A compilation of important news from the startup world:
Entrepreneurs with social mission: Four Indian startups that are fighting cancer
For big pharma, a cure for cancer is still the holy grail but there has been some headway. In the past five years, drug companies have launched 70 drugs that treats 20 types of tumours. At least 500 companies are working to develop a molecule that might cure the disease, or at least prolong survival. The global market for cancer treatment shot up to nearly $107 billion in 2015, according to consultancy IMS Health. Though these statistics presage a brighter future in the fight against cancer, most of the newer therapies or newer drugs in areas like immunotherapy have been limited to developed countries. The new drugs and therapies are out of reach for most emerging economies like India. It is not hard to see why. Striking a balance between the affordability of life saving cancer medications and rewards for research is complicated. Cancer research has set off a raging debate between entrepreneurs with a social mission and investors who sense ripe business potential. India is one of the few countries afflicted by a sharp rise in cancer-related fatalities. Nearly 70% of the healthcare expenses are out of pocket — most patients lack insurance cover, shutting them from best treatment practices — and there is a severe shortage of trained oncologists and good hospitals. Still, there is hope. A bunch of investors have invested in drug discovery companies. They have also stepped in to improve cancer healthcare delivery. From using robotics for treating tumours to enabling patients to access consultations from top oncologists in the comforts of their homes, these startups in India are doing their bit in the fight against cancer.
Nasscom 10,000 StartUps, IvyCamp partner to boost IoT
Nasscom 10,000 StartUps along with IvyCamp, an initiative of IvyCap Ventures, has forged an alliance to bolster the Internet of Things (IoT) movement in the Indian startup ecosystem. The initiative will connect startups, investors, mentors and industry bodies to converge and explore ways of working together, a statement from Nasscom said. The potential scope of disruptive technologies in India is vast, as they can have a massive economic impact. IoT is one such sector which is gradually gaining popularity. With this collaboration with IvyCamp, we aim to promote an IoT ecosystem, which is vibrant and innovative, which will help our country attain a leadership role in this field,” Rajat Tandon, Vice President, Nasscom 10,000 StartUps said.
Indian startups that courted trouble in the US
The stand-off between startups and the authorities is out in the open in India. Many startups have been dragged to court by the authorities for flouting norms and have found themselves embroiled in a legal battle. The phenomenon is not peculiar to India; such standoffs are taking place overseas as well. This year alone, many Indian startups that were making a name for themselves across the seven seas suddenly found themselves in troubled waters. They faced charges ranging from “misleading” investors to “snooping” to “privacy violation”. Here, we have a list of companies that grabbed the headlines for flouting norms on foreign soil this year. In March this year, Mu Sigma found itself the focus of a lawsuit, when Aon Corp. Founder Patrick G. Ryan claimed he was cheated out of hundreds of millions of dollars when Mu Sigma downplayed its growth in order to buy back its shares at a lower price. In the lawsuit, Mu Sigma and its founder were accused of “grossly misleading” investors six years ago to redeem 17.5-percent ownership of the data-analytics outsourcing startup.Ryan’s Walworth Investments LLC alleged that Mu Sigma’s Founder Dhiraj Rajaram portrayed the company with dim prospects at a time when it was actually thriving. Early this year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) shot off a warning letter to 12 app developers who installed in their apps software created by SilverPush that is capable of allowing third parties to monitor the television-viewing habits of consumers.
