No Brick and Mortar business will survive post 2023 : Amitabh Kant

Chief Architect of startup India campaign and CEO of Niti Ayog feels that brick and mortal businesses will be dead by 2023.  Speaking at an event organized by TIE, Mr Kant Said “India is the only country with a billion mobile phones and biometrics. In the last 6-7 months we have added almost 28 crore bank accounts. In the last 45 years we have given license to 19 banks but in the last nine months we have given license to 23 payment banks, and many of them are telecom companies including Paytm and Airtel. The brick and mortar sector will go dead”.

According to Kant Banking sector will be see a major hit with the launch of many payment banks like PAYTM and Airtel.  According to him it will be more of a technology show and technology will take the driver’s seat. Currently 350 million people use internet via mobile and internet and 1 billion people will be online by 2023.  According to him “It will all be mobile, telephonic transaction. India will leap frog again. This is because today we are about 350 million using the Internet but 2020-23 there will be about 1 billion people in India using the Internet. Similarly, usage of the Internet will increase with more people on smart phones. A billion Indians with access to the Internet, biometric and using the smart phones we will radically alter the world.”

He added that “Across the world, whether you look at trends in Japan, US or Germany, everywhere is getting digitized. It is inevitable.”


Aditya Birla rides on the Startup bandwagon to incubate 25 start ups.

Aditya Birla group will partner with 25 startups to enter into new areas of business pertaining to telecom, retail and financial services. The company started a Biz lab program and has so far added Red Monster Games, Torch, Dressy, ePaisa, Mswipe, Touchfone, Instakash, Bankbazaar, Wealth Pack, Cloud Cherry, Faircent and Coverfox Insurance to its kitty.

These startups will align with the company’s core business and would help them consolidate their position in their respective territory. It is interesting to see as many big enterprises are focusing on startups to keep themselves abreast the technology wave in the country.

Sport 365 aims highs , plans to be a 1000 Crore entity soon.

Sports Ecommerce company Sports 365 which is backed by Indian Tennis legend Mahesh Bhupathi plans to be a 1,000 crore entity  in next five years. The company is focusing on new in – house brands and new institutional clients. Company’s co – founder Aashutosh Chaidhari is quite happy with the growth the company has shows since incubation . According to him ” We would be adding new business on top of the existing ones as we are creating various small online portals. Apart from that we are also building our in-house brands in areas such as fitness. We are looking at shoes, apparels, accessories etc. We are tying up with at least 15 brands, which are not present in India but they are big.”

The company is backed by top sports icons like Yuvraj Singh , Deepika Palikal and Bollywood star Lara Dutta . Mahesh Bhupathi is one of the director of the company . Both Mahesh and  Lara are partnering with Indian and International sports brands and focussing on tapping the great Indian Ecommerce market .

The company plans to increase its turn over by 40-45 crore and is growing rapidly with 100 % growth rate. The company is  trying to capture market share by acquiring small partners and has recently acquired , an online tennis store. According to the CEO of the company Chandra Shekhar ” Last December, we raised USD one million and now we are in active conversations to raise between USD five to eight million in next eight to ten weeks. Presently, we have around 250 institutional customers at Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Chennai and we have plans to expand to six to seven cities going forward, as Delhi and Mumbai.”

The company is also providing sports infrastructure and sports consulting to various schools and colleges and local clubs across the country.

Dell Ventures to invest $300 million in Indian Startups.

Dell ventures , the venture capital firm of Computing giant Dell Is planning to invest in Indian startups as part of its strategy to get an stronger footprint in India. Dell believes that by investing in Indian stratup ecosystem they would be able to gain a global footprint and the move would help them cater the Asian market well. The company plans to formally announce this move soon and officially announce the strategy to move in this direction.

In an interview given to ET , Amit Midha, president of Asia-Pacific and Japan said “”We’re investing to innovate in India, to innovate in Asia, to create an outreaching ecosystem in Asia which is different. We announced Dell Ventures in China, we announced a $125-million investment in China and we’ve also announced a continued expansion in India, from a 27,000-people perspective.”

“We are looking at cloud, IoT (internet of things), big data and security. We like to look at startups that have gone beyond the 5-people operation stage. Otherwise it becomes too much of a headache for us. The company needs to have some sort of momentum, some customer traction — we are not an accelerator, we are more interested in companies that are growing their businesses. And our involvement will help them grow even faster and also give them credibility points”

The investment arm Dell venture was established in early 2000 but has been in a dormant state in recent times. The company would like to focus on startups which are creating solutions in newer technologies such as cloud computing, security and analytics.They would invest in both early stage and later stage companies.

According to Midha companies iconic founder Michael Dell is very keen to invest in Indian market and would monitor the deals very closely.

Shilpa Shetty launches Viaan Mobile Phones.

Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty along with her husband Raj Kundra today launched Viaan Mobile Phones. The brand is named after their three year old son Viaan. The couple launched five variants of the brand with a personalized service. The phones are priced between Rs 849 and Rs 12999.

According to Shilpa Shetty “The stats say that India happens to be the second-largest consumer of mobile phones. And that was the deal-clincher for us to even make a foray here. I’ve also heard that we buy around 2 crore phones in a month in just India and 80 percent of those phones are below 10,000 rupees. And we cater to that market. I think even if we are able to conquer around 2-3 percent, which is about 5 lakh mobiles in a month, we’ll be home and that’s what we’ve stepped out to do. For us in India, the choice was mass or class and we decided with Viaan to bring the class to the mass.”

