A compilation of important news from the Indian startup world:
Cancer-Fighting Entrepreneurs: How Some Indian Startups Are Making Impacts By Positively Impacting Health
Cancer is a life-threatening illness in any country, but outcomes are especially severe for patients diagnosed with it in India. It’s one of the few places in the world associated with a sharp rise in the number of residents dying from cancer. Unfortunately, one of the reasons for that is because people can’t afford the treatment they need. Nearly three-quarters of medical-related expenses get paid for out of pocket because patients don’t have insurance. Patients without insurance are often barred from accessing top-quality treatments. Furthermore, India has a shortage of hospitals and medical workers who are trained in cancer treatment practices. Refusing to be deterred by that reality, some startup companies in India have poured resources into the cause. Although the amount of cancer treatment resources available in India is less than in other parts of the world, there are steadfast and determined entrepreneurs from Indian startups who feel they can genuinely make a difference through their efforts and help stifle the growing cancer death trend in their country.
Fears in India over participatory notes overblown, startups not keen on listing locally: UK Sinha
The global markets have been buoyed by a false sense of comfort that the impact of Brexit will somehow be muted, warned UK Sinha, chairman of the Securities & Exchange Board of India (Sebi). He also said in an interview to ET that fears in India over participatory notes were overblown and that startups weren’t all that keen on listing locally despite the rules having been relaxed for them. “Market is factoring that there will be some reconciliation, some second look and ultimately it will not happen. Otherwise, I see no reason why the FTSE has gone up after coming down on the first day,” Sinha said, referring to market movement after the UK voted on June 23 to exit the European Union. “Another thing we have to notice is that even on the first day the markets which fell maximum were the European markets, their indices fell by more than 12%, FTSE didn’t go down by that much, so it is very clear that the impact will be all over.”
21 Indian startups showcase innovative tech products in Kenya
As many as 21 Indian startups showcased their innovative products at a business enclave in Nairobi during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Kenya, industry chamber Ficci said today. Ficci and the Technology Development Board (TDB) took a delegation of 21 Indian startups to Nairobi. They showcased technology driven innovative solutions at the business enclave that was addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday, Ficci said in a statement. Responding to the needs of the African markets, these technologies and innovations provide low cost affordable solutions in different sectors such as agriculture, healthcare, water and sanitation and financial inclusion, the statement said. The endeavour was aimed at strengthening bilateral cooperation between India and Africa through technology and knowledge exchange. The technologies showcased have been developed, tested and validated in India and are now being replicated and scaled in Africa, it said.
ASEAN Represents Significant Business Opportunity For Indian Startups
ASEA is the Association of South East Asian Nations and comprises of 10 countries. These are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philipines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. ASEAN was started in 1967 by Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand and was later expanded to include Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam. ASEAN combine has a total population of over 622 million people and a GDP of over US $ 2.6 trillion. As a single entity it is the seventh largest economy of the world. Indeed the ASEAN Economic Community has been established in December 2015 along the lines of the European Union. India signed a free trade agreement with ASEAN in 2009. This is know as the ASEAN–India Free Trade Area (AIFTA). ASEAN represents significant business opportunity for India and there is no reason why startups in growth stage cannot take advantage of this. It is heartening to note that this opportunity has now expanded with the signing of the ASEAN-India Agreements on Trade in Service and Investments in July 2015. From a market point of view India has much in common with the ASEAN region apart from historical and cultural links.
Three Indian Startups Chosen by YC for their Summer Programme
Startups in India are gaining global recognition as Y Combinator (YC) inducts three Indian startups into their summer batch. Innov8, a co-working space, self-drive car rental app JustRide, and Meesho, an app for sellers on Facebook and WhatsApp are the three companies to be a part of the largest representation of Indian companies. Silicon Valley’s most coveted accelerator programme runs for a three month period, based out of its Mountain View headquarters. The programme provides venture capitalists a platform from where they can pick companies to sponsor. The accelerator is setup with a $120,000 investment for startups across two batches every year, where a 7 percent equity stake is promised back. The three startups from India are concentrating on building Apps for the country as the market appears to be growing, apart from it seeming an enticing opportunity. Sam Altman, President, YC, says, “Each of the founders from India in the current batch has personal experience with the problems they are solving, which gives them unique insights into the market they operate in. India is now only second to the US in terms of applications received from a country, higher than Canada or the UK.”
