A compilation of important news from the startup world:
Internet and tech startups to fire up job market
The job market in India looks promising for the next six months with a significant increase in the aggregate number of overall jobs. According to an employment outlook report released by human resource firm TeamLease on Wednesday, ecommerce and technology startups would be the biggest contributor to the net addition of jobs during the April to September 2016 period. The job growth statistics in the ecommerce sector is seen to be increasing significantly and, despite the squeeze on funding and resultant consolidation, the sector is growing at a trailblazing pace, and is set to generate jobs in the factor of magnitude that most other sectors find “hard to match”, the report noted.
National Technology Day reiterates India’s focus of becoming a startup nation
May 11 in India is celebrated every year since 1999 as the National Technology Day to mark the country’s advancements and achievements in technology. Although it marks the anniversary of 1998 Pokhran nuclear tests and celebrates India’s tech achievements, this year’s theme for celebrations of the Technology Day is ‘Technology enablers of Startup India’, which is an acknowledgement of the innovation engine that is powering the growing startup ecosystem of the country.
Fintech startup TranServ hires former MasterCard, MobiKwik executives
Mumbai-based digital payments company TranServ Pvt Ltd has strengthened its top deck with two senior-level appointments. The company has appointed Salil Mody as senior vice president of corporate strategy and Ushpinder Singh as senior vice president and head of its merchant business. Mody, who most recently worked at MasterCard, will focus on driving corporate strategy, inorganic growth and initiatives such as micro-credits at TranServ.
Ed-tech platform Unacademy raises $500K
Sorting Hat Technologies Pvt. Ltd, which runs education technology platform Unacademy, has raised $500,000 (about Rs 3.3 crore) in a funding round led by Blume Ventures. Google’s Rajan Anandan, CommonFloor founder Sumit Jain, redBus founder Phanindra Sama, TaxiForSure founder Aprameya Radhakrishna and former Flipkart executive Sujeet Kumar also participated in the round. “Unacademy’s vision is to distribute knowledge of the educators and innovators in the form of mini courses having lessons of not more than 10 minutes each,” Gaurav Munjal, co-founder, Unacademy, said in a statement.
Southeast Asia on radar of two Indian start-ups
Two Indian start-ups — one an e-commerce venture and the other a transportation solutions provider — are expecting to reap rich dividends from the Southeast Asian markets. While Zilingo is foraying into the fashion, lifestyle and beauty products market, Wings Travels Management is looking at exploiting the potential of the taxi aggregation market through a start-up mobile app called BookMyCab.
Travel portal Holidify’s second co-founder quits
Destination discovery portal Holidify’s second co-founder Kovid Kapoor has left the startup barely a few weeks after its other co-founder, and CEO, Rohit Shroff quit the struggling startup. Confirming the development, Kapoor told Techcircle.in that he has joined music streaming firm Saavn as tech lead. Last month, Techcircle.in had reported that the company was trying to restructure its operations post Shroff leaving the company.
IDG Ventures India Closes $150 Mn For Its Third India Fund
Bangalore-based venture capital fund IDG Ventures India has closed $150 Mn (INR 1000 Cr) India fund, reported ET. The venture capital firm expects to raise the entire money for its $200 Mn third fund called IDG Ventures India Fund III by the end of this year. IDG’s third India Fund is comparatively larger than its two other funds raised earlier, which had a corpus of $100 Mn each.
Need strategy to unleash potential of youth: President
President Pranab Mukherjee has emphasized on the need to have a strategy to unleash the potential of the youth to provide meaningful opportunities in Startup ventures. Noting that innovation is the antidote to stagnation, the President said with rapid changes occurring in science, education and research, only those countries having a technological edge will emerge successful in the fiercely competitive global market. He said with over 4300 Startups, India is the third largest start-up eco-system in the world today and almost 72 per cent of its founders in India are below the age of 35.
P2P Lending Platform Faircent Raises Funding From JM Financial Ltd
Gurgaon-based peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform Faircent.com has raised an undisclosed amount of funding in Series A round led by JM Financial Products Ltd., a subsidiary of JM Financial Ltd. The startup has diluted 9.84% of its stake in the deal. The round also saw participation from individual investors like Arun Tadanki, ex-MD Yahoo Asia and MD of Monster.com, Asia Pacific & Middle East; Doreswamy Nandkishore, ex-member of the Global Board of Nestle; Kshitij Jain, US based Serial entrepreneur and founder of MoBolt along with its existing investors including Mohandas Pai’s Aarin Capital and Singapore-based fund M&S Partners.
AudioCompass joins Amadeus Next
AudioCompass recently received the ‘Amadeus Next’ award and gained entry to Amadeus’ Asia Pacific travel tech startup community. Amadeus Next leverages the technology, expertise, network and reach of Amadeus, to support travel technology-focused startups in Asia Pacific. The community gives travel startups advice and technology, connects them with customers, other entrepreneurs, and provides access to funding.AudioCompass is a mobile app that turns smartphones into personal tour guides. The company brings local experts onto their platform with whom they work to curate digital, “do-it-yourself” experiences at over 1,500 tourist attractions across India, Bhutan, Oman, and Singapore. AudioCompass is available for consumers to download, as well as bundled into holiday packages sold by large travel agencies, such as MakeMyTrip and Cox & Kings.
Valuations erode as investors worry over profits
A host of venture capitalists, including Japan’s SoftBank, New York-based Tiger Global Management, private equity firms and large mutual funds have poured billions of dollars into India’s startups at sky-high valuations, seeking to grab a share of one of the fastest-growing Internet markets in the world. Many of these investment firms that helped fuel the boom are now pulling back on spending and cutting down the value of their stakes, amid concerns whether these valuations justify the growth and profitability. Venture capital deals, which hit a peak in the first quarter of 2015, plunged 80% to $334 million in January-March this year, according to data monitoring financial platform VCCEdge.