Category Archives: Indian Startups

The Complete Coverage of Indian Technology Startups.

Madhya Pradesh Government Launches 100 Crores VC Fund To Promote And Incubate Startups

The BJP government has been focusing on local innovation – starting with budget announcements to launching Make In India campaign.

ShivrajSingh Chouhan, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh has announced (on Twitter) that the state government is launching a VC fund of INR 100 crores to promote and incubate startups in IT and MSME sector.

This is a great step to not just promote innovation at state level, but also will help tap (and grow) local talent.

Having said that, the bigger question is who is the beneficiary? Who helps government decide on a ‘great startup’ to invest in? What are the metrics to track such funding?

We certainly hope that the government has answers for all these. Nevertheless, entrepreneurship is going mainstream and is certainly a good news for all!

Recommended Read : What is the role of government in promoting Entrepreneurship? Stay Away!

[Thanks @ravhari for the tip.]

Exclusive : ZopNow Launches ShopStr; Is Playing A Platform Play [Brings iPhone 6 To India]

Online grocery store, ZopNow’s parent company, ZN Retail has launched ShopStr, an online platform that offers great products at competitive prices, and is (probably?) the first online store to sell the iPhone 6 in India.

More importantly, and something which could be of greater significance in the Indian e-commerce space is that ShopStr marks the first use of the ZopNow e-commerce platform and this also gives a sense of the path ZopNow is going after – i.e. as an enabler of ecommerce platform.

ShopStr Uses ZopNow's Ecommerce Platform
ShopStr Uses ZopNow’s Ecommerce Platform

“While building ZopNow, we have consciously built it as a modular platform which will help other retailers to come online in a very seamless manner. This platform will take care of all aspects of building a scalable e-commerce business, all the way from marketing to consumers to customer relationship management to inventory management and last-mile delivery. We did this first with Hypercity, where we have made their inventory available to ZopNow customers. And now ShopStr is the proof that the platform works.” Mukesh Singh, the founder and CEO of ZopNow

ShopStr has tied up with suppliers across the world to bring well-established products at competitive prices to consumers in India and the iPhone 6 is the first product on ShopStr (which reminds us of 20North, Bangalore based startup that did something similar).

For ZopNow, this is an interesting platform play – i.e. they control the front-end to delivery experience, but will aggregate inventory from others and in some cases, license the platform.

With PitchDeck, Anyone Can Create Amazing Presentations

PitchDeck is a pitch presentation app that lets you create presentations that are very dynamic and fluid. The app demoed at the BigMobilityConf2014 and was presented by founder Sumanth Raghavendra with a purpose to make everyone create amazing content which drives their business.

deck

PitchDeck is much similar to PowerPoint presentations except that deck controls the degree of freedom that the user has on creating the presentation. Pitch has a wide variety of colors, fonts and creatives to make the presentation look much more memorable to the audience.

Most contents that are required to create a pitch are saved as templates in the app so that the user does not have to worry about layouts and animations. Deck has a list of rich visualizations which keeps that audience’s focus fixated on the presentation.

Sumanth mentions that the presence of text in these presentations is very limited as text is only added complementary to the creatives to build up on the story.

The app is effective because it works seamlessly across all devices on al platforms. The slides can be shared by a single URL to any device and can be remotely controlled by a mobile device from over any distance. The app also integrates analytics in to the presentations so that the user knows as to which slide has been viewed how many times by whom and thus improve the contents further accordingly.

Pretty powerful?

Meru Launches Wallet In Partnership With Citrus

Meru Cabs has launched wallet feature enabling zero-click checkout, i.e. you can now book a cab, and the ride fare will be automatically deducted from your wallet once your ride is over.

Meru Wallet
Meru Wallet

This launch comes after Olacabs announced Ola Wallet.

Uber India : Can They Improve Wallet Experience?

Given that RBI has gone after Uber’s payment collection mechanism, it will be interesting to see how Uber can come up with better user experience than what companies like Olacabs/Meru are currently providing through wallet. Moving out of an app and adding money via wallet provider site/app isn’t a great experience after all.

Read : Meru CEO : Uber India Not Just Violated RBI’s Guidelines, but FEMA Rules Too

Recommended Analysis : Are Online Cab Aggregators Starting To Dent Offline Ones?

Date Before Marrying : Fairket Lets You Rent Apps Before You Purchase Them

Fairket is a mobile app that lets users avail premium app experience by renting the app rather than purchasing it directly from the app store.

Fairket provides a fair platform for developers, 64% of who are below the app poverty line. The app lets the developer integrate the Fairket SDK into the app which makes the app feature on the Fairket platform. Developers can choose the desired rental amount for their apps and can also change the pricing later. Featuring the app on Fairket does not limit exposure as the developer is also free to distribute the app directly via the Play Store.

