SoS Digest/ 01-01-17 to 08-01-17

Startup news
  1. VC fund 500 Startups puts India on hold citing tax issues

Silicon Valley-based venture capital fund and accelerator 500 Startups has put on hold its plans to raise a $25 million India-focused fund, Kulfi, citing taxation and regulatory reasons. Run by Dave Mcclure, one of the most prolific seed investors in Silicon Valley, 500 Startups has recently seen the exit of key executives such as Pankaj Jain and Soaib Grewal. Jain was leading the Kulfi fund and Grewal managed its India investments.


  1. Google Aims To Bring India’s 51 Million SMBs Online With Its New Digital Unlocked Program

Yesterday saw Google’s Indian origin global chief executive officer Sundar Pichai unveiling Google’s Digital Unlocked program, a program aimed at getting all of India’s 51 million small and medium businesses (SMBs) online. According to Pichai, the Indian subcontinent boosts of some 51 million SMBs today that are contributing a good 37% to India’s GDP. Unfortunately, out of these, only 32% have a presence online or are truly being able to take advantage of the power of the digital world for the betterment of their businesses. It is this balance 68% of the businesses that Google India aims to digitally empower by the end of year 2017.


  1. YES BANK Partners With Gupshup to Introduce AI Powered Chatbots

YES BANK, India’s 5th largest private sector Bank has partnered with Gupshup, a leading bot platform, to launch ‘YES mPower’ – a banking chat bot for its loan products. Currently active on Facebook Messenger, YES mPOWER helps customers get information about Loan Products offered by YES BANK and instantly gives a loan eligibility, enabling customers to get the information they need quickly and easily. YES BANK plans to incrementally release more services through the chat bot, making YES mPOWER the one stop shop for all loan requirements.  On YES mPOWER, a customer can get information on loan products like Personal Loans, Auto Loans, Gold Loans, Loan Against Securities and products like Used Car Loans, Loan Against Properties, Home Loans will be added shortly.


  1. Flipkart eyes offline play for courier biz

E-commerce major Flipkart’s logistics unit Ekart is looking to tap offline networks for its courier business after having failed to gain traction in its earlier avatar which was a largely online play .The latest strategy to take the traditional route is aimed at bringing down charges by about 30-40% and helping it compete with the likes of DTDC, Blue Dart, among others.Ekart, started its courier business in May last year across Bengaluru, Delhi and Kolkata, facilitating orders and pick-ups which were booked online.


  1. SoftBank’s $100B fund to enter public market investing in India

Japanese internet and telecoms giant SoftBank’s $100 billion Vision Fund — the single largest investment fund in history by size — will make public market investments in India, a first for the deep-pocketed investor which drove up the excitement around local consumer tech ecosystem, people familiar with the matter told TOI.


  1. Kalaari Capital Backed Food Delivery Startup Eatfresh Shuts Down Its Operations

Bengaluru based food delivery startup Eatfresh today announced the shutdown of its food delivery service. According to a message on the website, the company has stopped its on-demand meal delivery service, but will continue to take bulk orders. “Dear customers, we no longer operate our on-demand meal delivery service, and will only cater to party or bulk orders in the future. We strived to create a differentiated offering, and hope that we leave you with some happy memories…” a pop-up message on the homepage read.


  1. Freshdesk makes its 7th acquisition, nabs Pipemonk to strengthen its integration ecosystem

Freshdesk continues its acquisition spree. The SaaS-based company has acquired Pipemonk to create seamless integrations between business apps for heightened customer engagement. For Freshdesk, it is only the calendar that has changed in 2017. Its stupendous growth and acquisition plans continue to accelerate. After raising a fresh $55 million funding, the cloud-based customer engagement software provider has announced its seventh acquisition in the last 16 months.


  1. PM Modi’s BHIM app to enable fast and secure cashless payments via mobiles

In a bid to further push adoption of e-payments in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently launched an indigenous digital payments app ‘BHIM’ that will enable fast and secure cashless transactions using mobile phones.


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