Zuckerberg Foundation and Others to invest $50 Million in India’s Byju’s

Zuckerberg Foundation and Others to invest $50 Million in India’s Byju’s

Bengaluru based education technology startup Byju’s has raised $50 million from  the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and existing investors Sequoia Capital, Belgian investment firm Sofina SA, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Times Internet Ltd.

This is the first Asian investment for Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, a personal fund set up by Facebook Inc. founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan.

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Byju’s provides learning programs for class VI to XII students and preparation programs for competitive examinations such as JEE, CAT, IAS, GRE and GMAT, among others. With this investment, Byju’s is the most well-capitalized education technology start-up in the country.

Byju’s makes use of original content, graphics and other video tools to explain concepts and theories that makes learning contextual and visual, not just theoretical. It leverages technology and data science to make learning personalized so that the students will know what to learn, when to learn, how to learn, how much to learn, and how fast to learn.

With its app-based learning program, Byju’s business model has undergone a significant change in the last one year, from a classroom-based model to an app-based one. The company claims revenue has grown from Rs 45 crore to Rs 120 crore in fiscal 2016.

Byju’s Learning App is growing at 15% month-on-month and has crossed 5.5 million downloads. The application has 250,000 annual paid subscribers, having added 30,000 paid students last month.

The company will deploy the fresh funds to expand into global markets, especially in the US and UK, introduce new subjects beyond physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics as well as roll out products for classes IV and V.

“This investment was done keeping a couple of things in mind, primarily to get a good partner on board who can help us connect with the international market. We have already started developing products for the international markets. It will take us 12-15 months to complete,” said Byju Raveendran, founder of Byju’s.

“Education can give young people and their families a path to a better future, and families in India work hard to give their children that chance. Byju’s represents an opportunity to help even more students develop a love for learning and unlock their potential,” said Vivian Wu of Chan Zuckerberg Initiative in a statement. She will join the board of Byju’s.

Shopclues to Invest Rs 1 Crore across 4 Startups

Shopclues to Invest Rs 1 Crore across 4 Startups

Online marketplace and unicorn Shopclues will invest a total of Rs 1 crore across four startups. The startups receiving funding are Pepper Agro, Glam Studios, Ornativa and Scrapify. ShopClues shortlisted these startups after organizing the first edition of the ‘Next Big E-preneur Challenge’, which they plan to make an annual event. This collaboration also entails assistance in operations, technology and strategic partnerships that ShopClues intends to provide to these startups.

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Bengaluru-based Pepper Agro is an online marketplace for gardening products.

Founded in 2016, Noida-based Glam Studios claims to be India’s first chain of tech-driven standardized salons. It currently provides services in Hyderabad and NCR.

Ornativa is a jewellery startup that uses 3D printing technology to build their products. It is already a merchant on ShopClues and wants to use the funding to scale up and build its brand.

Scrapify is still in its ideation stage.

Though Shopclues has not finalized yet whether to have a stake in the companies or disburse the amount based on milestone, details shall be finalized by the next week, stated Ganesh Balakrishnan, assistant vice-president, Merchant Services, ShopClues. Based on the stage and the requirements of the startups, ShopClues will divide and invest the money. “It’s not just money that we are giving. We want to help the entrepreneurs with our know-how and expertise in ecommerce itself and offer any operational help,” added Balakrishnan.

“The next clutch of entrepreneurs in India is really pushing the envelope of innovation and also carefully looking at execution and profitability,” said Sandeep Aggarwal, Founder of ShopClues. “I believe that challenges such as these are an ideal way to encourage fresh approach and help bolster the enthusiasm that is already present in India’s startup world.” ShopClues has previously invested in real-time shopping-assistant app HeyBiz.

Mahindra joins Hands with Ola to take on Uber

Mahindra joins Hands with Ola to take on Uber

Recently, auto make Mahindra and Mahindra announced partnership with ride hailing company Ola to offer discounts on Mahindra cars, vehicle financing, and maintenance packages to Ola drivers. “Mahindra-Ola package” will start at zero down payment and also include accident insurance and scholarships for the children of drivers.

