From the startup world – August 12

India's stable and growing economy is a great option for investors following the volatility in Europe and America

A compilation of important news from the startup world:

1. Juan Sabater willing to invest in Indian startups
Having met aspiring entrepreneurs and startups in Chandigarh, Ranchi, Kolkata, Delhi and NCR, Juan Sabater, partner of Chicago-based Valor Equity Partners, is looking to invest in Indian startups in his personal capacity. Juan is looking to invest in technology changing innovations and ideas in India. Valor Equity Partners, a private equity firm, has invested in firms such as Tesla, SpaceX, Addepar and Renovate America. Before this, Juan was the Managing Director of the Investment Banking division of Goldman Sachs. “I am impressed by the ideas and innovations by these startups, which I met across Ranchi, Kolkata, Delhi & NCR and now in Chandigarh. They have one thing similar and that is an urge to grow. Buoyed by their spirit and their unique technology offering, I may invest in my personal capacity in Indian startups in near future, “Juan Sabater told The Tribune.

2. Startup Village, Facebook team up to help budding Indian entrepreneurs
Kochi’s Startup Village had launched its first digital incubator for students known as SV.CO, which has now partnered with Facebook to offer a broader exposure to students. Facebook will give the budding entrepreneurs access to its developer teams. The SV.CO Startup programme will ensure a six-day trip to Facebook’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California. At the headquarters, these students will be able to present their ideas to the Facebook team and get feedback. The aim is to ensure students learn how technology companies work across the world and also take lessons on building successful startups. This piece of news comes on the heels of reports around how Facebook has begun testing Wi-Fi hotspots in India. It was just a few months ago that the startup community was irked with the social giant for pushing its Free Basics into India and taking away the fair play chances that startups have to compete in the fierce tech industry. In fact, Facebook that started at the Harvard dorm room should have known it better.

3. DST, Intel India and SINE-IIT Bombay Collaborate to Incubate Hardware and Systems Startups
Reinforcing their commitment to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship as a step towards making Digital India successful, Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, Intel Technology India Pvt. Ltd (“Intel India”), and Society for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (SINE), IIT Bombay have collaborated to launch the Collaborative Incubation Program for Hardware and Systems Startups (“Program”). This is a unique program wherein the industry, academia and Government have come together to support hardware and systems-based start-ups in the country through mentoring, training, lab facilities, hardware kits, prototyping, business services, funding, etc. The announcement was made on Saturday in the presence of Prof. Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, Mr. Ramesh Abhishek, Secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Government of India, Ms. Nivruti Rai, General Manager, Intel India, Vice President, Platform Engineering Group, Intel, Professor Devang Khakhar, Director of IIT, Bombay.

4.Three reasons why you should attend IBM India Labs Engage 2016
Is your tech product likely to be the next big disruptor? Are you looking for a chance to have your ideas validated by leaders in the tech community, while getting access to the best in IBM technology? What if you could access an exclusive event that aims to bring the entire startup ecosystem together in one place? With Cognitive and Cloud forging a new age of understanding, IBM is placing big bets on these two megatrends. At a time when winning does not just mean merely getting ahead but also finding the right partners and co-thinkers to sustain your growth, IBM India Labs is taking the initiative to enable collaboration between innovators and curious minds, allowing them to think and innovate in an immersive and focused environment – the IBM India Labs Engage 2016.

5. Travelyaari raises $7 mn from BCCL, GVFL
Online bus booking platform Travelyaari has raised $7 million in its Series B round led by Gujarat Venture Finance Ltd (GVFL), Bennett Coleman & Co Ltd (BCCL) and other investors. The fresh capital will be used for product development as well as business growth. Travelyaari is looking to integrate more than 500 bus providers with the platform after the fund raise, the company said in a press statement. Operated by Mantis Technologies Pvt Ltd, Travelyaari had raised $3 million in its Series A investment from GVFL in June this year. It was founded in 2007 by Aurvind Lama, Prateek Nigam, and Parthasarathi Sinha. “We will be looking to utilise this fresh induction of capital to further strengthen our B2B & B2C offerings and to achieve greater business growth,” said Lama, CEO of Travelyaari. Mantis Technologies also runs BusCRS, which provides ERP solutions to bus operators. The company claims to have 2000 bus operators as its clients for its B2B platform.

