From the startup world – May 30

A compilation of important news from the startup world: 

Startup India campaign – a start at Prime Minister Modi’s recent Bahrain visit as well
Startup India campaign has not just impacted India but also the world around. On Prime Ministers recent visit to Bahrain, the West Asian country said that it wants to have its own version of the programme initiated by Narendra Modi. Bahrain also wants Indian startups working in areas of financial technology and gaming in particular to expand base in the country and provide mentoring. In an interview to ET, Simon Galpin, managing director of the Bahrain Economic Development Board said: “Financial services technology is a key area, particularly Sharia compliant fintech. Other areas like video games and game apps are very popular across GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), especially Saudi Arabia. There is opportunity for gaming companies to use Bahrain to customise localize games into an Arabic format,”

How India’s startups founders find work-life balance  
Building a company isn’t a 9-to-5 job, and entrepreneurs often work harder and longer hours than their employees. Meet the founders of some of India’s best-known startups who have managed to don all the hats their work requires while finding time for family and to unwind.

Tech startups: Time for a reality check?
Has the moment of reckoning arrived for Indian internet companies? As India’s e-commerce poster boy Flipkart suffered its fifth markdown this week, this was the question that was on everyone’s lips. Around $5.8 billion has been shaved off its mid-2015 value of $15.2 billion when it last raised funds. A long overdue reality check seems to be finally happening with VCs and investment firms asking whether the startups they have backed will turn profitable anytime soon. Flipkart’s valuation woes started in February this year when a mutual fund managed by global financial services firm Morgan Stanley cut the e-commerce firm’s value by 27%. Three other investors in Flipkart have reduced the value of their stake in the Indian company over the past two months. American mutual fund T Rowe Price, in April, knocked down the holding value of its investment in Flipkart by 15.1%.

Freecharge founders back home healthcare startup Pianta
Pianta, a marketplace for home healthcare services, has raised undisclosed seed funding from Freecharge founders Kunal Shah and Sandeep Tandon. Freecharge is an online recharge company that got acquired by Snapdeal. “The funding will be used to scale up our supply side, expand to other cities and make key hirings,” co-founder Swaminathan Seetharaman told Run by SLX Logistics Pvt. Ltd, Pianta is a marketplace for home healthcare services that helps discover and book appointments with healthcare providers who provide home visits for physiotherapy, nursing and lab sample collection. It has over 250 home service providers listed on its platform. The startup charges home service providers 15-20% commission on every transaction. It also offers a home healthcare practice management software Pianta+ to home service providers to effectively manage their field force, track them real time and digitise customer details.

iSPIRT Launches “Policy Hack” Initiative To Demystify Government Initiatives For Startups
Software product think tank iSPIRT has taken a step towards to demystify recent government initiatives for startups through the launch of its “Policy Hack” initiative. “Policy Hack” is aimed at demystifying the recent policy announcements and regulatory framework for startups and entrepreneurs issued by the Government.  Sharad Sharma, Founder, iSPIRT, stated, “Bringing clarity to the Government’s policies is largely aimed at stopping the exodus of startups from India. The context for this program was pioneered by iSPIRT with its “Stay-in-India” checklist that was submitted to the Government. Notably, a number of issues in the Stay-in-India checklist have been accepted and implemented by the Government and the regulators”. iSPIRT will also do a lot of online stuff such as disseminating information through Google hangouts, organising online programs one of which is expected to come up next week, as well as organising offline programs.

I do not want India to become a digital colony, it’s the last frontier: Mohandas Pai
T V Mohandas Pai, who was CFO, HR head and board member at Infosys BSE 1.20 %, is today one of India’s most prominent angel investors.  Compared to last year, funding has fallen drastically. How do you see this?  Last year was the year of exuberance.We were only looking at the big deals that went to B2C ( business to consumer). Everyone was trying to buy capacity to become the leader. And all the B2C companies started discounting heavily to show GMVs. No one was interested in profit. Now, people have become discerning. VCs are saying, stretch your money, don’t expect the next round till you show us . From the time you started, has your investment strategy changed?

IIIT-H admits three deep-tech start-ups into accelerator
Avishkar , an accelerator program of research institute International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) Hyderabad catering to start-ups in the domain of ‘Deep-Tech’, has announced selecting three start-ups for first batch of accelerator program.  During the six-month program, launched in partnership with 50K Ventures , H-Hub and Co-creation Consulting, the selected start-ups will work closely with the Avishkar team, the faculty members of IIIT-H Labs, and other partners to get a level of investment readiness by the time they graduate from the program. Each of the three start-ups will receive seed funding of Rs 10 lakh, in the form of a convertible note wherein IIIT-Hyderabad Foundation and 50K Ventures will co-invest Rs 5 lakh each. IIIT-H proposes to select up to ten start-ups working in the field of deeper technologies over a period of one year.

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