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From the editorial team of NextBigWhat

News Corp Acquires Indian Startup, BigDecisions

News Corp which recently invested $30mn in Proptiger has acquired an Indian startup, BigDecisions.bigdecisions-newscorp

BigDecisions aims to help Indian consumers make smarter financial decisions through interactive, decision-making tools powered by sophisticated algorithms and data.

“Our latest investment builds on our abiding belief that a digital India needs more trusted, reliable and independent data,” said Robert Thomson, Chief Executive of News Corp. “BigDecisions.com will help Indians make the most important decisions by using accurate information tailored to their personal needs. This platform will be high quality, privacy-protected and easy-to-use.”

Started in early 2013 by Manish Shah and Gaurav Roy, and operating until recently as bigdecisions.in, the BigDecisions.com platform has already helped some 40,000 users make better-informed decisions.

Following the acquisition, both co-founders will help oversee a significant expansion of the Mumbai-based BigDecisions.com team as well as its consumer offerings. They will report to Raju Narisetti, News Corp Senior Vice President, Strategy.

The acquisition of BigDecisions.com includes the site’s parent company, FinDirect Services Pvt Ltd.

Flipkart Raises $700mn From Greenoaks, Steadview Capital And Others

Flipkart has raised US $ 700 million investment with new investors: Baillie Gifford, Greenoaks Capital, Steadview Capital, T. Rowe Price Associates? and Qatar Investment Authority, along with existing investors: DST Global, GIC, ICONIQ Capital and Tiger Global, who also participated in this latest financing round.

Flipkart

As with previous funds raised (the billion dollar round), these funds will be used towards long-term strategic investments in India and to build a world-class technology company, delivering superior customer experiences.

Going Public In Singapore – But Not IPO

Flipkart Limited (incorporated at Singapore) has filed with ACRA Singapore for conversion to a Public Company. This is a mandatory procedure for all companies where the number of shareholders exceeds 50.

This filing ensures we are in compliance with the laws of Singapore and is in no way indicative of any upcoming IPO or of any corporate activity that the company is engaged in either in Singapore or any other part of the world.

Time for Flipkart to revisit its (in)efficiency?

Almost Famous To Being Written Off : Notion Ink, A Comeback Story

Take a look at the chart below and guess what it is

NotionInk-Employee-Count

There are very few entrepreneurs who get to see what Notion Ink founder, Rohan Shravan has seen in the last few years.

The above chart is of number of employees Notion Ink had during its journey.

  1. Till June 2009: 1
  2. December 2010: 45
  3. December 2011: 135
  4. July 2012: 60
  5. July 2013: 20
  6. April 2014: 9
  7. November 2014: 40

Some of the key interesting tidbits from NotionInk story (so far)

– They were blocked by ICICI and RBI after their sales on day one.

– Rohan’s love for music surely took him places. And yeah, he wanted to be a monk !
Watch Rohan Shravan, UnPluggd.

Tier II and III Driving More Ecommerce Business Than Metros [eBay Census 2014 data]

ebay India has released its census 2014 data and here are some interesting takeaways.

eBay India Census 2014
eBay India Census 2014

Delhi continues to retail the #1 spot, but what’s important to note is the rising of Tier II and III hubs – they combined drive more buying than all the metros combined.

Top 10 States as per eCommerce transactions nationwide:

  1. Delhi
  2. Maharashtra
  3. Tamil Nadu
  4. Rajasthan
  5. Karnataka
  6. Andhra Pradesh
  7. Gujarat
  8. Uttar Pradesgh
  9. West Bengal
  10. Kerala.

– Rise of Mobile commerce : Ebay India received 43% of traffic through mobile devices. As far as transactions are concerned, close to 60% of products were bought through mobile devices in India – which is what others like Flipkart/Snapdeal too have reported earlier.