4 city startups set for launch in Patna
The initiative of Bihar Industry Association (BIA) to promote budding entrepreneurs in the state has started paying off. Four new startups are all set to join street food, healthcare, home and office management businesses. If the startups have their way, they can also change the way people maintain their shoes. The four young entrepreneurs, mentored by industry veterans Deen Dayal Maheshwari of Jubilant Group and Pankaj Singh, an US based industrialist, at Venture Park Incubation Centre of BIA, would launch their businesses soon. The centre, which was made operational on August 1, 2015, joined hands with Indian Angel Network (IAN) for technical support.Sources said the incubation centre received 42 applications last year and four candidates were shortlisted for further grooming.Amritanshu Bhardwaj (34), an IT engineer and one of the four candidates selected last year, came up with a food cart christened TastyIndya. “TastyIndya freshens up the taste buds of Indians by offering quick food. It aims to touch and shake up the taste of food lovers with hygiene and style and reach all the food corners of the nation,” says the budding entrepreneur.Suraj Prakash (25), another budding entrepreneur, has planned an e-commerce healthcare initiative, dawaaii.com. The company will provide facilities like ambulance, blood, doctor-on-call, consultation with empanelled doctors, equipment (wheel chair, walker etc.), in-house nursing, sample collection and medicines at an affordable rate.
100% FDI in Broadcast Services, Banking Support for Startups, Stalemate in RCEP Negotiations
New foreign direct investment (FDI) rules, as announced on June 20, will allow 100 percent foreign investment in the broadcast carriage services, benefiting direct-to-home (DTH) operators, cable networks, headend-in-the-sky (HITS) platforms, and mobile TV operators. More importantly, 100 percent FDI in this sector can now be secured via the automatic route – without seeking approval from the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB). Previously, the government had raised the FDI limit from 74 percent to 100 percent, but only 49 percent FDI was allowed through the automatic approval route.The new FDI policy will open up fiscal and tax incentives for cable networks who have been bearing the brunt of the costs of digitization as pushed by the government in the last few years. However, the sector has suffered from a negative investment outlook due to many other reasons as well. A number of court cases and stay orders have disrupted the digitization process (or the deployment of set-top boxes) and the broadcast services market continues to be highly fragmented. Moreover, the average revenue per user is also quite low at around US$ 2.57 (Rs 175) per month for a DTH operator, US$ 2.21 (Rs 150) for a digital multi-system operator (MSO), and US$ 1.32 (Rs 90) per month for cable operators in areas without digital addressable systems (DAS). According to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), India has seven DTH firms, two HITS platforms, 700 MSOs and 60,000 cable operators.
Delhi Beats Bangalore & Mumbai In Startup Investments; 3 Reasons Investors Are Attracted To National Capital
As of June, 2016, India’s capital Delhi attracted more venture capital funds than all other Indian cities combined. In terms of VC money, total of $917 million was infused into Delhi-NCR startups across 155 deals, which more than 50% of the total venture capital infusion across India. Bangalore is the most friendly city when it comes to early stage startups. Total of 96 deals materialized in Bangalore as angel funding and for seed stage startups.Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Chennai are slowly turning out into major startup hubs, as these cities are attracting investments in middle-staged startups – notable being Stayzilla in Bangalore and CarDekho in JaipurAhmedabad, Chennai and Jaipur collectively attracted $34 million in funding across 30 startups. Bangalore is the most friendly city when it comes to early stage startups. Total of 96 deals materialized in Bangalore as angel funding and for seed stage startups. Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Chennai are slowly turning out into major startup hubs, as these cities are attracting investments in middle-staged startups – notable being Stayzilla in Bangalore and CarDekho in Jaipur,Ahmedabad, Chennai and Jaipur collectively attracted $34 million in funding across 30 startups
DIPP to handhold startups, put them in touch with government
The trend of recycling used oil from restaurants and homes that can be recycled to derive biofuels is becoming quite popular in countries such as the UK. ‘Help me find a startup that can do this in India,’ he told Sitharaman, whose ministry administers the government’s Start-up India, Stand up India programme. The chance conversation between Sitharaman and Pradhan has led the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) to don the hat of a matchmaker between government’s various ministries and startups, where it will handhold startups and bring them in touch with the government. Many arms of the government are scouting for innovative ideas to address their unique problems while there are many startups which have these solutions but are either unaware of their requirement or don’t have access to the government. “The idea is to act as a facilitator between the two,” said a government official familiar with the plans. “It can aid in solving critical problems of the government,” added the person. The decision was taken at a recent review meeting of the Start-up India project, and DIPP is now working out the modalities to take it forward. Sitharaman herself is learnt to have asked the DIPP to tap into the booming startup ecosystem to find innovative solutions for on ground problems being faced by various government departments. The concept will be put to use first during the startup national fest being organised in August in Hyderabad where a contest termed the Grand Challenge will be thrown open to startups.
