From the startup world – August 09

A compilation of important news from the startup world: 

1.Startup India tax breaks for two more companies
Two more startups qualified for tax breaks as part of the Startup India programme, taking the total to three. The duo was picked at the third inter-ministerial board meeting on Friday that considered applications of 13 startups, a senior official told ET.One company’s application was deferred to the next round while the rest were rejected.The two— officials declined to name them – join Kanpur-based Bhurak Technologies Pvt, which was awarded the tax incentive  in the second meeting held last month Only companies registered after April 2016 and satisfying other criteria can apply for exemption. This includes recommendation by an authorised incubator that innovation is a key aspect of the startup’s business.

2.Investors get set and go for city startups  
Finally, Ahmedabad is making a mark on the startup map of India with city-based entrepreneurs grabbing the attention of angel investors and venture capitalists (VC). This is evident from a dozen deals involving startups in 2016.The city drew angel and VC investment of over Rs 215 crore in 11 deals in the first half of 2016. The activity seems consistent because twelve deals worth approximately Rs 220 crore had taken place in the same period last year – as revealed by data provided by News Corp VCCEdge, which monitors risk capital data. However, industry players say that the number of deals could be higher than 11. In the biggest capital infusion this year, Lendingkart Technologies Ltd, which provides finances to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), raised Rs 205 crore from venture capitalists in the second round of funding.

3.Startups tap health care with technology
Nanda Jena (71) has undergone coronary artery bypass surgery cardiac and is now completely bedridden. But he is not in a hospital. He is at home, safe in the trained hands of a care taker, equipped to take care of such patients. “I have never got such service and love that he (his care taker) had provided me,” said Jena. Fuelled by increasing life expectancy and chronic diseases, post-surgery rehab services are becoming a boon to nuclear families. Companies like India Home Health Care, Portea Medical Health Care and Care24 provide  round-the-clock-care at homes through a comprehensive array of services, including providing doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and even ICU care.The home health care industry, begun in the US in the late 19th century, has become the de facto solution for patients, especially the elderly and the infirm. Home health care includes a broad range of care and support services — from monitoring of serious illness or unstable health for those recovering from hospital stays to advanced medical tools and technologies, medical management, nursing, therapeutic treatment etc.

4. How ‘Startup Of The Year’ Freshdesk aims to be the next big unicorn
Few Indian startups have been able to scale up as rapidly and as expansively as Freshdesk to build a truly global business, while also being profitable. The cloud-based customer engagement software provider has in five years established a presence in 145 countries. While several of its 80,000 customers are small and medium businesses, Freshdesk also counts marquee names such as 3M, Sony Motion Pictures, Jaguar Land Rover, Cisco and SolarCity among clients. The Chennai-headquartered company has offices in San Bruno, London, Sydney and Berlin, competing with global firms like Zendesk and “This is a great validation for Indian business-to-business startups,” said Girish Mathrubootham, CEO at Freshdesk.”Usually, business-to-consumer startups command better brand awareness and recall given their higher ad spends in India. There is a tremendous opportunity for B2B (software-as-aservice) companies from India and I am sure that Freshdesk winning the ET Startup Award will inspire all B2B startups from India.”

5.Banking On Digital India: PayPal Looks To Empower Homegrown Startups To Get A Share of $500 Bn Pie
In 2015, 28% of the 4.9 billion payments processed by PayPal were made on a mobile device. Meanwhile, India currently ranks number 2 in the world with over 1 billion mobile subscriptions. Of this, approximately 240 million consumers use smartphones and this base is projected to increase to over 520 million by 2020.Putting two and two together, it is a no-brainer that the 17-year-old digital payments giant is now taking a number of key initiatives to encourage online payments amongst merchants and customers in India’s fast evolving startup ecosystem.With 188 million active customer accounts globally, PayPal is a payments platform that is available to people in more than 200 markets, allowing customers to get paid in more than 100 currencies, withdraw funds from their bank accounts in 57 currencies and hold balances in their PayPal accounts in 26 currencies.