Ajay Piramal backs Aircel founder Sivasankaran’s venture Utoo
Piramal Group chairman Ajay Piramal has invested an undisclosed amount in serial entrepreneur C Sivasankaran’s latest venture Utoo Cabs. According to a report by The Economic Times, Piramal has picked up minority stake in the startup. “The investment has been routed through Piramal Group company Alpex Corporate Services,” Sivasankaran told the newspaper. Piramal did not immediately reply to an email seeking comments. VCCircle could not reach out to Sivasankaran. The two-month old taxi-hailing startup, which aims to take on already established players such as Ola and Uber, has been backed by Sivasankaran’s family and friends. The startup has been valued at Rs 1,000 crore, Sivasankaran, former owner of telecom firm Aircel, was quoted as saying. Utoo, run by Utoo Cabs Ltd, is a taxi-hailing service currently operational in Chennai. Available on both Android and iOS apps, Utoo also allows users to book two or more cabs at the same time for different destinations by choosing a ‘book to others’ option. The startup is expected to provide its services in eight cities soon.
Adtech startup MintM raises funding from Mumbai Angels
Adtech startup MintM has raised an undisclosed amount in its pre-Series A round of funding from Mumbai Angels and Times Internet, it said in a statement. The startup, run by MintM Loyalty Services Pvt. Ltd., will use the new funds for product development and international expansion. “Traditional advertising suffers from a few handicaps – it’s consumed far from the point of purchase, it’s impossible to do in a targeted way and it’s hard to measure impact. MintM addresses these shortcomings,” said Sundeep Holani of Mumbai Angels, who led the round. The company’s customer engagement platform called Magnet brings context, tracking and analytics to digital screens installed in spaces in the real and physical world. In the adtech space, Bangalore- and California-based Jivox Software India Pvt. Ltd, a multi-screen interactive advertising technology firm, had raised $6 million (about Rs 40 crore) from investors led by brand-tech group You & Mr Jones and its founder David Jones, former global CEO of advertising conglomerate Havas, in June this year.
Tracxn Labs, Hyderabad Angels, others invest in Twigly
Gurgaon-based Twigly Foods Pvt. Ltd, which operates food delivery startup Twigly, has raised $600,000 in funding from Tracxn Labs, Hyderabad Angels, Kunal Shah (co‐founder, FreeCharge), Aditya Verma, (co‐founder, Makaan.com), Gaurav Bhalotia (vice‐president – engineering, Flipkart), among others. The startup will use the funds for marketing and expansion to Delhi and Bangalore, it said in a statement. Twigly was co-founded by Sonal Minhas, Rohan Dayal and Naresh Kachhi in 2015. Minhas is an alumnus of IIT Kanpur and holds an MBA from ISB. Previously, he was VP at SAIF Partners. Dayal is an IIT Delhi and ISB alumnus and earlier co-founded Wandership. While Kachhi holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science from IIT Kanpur and worked with Kiwi and Intel earlier. The company, which operates through a centralised kitchen, offers a selection of sandwiches, rice‐curries, pastas, salads, shakes and smoothies in Gurgaon. The menu is limited and curated regularly. Chefs are recruited after a live demonstration of their culinary skills.
SBI signs MoU with IIT Bombay to promote startups
India’s top public sector bank, State Bank of India (SBI), has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Indian Institute of Technology Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE), (IIT) Bombay’s technology business incubator, to promote innovation by startups in the financial sector. “This MoU will definitely help in mentoring startups. SBI now has a Rs 200 crore fund for startups and what better place than SINE at IIT Bombay to reach out to startups to use those funds,” Poyni Bhatt, COO, SINE, told HT Education. “As per the MoU, both the parties will identify FinTech startups that have products or applications to cater to the financial sector and can help SBI explore opportunities to enhance the synergy for their banking services. SBI will provide a platform for testing/ piloting such products/applications and maybe also check for any specific business linkages,” says a statement from the institute.