Micro financer KrazyBee raises $8 mn venture fund

Oct 16, 2017 0

Bengaluru– Micro-lending start-up KrazyBee on Monday said it raised $8 million (Rs 5.2 crore) in its first round of funding (Series A) from Xiaomi Technologies and Shunwei Capital.

“The latest fund will be used to strengthen our risk model and algorithm, catering to new market segment, focus on product diversification and geographical expansion,” said the city-based micro-lender in a statement here.

E-city Ventures and RK Group also participated in the funding, which is a mix of unspecified equity and debt ratio.

With a seed fund of $2 million and a pre-series A funding of $3 million, the start-up has raised $13 million capital till date.

“Our company’s mission is to make credit for young professionals and college students in India accessible and affordable. We realized very early that to grow and sustain in this industry, having a steady source and lower cost of funds is quintessential,” said its CEO Madhusudhan E. in the statement.

The firm, founded in May 2016, provides under-graduate/post-graduate students under the age of 30 with cash credit, two-wheeler credit, college semester/tuition fees credit among others.

It currently has over three lakh registered users on its application and processes nearly 1700 loan applications each day.

The micro-lending platform has been operating across Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Pune, Mysore (Karnataka) and Vellore (Tamil Nadu), and has recently expanded to Mumbai, Chennai, Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu), Nagpur (Maharashtra), Nashik (Maharashtra) and Manipal (Karnataka). (IANS)

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Rs 2,000 crore credit guarantee scheme for startups under process

Jul 26, 2017 0

New Delhi– The government is in the process of formulating a Rs 2,000 crore credit guarantee scheme to enable startups to raise loans without any collateral, parliament was told on Wednesday.

“Government is formulating a Credit Guarantee Scheme for Startups (CGSS) with a corpus contribution of Rs 2,000 crore that will enable startups to raise loans without any collateral for their business purposes,” Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.

The proposed scheme will provide credit guarantee up to Rs 500 lakh per case inclusive of term loan, working capital or any other instrument of assistance extended by Member Lending Institutions (MLIs) to finance a startup recognised by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), she said.

Nirmala Sitharaman

MLIs may provide loans to up to any amount required by an eligible borrower. However, under the scheme, the exposure for availing credit guarantee will be limited to Rs 500 lakh per eligible borrower. Such loan will be extended by MLIs without any collateral security and/or third party guarantee.

For all resident directors/partners of the startup, Aadhaar shall be mandatory and for non-resident directors/partners, the passport number shall be a mandatory part of Know Your Customer (KYC) norms.

MLIs under the scheme can be scheduled commercial banks and financial institutions, Reserve Bank of India-registered Non-Banking Financial Companies and Securities and Exchange Board of India-registered Alternative Investment Funds.

The scheme, which will function under the trusteeship management of the National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company, will provide portfolio-based credit guarantee. Each portfolio shall comprise at least 10 eligible start up loans, during a particular financial year. (IANS)

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Coming of age: Start-ups should move to next level, says Nasscom

Jun 12, 2017 0

By Aparajita Gupta

New Delhi– The Indian start-up ecosystem is evolving and it is time for stakeholders to move to the next level and collaborate with the external eco-system, says K.S. Vishwanathan, Vice President at Nasscom.

“It is now time for the companies to move to the next level of mid-stage and growth,” Vishwanathan, who is also head of Nasscom’s 10,000 Start-ups programme, told IANS in a telephonic interview from Mumbai.

A start-up is said to evolve through four stages — early stage (idea or prototype), mid-stage (prototype to
product), growth stage (product business) and mature stage (business to scale).

The National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) is a trade association of Indian information technology and business process outsourcing industry.

He also added that start-ups should begin collaborating with the external ecosystem, like academia and international alliances.

According to Nasscom, at present there are 10,000-12,000 start-ups, out of which 5,500-5,700 are technology start-ups — and between 80,000-100,000 people are directly employed in the business.

“Every year around 1,300 new start-ups get added and about 300 get dropped,” said Vishwanathan.

“In India, the success rate of start-ups is at 28 per cent (compared to 10 per cent in the US), which is very high. We should not worry about it. The key thing is to understand whether the idea is viable or not. If it is not, then it is better to fail early and then recover or get out of it and start something afresh,” he added.

About 60 per cent of technology start-ups are in the business-to-consumer space and 40 per cent are in business-to-business space.

The ambitious 10,000 Start-ups programme was started by the association in 2013 to scale up the ecosystem of such companies by 10 times in 10 years. The programme is supported by the government and industry and managed by Nasscom.

“So far, we have impacted 1,500 start-ups,” he said.

