All posts by NextBigWhat

From the editorial team of NextBigWhat

Govt Launches Rs 2,000 Crore India Aspiration Fund For Startups !

The Indian government as part of ‘Make in India’ initiative has launched Rs 2,000 crore India Aspiration Fund For Startups.

IAF is a Fund-of-fund managed by Small Industries development Bank of India (SIDBI) which is India’s Principal Financial Institution for the promotion, financing and development of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector.

Superman!

Finance minister, Arun Jaitley also launched the SIDBI Make in India Loan for Small Enterprises (SMILE) Scheme of Rs. 10,000 crore.

Speaking on the occasion, he said that the country is witnessing a start-up revolution and to harness the potential of India’s innovators and entrepreneurs a vibrant financial ecosystem is essential.

The India Aspiration Fund is intended to play a vital role in  this financial ecosystem. Arun Jaitley has also mentioned that the Fund is expected to catalyze tens of thousands of crore of equity investment in start-ups and MSMEs, creating employment for lakhs fo persons, mostly educated youth over the next 4-5 years. LIC has also agreed to be a partner and co investor in the India Aspriation Fund.

Plus, as part of the fund, Blume Ventures will receive 30 crores.

From China To Chennai : Lenovo Starts Manufacturing In India

After Xiaomi’s India manufacturing intiatives,  Lenovo has announced plans to make in India.

Lenovo has partnered with contract manufacturer Flex (previously known as Flextronics) for India manufacturing unit in Chennai.

“Lenovo is not new to manufacturing in India.  We recognized the potential of India and we invested in PC manufacturing several years ago. Lenovo’s investment in the new manufacturing plant represents the potential we see in the Indian market and our long term commitment to our customers,” said Chen Xudong, President MBG Group, Lenovo and chairman Motorola Mobility Operating Board. “In the past ten years, our brand has grown manifold in India. We are excited to expand our presence and tap into India’s competent talent pool that will enable us to develop cutting-edge products for our customers across the world.”

The campus will house 1500 employees for manufacturing lines, quality assurance, product testing, etc. Both Lenovo and Motorola will have separate manufacturing lines at the same facility.

“The Indian Government’s thrust on ‘Make in India’ has opened up a plethora of opportunities for organizations looking to conduct business in India”, said Amar Babu, COO, Asia Pacific & Chairman, Lenovo India. “Currently for smartphones, India is the third largest smartphone market in the world, according to IDC and we believe this an opportune time. Lenovo is transforming into a global consumer technology brand by differentiating itself on innovation and design. .”

Snapdeal Secures $500mn From Alibaba, Softbank And Foxconn

Snapdea has raised $500mn from Alibaba, Softbank And Foxconn*.  This funding round has been rumored for some time and has been delayed due to valuation differences.

What’s important to note is that Alibaba has also invested in Paytm (Paytm is heavily focused on the travel marketplace). Competitor Flipkart recently raised $700mn.

Meanwhile, ebay is selling parts of its Snapdeal stake to focus on India operations.

*: More details as we get them.

ebay Is Planning To Sell Part of Snapdeal Stake To Focus On Its India Entity

ebay which invested in Snapdeal in 2014 is selling parts of its stake to focus on its India entity.

The sale of the partial stake will earn eBay about the amount it invested in Snapdeal for all of its shares, while still giving it the upside to earn more with its remaining stake (source).

Snapdeal is rumored to be raising $500mn in funding from Alibaba and Foxconn and while eBay’s investment in Snapdeal in 2014 was part of a possible M&A plan, the current valuation of Snapdeal (~$5Bn) has possibly forced ebay to sell its stake and instead focus on its India entity.

Younger Generations are Playing Video Games for Shorter Periods of Time [Report]

One of the most common behaviors of gaming aficionados over the years has been to sit for hours at a time playing with, or against, fellow gamers across the world, but recent findings from IEEE, has dispelled myths of the “traditional” gamer.

Gamers from around the world were invited to view and participate in the interactive timeline launched on Facebook from June 11 – July 13.

The timeline revealed that younger generations of gamers are actually playing for a shorter period of time. Respondents aged 18-24 years shared that they have only played five to eight hours, at most, in one sitting, while respondents aged 25-34 years indicated that the longest they have played videos games in one sitting was 15+ hours, more than twice the amount of hours spent by younger participants. The average amount of gaming in one sitting as reported by timeline participants was approximately eight hours.

58% of participants also revealed that they prefer gaming in campaign over online mode. Solo game-playing in campaign mode, a continuous storyline in a fictitious world, has become the favorite choice for gamers compared to online gaming where the gamer is connected to opponents through the internet.

