From the Startup World – May 05

Tech startups are busy moving test preparations online with a variety of solution.

 

A compilation of important news from the startup world:

 

INDIA ROUND-UP

 

This chatbot helps you prepare for tests, and it just got funded
Premier engineering colleges, top MBA courses, government and banking jobs – an entry to any of those in India can transform a person’s life. And the entry ticket is usually a high score in an admission test. Hence, a huge test prep industry has grown in the country. Now, with the spread of smartphones and the internet, tech startups are busy moving test preps online with a variety of solutions. Some of the top funded edtech startups are in this business: Toppr, Vedantu, Plancess, Embibe, and Byju’s, which raised US$75 million two months ago in India’s largest edtech funding round. A newbie gaining traction fast in this space is Prepathon which launched in August last year and claims to have 150,000 users. Today, it announced pre-series A funding from Blume Ventures, a leading Indian early stage VC. The amount invested was not disclosed.

Startups are using hyperlocal tech like WiFi to build their businesses
After the hyperlocal startup boom, entrepreneurs are now focusing on hyperlocal technology or proximity technology – iBeacon, GPS and WiFi – to build their businesses. A growing number of startups are entering into proximity marketing and the connectivity space.  Startups like Ahmedabad-based Voolsy, Bengaluru-based Bfonics, MobStac, iBUS Networks, Punebased ProximiT, Kochi-based Nearals, Delhi-based Madpiggy and Mumbai-based RadioLocus are providing hyperlocal solutions to brick &am ..

New Chinese investors make their way in to India to fund 150 startups
India is dominated by the presence of European and US-based funds. In the last quarter alone, Indian companies raised $1.4 billion in 274 deals and yet there was no noise from Chinese funds, apart from Alibaba’s investment arm garnering all the news about a possible investment in Flipkart. Now the Chinese want to bury the notion that they have not missed the investment boom in India. In fact, they say that it has only just begun. This week a group of 16 Chinese investors met around 150 startups – focussed on consumer, data analytics, e-commerce and technology services – in a closed door session in Bengaluru to seed these companies with growth capital. Some of the well-known startups in the list were Wooplr, the fashion app, and Senseforth – automated data tech – who were in talks with these Chinese investors to raise money. These closed door sessions were organised by Mobile-10X and Onionfans – the Chinese investment and research firm.

China plans to invest in mobile startups in India
Several Chinese investment funds and mobile tech companies are betting big on early-stage Indian mobile startups. Some 15 of them are currently on a trip to India, organized by China-based venture capital management organization OnionFans, with the objective of identifying opportunities for investment. Among them are Zhejiang Investment Group, Incapital, Grand Capital, Yeahmobi, and Hangzhou Zhexin Information Technology. A few already have investments in India, and want to build on them. At an event in Bengaluru in association with the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) on Tuesday, the ventures interacted with more than 100 Indian startups.

India through the eyes of local startups
India is home to 1.2 billion people, the largest democracy and second most populous nation, but is not a homogeneous nation. It has 29 states and 7 union territories working with different state-level regulations, a host of major religions being represented, two thousand ethnic groups, and many different languages used, which are broadly grouped into four major families of languages and two language isolates, but fortunately, English is the working language of communication. It is without a doubt that India has many things to offer for entrepreneurs. And to make sense and get an introduction to the market and tech ecosystem, I asked five entrepreneurs based in different Indian cities for their insights.

Kalaari Capital accelerator Kstart invests $500K each in three start-ups
Kstart, a start-up accelerator run by venture capital (VC) firm Kalaari Capital, has invested $500,000 each in three start-ups in healthcare, financial services and online video content management. Kstart, which invests in start-ups via convertible equity instruments, picked out the following start-ups from its first batch of entrants: Active.ai, which provides a tech platform for banks, wealth managers and financial services companies to interact with customers; Affordplan, a tech product for doctors and patients to co-design payment plans for non-emergency healthcare services; and, Indee, a web video streaming platform that helps film studios and entertainment companies to promote and test their content before releasing it to viewers.

CarDekho parent acquires virtual reality startup Volob
Jaipur-based Girnar Software Pvt Ltd, which owns auto portals CarDekho.com, BikeDekho.com and Gaadi.com, has acquired virtual reality (VR) startup Volob Technologies Pvt. Ltd. The acquisition will help the company grow its 3D visualisation capabilities through virtual and augmented reality, it said in a statement The startup was founded in 2010 by Tarun Kumar and Shweta Jain. Prior to starting up, Shweta worked for Altran India while Kumar worked for Tata Technologies. The firm’s clients include Maruti Suzuki, Mahindra & Mahindra, Godrej, Greenply and Somany Ceramics.

Exciting time up ahead for tech startups.
Exciting time up ahead for tech startups.

Meet 7 young Indians made millionaires by tech startups
The life in a start-up can be hard, very hard. There are no set working hours, which means the job is often 24 x 7. There is no fixed income. There is no guarantee of any reward or success. There is a lot of running around, fixing things with resources that always seem scarce. But if the chips fall into place, it also means that overnight the people behind a start-up can be millionaires. Not all who start their own companies succeed, but the world of technology has made it somewhat easier to find the rewards for hard work, creativity and ingenious ideas. That probably is the reason why there is a sudden rise in the number of super rich in India who are from the IT world. We tell you about the 7 who gave up the path of conventional jobs and made it big even before turning 40.

A Quick Overview of the Fintech Landscape in India
The market for financial services in India is huge and untapped. India now accounts for nearly a fifth of the world’s population without bank accounts. However it’s also one of the largest growing mobile markets in the worlds with 80% of adults having a mobile phone that can access the Internet. For savvy fintech entrepreneurs, that means there’s a huge market gap and a great field of possibilities ahead. In fact, the Indian government is highly interested in improving the financial sector. This is evident from their recently rolled out Unified Payments Interface system (UPI) – a round-the-clock funds transfer service, which will encourage the population to go cashless. The app basically replaces a traditional debit card and Internet banking.

India hasn’t found its own Tesla. Ather offers a two-wheeled solution
India does not have a good history with electric vehicles. Years ago, Bangalore-based Reva (later bought by Mahindra), launched India’s first electric car. There was anticipation, but the Reva fell flat, not least because of a price tag that made penny-pinching Indians cringe. There have been a smattering of others, including the Hero Electric range, but things haven’t gone so well. Now there are attempts being made to build the country’s first connected electric scooter – the mode of transport that, according to Tarun, “is the inevitable future [we] are heading towards.”

Sistema Asia Fund invests in Seclore founded by ex-IITians  
Sistema Asia Fund has invested in Seclore, a Mumbai-based technology firm co-founded by ex-IITians Vishal Gupta and Abhijit Tannu.The proprietary venture capital fund of Russian conglomerate Sistema JSFC has provided $12 million of Series B funding to Seclore as part of a four-member investor consortium, according to a report in ET. The consortium included Helion Ventures, VentureEast and India Alternatives Private Equity Fund.

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