From the startup world – July 24


A compilation of important news from the startup world:

1. Despite hype, only one firm qualified for Startup India:
Feeling the heat over the Opposition’s campaign on the growing incidents of atrocities against Dalits, particularly in Gujarat, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and BJP’s lead speaker Vinay Sahasrabuddhe in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday cited the Centre’s two initiatives: ‘StartUp India’ that provides tax benefits to startups and ‘StandUp India’ that is focused on providing credit to Dalit entrepreneurs. Ironically, the official figures show that of a total of 728 applications received under Startup India till Monday, the government has recommended only one for tax benefits. The record for StandUp India is slightly better. Of the total Rs 1360.11 crore disbursed in loans till July 15, Rs 179.15 crore, or 13.17 per cent were given to Scheduled Castes (Dalits). The rest went to women and Scheduled Tribes, the other target beneficiary groups. The official figures government tabled in Parliament earlier this week show that the Startup India portal received a total of 728 applications till Monday (the notification defining startups was published on Feb. 17, 2016). Of these, it categorised 180 applicants as startups (whose applications were found to be complete), but found that only 16 applicants had been incorporated after April 1, 2016, the cut off date stipulated in the Finance Act 2016 for consideration for tax benefits.

2. Delhi to host Startup India States’ conference on July 23
To give a boost to the “Start-up India” initiative, the Startup India States’ Conference is being organized on 23rd July 2016, in New Delhi, informed an official press release on Thursday. The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech had announced the “Start-up India” initiative. This initiative aims at fostering entrepreneurship and promoting innovation by creating an ecosystem that is conducive for growth of Startups. The Government of India launched the “Startup India” movement on January 16, 2016 at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi. The Action Plan for Startup India was unveiled by the Honorable Prime Minister of India. This Action Plan lays down the roadmap for creation of a conducive ecosystem for the growth of Startups in India.The Startup India initiative of the Government of India envisions building a strong eco-system for nurturing innovation and Startups in the country and empowering Startups to grow through innovation and design. The Government has been making fast paced efforts towards making the vision of the Startup India initiative a reality. Since the launch of the initiative in January 2016, considerable progress has been made in this regard.

3. Kochi Startup Village tops the list of 100 best incubators in India
The Kochi Startup Village has been ranked top among the 100 best startup incubators in India by the India edition of Entrepreneur Magazine. The Entrepreneur Magazine survey report, that came out on Friday, assessed the incubators on the basis of several criteria, including the number of graduating startups, their success in raising funds and funding-equity and the duration of the programme. Since 2012, Startup Village has supported nearly 590 physical and virtual incubatees in Kochi and 200 in Vizag. “It is a great honour for Startup Village to be named the country’s best incubator just as it gears up for even bigger challenges in its search for a billion dollar campus startup,” said Kris Gopalakrishnan, Infosys co-founder and chief mentor of Startup Village. The latest accolade for Startup Village comes on the heels of the National Award for Technology Business Incubator from the government in 2015.

4.0 GrowthEnabler India working to transform med-tech start-ups to build visibility & market reach   GrowthEnabler India, an advisory services company, is working to transform the growth potential of start- ups in the med-technology space. The company is developing a GrowthEnabler Personalized Intelligence Interface (GE-PII) platform for start-ups to garner visibility, market access and grab new business opportunities. “India needs an ecosystem for start-ups to scale-up. This is where GE-PII, to be launched by September end, will enable new entrant companies to commercialize innovation. An emerging opportunity in med-tech is artificial intelligence. There are a couple disruptive technologies but the need of the hour is that early stage companies have to interact and collaborate, Rajeev Banduni, co-founder & CEO, GrowthEnabler India told Pharmabiz. “Only technology can facilitate knowledge sharing leading to cross pollination of concepts,” said Aftab Malhotra, chief growth officer and co-founder, GrowthEnabler India. Providing an overview of the med-technology sector, Banduni stated that in 2015 funding value was $27 billion for 2,531 deals. The year-on-year funding growth was 17.19 per cent and Q4 of 2015 registered the highest deals. In Q1 2016, there were 623 deals valued at $6.26 billion.