Top 10 rural ecommerce hubs in India for 2014 are:

  1. Guntur (Andhra Pradesh)
  2. Tada(Andhra Pradesh)
  3. Karthikappally (Kerala)
  4. Ghattia (Madhya Pradesh)
  5. Chorayasi (Gujarat)
  6. Jalagaon (Maharashtra)
  7. Budgam (Jammu & Kashmir)
  8. Cachar (Assam)
  9. Adur (Kerala)
  10. Villipuram (Tamil Nadu)

As far as top selling categories are concerned, Electronics dominated the segment, while lifestyle products accounted for 45% and took the #2 slot.

Top 5 list of products which were traded (within India):

  1. Mobile Phone
  2. Necklaces & Pendants
  3. Audio & Home entertainment
  4. Memory Cards, Pendrives & HDD
  5. Men’s Wrist Watches

Zomato Acquires Italy’s Restaurant Search Service, Cibando

Zomato has acquired Italy’s popular restaurant search service Cibando. Cibando will soon be integrated with Zomato, and over the next few months, users will be able to use Zomato for all major cities in Italy.cibando

This is Zomato’s fifth acquisition in the recent months. Zomato acquired MenuMania in New Zealand, Lunchtime in Czech Republic, Obedovat in Slovakia, and Gastronauci in Poland recently.

The current Cibando team is 10 people strong; the new combined entity will grow to 30-40 people in the next three months; over time, in steady state, the Italy operation is expected to grow to 150-200 people across the top 6 cities.

Zomato raised $60mn at a post-money valuation of ~ USD 660 million in November 2014.

Zomato is currently present in 20 countries and gets about 35 million visits per month across its website and mobile apps.

2 out of 3 Emails Are Now Opened On Smartphones; Desktop Users Are Engaged More [Data]

Email marketing is changing and is largely driven by smartphones and devices. Here are some of the interesting data points – though mostly for US consumer devices, but India data won’t be too different in the next 1 year.

  • 2 out of 3 e-mails are opened on smartphones which clearly indicate the popularity of smartphones.
  • 45% of mail opens in Q2 2014 was on smartphones while the number increased to 48% in Q3.
  • Desktop saw 34% mails being opened on it in Q3 2014
  • 14 of the 50 states in USA showed a leaning towards desktop preferences while 6 new states showed preferences towards smartphones in Q3 2014.

map mi 1

  • Tablet usage has picked up by the day in Q3 2014. These gains were however at the expense of desktop computers.
Device usage by time of day
Device usage by time of day
  • iPhones and iPads saw 59% of all mail opens in Q3 2014 which is an increase of 4% over Q2 2014
  • Android stood at a steady 6% while Blackberry, Windows and Kindle Fire held 5% of all mail opens.
mail-open by device preference
mail-open by device preference
  • Desktop user stay longer on emails while tablets topped when it came to speed from mail open to click through.
  • Of the other 36 states that was not inclined towards desktop, 11 states showed high preference to mobile devices.
  • Smartphones were device of choice when it came to retail apparel, retail non-apparel, media/entertainment/publishing etc.
  • Desktops were preferred in automotive and financial segments while both desktops and smartphones were a choice for travel and hospitality.
email opens by vertical
email opens by vertical
  • Desktops topped when it came to email read length which was followed by smartphones and then came tablets.
  • Automotive related emails had the longest read length, followed by financial services, media/entertainment/publishing, travel and hospitality, retail apparel and retail non –apparel, in that order.

– Link to the report.

LivSpace Secures $4.6mn In Series A funding Led by Helion and Bessemer

Personalised home interior design and décor marketplace, LivSpace has raised USD 4.6M Series A funding, led by Helion Venture Partners and Bessemer Venture Partners, among the leading technology investors in the country.

livspace

This funding round also includes Singapore based Jungle Ventures as investors. Livspace will utilise the funds to develop new products, generate demand for its products, and grow its management team to focus on the $25B home design and decor market in India and South East Asia.

Post funding, Rahul Chowdhri, Partner, Helion and Aakash Goel, Bessemer Venture Partners, India, will join the board of the company.

Spice launches Hindi Android One Smartphone, Spice Dream Uno H

Spice has launched India’s first Android One Hindi smartphone – Spice Dream Uno H Android One Phone, focusing on the large Hindi speaking population in the country. 