Mr Kundra added that “I get to launch not only a mobile phone in this booming mobile phone market but it’s also on my son’s name. I’ve been part of this since inception and we’ve made sure that in this cluttered phone market, what could we do different than what’s been there and done already, We are the first Indian phone brand to launch simultaneously in seven countries”.

Viaan mobiles come with a personalized concierge service V assist that will help users 24 X 7 and offer it customers services  in  travel, entertainment, shopping, gifting and utilities – Assist will also promote services through their flagship shopping brand Raj Best Deal TV. According to Kundra “resonating with the brand name Viaan, meaning full of life and energy, we hope to provide consumers with smart phones that not only help them connect with loved ones but also take complete care of their needs. Viaan mobiles are trendy, strong and work on the latest technology”.

The phones will be initially launched in five variants V-1.8, V-Emerge, V-Empower, V-Encore and V-Eternal.

Scoopwhoop to get more viral, raises $4million from Kalaari Capital

Scoopwhoop media limited the company which operates the popular internet and media website, raises $4million from Kalaari Capital. The funds raised will be used to expand the video platform ScoopWhoop talkies. The website was launched in 2013 and focuses on young audience .The company earlier raised $15 million from Ignite World, the investment arm of Bharti Enterprises and Japan’s softbank. The initial funding was provided by Gravy Partner led by WebChutney’s CEO Sddharth Arora.

The company said that the funds raised will be utilized to hire native editorial team and grow the inhouse content team. The investment comes at a time when the company has clocked 20 million unique users with 70 million page views and 30 million social engagements.

According to Sattvik Mishra , CEO of ScoopWhoop ,“In the last 12 months we have grown almost 300%. We’ve managed to put a great team together, across portals, that drives almost 20 million unique visitors monthly. And with this funding, we look forward to being the number 1 digital media company in India by 2017.

This has been the third prominent investment in the Online and media space in the country, earlier POPxo digital media publication and YKA  media raised funds from various strategic investors.


Ola, now worth $5billion,raises 500 million

Indian Taxi app unicorn Ola, has raised 500 million from a series of new and existing investors.The series F funding was lead by investor Baillie Gifford and existing investors like Tiger Global,Falcon edge, Softbank group and DST global.With this amount Ola has raised a total of $1.4billion from investors.The company plans to use the money to further accelerate in the existing markets and penetrate in more cities and town.The company’s app has already crossed more than 1 million in downloads and has recieved more than 1 billion bookings so far.The company is present in more than 100 cities across India.

The funding comes at an intersting time when the global market leader Uber, has planned to invest $1billion to tap the growing Indian internet population.Uber targets only high end customers in the country and is present only in 22 cities.
“As we pursue our mission to build mobility for a billion people, we are excited about bringing onboard partners who can help us get there faster,” Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and CEO of Ola said in a statement. “We will continue to build for the local market through innovative solutions like Ola Share, Ola Prime and Ola Money, as we grow the mobile ecosystem in India.”

According to Uber it plans to surpass its total ridership in US.The basic difference between the two services was that OLA allowed cash payement to its customers while uber only focused on the in app payments.Both the companies have come to common terms if we talk about payments.OLA recently launched its in app wallet named OLA money which allows customers to makepayments in app.

Microsoft plans for affordable internet for all.

In a plan that would boost Microsoft’s internet infrastructure , the company launched a new fund to invest in companies working towards solutions for affaordable internet access.The fund is part of Affordable Access initiative (AAI) and invest in companies in working towards last mile access technology that can help reduce the cost of Internet access.

The fund includes a grant of $75000(Rs 49.5lakhs) plus free software and upgrades and an oppurtunity to connect with other recepients.

In a statement issued by Microsoft Executive Vice President (Business Development) Peggy Johnson said “Today there are approximately four billion people globally without Internet access. The ability to close that gap is more achievable than ever with technology that is readily available and affordable in many parts of the world .Through this fund, Microsoft hopes to kick-start the entrepreneurial process by identifying promising ideas that it can help nurture, grow and scale.”

China’s Internt Unicorn Baidu debuts in India , seeks majority stake in Mydala .

So after Alibaba , another Chinese giant invest in India . This time it is Baidu . The company is seeking to acquire a majority stake in Mydala an Indian discount marketing firm. The deal is said to be valued around $100 million or Rs663 crores .The company’s parent Kinobeo Software is looking to raise around $150 -200 million in order to survive the feirce Online ecommerce competition in India . They are also in talks with Malaysia’s Khazanah Nasional Berhad for $100 million funding . Malaysia’s Khazanah Nasional Berhad intitally invested Rs250 crore in Zivame .

A Baidu spokesperson told ET, “Of course, strategic investments or M&As that will help us round out our local user base and form a solid foundation for our products are a definite possibility in the future. We absolutely plan to be in India for the long term.”

Baidu , a mobile internet giant in China has a total market cap of 69.9 Billion with aggregated 50 million mobile’s parent , Infoedge currently holds 44% of the Mydala and plans to dilute their stake for the subsequent round of funding .

“Baidu has been looking at (the discount couponing) space in India for some time now. They are attracted to the high number of users, especially in the classifieds space that cater to the small and medium enterprises,” Kunal Walia, managing partner of boutique investment bank Khetal Advisors, told ET.

Mydala operates in 209 cities of the country with more than 30 million active users .