Ed-tech startup MySuperBrain raises angel funding
MySuperBrain, an online talent discovery platform for students operated by Hyderabad-based Bojja IT Solutions Pvt Ltd, has secured an undisclosed amount in angel funding from tech consultancy firm Soniks Consulting. MySuperBrain plans to use the funds for marketing initiatives and augmenting the technology vertical, co-founder and CEO Raghavendar Reddy Bojja told Techcircle. Soniks Consulting is a database and enterprise resource planning (ERP) consultancy firm that provides delivery solutions to accelerate the speed and lower the cost of technology projects. MySuperBrain was founded in 2011 by IIM-Kozhikode alumni Bojja and Yuvaraju Atmakuri. It offers a platform for students to showcase their talent in academics and other activities such as music, dance and painting.The startup offers students targeted content and interactive learning platforms in the form of games and videos. There is a social networking element, too, where visitors can give feedback on students’ activities. It also offers an activity-based monthly magazine called ‘Exalt’ to encourage students.“ For too long, a student’s IQ (intelligence quotient) has been linked to his/her math and verbal skills, which is a skewed and narrow parameter to judge,” said Bojja. He added that a range of viable career options are coming up in India, beyond the traditional vocations of engineering and medicine. The startup generates revenue through subscriptions of the Exalt magazine, which works in both the school and retail models. Around 450 schools in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have subscribed to the magazine through the school model.
TapChief Wins SeedStars Bangalore Edition, To Represent India In Finale
Bangalore-based TapChief was founded earlier this year by Shashank Muarli, offers a cohesive platform to discover and schedule calls with experts to get advice across domains. They leverage technology to make the process of discovery seamless and provide end-to-end service in terms of scheduling and executing the phone calls. TapChief was selected as the best startup in India for its user-friendly solution that has generated a lot of early traction. Earlier, TapChief had also won Chase Your Dreams- Ideathon’ Contest, taking away $150K funding from Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma. The other startups invited to pitch were Playlyfe, Fullonwedding, Cirtru, HipShip, Sportzify, Piki Poll, Trukky, and neoEYED. Playlyfe, with its hub of employee engagement products, came second, and Fullonwedding, an end-to-end solution that enables couples to do their wedding planning online, grabbed the last spot in the top 3. TapChief will now represent India at Seedstars Summit, which will take place in Switzerland in March 2017. It would be a week long training program with the opportunity to meet the other 60 winners, as well as investors and mentors from around the world.
AWS cloud computing platform goes live in India
Cloud computing platform Amazon Web Services (AWS) has launched the Asia Pacific (Mumbai) Region, AWS’ sixth in APAC. Mumbai joins Beijing, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, and Tokyo as the sixth AWS Region in Asia and as the thirteenth worldwide, bringing the total number of AWS Availability Zones to 35 worldwide. The new Mumbai Region is currently available for multiple services, including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3), and Amazon Relational Database Service. Global and India-based developers, start-ups, enterprises, government organizations, and non-profits can now use the AWS Cloud to run their technology applications from infrastructure in India. The new AWS Mumbai Region consists of two separate Availability Zones at launch. Availability Zones refer to datacenters in separate, distinct locations within a single region that are engineered to be operationally independent of other Availability Zones, with independent power, cooling, and physical security, and are connected via a low latency network. AWS has also announced that organizations including NDTV, Ola, STAR India, Tata Motors, Hike, Shaadi, Apeejay Stya & Svran Group, Hungama, Bombay Stock Exchange, Lupin Pharmaceuticals, Future Group, Macmillan Publishers India, Infosys, Cognizant, Freshdesk, and many others are part of the community of over 75,000 AWS customers and partners in India.