India offers $100 bn Intelligent Edge opportunity: Microsoft India head

Dec 13, 2017 0

By Nishant Arora

Hyderabad– In a mobile-first and Cloud-first country like India, there now lies a new over $100 billion opportunity if we can leverage Intelligent Cloud and Intelligent Edge solutions across industries, Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India, said here on Wednesday.

The Intelligent Edge brings the power of the Cloud to mobile and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, thus creating a connected ecosystem.

Microsoft today is leading the digital momentum in India with a renewed thrust on Intelligent Cloud and Intelligent Edge.

“Look at any industry in India and you will see Intelligent Edge around. Think about a farm where a farmer can leverage Intelligent Edge. Health care and education are areas where application of Intelligent Edge is now being seen in the country,” Maheshwari told reporters during the annual Microsoft media day at the sprawling, 54-acre campus here.

Azure IoT Edge is an implementation of the Intelligent Edge. Cloud-enabled computing at the edge means concentrating data, making sense of it by analysing it and then leveraging it to its full potential.

“More than just delivering devices and Cloud experiences to millions, Microsoft has now turned its focus on empowering health care and education in the country with its Next-Gen Cloud and Edge solutions,” Maheshwari said.

Almost every company will eventually become a software one at some point of time with the fourth industrial revolution and an Intelligent Cloud will chart their digital journey.

“Customers are looking to Microsoft and our thriving partner ecosystem to accelerate their own digital transformations and to unlock new opportunity in this era of Intelligent Cloud and Intelligent Edge,” the Microsoft India head stressed.

With a rich ecosystem of over 9,000 partners and nearly 102 million developers, Microsoft works with over 200,000 large, medium and small enterprises, 29 state governments and over 5,000 start-ups in the country.

“Both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh governments are leading Microsoft partners when it comes to Cloud. We are also among the first global Cloud providers to be partnered/empanelled by the Ministry of IT,” Maheshwari told the gathering, adding that Microsoft Cloud services have been deployed in 13 states so far.

Setting up India operations in 1990, Microsoft currently employs more than 8,000 people in the country.

According to Maheshwari, there are four pillars to bring in real digital transformation for India.

“Empower employees to be more productive, engage with customers to leverage better services, optimise operations and transform products – will take us on the path towards digital transformation,” he said.

When it comes to Artificial Intelligence (AI), Maheshwari said AI will create better farmers, teachers and doctors in India that will eventually help improve our lives.

In order to deliver a modern workplace to governments as well as enterprises, Microsoft has brought together Office 365, Windows 10, Enterprise Mobility and Security — all packaged into a single offering.

“We offer a modern workplace with the combination of security and mobility,” the top Microsoft executive said. (IANS)

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Odisha invites investment in downstream aluminium sector

Oct 16, 2017 0

Bhubaneswar– In order to promote investments in downstream aluminium sector, the Odisha government on Monday held discussions with over 70 Indian companies and invited them to invest in Odisha’s downstream ecosystem.

The Industries Department organised the event here in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry and highlighted the advantages of investing in Angul Aluminium Park, a first-of-its-kind project in the subcontinent with the facility to directly obtain molten aluminium from the smelter.

With the demand of aluminium expected to rise further, Odisha is setting up the Angul park. The state is the largest aluminium producer in India and accounts for 54 per cent of the country’s total smelting capacity.

Spread over 223 acres, the park will create ample opportunities for downstream industries in the state, said an official.

CII Chairman (Odisha) and Nalco CMD T.K. Chand said: “There is a huge opportunity for downstream products in the state. Investors will be getting developed land, power and training facilities. Additionally, the state government will also assist investors in setting up their operations.”

The downstream industry will have a cost benefit of Rs 10,000 per tonne and enough raw material committed to them. Nalco will provide hand-holding to all downstream and ancillary units, said Chand.

Industries Secretary Sanjeev Chopra said: “Odisha is a mineral rich state and by developing world-class infrastructure, we aim to provide an ideal business ecosystem for all related sectors to flourish. We have already received several investment proposals for the Angul park and aim to create around 15,000 job opportunities through the project.”

