From the startup world – August 13

What's happening around the world...

A compilation of important news from the startup world:

1.The ET India startup ecosystem barometer
Indian startups are at a crossroads this year. The past couple of years, startups were pampered with excessive capital and presented a sounding board in the Prime Minister himself.But this year, with capital slowing, startups that over spent and over hired during their period of exuberance are having to cut down, shed jobs and spout profitability as their definitive mantra.To gauge the pulse of startups in this period of churn and the challenges they face, The Economic Times conducted an exhaustive survey of the most influential entrepreneurs and investors in the country.The study threw up a few surprises—a majority of the respondents said they believe there couldn’t be a better time than now to be a startup entrepreneur; and that investors’ belief in the ecosystem will pick up in six months to a year.

2. Ten Promising Home Automation Startups in India
With technological advancements in several developing countries across the globe, home automation solutions are evolving continuously and is used in a variety of applications across residential, commercial and hospitality segments. Oakter, a tech startup based out of Noida, was founded in 2014 by IITians Varun Gupta, Nithin David and Shishir Gupta. The startup is resolving technology issues faced by Indian homes. The company innovates and manufactures plug & play smart home products. Oakter products smarten existing home appliances such that they can be controlled better and managed remotely using Oakter mobile app.Using the Oakter Hub, a smart plug, plugged-in sensors, and the mobile app, a person can smarten 40 different types of home appliances that include AC, Water Heater, Water Motor, Mosquito Repellant, fish tank, lamps etc. Oakter elevates life by better home management.

3. Intel India, IIT Bombay collaborate to ‘incubate’ hardware and systems startups  
Intel India and IIT Bombay have collaborated to launch an ‘incubation’ program for hardware and systems startups. The Department of Science and Technology (DST) of Intel India and IIT Bombay’s Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE) have designed it.The program aims to support through mentoring, training, lab facilities, hardware kits, prototyping, business services and funding. It will address gaps in the startup fraternity that companies face in-product design, development, commercialisation and creating scale for their solutions.

4. Qatar fund may back RMZ scion’s co-working startup   
A young scion at one of India’s largest commercial space developers is challenging WeWork, a heavily funded US startup focused on technology-enabled shared office spaces and which is finalizing its entry into the country.The 26-year-old Sidharth Menda of Bengaluru-headquartered RMZ Corp is starting up a community workspace venture for millennials, called CoWrks, with likely financial backing from Middle East sovereign wealth manager Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).Shared or co-working office communities are gaining popularity with the number of independent professionals among the urbanized workforce rising rapidly . Independently working millennials, those who are starting up or working with small, emerging businesses, are redefining the office space market.

5. India Dealbook: Startups Innovaccer, Crofarm, Faircent raise funds
US-based big data startup Innovaccer has raised $15.6 million in series A funding led by Westbridge Capital Partners. Angel investors including former Yahoo CTO Raymie Stata, founder of RouteScience Technologies Herb Madan and former SAIF Partners principals Rohit Jain and Mukul Singal, who invested through their new fund Pravega Ventures, also participated in the round. Innovaccer helps large enterprises access and manage organisational data through a dashboards using its flagship product Datashop. The company plans to use the funds to further strengthen its product, cofounder Abhinav Shashank said.

6. India’s Next Super “Startups”
The economic landscape in the country is changing by the minute, throwing up opportunities for the next wannabe Ambanis, Tatas or Azim Premjis. You don’t have to be an MBA graduate to be an entrepreneur. It is all about having an idea along with the fortitude and the moral fiber to pull it off. In the last few years we have seen so many remarkable startups like Flipkart and Snapdeal, out of the blue and making it in the big league. Venture capital database management firm CB Insights has recently published a report showcasing the most promising startups to look out for in the future. Listed below are a few names compiled from the CB Insights report.

7. Old is Gold: Startups for elderly hold a huge business opportunity in India
Answers may vary according to perception, but there is little doubt that old-age is a very difficult phase in one’s life.On one hand, advances in medical technology have led to increased life expectancy, at the other end of the spectrum, with families largely becoming nuclear and children moving all over the world, many seniors who may not be very active or mobile, face loneliness and care giving issues.Bridging the gaps and tackling issues are startups such as Senior Shelf, Silver Talkies and BeautifulYears among others who are doing their best to improve the lives of the elderly and of those who take care of them. A bit ahead of the curve, the startups for the elderly feel the domain is compelling because it combines two aspects: a human need and a business opportunity.

8. BCCL’s Brand Capital invests $1.5 mn in Faircent
Online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform Faircent, operated by Gurgaon-based Fairassets Technologies India Pvt. Ltd, has raised $1.5 million from Brand Capital, the ad-for-equity investment arm of Bennett Coleman & Co (BCCL). “Our association with Brand Capital would help us accelerate our brand building efforts to reach more borrowers and lenders. More people need to be made aware of the alternative investment opportunity that we provide and this will help us take a step closer to provide easier and cheaper access to the credit market in India,” said Rajat Gandhi, founder and CEO of Faircent, in a statement. Faircent will use the funds to buy inventory in radio, TV, online and print properties of the Times of India group, Gandhi told

9. Kwan Entertainment acquires online party planning marketplace Gigstart  
Delhi-based Kwan Entertainment & Marketing Solutions Pvt. Ltd said on Thursday it has acquired online party planning marketplace Gigstart Entertainment Pvt. Ltd.Kwan didn’t disclose financial details of the deal. Anirban Blah, founder and managing director at Kwan, said the talent industry is skewed in favour of known celebrities and fails to tap into creative talent from across the country. Gigstart aims to fill this gap with a platform that “marries scale with sensible unit economics” in a way that no other company does, he said.Along with the acquisition, Mumbai-based Gigstart announced the launch of a mobile app that will help users access various entertainment options. The app will also help connect party planners with artists and provide payment and contract signing services.Gigstart, earlier known as Alpinismo Online Ventures Pvt Ltd, was founded in December 2013 by electronics engineer Atit Jain and Indian classical singer Madhulika Pandey.

10. Intel Capital going slow on India startup investments
Intel Capital, the venture capital investment arm of chip maker Intel Corp., is going slow in investing in Indian start-ups as part of a change in strategy, said two persons aware of the development. “The move is in line with the company’s overall strategy of restructuring, where it has decided to slim down operations,” said one of the two persons, requesting anonymity as he isn’t authorized to speak to the media. The US will continue to be a prime market for Intel Capital, which has decided to apply the brakes on investments in some markets, including India, this person said. Intel Capital’s investments include e-commerce firm Snapdeal, online travel agency Yatra Online Pvt. Ltd and on-demand entertainment firm Hungama. Intel Capital has invested in three Indian companies this year—Hungama, Helpshift and All three of these investments were follow-on investments. Intel first invested in Hungama in 2012, Helpshift in 2014 and IndiaMART in 2009.

11. Canadian Tech Company SOTI to invest $12 million in Indian market
Canadian Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) solutions’ provider SOTI Inc on Thursday said it is investment of $12 million in the Indian market over the next two years as it looks to increase the current employee base in the country by adding 300 new jobs. SOTI has also expanded its operations into with a new office in Gurgaon, which will also serve as the headquarters for the Asian region. “This is an exciting time to be in India. With the proliferation of mobile phones, the Indian ecosystem is undergoing a monumental digital disruption. We believe with SOTI’s competency in enterprise mobility and focus on enabling business transformation across vertical sectors, we are uniquely positioned to execute on a connected enterprise mobility and IoT strategy,” said Carl Rodrigues,CEO, SOTI Inc.




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