Fairket : Rent Apps
Fairket : Rent Apps (Uses IAP)

For a user, upon signing upon in to the Fairket app, the app provides the user with a certain prepaid credit as a promotional activity. The prepaid account needs to have some amount on it for the user to start renting app. The amount loaded on to the account can be used across all apps on the Fairket platform making sure that none of the user’s money is wasted.fairket

The app rental market provides the user with a premium experience of the app on rental. Once the user runs of rental credit, the Fairket app displays a pop up which gives the user an option to either continue with rental, buy the paid app or use the free version of the app.

Muralidharan Ranga, co-founder of Fairket, also added that such a model of app distribution will be the next big wave in developing economies as users do not mind shelling out small amounts over a period of time as compared to paying a lump sum amount for buying the app.

Fairket also is an app discovery platform for new developers as it provides visibility to the developer’s app through the existing user base. Fairket currently has Kids, Gaming and Education as the primary verticals and is looking at adding Utility apps to the list.

Developers can register at the developer console and integrate the SDK with their app. Rental plans and amounts can be decided by the app developer. Fairket’s revenue model is to charge 10% of the revenue made by the developers through Fairket app. But through the early partner benefit, developer can use the platform for free and is liable only to the 30% that Google Play Store charges.

Fairket is currently available on Android Play Store (link) and the startup is working on expanding to iOS in the near future.

Orios Venture Partners Invests Rs. 15cr in Ziffi.com

Online booking system for beauty salons, doctors and health tests, Ziffi.com, has raised Series A funding of Rs. 15cr from Orios Venture Partners. The website covers over a 1,000 salons, 15,000 Doctors and 5,000 Diagnostic Centres, operating in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore & Hyderabad.ziffi

The funding will be deployed to expand Ziffi.com’s network of service providers, strengthen technology interface, enhance design and initiate an aggressive marketing and brand building campaign to spread awareness about the gamut of service offerings now available at Ziffi.com.

“We estimate that there are currently 3 million people at the technology adoption cycle in India ready to use such a service and by 2020 this number will swell close to 100M people. We are impressed by the company’s vision and the incredible work they have done so far and we are delighted to back them in their next phase of growth.”
                                            Rehan Yar Khan, Managing Partner of Orios Venture Partners

Ziffi, earlier known as Docsuggest.com, is based in Powai, Mumbai with a team of over 40 people across 4 cities and was founded by IIT Bombay and IIT Kharagpur alumni in 2010.  The firm has successfully booked over 250,000 appointments till date and is also looking forward to launch their smartphone app.

Coffee Shops Are Passé, It’s time for Some BreathingRoom

Ever felt the need to find a place in a busy city where you could have some space to get your work done? Sure, coffee shops are the first option. Here is another – Breathing Room.breathing room

BreathingRoom is a network of on-demand hourly workspace providing startup that demoed at the BigMobilityConf2014. The Breathing Room app provides users with hourly commercial workspaces available near the user’s location thus avoiding the need to visit a coffee shop.

BreathingRoom provides professional work spaces where users can have access to fast Wi-Fi, privacy from other users/visitors and have a quiet ambiance to get their work done. The spaces provided by Breathing Room are shared real-estate from various firms who have additional workspaces.

The app accepts prior booking up to 3 days and also provides information on the available time slots of the selected space as well as reservations made for the same space by other users and the whole process takes merely 45 seconds. The service is currently live in Mumbai, Pune, Hong Kong and Bangalore.

Breathing Room is a privately held startup based in Pune and was founded by Kaushal S and his team. The team estimates the business to be worth $5Bn and intends at being the market disruptor in the commercial real estate segment.

Here is a video of Breathing Room launching at BigMobilityConf2014:

 

The Smartpocket App Wallet – Physical Out, Digital In.

The BigMobilityConf2014 saw a lot many new Mobile app demos. Smartpocket app, the flagship product by Bangalore based Findulum Techlabs Pvt Ltd was one such app that demoed at the Conf.  smartpocketapp

Co-founded by Mayank Shah and Kiran Shastri, the app collects digital versions of the user’s cards and stores them on a virtual wallet, providing the necessary info about the cards utilities. The app aims to make physical wallets obsolete in 5 years and use smartphones instead.

Smartpocket can store all your cards from your driving license to pan cards to bank cards to loyalty and insurance cards. The user details are collected from the phone numbers linked to the cards and the info is dumped on to the wallet, thus avoiding the need to feed card details on the wallet.