The association provides working spaces to start-ups, gives them starter kits designed by Microsoft, Google and IBM. Also, nine warehouses funded by respective state governments and sponsored by technology providers like Microsoft, IBM, Google, Facebook, Kotak Bank and Digital Ocean have been provided for start-ups.

Additionally, the programme has nurtured 6,000 start-ups through a virtual programme.

Talking about the roadmap ahead, Vishwanathan said: “We hope to touch 10,000 virtual training (programmes) in the next four years.”?

“The programme gives special importance to women entrepreneurs,” said Vishwanathan, adding that four years ago female entrepreneurs comprised only two per cent of the start-up pie. That figure has now gone up to 11 per cent.

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Four Indian startups from T-Hub bags global awards

Mar 26, 2017 0

Hyderabad– Four startups from T-Hub, one of the largest start-up ecosystem builders in India, have bagged global awards, a statement said on Saturday.

Hug Innovations, Loop Reality, AuthBase and Kheyti have received prestigious awards and recognitions in competitions held exclusively to identify emerging start-ups in the country, the T-Hub said in a statement.

T-Hub, which has over 2,000 start-ups in its database, claims to be emerging as the first choice of top Indian startups.

Hug Innovations, the maker of the gesture-control Hug Smartwatch capable of flying drones, navigating smart television, and controlling virtual reality-based applications through hand gestures, was among 1,500 start-ups from all over the world to participate in the Global Mobile Challenge. It was awarded the best in India, top 3 in the Asia Pacific and one of the top 10 finalists in the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Hug Innovations was also declared the winner of The India Region Round of the 1st China (Shenzhen) Innovation & Entrepreneurship International Competition held at Bengaluru. While they received a cash prize of RMB 100,000, another emerging startup player, Loop Reality, was declared 2nd Runner-up and received a cash prize of RMB 30,000. Both these companies qualified for the global finals of the competition, which will be held at Shenzhen, China between April 11 -18.

Loop Reality is a disruptive technology firm, whose first product LoopFit is an immersive multiplayer VR fitness solution, which allows its users to experience outdoor environments, indoors.

AuthBase, a deep tech cyber security company working out of T-Hub has been recognised with the Hot 100-Race To Grace 2017 Award, which champions innovation and enterprise. The company provides frameworks for developers to secure their applications and use Deep Learning to detect and mitigate hack and bot attacks real-time.

The fourth start-up nurtured by T-Hub and garnering international attention after being conferred with the “Acumen Global Award 2017” in Kenya is Kheyti, an AgriTech company that creates dependable incomes to small farmers using technology.

Kheyti designs, adapts and implements low-cost farming solutions that help small farmers increase yield and predictability of produce.

“The unique model of T-Hub enables investors and corporates to plan programs and capacity building initiatives in a targeted and organised manner. T-Hub is also the only model where the government is working intensely with the investor and the partner to fuel innovation and facilitate enterprise,” said its CEO Jay Krishnan. (IANS)

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Chet Kanojia’s new broadband startup raises $30 million in Series B, totaling $63 million

Dec 23, 2016 0

BOSTON–Starry, a startup led by the founder of now-defunct TV-over-the-web startup Aereo, has raised $30 million to execute on its mission of bringing wireless broadband internet to individual homes, Boston Business Journal reported. Chaitanya “Chet” Kanojia is the founder and CEO of Starry.

Chet Kanojia

The Boston- and New York-based company announced itself to the world in January 2016, saying it had the backing of investors like FirstMark Capital, Tiger Global, IAC, KKR, HLVP and Quantum Strategic Partners, but it did not disclose how much money it had raised, Boston Business Journal said.

Boston Business Journal quoted a Starry spokesperson as saying that the startup has now raised $63 million to date and that the latest money represents a Series B round from some of the same investors announced in January.

Starry founder and CEO Kanojia previously founded Aereo, a company that captured over-the-air television broadcasts and made them available to internet users without TV subscriptions. The company was shut down following a June 2014 ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court that found Aereo was violating copyright law, according to Boston Business Journal.

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Digital payment start-ups in India unaware of high security risks

Dec 18, 2016 0

By Sourabh Kulesh

New Delhi– As India embraces a cashless economy, there has been a sudden spurt in new mobile wallet companies — but most of these start-ups are setting up digital shops without knowing the cyber risks involved, a top executive from US-based cyber security firm FireEye has emphasised.

This is a dangerous trend when the country still lacks proper infrastructure and legislation to fight against cyber criminals.