6. VC Firm IvyCap is going into IITs, IIMs and ISB to fund startups
One of the biggest Venture Capital Firms IvyCap Ventures, through a new wing called IvyCamp, is trying to engage with IITs, IIMs, BITs and ISB as well as industry experts at multiple levels to foster a startup ecosystem in India. It is connecting alumni across educational institutions to build a network of mentors, investors, and experts, but at the same time also making connections to ensure the guidance and money are pouring into the right startups and innovations arising out of the campuses. For this, the company has been going to Indian B-schools for the past few years now, trying to make relationships with incubators here and helping startups or innovations (from colleges as well as outside) find the right match and resources. So basically, the potential ideas or entrepreneurs are linked to IvyCamp’s startups/investors/mentors network or corporations so that innovations from campuses are more visible, they can be commercialized and startups can leap onto the next level.

7. Indian Angel Network to raise Rs 150cr to invest in early-stage startups
India’s largest angel investor group —Indian Angel Network is reportedly raising Rs 150 crore in a new funding round, according to a news report in Livemint. A person aware of the matter said, that IAN has already registered a fund with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and are on a move to raise the fund. He further said that the fund will be raised from within their own network of angel investors and will be used to co-invest in early-stage startups. Notably, this news is coming at a time when many private equity firms and VC firms are raising further capital to invest in startups. Many new firms have come up to invest in early-stage startups, including Unicorn India Ventures, Stellaris Venture Partners, WaterBridge Ventures, Endiya Partners, etc.

8. Reality check
India has been the preferred business destination for startups for over a decade now. However, it has only been in the past couple of years that the country’s startup ecosystem has really come into its own. The industry has witnessed unprecedented growth over the last two years with a rapid mushrooming of next-gen startups cross categories such as e-commerce, foodtech, fintech, and logistics. This growth has been driven by factors such as accelerated funding, a burgeoning domestic market and constant technological innovations. The ‘Make in India’ has also given the startup landscape a massive shot in the arm. But behind this veneer of exponential growth, the harsh truth is that nearly 90 per cent of the startups fail to survive. So where are we going wrong?

9. Nashik, an upcoming hub for tech startups?
Amid talks about about how Pune could possibly outpace Bengaluru as the next startup hub, there are whispers about Nashik’s potential of becoming the newest emerging startup hub. Then, what’s stopping it? Well, its funding! A report by The Economic Times points out that there a lot of innovative ideas have been coming out of the city. However, there is no funding available as seen in cities like Pune that is roughly 200 kms away. “AngelList, the international startups portal, lists more than 5,000 investors interested in Pune. Nashik’s score is just one. Equidistant from the financial capital of Mumbai (Nashik 160 km vs Pune 147 km), Nashik is an industrial and educational hub,” the report goes on to say. Nashik is known to churn out tens of thousands of engineers from its colleges every year, but one cannot easily find a funded tech startup there. The report also adds some examples of how Nashik-based companies are working on newer and deeper technologies, but have still failed to get funding.

10. While many on-demand food startups fail to deliver, iFood picks up $30 million to expand in Latin America
Startup food delivery businesses may have spoiled globally, but investors in Latin America think at least one startup has a fresh take on the industry. The Brazilian on-demand food delivery company, iFood has picked up $30 million in new financing to expand regionally and solidify its grip over the online food delivery markets South of the US border. While Olympic athletes are going for the gold in Brazil, iFood is hoping to reach the top spot on the podium of food-delivery startups with its new money. This new financing comes from some investors iFood knows well. Movile, the Naspers-backed mobile commerce powerhouse and the publicly traded, UK-based, global online takeout service, JUST EAT, were responsible for last year’s $50 million investment in the Brazilian company.




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