Flipkart just launched its first phone

Steven Millward, writing for Tech in Asia;

Following in the footsteps of Amazon’s Fire phone flop, India’s Flipkart today unveiled its first ever phone.

Starting at US$170, the dual camera Billion Capture+ shows India’s biggest homegrown ecommerce store is going after the cheap-and-cheerful sector that’s currently dominated by Chinese brands Xiaomi and Oppo. It goes on sale November 15.

Here’s the full specs of the Billion Capture+ smartphone;

  • 5.5 inch FHD Display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, @401 ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 64-bit Octa Core 2GHz Processor
  • Adreno 506 GPU
  • Android Nougat 7.1.2, will upgrade to Android Oreo
  • 3GB / 4GB RAM
  • 32GB / 64GB storage expandable up to 128 GB via microSD
  • Dual Rear Camera: 13MP with RGB sensor + 13MP Monochrome with f2.0 aperture, Dual tone 1A true Flash
  • 8MP Front Camera
  • Networks: GSM, WCDMA, 4G LTE, FDD
  • Wifi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Hotspot,
  • 3G, GPRS, Bluetooth,
  • 3.5 mm headphone jack
  • Sensors: G-sensor, Proximity Sensor, Light Sensor, Gyroscope, Hall Sensor, Fingerprint
  • FM Radio
  • Dimension: 76.5mm x 153mm x 8.5mm
  • Weight: 176 G
  • 3500 mAh Li-Polymer Battery
  • Colors: Desert Golder, Mystic Black

Price:

  • 64GB with 4 GB RAM – INR 13,999 or around $214*
  • 32GB with 3 GB RAM – INR 11,999 or around $183*

*$1 = INR 65.39

India’s Ola Raises $2 Billion From SoftBank, Tencent

Saritha Rai, writing for Bloomberg;

Ola scored $2 billion in new funding from a group of investors including SoftBank Group Corp. and Tencent Holdings Ltd., a person familiar with the matter said, helping bankroll Uber Technologies Inc.’s fiercest rival in India.

Other backers in the ride-hailing startup’s latest financing round included a venture capital fund jointly run by Indian industrialist Ratan Tata and the University of California’s investment arm, as well as several U.S. institutional investors, people familiar with the deal said, asking not to be identified talking about a private deal. The company’s valuation after the financing wasn’t immediately clear.

Money fund their way against Uber!

VCs-backed Indian foodtech startup Yumist shuts down as it failed to raise follow-on funding

Sainul Abudheen K, writing for e27;

Yumist, a VCs-backed foodtech startup that offered home-style meals to Indian customers, has wounded up operations, as it failed to raise follow-on funding and also due to “a bunch of internal and external factors”.

The development indicates that the turbulent period, which saw many leading startups including foodpanda and TinyOwl either scale down or shut down business in 2015-16, is not over yet.

It’s sad to see a startup to shutdown, they have a great concept but the execution is a bit clunky and just like what they said on their blog post, they were not able to recover fast enough.

Here’s the full text of their farewell blogpost;

It’s been a fabulous journey, but…

When we gave birth to Yumist in 2014, we had a singular vision in mind – to make honest, homely food available conveniently at affordable prices. We wanted to build the go-to food brand for the daily meals market in India, a fragmented market serviced largely by unorganised players offering sub-standard food.

From the very beginning, we knew that our biggest challenge will be finding a business model that’s profitably scalable. We tried multiple iterations across our supply chain to achieve this. There was a time in early 2015 when our bikers had hot meals with them basis a demand prediction algorithm and orders were delivered within 15 mins. We delivered one such order in 2 mins and the customer’s expression was priceless, but our P&L had a different sort of expression.

The one thing going in our favour was we learnt and recovered from our mistakes quickly. By March 2017, we had hit the sweet spot. We were making Rs 65 in margins per order at an average order value of Rs 190 (an avg order for us would serve 2 people), our delivery outlets were breaking even at just 70 orders a day, we were acquiring new customers at Rs 180 and recovering back this money within 45 days. Owing to our product quality and customer experience, we enjoyed good word of mouth (with 50% of our new customers coming through referrals), 70% of our monthly orders were from repeat customers and from March until September we tripled our revenues and gross margins. With these trends, Yumist would have become a profitable company by June 2018.

Yet, we are shutting shop today. We failed to raise the kind of capital that this business required while staying true to the customer problem. In hindsight, there’s a bunch of internal and external factors that led us to this dead end.

From launching in a second city prematurely, or committing to a high growth, high burn model just because prospective investors wanted to see that back in 2015, or taking a tad bit too long to find the right business model, we made our mistakes. We learnt from these mistakes and recovered fast, but maybe not too fast.

Also, every company has a context in which it operates – the economic climate, investor sentiment, the sector one operates in. Essentially, there are external factors which one can’t really control. 2016 onwards, food tech (in the manner the term is loosely used) had amassed a notoriety with investors and media and became almost a dirty word. We failed in all our attempts to fundraise since then, as investors wanted to wait it out.

At this juncture, some questions haunt us. Had we built Yumist in a different time, would the outcome be different? Would we then have raised enough capital allowing us to build this same business profitably across the Country? Maybe yes, maybe no. We will never know.

What we do know is this. Cloud Kitchens are here to stay. It’s probably the case that the first one through the door gets shot. The problem we were trying to solve is a big one and we are certain someone will pick up from where we left. Our wishes and support are with them.

In hindsight, we have no complaints and, in fact, are proud entrepreneurs today. Building Yumist gave us the opportunity to work with great minds, work at the cutting edge of food science and technology in all its facets, and create frameworks and supply chains we believe will become industry standards in the near future. The thrill and meaningfulness of the journey supersede any destination we might have hoped to reach.