5.pmIndia’s tech centre underdog fights back
Considered to be one of India’s most developed cities, Pune is making a name for itself as a go-to tech hub in the country. In recent years, the city has seen an exponential growth of its startup community and may be on its way to taking the country’s startup capital top spot. India has shown itself to be a powerhouse when it comes to tech ecosystems. With increased connectivity and strengthened consumer purchasing power, the country has seen steady growth and development in its economy in recent years. The region’s tech scene is described by many to be both young and vibrant, with the average age of startup founders being 28 years old. As the ecosystem has matured, the country has seen a rising number of successful startups and greater access to funding. Some of the region’s most well-known high-valued startups include Flipkart, Paytm and Snapdeal. Though cities like Delhi and Bangalore continue to battle it out for the title of being India’s top tech city, Pune is considered to be an underdog that’s gaining ground in the fight.Just last month, the state government expressed interest in building up Pune as a go-to startup hub for the Maharashtra region and even the entire country itself. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said he has high hopes that Pune could one day knock Bengaluru off its throne as the startup capital of India.

6. The Morning Download: Tech Startups, with Time and Effort, Carve Paths into Banks
This week, 10 startups gathered on Manhattan’s far west side for demo day at Startupbootcamp, touting products and sharing stories about the challenges of getting banks to incorporate new technology. It’s a familiar exercise, but such events are having on impact on financial institutions. Yet it can take time and considerable effort to establish those ties, CIO Journal’s Kim S. Nash writes. MasterCard Inc. says it has worked with 80 startups in several ways, including through its own program and a partnership with Silicon Valley Bank. “We’re keeping our ears to the ground but more importantly working new technologies into our operations,” Stephane Wyper, global lead for startup engagement, said in an interview at the event. Bit by bit, the experience of using MasterCard is changing. Consumers can use mobile phones to check out at retailers. MasterCard also invested an undisclosed sum in Nymi, which makes a bracelet that authenticates wearers by tracking their heart beats. To get there, MasterCard had to build a foundation of APIs and other IT infrastructure.

7. Coding School Startup General Assembly Lays Off 50
Coding school startup General Assembly confirmed Thursday afternoon that it was cutting 50 members of its 750-strong global staff. The layoffs amount to 6.7 percent of total staff and affect the startup’s New York City headquarters as well as staff at the startup’s 15 campuses located in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. No hiring freeze is being put in place and no campuses are being shut down, according to General Assembly. CEO Jake Schwartz tells Inc. the cuts are part of a larger strategy of acting proactively rather than reactively. Re-aligning staff with a smaller number of layoffs now is better than not being prepared and facing massive layoffs down the line, he says. “It’s my job as the leader here to make sure we’re doing the right thing and making the right decisions ahead of time so that they’re not forced upon us.” He contrasted General Assembly to tech startups facing high burn rates, saying the company would be profitable by the end of the year. He reiterated an assertion he made to the Wall Street Journal last year that the company’s latest $70 million series D round of funding would be its last.

8. Tech startup enables doctors to shop around for hospital gigs
A longtime tech company executive and doctor team may soon see the fruits of their yearlong labor to develop a software company in San Antonio that enables physicians to be free agents in hospitals across the country. The tech startup, called MedSpoke Inc., is a mobile app for doctors looking to streamline the paperwork that enables them to be recognized as certified physicians in medical facilities. MedSpoke has been beta testing its products in the hands of doctors, and the company plans to roll out its web application in the coming months. It was not immediately clear how many employees the company has so far or how much funding it’s raised, but it now has the support of one of the few investment funds in the Alamo City, listed as a portfolio startup for the Geekdom Fund LP, a local venture capital group managed by Riverwalk Capital LLC., based in San Antonio.




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