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From the editorial team of NextBigWhat

IndianRoots Partners with Government of Bihar To Bring 35000 Artisans To Its Platform, an online marketplace for Indian fashion, joins hands with the Government of Bihar as it becomes the exclusive online partner of Upendra Maharathi Shilp Sansthan (UMSAS), Patna. 

The purpose of this exclusive online partnership is to bring the artisanship of Bihar to the worldwide audience through the IndianRoots platform, which actively promotes Indian handicrafts and lauds the nation’s artisans by giving them a platform to showcase their work globally. The association is for a total duration of 5 years, of which the first 3 years are exclusive with IndianRoots.

UMSAS, Patna was set up by the Department of Industries, Government of  Bihar, and aims to preserve, research and promote the various forms of handicrafts of Bihar. The institute currently employs 35000 artisans, working on various crafts, apparel, handicrafts and paintings.

In the last one month, IndianRoots has tied up with Banka Silk from Bihar and Craftroots from Gujarat and now  furthers this vision of promoting Indian craftsmen by partnering with UMSAS.

Avnish Bajaj Of Matrix : The Bubble Is Over; India is Finally A Large Scale Growing Internet Market!

The winter is coming? Maybe. Maybe not.

Avinsh Bajaj of Matrix Partners shares some wonderful insights (over a tweetstorm) on bubble, way ahead and India’s Internet story.


Uber Faces Protests From Hyderabad Drivers Over Incentive Issues

Uber’s drivers in Hyderabad have protested against the company accusing Uber of dishonouring incentive promises.

Telangana Cabs and Bus Operators’ Association (TCBOA) president SyedNizamuddin alleged Uber lured thousands of cab drivers by promising monthly income of about 70,000 but they were not able to earn more than 15,000 owing to drastic cut in incentives and number of trips. Also, the incentives per ride for the drivers have been reduced from 225 to 150 in Hyderabad [via]

Drivers who have purchased cabs are now running in loss and are running  into huge debt traps.

Signs Of Time To Come?

Both Uber and Ola have been poaching / aggressively running for the drivers, who in the lure of money are ditching their ‘comfortable’ jobs. The party will end someday and it won’t leave the industry in good taste.

Is this a harbinger of the times to come? Can companies like Uber/Ola sustain/think of profitability and in the proceess, add tremendous value to the food chain as well?

Voonik Acquihires Trailkart App Team To Launch Virtual Dressing Room Experience.

Voonik which recently raised $5mn in funding has acqui-hired TrialKart, the mobile platform for providing a virtual dressing room experience.

TrialKart’s core proposition dovetails perfectly with that of Voonik which is to leverage technology to offer a completely personalised shopping experience to users.

The TrialKart team will also build a new division at Voonik called ‘Image Intelligence’ which will further augment the technology backbone of the Voonik app.

The TrialKart mobile app enables users to choose any listed product and click on the ‘Try’ option to visualise how the piece of clothing or accessory would look on them. They can also zoom in, readjust and reorient the product to get a holistic picture.

“By acqui-hiring TrialKart, we will now be able to offer their virtual dressing room solution to our customers as well as enlist the expertise of their team to create the Image Intelligence division to boost the backend infrastructure for Voonik. The

TrialKart team will be a valuable addition to our technology team in redefining the fashion shopping experience.” [Voonik CEO and Co-Founder Sujayath Ali]

Recommended Read : The Vookin Story

Fitbit Launches FitStar Personal Trainer Programme In India

Fitbit has announced the nationwide availability of its full line of its products in India.

Fitbit also announced the launch of FitStar Personal Trainer programme in India, competing directly with Goqii and healthifyme. Acquired by Fitbit earlier this year, FitStar is one of the largest platforms for delivering personalized video-based workouts.

With customized video-based workouts and handcrafted Freestyle sessions led by U.S. football legend, Tony Gonzalez, FitStar offers a holistic fitness solution that is accessible, convenient and inspiring.

FitStar users can track their daily activity with Fitbit devices and get a tailored exercise program designed specifically for them across iOS devices and desktop computers.