6. AngelList Starts Exploring Indian Startup Ecosystem; Appoints Utsav Somani As Advisor  
AngelList, the Silicon Valley-based online platform which allows startups to raise capital from accredited investors, has finally entered India. It has appointed Utsav Somani (previously working with LetsVenture) as an Advisor to spearhead its operations in the country.In a Medium blog post titled Bringing AngelList to India, Utsav disclosed that he would be advising AngelList in India, and “will primarily be responsible for bringing syndicates to India.” Founded in 2009 by Naval Ravikant, AngelList has built a “Syndicates” model that let’s well-connected and high-performing angels bring in more capital from their personal network.

7. ET Startup Awards 2016: Ather Energy is building India’s first smart electric scooter
Students are wont to dream, they dream of building cars, scooters, rockets and satellites. But only a chosen few turn those dreams into hard reality.When Tarun Mehta and Swapnil Jain reached out to their alma mater in early 2013, they only had an idea and no clear roadmap for execution. However, three years later their startup Ather Energy, incubated at the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras, is ready with its first prototype — a smart electric scooter — that will be  manufactured at a company-owned production plant in Bengaluru. Mehta and Jain, fine-tuned their idea and did most of their tinkering and initial development on campus, where they spent over a year during 2013-2014. By then, their idea for an indigenously-built electric scooter had caught the attention of two of India’s best-known entrepreneurs — Flipkart’s Binny Bansal and Sachin Bansal — who backed the company as angel investors.

8.New wave of Startup: Big forces join hands to kick-start hardware startups in the country
For some time now, the perception and observation has been that India is driving a lot of software related startups and the venture capitalists were more keen on Software projects. Well, we are not surprised as hardware startups come with a huge amount of challenges compared to the software startups, a hardware startup can be a lot more time consuming, it involves heavy investment and it needs a great deal of research and mentoring. So to take on all these challenges, the government, industry and academia have come together to put in their strength to get the ball rolling for hardware startups in India.In order to foster innovation and entrepreneurship, Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, Intel Technology India Pvt Ltd (“Intel India”), and Society for Innovation & entrepreneurship (SINE), IIT Bombay have come together to start a program to support hardware and systems-based start-ups in the country through mentoring, training, lab facilities, hardware kits, prototyping, business services, funding, etc.

9. ET Startup Awards 2016: Freecharge’s Kunal Shah scripts one of the greatest comeback stories
Kunal Shah became financially independent at 16, selling T-shirts, mixed tapes and even teaching internet courses. After acquiring a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Mumbai’s Wilson College in 2000, he joined a dotcom company at the height of the bubble. The company, TIS International, morphed into a 1,000-seater business process outsourcing firm led by Shah.During all this, Shah also briefly pursued an MBA from Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies before dropping out  in the second semester. Shah described himself as a “horrible employee” but that obviously was not a view shared by his boss at TIS — Sandeep Tandon — who decided to invest in him when Shah decided to found his own company. Shah initially started a company called PaisaBack that offered cashback promotions for organised retailers.

10. ET Startup Awards 2016: How the Bootstrap Champ Zerodha is taking investment to the masses
Zerodha founder Nithin Kamath began trading in stocks at the age of 17, often spending more time tracking share prices while attaining an engineering degree.”This is the only thing I am good at. I have been in this space for 20 years, so the personal experience gives me an edge,” Kamath said after Zerodha won the Bootstrap Champ award. “The online trading and investment, fin-tech sector is a niche space, so getting attention is bound to happen when you are profitable in the first year.”The online discount brokerage offers equity investment services, currency and commodity trading, and retail and institutional broking. A winner of the BSE/D&B ‘Emerging brokerage’ award in 2014 and 2015, Zerodha says it accounts for about 4% of the retail trade volumes on BSE and NSE. Zerodha’s strategy of making financial trading hassle-free has won it about 1,20,000 clients. In addition to this, the firm is adding 8,000-10,000 accounts a month. All this translates to revenue of about Rs 10,000 crore a day.



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