The app can provide all the details related to the cards like cash backs and discounts available on bank cards, redeemable points on loyalty cards, travel miles on travel cards, insurance coverage from insurance cards and also help the user pay penalty/fine charged by police officials. The app stores digital images of the cards so that the user can have a hard copy printed as and when needed.

The app is a one point conduit for corporates to engage with their customers. Smartpocket provides a common point of engagement for different services where the companies can use campaigns to engage with its customers.  The app also provides geo-locating services enabling targeted marketing to customers.

The app has been live for 3 months and has had around 7000 downloads. Smartpocket works with 7 brands currently and has over 13000 cards registered. The app was selected by Google Launchpad for the mentorship programme and was also part of Nasscom’s 10000 startup programme.

Here is a video of Smartpocket app from the BigMobilityConf2014:

Exotel Breaks Silence. They Are Not Shutting Down. Takes A Shot At Knowlarity

There were rumors of shutting down (started on the Secretly app) and while the team didn’t react to it, they have now sent an email to users clarifying the situation. And not just clarifying, the company has taken a shot at its competitor, Knowlarity (which recently raised a massive $16mn funding  round).

Below is the email from Shivku, Exotel founder and CEO.


Exotel's Shutdown Rumor
Exotel’s Shutdown Rumor

Exotel was the topic of quite a few discussions on social media these last few months.

There was talk that our employees were leaving us and that we were shutting shop. My favourite is the one where someone said that I was being investigated for stealing money from Exotel. We didn’t want to dignify these comments with any response. Hiding behind a so-called secret app (the one where you sign up with your phone number, lol!) made everyone’s true character shine and we wanted to leave it at just that.

But, our lack of reaction was mistaken for apathy by our competitors.

Knowlarity, another company in the business of cloud telephony used these rumours to create panic among our customers. A few of our clients received emails from Knowlarity claiming we were closing down.

Taking this a step further, their sales reps even called our clients claiming to be someone from Exotel to try and poach them.

Apparently, we’re not the first competitor they’ve tried these tricks against!

When I wrote to the CEO of Knowlarity about these emails and phone calls to Exotel’s clients, he suggested that these were merely the result of us “competing for the same customer base.”

The reason I’m writing to you today, is to let you know that Exotel is in a wonderful place! We’re growing at a rapid pace. Our revenues and customer base are growing. Our churn rate is at an all-time low. We’ve rolled out some really cool features like an all new dashboard with unparalleled search features, priority SMS, bulk SMS etc.

Exotel Shutting Down? No
Exotel Shutting Down? No

If you have also received any such calls or emails, please do not believe them and let your account manager know about it.


Exotel founder, Shivku has also shared the below screenshot (of Knowlarity trying to poach Exotel customers) and this call script.

Knowlarity Sales Email to Exotel Customers
Knowlarity Sales Email to Exotel Customers (click for high res)

All is fair in love and war?

PS : Here is Knowlarity’s Response On This Issue.

GetActive Tapp – The New Wearable Tech For A Healthy Lifestyle

GetActive, a technological initiative by 2mpower in wearable technology, has launched wearable device, GetActive tapp.  The product follows WHO guidelines to benchmark individual activity levels. It tracks daily physical activity like steps taken in a day, calories burnt, distance covered in kilometres and non-sedentary time spent all day. It uses Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) to communicate automatically with mobile phones.GetActive tapp 1

GetActive tapp sports a trendy design which wirelessly syncs with smartphones to deliver live fitness stats, which can be viewed on a personalized dashboard, downloadable both on iOS and Android phones. In addition, it allows the user to accumulate currency for every step taken, that can be redeemed in GetActive’s partner ecosystem which helps people build a community, who can compete, challenge and get rewarded for ACTIVE behavior.

As per a recent Accenture report, consumers in India were most interested in buying fitness monitors (80 percent), smart watches (76 percent) and Internet-enabled eyeglasses (74 percent). Industry observers believe that the wearable category is at a nascent stage in India, today. They estimate that the category is pegged at 50 Cr in 2014 and will reach a whopping 2500 Cr, by 2018. In the US, this industry will touch 50,000 Cr ($8.5B) during the same time.GetActive tapp 2

GetActive aims at increasing and sustaining regular physical activity through quantification, gamification & social engagement. Over the last three years, GetActive has empowered more than fifteen thousand people towards a healthier and happier life across the country. It has also tied up with 28 corporates to improve the work productivity and efficiency of their employees.

The firm had secured funding from Mohandas Pai, the Chairman of Manipal global Education Services and Sharad Hegde, former Infosys CTO.  Apart from global players like Fitbit, GetActive also competes with Vishal Gondal’s GoQii.