Through this deal, Mahindra is targeting to supply 40,000 cars to Ola in next two years and generate a business of Rs 2,600 crore for the Mahindra Group. Ola has presence in more than 100 cities with half-a-million drivers registered on its portal. Deal with Mahindra will definitely help Ola to stand against rival Uber more effectively.

Mahindra joins Hands with Ola to take on Uber

While a section of auto maker industry views ride-sharing firms as a threat by making image of vehicles just as a medium to go from point A to B rather than something that consumer want to own, Mahindra & Mahindra and Tata Motors are moving strategically to grab the volumes. Tata Motors has already joined hands with Uber.

“India’s mobility needs are unique and unlike any other market globally. Shared mobility will leapfrog car ownership as a paradigm in terms of percentage car ownership. But as an absolute number, there will definitely be an increase in ownership. But in terms of utilization, share mobility and ride sharing will drive the future needs of the country in the time to come,” explained Bhavish Aggarwal, CEO of Olacabs. Ola is planning to have at least 5 million cars under its umbrella over the next five years.

“It’s a collaboration of the two ecosystems—what we have created is a package called One-Mahindra, which brings the strength of our federation. Even investors have realized that they are better off banking on companies that are not only purely virtual but also have a strong offline presence,” stated Anand G. Mahindra, chairman of the Mahindra Group.

This deal is a win-win deal for both of the parties. While Mahindra gets a captive audience for their cars, insurance, finance and other businesses, Ola gets a larger alliance partner because of which they may be able to give better terms to the drivers.

Quikr Acquired Stepni to Introduce Vehicle Maintenance Service

Quikr Acquired Stepni to Introduce Vehicle Maintenance Service

Online classified platform Quikr acquired Stepni, Bengaluru based maintenance aggregator that connects vehicle owners with nearby maintenance service providers. The amount of deal remained undisclosed.

Stepni was founded by Vinay Singh and Nikhil Nair in October 2015, having a network of more than 125 service centres across Bengaluru. The Stepni team, including the founders will join QuikrCars.

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As identified five key business segments for Quikr growth – automobiles, real estate, jobs, services and customer-to-customer sales, Stepni acquisition will help Quikr to strengthen car-related services under the QuikrCars vertical, as well as lift its services business, QuikrServices. Quikr aims to expand the vehicle maintenance service to other cities in the next three months.

Atul Tewari, head of QuikrCars and chief operating officer at Quikr stated, “At QuikrCars, we believe there is an acute need and a large opportunity for someone to innovate in the auto buying/selling space in India. In new cars, we are working closely with OEMs (original equipment makers) to address their marketing needs, and in used cars we are by far the number one destination for inspected, consumer-owned cars. Stepni’s business model will now allow us to develop a longer-term relationship with car owners as opposed to only at the point of buying-selling.”

“Teaming up with Quikr brings tremendous possibilities for our business model on the demand side and it will help to scale the platform seamlessly across multiple cities,” said Vinay Singh, co-founder, Stepni.

Quikr has been investing aggressively to build the five verticals by both acquiring companies and making strategic investments. Quikr is growing beyond a listing platform to a one-stop shop for used goods by enabling payments on its platform, as well as facilitating logistics. Since the slowdown in external funding is forcing startups to reduce cash burn and find better revenue sources, Quikr is growing in the same direction.

Since last year Quikr has acquired Realty Exchange (IRX), Realtycompass and CommonFloor for enhancing its real estate business. It also acquired beauty services Salosa and Zapluk, and hiring platform Hiree for its jobs vertical.