Introducing bigMobiConf Speaker : Sunit On Modern Design Strategy For Mobile Apps

At our upcoming mobile conference, we are (as always) bringing in the DOERs and practitioners from the mobile ecosystem – the ones who are at the forefront of India’s mobile revolution.

The bigMobiConf will bring 500+ mobile startups, app developers and investors together. We aim to bring a lot of actionable insights to the audience – delivered by the DOERs themselves.

bigMobiConf Details

Date : Sep 12th [9 AM – 6 PM]
Venue : MLR Convention Center, J P Nagar [Bangalore]
Ticketing: The super early bird discount is ON. Use the code TAKEOFF to grab yours!

Today, we introduce one of the speakers at bigMobilityConf , Sunit Sharma of Carwale.

Sunit is the head of design at Carwale and carries more than 10+ years of dedicated experience in mobility and has earlier worked for CarWale, Snapdeal, India today, Times of India, 2ergo UK etc.

In his own words:

” I have seen tremendous growth in mobile app design strategies and this is the era of achieving things fast and surprise the world.sunit-sharma

Over these years, I have innovated app designs and strategies and would like to share the same with the world. Few topics or pointer of the conference would be:

a) Designing for product is different and how do you achieve it.

b) Modern mobile style guideline for stakeholders in the company.

c) How to speed you design approach by 60% in this mobile world.

d) How do we achieve innovation in design with tight timelines & less resources.

e) What kind of key metrics and number would give you success in mobile app design.

Online marketplace for services, Bookmein Secures Rs. 2.5 Crore in Angel Funding

Company Name : Bookmein
Funding Amount : 2.5 crores
Investor(s) Ajmera Group of Companies .
Funding Round : Angel round, an online marketplace just for services has closed Angel funding of Rs. 2.5 Crore from the Ajmera Group of Companies.

The investment will be utilized towards enhancing the end-user experience and to increase the company’s footprint across some of the major cities in India. Also, some part of the funds would be utilized in marketing to increase the brand recall. is an online marketplace which allows the users to browse for local business available and book their services online. It enables the customers to browse for service providers, compare and evaluate them and book desired services online, as per their calendars. And the service providers can expand their businesses by receiving a higher visibility.

Qyk raises $1mn pre-Series A investment led by growx ventures

Company Name : Qyk
Funding Amount : $1mn
Investor(s): growx ventures racxn Labs, Powai Lake Ventures, and Sahil Barua (Co-founder, Delhivery). .
Funding Round : Pre-Series A

Qyk, the hyper-local professional services startup in India announced a $1mn pre-series A investment led by growx ventures, an early stage investment firm. Existing seed investors – Tracxn Labs, Powai Lake Ventures, and Sahil Barua (Co-founder, Delhivery) also participated in this round.

Qyk was founded by alumni of IIT Bombay and IIT Kharagpur – Deepak Singhal, Sangharsh Boudhh, Shobhit Singhal, and Anubhav Sahoo, who previously worked with companies like Ola, Inmobi, Practo and Deutsche Bank.

Qyk helps customers find the best, verified service providers for over 100 categories of professionals – from piano teachers to tax consultants through photographers and dietitians, in the quickest time possible. Qyk also enables freelancers and professionals to grow their business by reaching out to new and interested customers. The app uses algorithms to intelligently match demand and supply based on parameters like specific requirements, location, availability, budget, etc.

Ola Enters Payment Business; Ola Money Can Now Be Used At Selected Merchants

Ola Money can now be used across a host of merchants online, outside of Ola’s offerings.

This move will allow Ola users who already maintain a significant balance in their Ola Money accounts, to pay conveniently on a wide range of leading e-commerce platforms.

With over 20 million customers on its platform, Ola Money is already one of the top 3 mobile wallets in the country by transaction volume. With Ola Money, customers can use the balance saved in their mobile wallet to shop for a variety of products and services across leading merchants like Oyo Rooms and a select other partners. More merchants like Lenskart and Saavn will be active soon.