Investments in aluminium downstream sector have been gaining momentum in Odisha. Over five years, the state has attracted investments of Rs 893 crore, including proposals by Bahrain-based Midal Cables and Power Grid Corporation of India (PGCIL) subsidiary Grid Conductors.

Four of the five proposals drawn are for the aluminium park developed jointly by Nalco and Odisha Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation at Angul.

S.K. Mohanty, CEO, Angul Aluminium Park, said: “Odisha accounts for 50 per cent of the aluminium production in the country. The aluminium refining capacity has gone up to 5.775 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) from 0.80 MTPA and smelting capacity to 2.634 MTPA from 0.509 MTPA. Availability of abundant raw material from Nalco, Vedanta will be very crucial for the downstream aluminium and ancillary industry.”

Companies from India like KEI Industries, Jindal Steel, Havells India, Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited and Sterlite Technologies Ltd attended the event. (IANS)

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Indian Cab aggregator Ola raises $1.1 billion from venture funds

Oct 11, 2017 0

Bengaluru– Leading cab aggregator Ola on Wednesday said it raised $1.1 billion (Rs.7,150 crore) in latest funding round from venture firms led by Tencent Holdings Ltd, a leading Chinese internet firm.

“Our investors like SoftBank and other US-based financial investors have participated in this round of funding,” said the company in a statement here.

Ola is also in talks with other investors to raise an additional $1 billion with new and existing investors.

Ola operates in 110 cities across the country using cars, auto-rickshaws, bikes and vehicles equipped with connected car platform for ride-sharing.

But the six-year-old mobile-app hailing taxi aggregator did not disclose in the statement which funding round is the latest and how much it had raised cumulatively so far, from whom all and when, with break-up.

An Ola spokesperson, however, told IANS later that the company had raised $500 million in November 2015 from investment management firm Baillie Gifford, China’s largest taxi-hailing services firm Didi Kuaidi and its investors Falcon Edge Capital, SoftBank, DST Glob and Tiger Global.

Ola will also benefit from Tencent’s expertise in the country’s mobility market.

Then Mumbai-based Ola expanded its operations in March 2015 by acquiring the city-based TaxiForSure competitor for $200 million (Rs.1,200 crore) in a cash-cum-stock deal.

“We will invest the fresh funding in supply, technology and innovations to build the country’s growing transportation needs,” said Ola co-founder and Chief Executive Bhavish Aggarwal on the occasion.

The company will also use artificial intelligence and machine learning to solve the country’s mobility problems and offer affordable transportation.

IIT-Bombay alumni Ankit Bhatia joined Aggarwal in co-founding Olacabs in January 2011 in Mumbai as a mobile app for personal commuting in cities.

The company has about 800,000 vehicles for booking online on its platform in 110 cities across the country to commute on individual or shared basis.

Ola has pioneered transportation solutions to solve congestion and pollution problems with share and multimodal electric vehicles on its virtual platform.

“As the transportation and mobility sectors are undergoing changes globally, we want to build a competitive system to support a nation on the move,” noted Aggarwal.

Tencent President Martin Lau said as Ola’s offerings were tailored to meet the country’s transportation needs, the partnership would enable his firm to be part of the growing ride-hailing space.

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Research firm MedGenome raises $30 million funding

Aug 29, 2017 0

Bengaluru–Genomics research firm MedGenome on Tuesday said that it raised $30 million (Rs 192 crore) in the third round (Series C) of funding to speed up developing affordable diagnostics tests.

The financing was led by venture capital firm Sequoia India and Belgian investment firm Sofina s.a.

Infosys co-founder S. Gopalakrishnan and former Cognizant Chief Executive Officer Lakshmi Narayanan participated in the funding for the first time.

“I am investing in MedGenome as it addresses opportunities in developing precision medicine. Its platform and network are designed to generate actionable insights for clinicians to diagnose and provide better management for complex diseases at lower cost,” said Gopalakrishnan.


In the previous two rounds (Series B and A) of funding, the four-year old firm raised $20 million in 2015 from the Indian arm of the US-based Sequoia and $4 million in 2013 from the Singapore-based Emerge Ventures Pte Ltd.