Amazon India – Launches Prime Subscription Service in 100 Cities

Amazon India – Launches Prime Subscription Service in 100 Cities

Amazon India launched its Prime Subscription program in more than 100 cities in the country with benefits like free one-day and two-day delivery on lakhs of products and early access to its exclusive offers to customers subscribing to this service. Prime Video, which will include Amazon original TV series and movies besides Indian and global content, is expected to be launched soon as a part of the service. The launch of Prime may boost Amazon India’s growth by improving its customer retention rates.

Amazon India – Launches Prime Subscription Service in 100 Cities

Amazon Prime is currently available for a free 60-day trial after which the subscription will be available at discounted annual fee of Rs 499. The listing price is expected to be Rs 999, which is quite lower side as compared with the cost of $99 (Rs 6,670) in the US and £96 (Rs 8,450) in the UK.  Apart from fast delivery, Prime members will get early access to products in the “Lightning Deals” category every day. They will also get exclusive deals from select brands and sellers.

Prime will be available to customers in 100 Indian cities, and members in 20 cities can choose also same-day, morning or scheduled delivery at a discounted fee of Rs 50 per order on over 10,000 products. These deliveries typically cost Rs 150.

Amazon India country head Amit Agarwal stated, “Prime is great for both customers and sellers. For customers, one-day and two-day delivery, which is something that they enjoy as an occasional indulgence, becomes an everyday experience as they shop for products on Amazon. For sellers, Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) becomes even more attractive. FBA has helped sellers’ lower costs and increase sales. Now, all their products under FBA will be eligible for Prime. So, Prime will result in more sales for sellers who sign up for FBA.”

In US, Amazon Prime has been a major driver for consumer repeatability. According to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, Amazon has a total of 63 million Prime members in the US that counts more than half of its total customers, as of June 30. Prime subscribers spend about $1,200 annually on the website, compared with $500 for non-subscribers.

Flipkart, biggest rival of Amazon India has its own version of Prime called Flipkart First. However, Flipkart hasn’t seen the kind of customer interest it expected and Flipkart First isn’t a major contributor to the company’s growth. It highlights the difficulties in operating the program successfully with poor infrastructure of the country.

Amazon is aggressively investing in India to penetrate the market volume of local biggies like Flipkart and Snapdeal. Last month Amazon announced the invest $3 billion to enhance its market share in India. The launch of Prime just before the start of the shopping season in India is expected to help the company consolidate customer base.

Quikr acquires Hiree to strengthen Job Listing Vertical – QuikrJobs

Quikr acquires Hiree to strengthen Job Listing Vertical – QuikrJobs

Online classifieds player Quikr has acquired Hiree, Bengaluru based online recruitment platform to strengthen its job listings business, QuikrJobs. Financials of the deals remained undisclosed.

Quikr acquires Hiree

With this acquisition, Hiree will be merged with the job listing business – QuikrJobs and Hiree team, along with the founders Manjunath Talwar and Abhijit Khasnis will be absorbed into Quikr. The combined entity will build a recruitment platform that connects over four million active candidates with recruiters across the country.

Pranay Chulet, founder and chief executive at Quikr, stated for the deal, “We have created a successful business model and it’s now time to level up. Speed is in our DNA and Hiree’s offerings, aimed at shortening recruitment cycle times, is a great match with that.”

Founded as MyNoticePeriod by Talwar and Khasnis in May 2013, Hiree connected potential jobseekers serving notice periods with prospective employers with an aim to fast-track the recruitment process by enlisting active jobseekers. In May 2015, the company rebranded itself as Hiree and to increase its targeted market volume, it introduced the listing by all categories of jobseekers. The company had raised Rs.20 crore from IDG Ventures and angel investors. The firm undertook two rounds of lay-offs, in February and in April.

Talwar and Khasnis stated, “Joining forces with Quikr allows us to double up our focus on innovating in the recruitment space for both jobseekers and our customers. Our customers will now gain from the benefits of Hiree’s technology and massive scale of Quikr in parallel.”

Quikr identified five potential business segments include automobiles, real estate, jobs, services and customer-to-customer sales. Acquisition of Hiree is in line with the job segment.