A trend also emerged from the findings that those in the gaming world are confident that augmented realty/virtual reality (AR/VR) will be the next revolution in gaming. When asked about the “next big innovation for gaming,” 51 percent of respondents, globally, believe that (AR/VR) is the future of gaming. Open-source gaming (21 percent), which allows the user to customize their game play and formatting because the game’s source codes are publically available, and second-screen gaming/smart glasses (18 percent) rounded out the top three “next big innovation for gaming” responses from participants.

  •  46% feel that rom-cartridges were the most impactful technology developed during the second generation of gaming (1977-1983).
  • Helping with system speeds, the fourth generation of gaming (1987-1994) brought CD-ROM gaming consoles to the forefront, but 53 percent of participants actually feel that the most impactful technology during that generation was 16-bit microprocessors.
  •  During the sixth generation of gaming (1997-2005), 31 percent of survey respondents believe that advancements in gaming consoles’ central processing unit/graphics processing unit (CPU/GPU) speeds were the most impactful technology of that generation.

Deep Learning Based Image Recognition Startup, HyperVerge Secures Seed Funding

Company Name : HyperVerge
Funding Amount :
Investor(s) NEA Milliways Ventures. Naya Ventures.
Funding Round : Angel round


HyperVerge, a deep-learning startup by IIT-Madras graduates has raised a million dollars in seed funding from several U.S. venture capital firms, including NEA, Milliways Ventures and Naya Ventures.

HyperVerge uses the technology of deep-learning to analyse and organize photos across all devices. This capital will enable HyperVerge to expand into the U.S. and position itself as a strong contender in the space of image recognition.

The company, founded in 2014, started as a student R&D group at IIT Madras. During their time at the institute, the team represented India in several international robotics competitions. They also developed several computer vision and machine-learning solutions for manufacturing automation. The team started working on a prototype for their innovative cloud-based image recognition technology while at IIT Madras’ Incubation Cell. They developed patent-pending technology for organization of images by identification of people, places, scenes and events in images. With advisors from MIT Media Labs and the IIT alumni community, the team has now been able to attract multiple investors from the Silicon Valley.

With seed funding from NEA, Milliways Ventures and Naya Ventures, HyperVerge plans to rapidly grow their technology and platform on a global scale. This expansion will be achieved through strategic partnerships and rapid user growth for their consumer application in the US and Indian market. Dayakar Puskoor from Naya Ventures has also joined the Board to mentor the young team.

“Working with a budget of under 6 lakhs, we were able to create classifiers for identification of people, scenes, events and unique patterns in images”, said Kedar Kulkarni, CEO and co-founder of HyperVerge. “IIT Madras’ Incubation Cell and Alumni community have provided tremendous support to our team. With our core team and investors in place, we believe that our image recognition technology can be the foundation for several breakthrough consumer applications in the near future”.

Their upcoming mobile application (Silver) will help users automatically organize all the images on their phone. It utilizes deep-learning and convolutional neural networks to recognize, classify and process vast amounts of image data. These systems accurately recognize faces, scenes, documents, business cards and other patterns within images to categorize photo albums based on context. They also assist in identification and deletion of poor quality photos, duplicates and other unwanted photos.

Tiger Global Invests $15mn in Roposo, Fashion Discovery Platform

Company Name : Roposo
Funding Amount : $15mn
Investor(s) Tiger Global .
Funding Round : Series B


Tiger Global earlier invested $5mn in Roposo’s Series A in March 2015 and has now invested $15mn.

Launched in 2013, Roposo is a fashion discovery platform started by ex-Zomato CTO and curates fashion products.roposo

With more than 1 million active users, the user generated content is escalating 4 times every month, letting every user to discover fashion through styling stories, reviews, DIYs and trend inspirations. Once inspired, it also helps a user to discover specific products from more than 300 web stores and 4000 brands.

Celebrities from Bollywood, designers, stylists, fashion bloggers and brands like Jabong, Vero Moda, Biba, Only and many more have been spotted on Roposo with their active profiles, creating fashion and styling stories while engaging with their users on a regular basis.

Mozilla Launches Content Creation App Webmaker for Android; Is Available In Bengali

Mozilla has launched Webmaker for Android, an app to empower first-time smartphone users and mobile-first Web users as active participants on the Web.

Too often, individuals around the world experience a “read-only” mobile Web, passively consuming content and unable to actively contribute. But when consumers become creators, they’re introduced to social and economic opportunity.

Webmaker is Mozilla’s way of addressing the lack of local content in mobile-first markets. Initially available in four languages (Bengali, Brazilian Portuguese, English and Indonesian) and with more coming soon, the app allows individuals across the globe to create original content in their language and relevant to their community.

Some of the updated features of the app include shared projects can now be viewed on any platform (mobile or desktop), and users with poor connectivity will experience better performance while offline. Also, content discovery is now location-based — you can see what others in your community are creating and remixing.

Google Launches Project Sunroof To Help Calculate Your Roof’s Solar Energy Potential

Google has launched Project Sunroof, an online tool to help homeowners explore whether they should go solar.