“The fresh capital will be used to penetrate the market by creating awareness on the need for genetic tests and broaden biomarker discovery programmes,” said the city-based firm in a statement here.

As the largest sequencing lab in South East Asia, MedGenome services global pharmaceutical and biotech firms the world over. Its lab is certified by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments and accredited with the College of American Pathologists.

The research firm claimed conducting the country’s first liquid biopsy test ‘OncoTrack’ to monitor cancer treatment, non-invasive prenatal test for pregnant women, carrier screening test for couples planning on a baby and exome sequencing test for identifying mutations in rare diseases.

“With over a million babies born every year with genetic disorders, India carries a huge genetic disorder burden. Precision medicine is the goal of clinicians and patients that can be enabled through biomarker discovery,” said MedGenome Founder-Chairman Sam Santhosh in the statement.

With leadership in genetic diagnostics for inherited diseases in the country, the company is expanding DNA-based testing to cover infectious diseases like tuberculosis.

“MedGenome continues to emerge as a leading genomics firm, bringing affordable genetic testing to emerging market consumers, supporting physicians make better decisions and leveraging the power of that data to impact global drug discovery market,” said Sequoia Managing Director Abhay Pandey in the statement.

Sofina Investment Manager Xiai-Tian Loi said his firm was partnering with MedGenome to broaden the use of genomics-based diagnostics in the Indian healthcare sector and tap into the value of Indian genetic data for research.

“We believe MedGenome’s efforts will have an impact on healthcare delivery in India and the world over,” he added. (IANS)

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Singapore-based Prestellar Ventures launches $100 million fund for South Asian entrepreneurs

Jul 26, 2017 0

New Delhi–Singapore-based firm Prestellar Ventures on Wednesday said it has launched a $100 million venture capital fund to encourage entrepreneurs and start-ups across India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.

According to the venture capital firm, the funding has been backed by four general partners (GPs) — Nepalese enterprise CG Corp Global, Indian microfinance institution Satin Creditcare, the Mauritius-based private-equity firm Frontline Strategy, and Nepalese family conglomerate N.E. Group.

“The fund seeks to partner with passionate entrepreneurs and disruptive start-ups across South Asia and ASEAN in the hospitality, consumer, financial services, rural product and services sectors, typically in ‘Pre-Series A’ deals with a cheque size of approximately $2-3 million,” the firm said in a statement.

“Investing in the forefront of innovation is critical to keeping traditional businesses such as CG Corp Global relevant in the future,” said Binod Chaudhary, Director of Prestellar Ventures and the Chairman of CG Corp Global.

The GPs companies of Prestellar Ventures provide portfolio companies access to over 100 brands, 14,000 employees, 150 hotels and resorts across the world, a publicly-listed bank, fast moving consumer goods products selling over a billion units per year, and a distribution network with direct access to over 2.5 million rural households across India, the statement added.

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Billionloans gets $1 million funding from Reliance Capital

Jul 3, 2017 0

Bengaluru– Billionloans Financial Services Ltd on Monday said it closed a seed funding round of Rs 7 crore ($1 million) from Reliance Corporate Advisory Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Capital.

As a technology-enabled financial services company, the city-based Billionloans provides financing options to individuals and small businesses, which find it difficult to access loans from the traditional banking system to meet their aspirations.

“Our goal is to disrupt how borrowers are sourced and appraised using technology. This will lead to a dramatic change in access, both for borrowers with thin credit histories and lenders looking to expand beyond their traditional customer bases,” Billionloans Chairman V. Balakrishnan said in a statement.

The company will initially focus on loans to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for affordable housing, education and personal factors.

“The investment from Reliance Capital is a great validation of our business model,” asserted Balakrishnan, a former member of software major Infosys Board, Exfinity Venture Fund Chairman and an early investor in Billionloans.

Announcing the funding, Reliance Capital Executive Director Anmol Ambani said technology and innovation in financial services would play a big part in bridging the gap between aspirations of large number of people wanting access to credit and the ability of companies to build efficient and scalable lending models.