QuikrJobs recently reached a milestone of over 10 lakh job-seeker profiles created through its missed call service alone. The company also allows users to create profiles using desktops and mobile phones. The enhanced product portfolio, coupled with Quikr’s missed call service, will make a larger talent pool available to recruiters for the entry level, blue collar as well as white collar lateral hires, Quikr said.

Entrepreneur Vs Employee Mindset

Entrepreneur Vs Employee Mindset

Are you an entrepreneur? If you answer “no” just because you don’t own a business, you may not be right. Being an entrepreneur is all about mindset. So, are you an entrepreneur or an employee? Let’s find out:

Entrepreneur Vs Employee Mindset

  • Entrepreneur thinks and works for X times yearly growth while normal person (employee) thinks and works for X% growth per year.
  • Entrepreneur considers problem as opportunity while normal person consider it as problem only.
  • Entrepreneur is solution oriented person while normal person is blame game oriented
  • Entrepreneur devotes his time in analyzing things while normal person devotes his time in following things.
  • Entrepreneur is passionate and determined for providing something better to others while normal person is dedicated to make his life better (not necessarily himself).
  • Entrepreneur is passionate to learn new things and make his life as a continuous learning cycle and employs learn only the necessary stuff.
  • Risks are essential part of entrepreneur life while employee always tries to play safe game.
  • Failure can’t shake true entrepreneur while small success is more than sufficient for normal person.
  • Normal people have small goals like buying home, cars and other luxuries and remain trapped in it while entrepreneur has bigger goal to achieve first.
  • Normal person compares himself with other normal person and dies with jealousy, superiority complex and insecurity while entrepreneur compares himself with successful person and tries his best to be better than previous day.
  • Decisions of life of normal person are based on the market trends( for example – if higher degree is able to give more salary package, person will jump without thinking what he actually wants to do) while that of entrepreneur are based on their will and goal.

The only difference is of thinking. Goal of employee is to get settled with assumed amount of money per month in hand, getting some so called luxury stuff and wait for death while that of entrepreneur is to experiment, learn, analyze and improve stuff for normal people.

Flipkart Digital Payment Business – Investing Rs 670 crore

Flipkart Digital Payment Business – Investing Rs 670 crore

To reduce its dependency on cash transactions and penetrate the growing market for online payments, Flipkart is planning to invest Rs 670 crore ($100 million) over the next three years to build an independent digital payment business. Flipkart will launch a new product, which will work like a digital wallet while also allowing consumers to pay online in coming weeks.

Flipkart Digital Payment Business – Investing Rs 670 crore

The business will be led by PhonePe, a startup acquired by Flipkart in April’16. PhonePe will also use the new “Unified Payments Interface,” a platform launched by the Reserve Bank of India recently that will let users make instant bank transfers using their phones without the need of credit cards or net banking accounts, which typically require lengthy beneficiary details.

Flipkart’s PhonePe will be available on the parent site and Myntra, as well as for the logistics service eKart. It will then be rolled out for use across other digital sites and the ultimate aim of positioning it as an offline payment mechanism, even within kirana stores.

Out of four identified key drivers of business by Bansal earlier for the company, digital payment solution is planned to be addressed through PhonePe. Commerce and logistics have already been developed and already making Flipkart ahead over its rivals. Advertisement business has started to take off this year.

Though Binny Bansal, CEO of the company stated it as “Long-term Strategic Bet”, building a payment business is not choice but a need today for large online businesses, well supported by facts and figures.

Other players of same domain are already trying to capture the market volume of digital payment. Amazon India acquired Emvantage, Snapdeal acquired payments company Freecharge last year and Paytm owns a strong digital payment franchise, while others include Mobikwik. As per the report of research provider PwC, payments volume through prepaid payment instruments jumped 77% till July this year to Rs 24,124 crore, mobile banking transactions tripled between 2012 and 2014, reaching 150 million in 2014 and by 2019 about 800 million people will have access to online payment options in India.

