News Roundup: 13 Indian Startup News Stories That You Don’t Want To Miss This Week [9-14 April 2018]

We bring to you the latest dope of the Indian startup news stories of the week from the Indian startup ecosystem.
 
One of the biggest news impacting the Indian startup ecosystem was Amazon offering a breakup fee of around $1 Bn to $2 Bn to the homegrown ecommerce unicorn Flipkart, thus wedging itself in a deal between Walmart and Flipkart. The reports have surfaced that Flipkart’s board recently met to discuss the competing proposals and thinks Walmart could close a deal more quickly and smoothly, as with Amazon a prior approval from CCI is a must.
Instamojo has recorded growth of 118%, 41%, and 52% in GMV, total seller addition, and net new active seller addition respectively vs FY17. A significant achievement here is the falling of customer acquisition cost by 11% on a blended basis. It now plans to release at least four game-changing products in FY19.
A group of brick and mortar retailers including Future group and Reliance Retail alleged that ecommerce companies like Flipkart, Amazon India are violating FDI rules by “influencing prices on their platforms and illegally funding “abnormal discounts.” A letter in this regard has been submitted to Minister of Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu by the Retailers Association of India (RAI). Recently, Handset maker’s lobby Indian Cellular Association (ICA) had alleged the same.
Meru Cabs is planning to double its B2B offerings and offer corporate employee transportation, car rentals and airport contracts. Over the next three years, the company is looking to earn 70-75% of its revenues from B2B model, from the present 40-45%.Also, to address cost efficiencies,
Amidst tough competition and driver chaos in the Indian landscape, Uber launched its new partner app for drivers. In India, the app is currently available to select driver partners in Kochi and courier partners in Chennai. It will be rolled out in a phased manner to drivers and delivery partners across the country over the coming months.
Further, within two months of Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s India trip in February, now the company COO Barney Harford is coming to India between April 17-20.
The move will kickoff on April 14, the birth anniversary of Babasaheb Ambedkar, when the government will commit nearly $137.93 Mn (INR 900 Cr) in cashbacks and incentives to merchants to increase adoption of the BHIM app.
 
Further, in partnership with HDFC Bank, Amazon India has announced EMI on Debit Cards. HDFC Bank customers can avail payments via EMI without the need to make upfront payment on purchases over INR 10,000. The company will continue to look for partnerships.
 
Investors Now Need To Disclose Their Unquoted Shares
While angel tax getting barred up to $1.5 Mn (INR10 Cr) funding giving some relief to startups as well as angel investors, Section 50CA of Finance Act 2017 is the new cauchemar for angel investors. Effective from April 1, 2018, as per Section 50CA applicable for FY18 ITR forms, investors now need to disclose deal valuations and report the accurate capital gains over the same.
This will further help in realising the Indian government’s mission to double farmer’s income by 2022. If a ranking system can be put in place, the fight over investments can be brought down and this can encourage more investors to invest in the agriculture sector.
The VC community is looking to raise a number of concerns pertaining to taxation, availability of capital, among other things. The recommendations will likely be submitted by the Indian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (IVCA).
 
Facebook Chief Faces Enquiry, Orkut Launches Hello And More
WhatsApp – freeware messaging and VoIP service by Facebook –  is now being accused of sharing its payments-related data with Facebook and other third-party apps.
Facebook will start sharing elaborate details with its 87 Mn users who might have shared their data with the Cambridge Analytica. The company has confirmed that more than 70 Mn of the affected users are in the US, and a million each in the Philippines, Indonesia, and the UK.
Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg fielded 10 hours of questions over two days from nearly 100 U.S. lawmakers and emerged largely unscathed and considerably richer. He also accepted that his own data has been leaked in the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
With Facebook facing a lot of heat globally due to the data leakage scandal, the old rivals have started reaping the opportunity. One of the first movers in the social networking space, Orkut has launched Hello.  the aim of Hello is to create positive, meaningful, authentic connections and sustained social engagement.
UIDAI Vs SC: Aadhar Hearings Turned To CA Issue
In a recent hearing, SC has asked Rakesh Dwivedi, counsel for the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which administers Aadhaar, whether Aadhar can also lead to similar data leaks like Cambridge Analytica, manipulating the upcoming elections by targeting voters. UIDAI counsel has however denied any such possibility on grounds that they neither have tools nor power to do such level of data analysis.
As per Flipkart’s legal team, nothing in the IT Act mandates that a product has to be sold at a particular price, and revenue not earned (by virtue of giving discounts) cannot be treated as capital expenditure. However, as per the IT officials, these discounts and marketing costs are part of a brand building exercise. The department believes that discounts and large marketing costs of ecommerce firms should be classified as capital expenditure, which is taxable.
 
Further, Flipkart’s Bengaluru office enthralled the global startup community with its new and, so far, the largest office space launched recently. The new campus is spread across 8.3 Lakh Sq. Ft area, with three separate buildings (A, B & C having interconnected bridges) comprising 30 floors and a seating capacity of 7,300+ altogether. It offers a range of basic amenities and shared facilities such as food-court, gym, daycare, etc.
As part of Amazon’s Global selling programme, ecommerce behemoth Amazon India has announced that it will now allow Indian merchants to sell goods in Australia through its platform, giving sellers more opportunities to go international.
Google Home understands Indian accents and will respond to you with uniquely Indian contexts.Google Home and Home Mini have been introduced at the price of $153.9 (INR 9,999) and $76.9 (INR 4,999), respectively on Flipkart and over 750 retail stores including Reliance Digital, Croma and Vijay Sales, among others.
 
In another development, Google filed an appeal to NCLAT against the CCI order. Google was alleged to have indulged in abuse of its dominant position as an online search engine through practices leading to search bias and search manipulation, among others and has been imposed with a penalty of $21 Mn
 
Ola Expands Australian Operations In Melbourne
Ola continues to receive a positive response from driver-partners with over 15K registrations across Australia. Ola offers driver-partners a market low 7.5% introductory commission rate and daily payments, helping them earn more money and access it easily.
 
91springboard Launches Second Co-Working Space In Hyderabad
The shared office space in Hitec City is their second in Hyderabad in just over three years, with a capacity to hold over 400+ seats and replete and features such as stylish open offices, 24×7 access, free high-speed WiFi, printers and scanners, meeting rooms, conference areas, an event space, and a cafe and lounge.
 
Droom Targets $1.2 Bn GMV By December’18
With a major focus on B2C, C2C sales, Enterprise and ecosystem services tools, Droom plans to  double its annualised sales and gross merchandise value from about $613 Mn (INR 4,000 Cr) to $1.2 Bn (INR 8,000 Cr) by December 2018 and $2.75 Bn (INR 18,000 Cr) by 2019. Droom is planning an IPO by end of 2019 and a profitability by the end of 2018.
 
PayPal To Deepen Its India Presence; To Focus On Tier II & III Cities Too: India MD Anupam Pahuja
PayPal does not count fintech companies as competition, rather the ‘India’ still being a cash dominant country is more of a challenge. He is convinced that despite an affluent competition in the fintech industry in India, PayPal will increase its opportunities in India because of the market opportunity. PayPal is aiming to reach the small and medium scale industries in cities and in smaller towns.
 
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