“We look forward to support Billionloans in its vision and partner in their growth,” said Ambani in the statement.

Founded by serial entrepreneur Rangan Varadan, the company connects borrowers to lenders directly and uses technology-based credit analyses to assess eligibility and process applications.

“Though we want to make borrowing easier for SMEs and individuals, we are finding it difficult to access loans to achieve their goals,” said Varadan.

The company has tie-ups with leading financial institutions and banks to its technology platform and plans to disburse Rs 2,000 crore loans over the next three years.

“India has a large pool of unbanked population without access to formal banking system. With technology enabling access, our goal is to help the borrowers,” added Billionloans Chairman Balakrishnan. (IANS)

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These Two Indian-Americans Could Well Be the Youngest Billionaires—at Least on Paper

Jun 8, 2017 0

CHICAGO – Rishi Shah and Shradha Agarwal, co-founders of Chicago-based Outcome Health, could well be the youngest Indian-American billionaires—at least on paper. Their firm recently announced the financing round valuing the company at $5 billion pre-money. The company raised about $500 million in venture capital.

Outcome Health partners with healthcare providers to serve actionable health intelligence at the moment of care to improve patient outcomes. The size of this investment and the quality of participants apositions the company to also drive growth across emerging opportunities such as clinical trials, payers, pharmacies and international markets.

Rishi Shah

Investors in the company include Goldman Sachs Investment Partners, Alphabet’s growth equity investment fund CapitalG, Leerink Transformation Partners, Pritzker Group Venture Capital and Balyasny Asset Management, among many others, as well as strategic health systems and healthcare stakeholders aligned with the company’s mission.

“Outcome Health and its investors share a commitment to activate the best health outcome possible for every person in the world. We believe achieving this at scale will require building a ubiquitous network that brings together all sides of healthcare to support patients and healthcare providers whenever, wherever and however they make critical healthcare decisions,” Outcome Health CEO Shah said in a statement. “We are grateful to have been entrusted to realize this vision by so many important stakeholders. Together, we have the opportunity to create the exam room of the future, physically and digitally, and evolve healthcare decision making from the currency of information to the currency of intelligence.”

One of the company’s exam room technologies is its Digital Anatomy Board, which facilitates effective communication through 3D anatomical diagrams that physicians can annotate during patient consultations to visualize the patient’s medical condition, related symptoms and treatment options.

“Using the Outcome Health Digital Anatomy Boards is an opportunity to dialogue with a patient and explain their medical problem in a visual way,” says Dr. Neil Baum, a urologist in New Orleans. “I use the Digital Anatomy Boards with nearly every patient and I have found that patients appreciate and, more importantly, understand the problem and what needs to be done to resolve the problem.”

The company says it is transforming the patient experience while empowering healthcare providers to achieve the transition towards value-based care.

“Outcome Health is improving the point-of-care decision-making process that leads to better healthcare outcomes,” said Christopher Dawe, co-head of the Venture Capital and Growth Equity team at Goldman Sachs Investment Partners. “This investment is consistent with our broader philosophy of backing mission-driven teams who are bringing positive transformation to large addressable markets.”

“We are thrilled to be partners to Outcome Health and to support their growth as they deploy their health intelligence platform in physician consultation rooms around the world,” said Laela Sturdy, partner at CapitalG, Alphabet’s growth equity fund.

Co-founder Shradha Agarwal

“Outcome Health has transformed the point-of-care into a key source of intelligence for patients, providers and life sciences partners alike,” said Marco DeMeireles, Principal – Private Investments, at Balyasny Asset Management. “We look forward to partnering with Rishi, Shradha, and the Outcome team as they create new tools and business lines that reshape the way healthcare employs data and technology to drive patient outcomes.”

Outcome Health’s innovative model is based on aligning industry incentives to drive synergies amongst all healthcare stakeholders via patient-centric technology solutions that deliver measurable improvement in health outcomes.

