. The company plans to raise another $300,000 in the next few months to expand its presence in India and overseas.Kerala-based travel startup VST Travels, has raised around $27,000 funding from a Dubai-based Promatus Group. Incubated at the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) startup zone at Angamaly, VST Travels plans to use to develop and market its application called VehicleST. The funds will also aide the company’s expansion operation in Kerala after tying up with Akshaya Kendras, an initiative funded by the government of Kerala.

9.Pi Ventures floats venture capital fund to back tech startups
LetsVenture founder Manish Singhal is floating an early stage venture fund called Pi Ventures with entrepreneur Umakant Soni. Besides founding LetsVenture, an online networking platform for startups and investors, Singhal has invested in companies such as Ecosense, India College Search, GoCoop, AdSparx, Bluegape, Frrole, FlipClass and AdPushUp. An IIT Kanpur alumnus, he has earlier worked at Sling Media, Ittiam Systems, Motorola India and Tata Elxsi. Singhal quit LetsVenture in 2014 due to differences with the companies’ co-founders.Soni, who is also an IIT Kanpur alumnus, had earlier founded Vimagino Solutions, a tech platform that helped brands enhance consumer experience. He has also invested in last mile delivery service Opinio. The fund size of Pi Ventures could not be ascertained at the time of writing this report.According to Pi Ventures’ website, investors in the fund include Bhupen Shah, Badal Malik, Raghu Tarra and Sanjeev Bhikchandani.Shah is an active angel investor and has previously invested in venture funds such as Tandem Capital, Jungle Ventures, Saama Capital, The Fabric, and Blue Point Tech Venture Fund.

10.Why Big Bazaar tied up with Paytm
Kishore Biyani has been extremely critical of the business model followed by e-commerce companies in the past. The founder and group CEO of one of India’s largest organised retailer Future Group, however, cannot close his eyes to the potential of e-commerce and the ever-growing base of customers shopping online. With the latest partnership announced with mobile payments and commerce platform Paytm, Biyani is making an effort to go online without taking on the risks and huge costs associated with the e-tail business. Under the deal announced by the two partners on 4 August, customers will be able to shop for Future Group’s hypermarket chain Big Bazar’s merchandise on Paytm’s marketplace and also, get them delivered to their homes. Explaining the rationale behind his tie-up with Paytm, Biyani said: “The cost of customer acquisition in the e-commerce space is more than 20%, the cost of fulfilment is more than 20% and the cost of running operations is 8-10%. This totals to almost 50% as the cost of operation. At this cost, you can’t sell any goods on this medium. ”Biyani, indeed, isn’t speaking through is hat. Almost all e-commerce companies, including the market leaders such as Flipkart or Snapdeal and even global companies such as Amazon, have been running massive losses in their operation with no signs of profit in sight yet.

11.Carcasses Of Startups Pile Up As E-Commerce Gets More Competitive  
After 2015 saw the launch of massive number of startups led by the e-commerce and mobile boom, the obvious that people were questioning on a possible shakeout is increasingly becoming a reality for the burgeoning sector.So far this year, several early stage ventures have shut down their businesses despite having raised funds in the past few months. Bangalore-based fashion etailer Fashionara has recently shut down operations, followed by a host of startups in diverse sectors within the ecommerce space that are staring at uncertainty.Purple Squirrel Eduventures, an education-technology company, too wound up after massive cash burns. The Mumbai-based venture’s key objective was to organise industrial visits for graduate students. that was touted to be India’s first video only social network too closed shop after raising funds in January 2016. The site was used by a host of politicians and celebrities such as Arvind Kejriwal and Javed Akhtar to interact with their fans through video blogs (which are now known as velfies or vlogs).

12.Embassy of Israel looking for the next Indian startup
Two women entrepreneurs will be awarded a trip to the Startup Nation by the Ambassador of Israel to India. Start Tel Aviv 2016 is a global annual event organized by the Israeli MFA and Tel Aviv Municipality. Technology startup winners from 23 different countries around the world will convene in Tel Aviv, Israel, in September 2016 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. For the first time ever, the 2016 edition of START TLV focuses on women entrepreneurs. Ditza Froim, Head of Public Diplomacy at the Embassy of Israel, applauded the indomitable spirit of women leaders to innovate and succeed. “No socio-economic ecosystem,” she says “is complete unless it incorporates all segments of society, even more so when it comes to building an ecosystem of entrepreneurship and innovation.”

13.Three Startups That Attracted More Money From Investors Recently
A consortium of global investment firms announced the signing of definitive agreements to make a substantial investment in GO-JEK, Indonesia’s on-demand mobile platform. This equity capital raise of over $550 million, which represents the company’s latest round of financing, is comprised of leading investors including KKR, Warburg Pincus, Farallon Capital and Capital Group Private Markets, as well as, existing shareholders and other international investors. Previous investors include Sequoia India, Northstar Group, DST Global, NSI Ventures, Rakuten Ventures and Formation Group. The fund will help enhance the scale and quality of GO-JEK’s on-demand platform and application services. Among GO-JEK’s services are motorcycle ride-hailing, online food delivery, instant courier deliveries and lifestyle services, as well as, services in the fast growing e-wallet and car ride-hailing segments. Each of these services addresses the daily needs of Indonesian urbanites.

14.Twelve Indian Startups to watch out for  
CB Insights, a research firm that tracks venture capital and startups, recently reported data that highlights 10 early-stage Indian tech companies to keep an eye on. These are companies that have all raised funding in June 2015 or later, but have not yet raised a Series B round.An online HR market place for entry level and blue collar jobseekers.  Aasaanjobs raised funding from Aspada Advisors, IDG Ventures, and Inventus Capital  Partners. Founded in November 2014, Aasaanjobs is based out of Mumbai. It provides a platform for recruiters and job seekers to interact seamlessly. An end-to-end recruitment service in the entry level recruitment and staffing space, Aasaanjobs bridges the gap between employers and job seekers through a two-way matchmaking system on their web portal as well as mobile app. A tech-enabled hyperlocal logistics startup which helps small businesses (merchants) – restaurants, grocery stores, bakeries and laundry stores – fulfill their demand by offering delivery as a service. Opinio raised funding from Accel Partners, Delhivery & Sands Capital



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