PS. If you have a Wallet balance with us, you will receive an email shortly with the refund process. You can reach us at support@yumist.com anytime.

Google debuts Tez, a mobile payments app for India

Ingrid Lunden, writing for TechCrunch;

After several weeks of speculation and leaked details, today Google officially unveiled its first big foray into mobile payments in Asia. The Android and search giant has launched Tez, a new mobile wallet in India that will let users link up their phones to their bank accounts to pay for goods securely in physical stores and online, and for person-to-person money transfers.

Google has trademarked the name Tez in the Philippines as well, so it appears that the search giant will launch the service in the Philippine later this year or early 2018.

Tez is now available on Google Play Store and App Store.

IntelleGrow launching US$31M venture debt fund to invest in social enterprises

Sainul Abudheen K, writing for e27;

Mumbai-based IntelleGrow — a non-banking financial company (NBFC) which provides debt for working capital needs of early-stage, high-risk SMEs, typically, in the social impact sector — is launching a new fund to the tune of INR 200 crore (approximately US$31 million), its CEO Akbar Khan told e27.

The new fund, expected to go live sometime next year, aims to invest in IntelleGrow’s existing portfolios, as well as new companies.

IntelleGrow has already backed 180 companies across agriculture, clean energy, education, financial inclusion, affordable healthcare, and water and sanitation.

YouTube Go beta launches in India

Chaim Gartenberg, reporting for The Verge;

Google announced today that a public YouTube Go beta is now available for users to try out in India. The new app is a redesigned version of the YouTube Go app announced last September, which is specifically focused on offering an improved experience in areas with poor connectivity.

MyTaxiIndia

MTI (My Taxi India) is a complete car rental solution for local, outstation or holidays tour. Within few years of its launch, MTI already has the largest ISO 9001:2008 certified taxi network in India, or local, outstation or holidays tour. Within few years of its launch, MTI already has the largest ISO 9001:2008 certified taxi network in India, with over 15,000 + taxis operating across 120+ cities. Unlike other on-line car rental companies in the country, the company follows an affiliate business model, whereby it works with on-board taxi fleet operators across the country.

The startup was founded in 2013 by CEO Anshuman Mihir.

UAE’s Zain Group makes strategic investment in MyTaxiIndia

Sainul Abudheen K, reporting for E27;

Gurgaon-based MyTaxiIndia (MTI), an online platform to book outstation taxi and cab rental services in India, has raised strategic investment from UAE-based investment and holding company Zain Group of Companies.

The startup was founded in 2013 by Anshuman Mihir (CEO). MTI is an outstation taxi and cabs service provider, focussed on servicing both one-way taxi and package-based outstation taxi service segments. Its services are available in more than 120 cities across India with 10,000-plus routes, including Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Agra, Chandigarh, Pune, Manali, and Shimla.

Ola gets $330m from SoftBank, but valuation plummets to $3.5b

DurbaDurba Ghosh, writing for Tech in Asia;

India’s Uber arch-rival Ola has once again won backing from Japan’s SoftBank, with fresh funding of US$330 million, a person familiar with the details of the deal told Tech in Asia.

However, the fresh funding comes at a cost. Ola’s valuation has dropped by more than 30 percent to US$3.5 billion, Business Standard reported today. Ola’s valuation drop is indicative of declining investor confidence in India.

It’s high time for Ola to expand to other markets and not just their home country.

Techcircle

Techcircle.in is dedicated to tracking innovations, products, strategies, technology, financing, companies and people behind them in India’s startup universe.

The platform is part of VCCircle Network, a leading financial data, news and information services group. Its portfolio of businesses includes leading financial news web sites, flourishing events and training divisions and a financial data platform, VCC Edge.

Anchanto

Anchanto, an ecommerce and logistic company based in Singapore. The Anchanto platform is ecommerce ecosystem, enabling and connecting all key players across the globe. Anchanto was established on 17th June 2011 in Singapore with the vision “to give customers an enchanting experience” through our software platform and associated services.

PaisaWapas

Paisawapas.com, simply known among the top Cashback sites in India, serves its users by catering them best deals, discounts and coupons which are tested manually every day for the ease of the customer to compare and purchase their favorite products on 100+ various online websites (eg. Flipkart, Amazon, Paytm, Snapdeal, Jabong, Makemytrip, Yatra, Goibibo, Zovi, Foodpanda etc) along with the Extra Cashback on their transactions. We help our users save upto 20% cash back on their online shopping. Our mission is to be a single platform, where any user can get best experience at browsing their favourite items, knowing the best discount & offer on it and earning extra cashback as well.

Founded by by IIT alums Shankar Kotuli and Ashish Kumar, the site was launched in May 2015.

HOOQ

Launched in 2015, HOOQ is a gateway to a world of unlimited entertainment. With just one app, you can stream, download and enjoy over 30,000 hours worth of Hollywood/local movies and TV series. All from your smart phone, tablet and/or computer.

HOOQ currently have more than 10,000 movies and TV shows in their catalog. The service if currently available in The Philippines, Thailand, India, Indonesia, or Singapore.

Medinfi Healthcare

Medinfi is India’s first pure-play content mobile application which allows users to get verified and genuine information on doctors and hospitals. It allows users to search doctors, hospitals, and clinics near to their current location. Medinfi mobile app automatically detects user location and helps them find nearby doctors, hospitals, and clinics.

Medinfi is currently available in Bengaluru, Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon, and Navi Mumbai. It will be expanding in many more cities in coming months.

The company was founded in January 2014.