The Hindi AndroidOne
The Hindi AndroidOne

The Spice Dream Uno H features a complete Hindi keyboard, voice input along with Hindi versions of popular Google products such as Android OS, Chrome, Search, YouTube and Google Maps amongst other popular applications.

In general, Android One hasn’t done well in India and given the competition from Xiaomi and others, it’d be interesting to see if Hindi Android One phones will do well in the market.

The product has been especially designed for the 300 million Hindi speaking people focusing on states such as Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and the rest of the country. Keeping in line with their focus on creating affordable technology, the price of Spice Dream Uno H is Rs 6499/.

Specifications : Spice Dream Uno H

This dual SIM 3G smart device is powered with 1.3 GHz Quad core Processor, runs on 4.4.4 Kitkat OS and will soon get the latest Android updates such as Android Lollipop.

- The phone has a sleek design with a 11.43 cm IPS display and features an expandable storage capacity of 32GB.

- The 5 MP Auto Focus rear camera clicks sharp images while the 2 MP front camera

- The device is equipped with a 1700 mAh Li-polymer battery offering a standby time of up to 160 hrs and a talk time of up to 1020 min (2G) and up to 620 min (3G). The Spice Android One Hindi also features exclusive Hindi applications such as Aajtak, Sony live, Hungama, Spice Cloud, Google Translate and Google Hindi Input.

Facebook ‘s FbStart Picks Up Indian Startup, PriceTree For $20K Sponsorship

Facebook’s FBstart program has picked up Indian startup, PriceTree for $20K sponsorship.pricetree

FB start is an early stage startup program launched by Facebook to help startup on their App marketing. PriceTree app idea was selected out of many applied for the program.

The $20K sponsorship will help PriceTree to promote their mobile app to the right audience within Facebook and their 20 network platform and will have direct access with the Facebook team.

Launched in 2014, PriceTree is a shopping comparison site for shopper and retailers to find the best price online across stores in India and offer a “price intelligence solution” for retailers to win in the competition.

The NCR based startup has launched Price Intelligence Tool(B2B), Android App, Store locator, APIs and e-commerce affiliate ads optimization tool in last couple of months and also acquired global leading e-tailors customers (Expedia.com etc) for their B2B price intelligence solution.

After Open-sourcing Hindi Fonts, Google Launches Hindi Ads On Its Display Network

A lot has been talked about the lack of local language growth in India. While companies tried solving this with transliteration etc initiatives, Google India has pushed the envelope with the launch of Hindi ads on its Google display network.

Hindi Fonts : Open Sourced By Google
Hindi Fonts : Open Sourced By Google

This move is to target the 500 million Hindi speaking audiences in India enabling AdWords advertisers can now build campaigns reaching Hindi language sites on the Google Display Network using text, image, rich media, and video display ad formats.

Google’s language targeting helps users to target their ads to run only for people who speak that particular language. However, Google has also mentioned that targeting all languages helps to get more potential customers, but needs separate language campaigns for different languages.


Google launches 15 open sourced Hindi fonts


Google had been stressing on the local languages for quite sometime now. The company launched the  Indian Language Internet alliance to cater better to the Hindi speaking audience.Google had also launched the hindiweb.com, a portal that aggregates Hindi content and has partners like Amar Ujala, Dainik Bhaskar, Jagran etc.

Local Commerce App Lookup Secures $300K Angel Funding; Brings Bangalore Police Onboard

Local commerce messaging app, Lookup which earlier raised $166K from Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan has raised $100K more from MKS (Swiss company into metals and financial services) and PAMP, which is part of MKS group.

Lookup has also partnered with Bangalore police to help the public connect with the police over chat. After a pilot run with Koramangala Police Station, the service will be extended all over Bengaluru.

Lookup Partners With Bangalore Police
Lookup Partners With Bangalore Police

Competitor in business messaging service, Haptik had recently secured $1 million first round of equity financing from Kalaari Capital.

Breaking : Youtube Goes Offline In India; Watch Videos Offline Upto 48 Hours!