“Outcome Health is redefining the way that the life sciences, payers, healthcare IT, physicians and patients interact,” said Todd Cozzens, co-founder and Managing Partner at Leerink Transformation Partners. “The technology enhances the most important event in the delivery of care – the trusted moments where the doctor and patient make decisions about their conditions and treatments – and represents innovation that we are proud to support. Doctors like Outcome Health’s platform because their patients have a better care experience, which leads to better compliance, adherence and most importantly, better outcomes.”

Outcome Health’s mission is to activate the best health outcome possible for every person in the world through technologies that change behavior to positively shape the human condition. The company serves health information and health intelligence during critical moments of care to enable patients and physicians to make the best healthcare decision possible. The company, founded in 2006 by Rishi Shah and Shradha Agarwal, partners with 231,000 healthcare providers nationwide to impact 500 million patient visits annually.

Outcome Health has offices in Chicago and New York City, employing more than 600 people, and partners with large healthcare systems, private physician practices, medical associations, global life sciences companies as well as pharmacies and payers.

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CIMCON Lighting Raises $15 Million to Accelerate Rollout of Smart City Technologies

May 25, 2017 0

BILLERICA, MA and NEW YORK, NY– CIMCON Lighting, a global provider of intelligent lighting and Smart City technologies, announced a $15 million Series B funding round led by Energy Impact Partners, known as EIP, a collaborative strategic investment firm that counts leading utilities as its limited partners.

Lindsay Luger, Managing Director at EIP, led the investment and joined the company’s board of directors. EIP joins prior investors: Launchpad Venture Group, Clean Energy Ventures, TiE Boston, MassCEC , among others.

Santhana Krishnan

“We are delighted to have found the right investor in Energy Impact Partners to execute the plan,” said Santhana Krishnan, President of CIMCON Lighting. “With the investment, CIMCON is well positioned to drive the adoption of smart city applications leveraging our solutions.”

CIMCON’s hardware and cloud-based or on-premises software helps utilities, municipalities and transportation departments reduce energy, repairs and maintenance expenses, while increasing the quality of lighting services through intelligent energy, asset, and fault management. Since its founding in 2012, the company’s “best in class” solutions have been used to monitor and control hundreds of thousands of outdoor street and roadway lights in 16 countries.

The investment will be used to support CIMCON’s channel partners and accelerate development and deployment of the company’s Smart City product portfolio, the company said in a statement.

“The worldwide upgrade to LED lighting, coupled with added pressure on cities to reduce operating costs and provide enhanced services to residents, has helped drive adoption of our technologies,” said Anil Agrawal, Founder and  CEO of CIMCON Lighting. “CIMCON delivers immediate value to our customers while providing a clear path to future Smart City applications such as environmental sensors, traffic and pedestrian monitors, video analytics, electric vehicle chargers and smart phone apps. We are pleased to partner with EIP as we respond to customer demand to go beyond intelligent lighting by integrating additional grid edge devices and associated data analytics to help realize their vision for a Smart City.”

Anil Agarwal

Lindsay Luger, Managing Director at EIP added, “CIMCON’s software and hardware solutions provide owners of outdoor lighting with a strong value proposition today, as well as a path to enable Smart City applications of the future. Our utility partners that own and operate city street lights are increasingly interested in improving the cost and performance of these systems, as well as providing the public with additional services. We are excited about the natural fit between the utilities’ strategic direction and CIMCON’s capabilities and vision.”

With a heritage of over 25 years of innovation and experience in industrial automation and outdoor wireless applications, CIMCON Lighting is the world’s leading provider of intelligent wireless outdoor lighting controls and Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled Smart City lighting management solutions. The company’s technologies provide a future-proof platform that enables cities to begin their path to “smart” by managing, monitoring, metering and even monetizing street lights and other assets to improve quality of life for city residents. CIMCON’s solutions are appropriate for street and roadway lighting, parking lots and garages, business and college campuses, and a variety of industrial applications.

Lindsay Luger

Energy Impact Partners Energy Impact Partners is a collaborative strategic investment firm that invests in companies optimizing energy consumption and improving sustainable energy generation. Through close collaboration with its strategic investor base, EIP seeks to bring the best companies, buying power and vision in the industry to bear on the emerging energy landscape. EIP’s partners include Southern Company, National Grid, Xcel Energy, Ameren, Great Plains Energy, Fortis Inc., AGL, Avista, Madison Gas and Electric Co., and TEPCO.