Available in the San Francisco Bay Area, Fresno (in central California), and the Boston area for now, the tool uses high-resolution aerial mapping (the same used by Google Earth) to help you calculate your roof’s solar energy potential, without having to climb up any ladders.

The tool first figures out how much sunlight hits your rooftop throughout the year, taking into account factors like roof orientation, shade from trees and nearby buildings, and local weather patterns. You can also enter your typical electric bill amount to customize the results. The tool then combines all this information to estimate the amount you could potentially save with solar panels, and it can help connect you with local solar providers.

Google M Is..Marshmallow

Google has unveiled the next version of Android – i.e. Android M, M being Marshmallow.

Read : Here’s Everything Google Announced About Android M At I/O 2015

Some of the key improvements in Android M include an updated UI, major enhancements in the way permissions are handled, sleep mode battery management, support for Android Pay and much more.

With Android M, users will not be served up a list of app permissions before accepting to install an app, instead Google will ask users to approve individual permissions when an app calls it up. This new feature is very similar to app permissions on iOS and helps users control what data an app has access to.

marshmallow-google

Paytm Invests in NDTV’s Gadgets 360 At $50mn Valuation

NDTV’s gadget site has raised funding from One97, Paytm’s parent company.

Other investors include Inflexionpoint (Cofounded by John Scully, former Apple CEO), Pramod Bhasin (Founder, Genpact), Sixth Sense Ventures (Founded by Nikhil Vora), Vindi Banga (Former Chairman, Unilever), Hiro Mashita (Founder and Director of M&S Partners).

NDTV claims to be serving over 20million monthly unique visitors.

“NDTV Gadgets has always been the most credible go-to-destination for all gadget enthusiasts in India and it is very exciting to see them move to a transactional model with Gadgets 360°”, said Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder – One97 & Paytm, “we are looking forward to partnering them in this journey and creating a compelling market-place experience which marries content, curation and commerce.” Gadgets 360° has raised funding at a valuation of close to $50 million.

NDTV also announced the appointment of Bhawna Agarwal as the CEO of Gadgets 360°. With over 16 years of experience in leading start-ups of the country, Bhawna has been instrumental in setting and scaling up leading brands such as Yatra.com, Seventymm among others. She has been associated with LuxuryRetail in the past and is also on the advisory boards of OYO Rooms, VentureFund among others.

MakeMyTrip launches train-booking app in 5 vernacular languages

MakeMyTrip has launched India’s first vernacular rail booking app in five languages (besides English) – Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malyalam and Gujarati. This follows its vernacularization efforts that began last year with India’s first flight-booking service in Hindi on mobile. The flight-booking service will also be extended to other vernacular languages such as Gujarati, Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam this year.

“Rail was the fastest-growing travel segment in India in 2014. It is also the second-biggest travel segment in India.  With online rail penetration at 43% in 2014, providing value-added services on mobile will further accelerate the growth and adoption of online rail-bookings. There is tremendous potential in vernacular content and we are investing in services supported by vernacular content to catalyze the offline to online shift.” [Anshuman Bapna, Chief Product Officer, MakeMyTrip.com]

Rail-booking trends from non-metros (on MakeMyTrip):

  • Rail-bookings from non-metros in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Gujarat contribute to over one-thrid of total rail bookings for MakeMyTrip
  • Mobile bookings from non-metros in Gujarat surpass desktop bookings
  • Share of online rail-bookings from non-metros from Kerala is the highest among other travel-bookings (such as Flights, Hotels and Bus bookings) in the state

Delivery Service Shadowfax Secures $300K From Snapdeal, Limeroad Founders

Company Name : Shadowfax
Funding Amount : $300K
Investor(s) Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal of Snapdeal, Zishaan Hayath of Powai Lake Ventures, and Prashant Malik of Limeroad.
Funding Round : Angel round


Gurgaon-based Shadowfax has recently received an investment of around $300,000 in an angel round led by Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal of Snapdeal, Zishaan Hayath of Powai Lake Ventures, and Prashant Malik of Limeroad.

ShadowFox employs integrated GPS tracking functions and automated algorithms in its product to improve the efficiency of the network.

Vaibhav Khandelwal, CTO & Co-founder – Shadowfax, elaborates, “We have incorporated several features that leverage our proprietary end-to-end capacity planning algorithm to put the merchant directly in touch with the rider, geo-location for tracking orders, rider route planning, order coupling etc. that will help us become most efficient delivery company. Our advanced technology around restaurant preparation time ensures riders pick up meals only after they are ready and use the shortest route to navigate their way to their destination.

Since its launch in May 2015, Shadowfax today has an average delivery volume processing of approximately 3000 orders a day and 120-150 outlets that are currently utilising its service for last mile delivery in the Delhi-NCR region