“While India is rapidly embracing a cashless consumer economy, payment technologies are growing in adoption faster than awareness of the risks involved,” Vishak Raman, Senior Regional Director for India and SAARC, told IANS.

“Many of these are running as startups without sufficient attention to security. The rapid shift to digital transactions will greatly increase our collective exposure to cyber security threats — essentially fraud and theft,” Raman added.

In a first, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday registered a complaint against 15 people for allegedly claiming fraudulent refunds worth Rs 6.15 lakh from the leading payment gateway Paytm.

A Paytm spokesperson, however, said in a statement that the platform has robust risk management practices but the case has brought the risks to the fore.

According to Raman, in the absence of data breach notification laws and the mandate to publicly disclose attacks, Indian enterprises often do not know how vulnerable they are.

“This creates a false sense of security among CISOs/CIOs that their traditional defences are working fine and that they are immune from advanced attacks organisations elsewhere are facing,” Raman noted.

Paytm registered over seven million transactions worth Rs 1.2 billion in a day after the demonetisation drive began on November 8.

Another mobile wallet major, MobiKwik, which launched MobiKwik ‘Lite’ late last month, registered over two million downloads within the first two days of the ‘Lite’ offer.

Global payment solutions provider PayU has also observed a hike in average daily transactions from Rs 1.2 million to Rs 2.5 million post-demonetisation.

This is how hackers can attack your money in e-wallets: Create multiple fake accounts to collect money in small amounts; cheat people who are digital novices by psychological manipulation; and breach servers and steal data.

Even though most Indian organisations lack effective defences against ransomware, as threats become more pervasive and frequent in India, organisations are slowly becoming aware about the need for advanced protection.

“However, it takes a combination of technology, intelligence and expertise to effectively prevent, detect and respond to attacks,” Raman told IANS.

When asked where India stands when it comes to vulnerability in 2017, Raman said firms in Asia and particularly in India often struggle to discover that they have been breached.

For example, “the median time between compromise and the discovery of an attack was 520 days in Asia Pacific, compared with 146 days globally. That is a massive difference,” Raman contended.

In 2016, India faced a wave of cyber security incidents, ranging from targeted attacks on government organisations to ATM malware attacks.

“When coupled with its ill-preparedness to combat potential risks associated with cashless transactions and pushing hundreds of millions of citizens’ private information into the digital space, India stands quite vulnerable,” the FireEye executive cautioned.

The sophisticated, financially-motivated espionage actor groups focusing on critical systems and maturing businesses will be prevalent in 2017 as these enterprises are often vulnerable to compromise. (IANS)

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Cisco to help develop IoT innovation hub, smart city in Gujarat

Dec 15, 2016 0

Gandhinagar– To help accelerate the digital transformation of Gujarat, global networking giant Cisco on Thursday announced to explore setting up an Internet of Things (IoT) Innovation Hub and deliver a smart city in the state.

Cisco signed two Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with the state government which aim to establish an IoT Innovation hub with the International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Technology (iCreate) at iCreate’s campus near Bavla, Ahmedabad, and deliver a smart city project in Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT).

“The announcement underlines Cisco’s commitment to enable Gujarat to capitalise on digital opportunities, strengthen the vibrant innovation ecosystem in the state, enhance quality of life of citizens and accelerate the digital transformation of the state,” said Dinesh Malkani, President, Cisco India and Saarc, at the event.

The MoUs were signed in the presence of Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat Nitin Bhai Patel and Dinesh Malkani, President, Cisco India and Saarc, among others.

“My vision is to digitally empower every citizen, enhance the quality of life, enable ease of doing business and become an innovation and knowledge hub for the country. We are happy to have Cisco partner with us to help build Gujarat’s economy of the future,” Rupani said.

The IoT Innovation Hub at iCreate’s campus will enable startups and entrepreneurs build smart city and IoT-based solutions.

“We are excited to partner with Cisco for the IoT innovation hub, which will be a tremendous accelerator for startups to develop digital solutions that reach global markets,” added Anupam Jalote, CEO, iCreate.

GIFT City, being developed as India’s first greenfield smart city, has many unique features like District Cooling solution – a first-of-its-kind utility tunnel and ready availability of a next-gen data centre.

Cisco and GIFT are exploring deployment of smart city applications including public Wi-Fi, smart parking, smart transport, traffic analytics, Remote Expert Government Services (REGS), smart kiosk, smart environmental sensors along with the City Digital Platform (CDP).