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Google’s Anandan, Adobe’s Bawa invest in Delhi-based Lucideus

May 10, 2017 0

New Delhi–Delhi-based IT risk assessments and cyber security platforms provider Lucideus has raised an undisclosed amount in an angel round of investment from Google India Managing Director Rajan Anandan, Adobe Managing Director Kulmeet Bawa and other industry stalwarts.

Lucideus, which provides cyber security to the BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money) app, will use the funds to enhance research and development on cyber security.

“As a company, we have been growing 700 per cent (average year-on-year) in revenues while being cash flow positive for the last four years,” said Saket Modi, CEO & Co-founder, Lucideus, in a statement on Wednesday.

“We have got a set of marquee names of handpicked investors who have not only invested their money but also bring in their strategic and technical guidance that is playing a key role in our evolution,” he added.

The list of investors also include Rahul Chawla, Managing Director, Head of Global Markets at Deutsche Bank, Jonathan Boutelle, ex-Director of Technology at LinkedIn/SlideShare, former Freecharge CEO Govind Rajan, Digi Locker chief architect and Slideshare co-founder Amit Ranjan.

“Considering all the ground work done by Lucideus for the last five years, I feel they are well positioned to grab the market opportunity and emerge as clear market leaders,” said Anandan. (IANS)

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Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart raises $1.4 billion from Tencent, eBay, Microsoft

Apr 10, 2017 0

Bangalore–E-commerce major Flipkart on Monday said it has raised a total of $1.4 billion from Tencent, eBay and Microsoft.

The latest funding round, at a post-transaction valuation of $11.6 billion, is the largest in Flipkart’s 10-year history as well as in the Indian internet sector and comes as Flipkart gears up to drive the next phase of e-commerce growth in India, a company statement said.

This investment adds to an existing group of investors that include Tiger Global Management, Naspers Group, Accel Partners and DST Global.

“This is a landmark deal for Flipkart and for India as it endorses our tech prowess, our innovative mindset and the potential we have to disrupt traditional markets. It is a resounding acknowledgement that the homegrown tech ecosystem is indeed thriving and succeeding in solving genuine problems in people’s daily lives across all of India,” said Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal, founders of Flipkart, in a statement.

Sachin Bansal

“This deal reaffirms our resolve to hasten the transformation of commerce in India through technology,” they added.

The investment by eBay is accompanied by a strategic commercial agreement with Flipkart. In exchange for an equity stake in Flipkart, eBay is making a cash investment in and selling its business to Flipkart. will continue to operate as an independent entity as a part of Flipkart, the statement said.

Flipkart and eBay have also signed an exclusive cross-border trade agreement. As a result of the partnership between Flipkart and eBay, customers of Flipkart will gain access to the wide array of global inventory on eBay, while eBay’s customers will have access to more unique Indian inventory provided by Flipkart sellers.

“The combination of eBay’s position as a leading global e-commerce company and Flipkart’s market stature will allow us to accelerate and maximize the opportunity for both companies in India,” said Devin Wenig, President and CEO of eBay Inc.

“eBay is committed to winning in India in partnership with Flipkart. Our exclusive global trade partnership will allow eBay and Flipkart to reach even more consumers around the world,” he added.

Tencent has joined the investment deal as a strategic investor, bringing experience in linking social networking and e-commerce. As a leading provider of internet value-added services in China, it has been at the centre of innovation in social, payments and other areas.

“Flipkart is a leader in e-commerce in India, with strong operational expertise and a deep understanding of user behaviour. This strategic partnership enables Tencent to participate in the exciting opportunities in e-commerce and payments in India.

“We look forward to helping Flipkart to deliver compelling experiences to users throughout India, and to contribute to the development of the internet ecosystem there,” said Tencent President Martin Lau.

Launched in 2007, the Flipkart Group includes well-known Indian brands such as Myntra, Jabong, PhonePe and Ekart, besides the parent company. The company offers over 80 million products across 80 plus categories.

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