Though the competition is tough for Flipkart as the market is overcrowded with digital payment providers, the registered user base of 75 million consumers may give advantage to Flipkart.

Lendingkart partners with Wydr to offer collateral free business loans

Lendingkart partners with Wydr to offer collateral free business loans

Lendingkart, Ahmedabad based Digital lending platform for SMEs has tied up with Wydr, a B2B mobile first marketplace in India to offer collateral free business loans to buyer and small and medium scale enterprises.

Lendingkart partners with Wydr to offer collateral free business loans

With this partnership, Wydr is targeting to provide short term credit for inventory purchase to retailers and shopkeepers. This initiative is in-line with Lendingkart Group’s commitment to provide easy access to capital to merchants and SMEs.

Rishabh Dhyani, VP – Business Development, Wydr said, “Wydr helps manufacturers, brand owners, importers or wholesale distributors in reaching out to a large audience across the country and we are committed to provide our buyers and sellers with simple, seamless buying and selling experience. The SMEs in the business would no longer have to worry about issues like arranging funds for operational purposes. The partnership with Lendingkart Group is an effort in that direction. ”

Harshvardhan Lunia, Co-Founder & CEO, Lendingkart Technologies stated, “The benefits we provide at Lendingkart Group allow the entrepreneurs to leverage their core strengths and business goals as against the cash-flow requirements. The partnership with Wydr is an effort to simplify the process of loans disbursement and make capital accessible via our completely online application process “.

To facilitate the buyers with credit limit of 10 Lakhs, Wydr will provide the technology interface to apply for credit from within its app. This use of technology is expected to further simplify the lending process, enhances speed, provides price transparency, improves customer experience and reduces borrowing cost for businesses of all sizes. This facility shall be available to all registered Business Users of Wydr for transactions through its platform with immediate effect.

Finance accessibility is one of the major limitations of small businesses in India. With limited funds they are not able to scaleup their business model to different geographical boundaries, business domains and verticals and hence not able to stand against the biggies. Partrneship of Lendingkart and Wydr is anticipated to fulfill this gap.

RentoMojo raised Series A funding of $ 5 million from IDG Ventures & Accel Partners

RentoMojo raised Series A funding of $ 5 million from IDG Ventures & Accel Partners

Bengaluru based online Rental Solution Company for home appliances and furniture RentoMojo has raised funds of $ 5 million in Series A funding from IDG Ventures and Accel Partners.

RentoMojo  raised Series A funding of $ 5 million from IDG Ventures & Accel Partners

RentoMojo was founded in November 2014 by IIT Alumnus, Geetansh Bamania and Ajay Nain. Since its inception, it has expanded the operations to four cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Bangalore. The funds raised will be used to further strengthen the product and the data driven structure within the company.

Bamania stated, “We want our users to indulge in the benefits of curated, personalised lifestyle without actually owning it. Apart from the cities we are operating in currently, we plan to expand to two more cities in the coming quarter. We are growing at a pace of 30 per cent month-over-month and we hope to continue on this growth trajectory.”

Within the uncertainty of fixed location to stay forever, especially for youngsters, it’s not only expensive but also difficult to buy the high-cost furniture and sell it at later stage. Rentomojo is trying to fulfill this gap by creating awareness about ‘renting’ and ‘access lifestyle’ as a concept. Aiming to capture the frequent inter-city migrant volume, it is offering online rental services for products ranging from furniture, appliances, trekking equipment to bikes.

“Business models fulfilling the gap of existing business models have high probability of success”, RentoMojo is the perfect example of developing the business model in the gap created by real state portals like Magic Bricks, 99 Acres etc. by providing the affordable service solution for unfurnished houses.

Prior to this, RentoMojo raised $2 million funding in Pre-Series A funding from Accel Partners and IDG Ventures, India. Other startups of same segment are CityFurnish, GrabOnRent, FlatFurnish etc. Operations excellence, optimum cost and service reliability are some of the major drives that will lead towards success in the segment.

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