“GIFT is using ICT as a strategic differentiator – putting technology at the foundation of its expansive community. As India’s first operational smart city, GIFT has helped transform how cities are built, managed and experienced,” noted Ajay Pandey, MD and Group CEO of GIFT. (IANS)

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Amazon Launchpad to support Indian startups launched

Dec 5, 2016 0

New Delhi– In a move to help Indian startups launch, market and distribute their products to millions of Amazon customers across the country and globally through a dedicated store, Amazon India on Monday launched its much anticipated global programme – Amazon Launchpad in India.

To begin with, Amazon.in has partnered with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion’s (DIPP) “Start Up India” initiative, IT industry’s representative organisation Nasscom’s “10,000 Startup” initiative and Indian Angel Network (IAN), among others, to help identify and enroll startups.

“By bringing Amazon Launchpad to India, we encourage innovation from the start-up community. India has great minds which invent amazing products and we will support their growth by helping customers discover their new products not just in India but other countries around the world,” said Amit Agarwal, Vice President and Country Head, Amazon India.

The Amazon Launchpad store on Amazon.in features over 400 innovative products ranging from wearable technology, smart homes, food and beverage, health monitoring, educational toys and more.

“Nasscom is excited to support and partner with the Amazon Launchpad programme in India. The timing couldn’t have been better. The nascent but promising Indian hardware/IoT product ecosystem can now fully leverage the firepower of Amazon’s distribution and marketing capabilities.” added Dr R. Chandrashekhar, President, Nasscom.

Globally, Amazon Launchpad works with more than 100 venture capital firms, crowd-funding services, and accelerators/incubators.

“Through this programme, small entrepreneurs and innovators can go leverage the Amazon platform to increase the scale of their businesses and even get easy access to global markets,” noted Jason Feldman, Director Global Innovations, Amazon.

Even before its launch, over 25 Indian startups like Witworks, Leaf Wearables, Ducere Technologies, Seventh Sense Technologies have already joined the programme.

“The biggest roadblock for a hardware startup is not product development but finding early adopters for its product. Amazon Launchpad is just the right platform to find them,” said Paras Batra, Director Sales and Marketing, Leaf Wearables. (IANS)

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Facebook pumps $40,000 into Indian fashion start-up

Nov 30, 2016 0

Mumbai– CoutLoot, an end-to-end fashion re-commerce platform, has been selected for Facebook’s developer-focused “FbStart” programme, receiving access to $40,000 worth of credits and services from the social networking giant.

Launched last year, “FbStart” helps developers grow their startups by leveraging valuable tools and services, worldwide events and opportunities to engage with the Facebook team.

Under the programme, CoutLoot would also receive mentoring from Menlo Park-headquartered tech giant’s engineering teams, the company said in a statement on Wednesaday.

“‘FbStart’ programme will be an immense boost to us at this phase of our evolution. Receiving mentorship from the pioneer of social networking will bring a huge opportunity for us to lead the fashion re-commerce revolution in India within the next couple of years,” said Jasmeet Thind, Co-founder, CoutLoot.

The start-up will also get a chance to get access to the exclusive community of Facebook’s developers and worldwide events.

The programme provides free access to more than 25 services including open source tools like React Native, FB Login and Account Kit and App Analytics.

India is the largest market for FbStart outside the US. According to the product partnerships team at Facebook, over 75 per cent of top-grossing apps in India get integrated with Facebook. (IANS)

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Entrepreneurs with second line of management get more revenue: report

Nov 26, 2016 0

Mumbai– Only 25 percent entrepreneurs, who have set up a strong second line of management, have 3.5 times higher average revenue size compared to companies who do not, said a report released on Saturday.

The report, prepared by ASCENT-EY, aimed at understanding entrepreneurs’ readiness for scalable growth, and also tried to find out the challenges they face in doing so across seven parameters – customer, leadership, people, operations, finance and transactions, risk management and technology.

The report, titled “How ready are entrepreneurs for the journey of scalable growth?”, found that people who invest in these seven drivers see a higher financial success as compared to others.

Commenting on the report, ASCENT’s founder and Marico Ltd’s Chairman Harsh Mariwala said: “For me, the biggest and most interesting take away is the fact that investment in different processes which support customer centricity, leadership planning and operational efficiency, has a multiplier effect on the business and provides disproportionately higher returns to the entrepreneur.”

The report also indicated that companies who have a total rewards mechanism have 15 percent higher employee productivity when compared to companies who do not have total rewards.

Similarly, companies who used technology to drive growth have registered three times higher average revenue size compared to companies that do not use technology, the report pointed out.

“Entrepreneurs need to understand that achieving growth is not enough; it also needs to be scalable for long term sustainability and success,” said Pinakiranjan Mishra, Partner and National Leader – Retail and Consumer Products, EY.

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