GetActive tapp available for sale exclusively on Myntra and is priced at Rs.4999.

MySmartPrice Launches Price Comparison On WhatsApp

Price comparison company, MySmartPrice has announced an integration on whatsapp. Once you send a query to 9332222222 on Whatsapp, you will get the market price of any device immediately.

This comes as a handy tool for people who are shopping at offline stores and want to quickly find the price online to make a decision. Ofcourse, a good distribution mechanism and improves stickiness.mysmartprice

Hyderabad based MySmartPrice has also launched a Chrome plugin (similar to buyhatke) that will help you get the redmi device.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3RWGaI_UlY

VWO acquires Concept Feedback, Community Of 27,000 UX Experts

VWO (earlier known as Visual Website Optimizer) has acquired Concept Feedback, a community of 27,000+ UX experts and designers from where you can get detailed website feedback to increase conversions.

VWO Acquires ConceptFeedback
VWO Acquires ConceptFeedback

As part of the acquisition, Concept Feedback’s offering will be gradually integrated with Visual Website Optimizer.

Concept Feedback aligns especially well with our flagship feature, IdeaFactory, which already has more than 300 testing ideas for conversion optimization. But we wanted to ensure you never run out of conversion optimization and testing ideas again. And with an expert community of 27,000+, you never will [Paras, Founder of VWO]

This gives VWO a good headway into UX community. VWO has bootstrapped to $7mn revenue (last year) and boasts of 3700+ customer base.

BONUS Video : How VWO Bootstrapped To Success.

Zomato On An Acquisition Spree : Acquires Poland’s Popular Restaurant Search Service Gastronauci

zomato-poland
Zomato In Poland

Zomato has acquired Gastronauci, Poland’s most popular restaurant search service. This is Zomato’s 4th acquisition within a span of 3 months. The transaction is expected to be completed by the beginning of November.

Gastronauci’s website and mobile app helps users in Poland look for places to dine out or order in from a database of over 26,000 restaurants across the country.

Zomato and Gastronauci will work on building and rolling out an integrated product in the coming months. The team at Gastronauci will be working closely with the Zomato team following this acquisition.

Zomato : On An Acquisition Spree

Zomato which raised $37mn in 2013 has now acquired 4 companies globally within a span of 3 months. New Zealand-based restaurant search service MenuMania became a part of Zomato in July 2014. Lunchtime.cz and Obedovat.sk, the Czech Republic’s and Slovakia’s popular restaurant guides, became a part of Zomato on the 22nd of August, 2014.

Instamojo Launches App Store; Makes Selling Easy

has launched an app store that provides a suite of apps where you can subscribe to any app that will make selling easier for you.

Instamojo's Appstore
Instamojo’s Appstore

How is Instamojo’s app store different from similar services (like affiliate / sms notification / bulk email) provided by companies like Explara/Meraevents? Well, it’s about the way Instamojo is positioning this as. Some of the apps that are live are:

  • Merchant Affiliate System – Create your own affiliate network, and let others sell for you. 
  • Email multiple customers – Communicate with your existing customers, and send them updates about your products, and events. 
  • iMojo Link Privacy System - Control visibility of your links, on your profile page, search engines, and sharing. 
  • SMS Notification Alert - Get SMS notifications for each sale [more]

You can buy credits to use these apps (some of the apps are free). We certainly hope third party developers is in the offing [read :Earlier, Explara launched its API] .

Read : Comparison of Instamojo Vs. Explara Vs. MeraEvents.

Recommended Video : What Instamojo Learnt From Its Global Counterparts

 

Yahoo Makes Its First Indian Acquisition, Acquires Bookpad.

Yahoo has acquired Bookpad, whose flagship product Docspad, enables document embedding, annotations and editing in enterprise applications.docspad

The Bangalore based startup has built an end to end document handling technology for the cloud.

Bookpad’s Docspad is different from Google docs as it integrates with several other applications (via API) and is a good fit for corporates who want to open up files inside applications (for e.g. applicant-tracking systems, FFle-sharing apps, conferencing solutions, Learning Management solutions etc).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3s_SPeMmeg

Though several media outlets have called it a 50 crores deal, the acquisition amount stands at over $1mn (undisclosed*. Founders will share details after the dust has settled). Yahoo India has made several investments in Indian Internet companies, but has had mixed RoI (CallEzee deal is off, Yahoo sold its stake in Bharatmatrimony).

Yahoo has a bad history with M&A (case study: Flickr) and we really wonder what’s the plan company has with Bookpad technology. For Yahoo SMB? Definitely not. Yahoo’s mobile strategy? Does it have one?

* : In cases like these, we bat for the founders.