The expansion of Ola Money as a digital payment solution enlarges the scope of its wallet, which sees high frequency usage and recharge from Ola’s user base.

IAMAI : We Oppose Zero-Rating plans

IAMAI, which was recently in a controversy surrounding Google’s push towards anti-net neutrality stand has come out with the statement supporting net neutrality and opposing zero-rating plans.

In its recent response to the DoT paper on Net Neutrality, the Internet and Mobile Association of India [IAMAI] has clearly and unambiguously opposed zero-rated plans of any type. In its submission made last week IAMAI has held that “these plans will ultimately harm Internet content and service providers by limiting competition among them, and, by extension, limit consumer choice”.

Such plans will also “allow the operators, if given control of which apps/services to push to consumers, to discriminate and privilege certain web services over others, and throttle innovation”. The association has also reiterated that it does not support any plans that violate principles of net neutrality “especially paid or unpaid prioritization or other discriminatory practices”.

IAMAI has also reacted strongly against the proposal to license domestic and national VoIP, as suggested by the DoT paper. The association contends that such a regime will be directly against consumer interest and against future innovations.

The association contends that licensing any domestic and national Internet based voice communications services would be impractical especially since such services in many instances are offered as bundled services. The association also feared that licensing one type of internet service may be the beginning of a “slippery slope” and may lead to a clamour for so called “same service same rules” for other internet services.

Uber Is Now Present In 22 Indian Cities; Claims More Than 35% Market Share

Uber has now launched in 4 more cities (Guwahati, Nashik, Thiruvananthapuram and Vadodara) , taking the total count to 22.

Over the last two months alone, Uber has doubled its footprint in India going from 11 cities in June to 22 cities in August. The company recently raised $100mn from Tata’s PE fund and has partnered with Airtel for in-cab free wifi.

We launched in India less than two years ago and our rapid expansion has made India the largest geographic market for Uber after the United States. We have a current base of over 150,000 driver entrepreneurs and continue to witness robust 40 percent month on month growth, which has quickly helped us gain significant market share in India of over 35percent.

On the other hand, Ola claims 80% market share and is present in 100+ cities.

Paytm Launches An App Store (Powered By Inmobi)

Paytm has launched an app store, powered by InMobi.The app store is part of Paytm/InMobi partnership and is primarily focused on getting a pie of the app download dollars being spent by the well funded startups.


Will It Fly?

As of now, Paytm’s app store (available only in the Paytm app) is only focused on free apps and it seems monetization is driven by CPD model.

The key question that Paytm needs to answer is whether they have the necessary engagement/ attention from its userbase (the way Facebook has) to charge a premium for the downloads ?

If not, then is this another cool thing for the company to experiment with?

What’s your take? As a startup/app developer – would you consider using Paytm to drive downloads (unless it comes with a cashback offer :) )?

Aditya Birla Bizlabs Launches A 20 Day Program for Startups

The Aditya Birla Group has launched Aditya Birla Bizlabs, whose mandate is to collaborate with innovative startups and provide them with the opportunity to scale-up in a large operating business environment.

“Our objective at Aditya Birla Bizlabs is to enable the combination of the technology and ingenuity of the start-up ecosystem with the power and reach of the Group’s businesses to create a platform to foster growth and rapidly scale-up businesses. We are excited with the prospect of working with start-ups on a collaborative platform” said Mr. Dev Bhattacharya, Group Executive President, Aditya Birla Group.

Aditya Birla Bizlabs will be looking at startups which offer innovative solutions in the areas of Retail, Financial Services or Mobility. These are also the industries where the Group enjoys leadership positions via its businesses: Idea Cellular, More, Pantaloons, Madura Fashion & Lifestyle and Aditya Birla Financial Services.

Aditya Birla Bizlabs is a 20 day program, during which short-listed start-ups will be provided access to the CEOs and CXOs of the Aditya Birla Group, and the chance to network with reputed industry experts. In addition, the selected start-ups will have the opportunity to scale up by entering into a commercial arrangement with the Group’s businesses. They may also receive an investment from an independent arm of the Aditya Birla Group.