Youtube goes offline in India, enabline people take videos offline to watch later during short periods of low or no internet connectivity.

Youtube : Now Watch Videos Offline!
Youtube : Now Watch Videos Offline!

For videos where this feature is available, people can choose to add the video for offline viewing by tapping on the offline icon that sits under the video frame.

Once taken offline, videos can be played back without an Internet connection for 48 hours, allowing people to enjoy YouTube videos without worrying about slow connections.
Launch partners include videos from T-Series, Saregama and Yashraj Films.
Total disruption, this is ?
Note : works only with Android devices, as expected.

GOSF Day 1 Data : Etailers Recorded More Than 4X Revenue Jump.

GOSF this year is receiving a mixed response – there are some good deals on lifestyle/apparels/real estate categories, but very few on electronics/phones.

At GOSF, Google launched Chromecast and even Nexus 6 phones. Partner sites have recived great traction (read : Why Google conducts GOSF) and here is a summary of day one of GOSF:

Tata Value Homes: Over 10,000 registrations have come in for their homes across 5 projects in Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Ahmedabad and Boisar Near Mumbai. These apartments on GOSF 2014 can be booked online by paying Rs 20k only.

Trendin & Van Heusen witnessed 7-10X increase in traffic and transactions on their site.

Jabong has reported 4X revenue over a normal day and 6X over last GOSF (revenue has increased 4 times compared to their sales on any regular day).  There has been a rise in revenue from mobile at least by 6 times as compared to the last GOSF.  Even the traffic from GOSF on the website  has significantly risen by 8 times  as compared to the last year:

Homeshop18 recorded a 3x increase in sales and 40% more traffic via the app.

Shopclues : In 3 hours (of GOSF), ShopClues did sales for nearly 3 regular days on the site and 30% of the traffic on ShopClues has come from first time visitors.

299 corner received 33% traffic.

GOSF Trends [Via Cashkaro]
GOSF Trends [Via Cashkaro]

GOSF AD SPENDS : Data

1. Around 150% increase in the ad spend on desktops
2. Around 80% increase in the ad spend on mobile
3. Major traction through mobile devices
4. Buyers responded positively to ads that had both the discounted price and percentage when compared to ads with just the discount percentage.This was evident through higher CTRs and 1 Day eCPA, compared to other banners.
5. Day one witnessed around 33% increase in new visitors (data from Vizury).

The Uber Fire [+ Chaos] Media Is Fuelling..And Some Of It Is Just Wrong

Yes, Uber has been banned in Delhi. So is Ola/TaxiForSure. Uber is also banned in Hyderbad.

But that doesn’t necessarily translate to:

1. Uber is shutting shop in India [media has a habit of either glorifying or crucifying its subjects]. 

2. Customers losing all-of-their wallet money.

Some of the mainstream media has been going all over the board to create chaos among the customers without doing their homework.

For example, an article like this (on Business Standard) is totally uncalled for (especially the title).

Uber-Paytm-misinfo

In fact, those who were pitching for Uber to have its own wallet system will now understand the benefit of using a third party wallet system like Paytm, as you can use the Paytm wallet on several other sites that accepts Paytm wallet (unlike the case with Ola/TaxiForSure).

However, Paytm has clarified a few points with respect to wallet integration which are worth mentioning:

  1. Paytm Wallet users can transfer all their money to their bank account – be it Credit Card, Debit Card or Net Banking account through which they transferred it to the Paytm Wallet.
  2. If they wish to transfer all their money back to their source funds, they have to simply write to care@paytm.com  and we’re here to assist them to get it done.
  3. Paytm is an RBI licensed Wallet and the users’ money is protected under an escrow account with a National Bank. This means that their money is 100% safe.
  4. Paytm wallet is a semi closed wallet. What does this mean? This means that the money you have kept with paytm can be used to shop at Paytm or at 15,000 online merchants. These 15000 merchants include Bookmyshow, Zovi, MakeMyTrip, Shopclues, HomeShop18, Fabfurnish etc.

In short, things arent’ as bad as media is making it out to be.