Last week, a data security enthusiast called Gareth pointed out on Twitter that RupeeRedee, an early stage lending startup, was ‘leaking’ customer details because of a vulnerability on its cloud Storage facilities. RupeeRedee took notice of this and recognised and fixed the potential isolated vulnerability in one of their data stacks stored on Amazon Cloud by late Friday. Data that could be accessed were customer-scanned copies of Aadhaar or PAN cards, which are usually submitted by applicants during KYC.
Sports Flashes, an Indian startup, claims to be the largest sports radio channel, offering app-based, 24-hour, multi-sports services. It claims to have recorded a listenership of 3.6 million and a reach of 45 million audiences in December, as per MD Raman Raheja and is discussing to raise $7million (Rs 50 crore) in Series A round. It has also quietly picked up important audio rights including the global audio broadcast rights of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 and will broadcast audio feed of the World Cup in 11 languages expecting to reach 1 billion consumers and earning over $10 million.
Policybazaar.com has appointed Rahul Agarwal, as its chief technology officer (CTO) and Jayant Chauhan as its chief product officer (CPO). Agarwal served as the CTO of Lava Mobile before joining Policybazaar.com while Chauhan worked with several organizations such as Airtel, Zomato, Reliance, and Samsung in his past stints. A company release stated that Agarwal would be responsible for devising a new technology road map and identifying futuristic innovations while Chauhan would be responsible for building innovative products and ensuring timely upgrade and development of products in order to meet market needs.
Infibeam Avenues has entered into a binding agreement to sell its wholly-owned subsidiary, Infinium India, to Ingenius E-commerce for Rs 60 crore, as per reports. Ingenius Ecommerce, which owns and runs Tradohub, a B2B aggregator portal for industrial goods, will acquire a 100% equity stake in Infinium India. Infinium India provides high-quality, technically advanced customized turnkey systems, solutions, and services in the field of broadband satellite communications.
ShareChat, India’s home-grown social media startup, recently banned 50,000 profiles as part of its clean content drive which is an effort to keep the platform clean from pornographic, violent and fake content. The move comes amid backlash from government and users on toxic content that misuses and infests such platforms. ShareChat banned the profiles after running a campaign, encouraging users to identify and report problematic content and users of recently added eastern Indian languages. ShareChat allows users in India to post and communicate in 14 local languages and has a monthly active user base of 35 million.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal inaugurated ‘Assam Start Up – the Nest’, a state-owned incubator for start-up ventures promoting a conducive business environment and helping these startup companies accelerate their growth and success. The incubation centre has been set up by the state government under Assam Start-up Policy 2017 with technical expertise from IIM Calcutta Innovation Park and aims to facilitate the growth of at least 1000 new start-ups over the next 5 years. It also seeks to attract funding opportunities worth $250 million for state start-ups and incubators while providing dedicated mentorship and capacity enhancement training to startup entrepreneurs.
Flipkart’s fashion department head, Rishi Vasudev, has been promoted to head fashion and lifestyle at Myntra and Jabong as per sources. The development comes just a week after Flipkart named Amar Nagaram as head of Myntra-Jabong, following the resignation of Ananth Narayanan as its CEO. Amar will head product, tech and customer experience at Myntra and Jabong. Both Nagaram and Vasudev will report to Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy, as per the person aware of this development, adding that a formal announcement is expected in the next 10 days or so. Vasudev was the former CEO of Calvin Klein in India.
OYO is looking at further expanding its international presence by tapping the $5 billion Philippines market, as per sources. The SoftBank-backed company, which ventured into international markets in 2016, already has a presence in the UK, the UAE, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Nepal. As per sources, OYO has already gotten onboard 10 properties and are talking to add more locations at a quick pace in the Philippines. OYO is said to be working on a roadmap for 10 lakh room inventory over the next two years from the existing count of over 4.5 lakh.
As per experts, not all start-ups would qualify for the tax exemption benefit as notified by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). The CBDT is soon expected to issue a circular directing its tax officials not to press for tax demands where assessments of startups have been completed. According to the new rules, an investor should have returned income of Rs 50 lakh or more for the financial year preceding the year of investment and a net worth of minimum Rs 2 crore. Startups can apply to DIPP along with details of the investor to claim tax exemption.
IIT Madras has launched a startup called One Fourth Labs to train students and professionals on Artificial Intelligence (AI). It is launched by the faculty from this institute which also has an online school ‘PadhAI’ offering affordable India-specific courses on AI. The startup will invite every year, the top performers from courses on PadhAI to a ‘summer garage,’ an AI residency program at IIT Madras Research Park where they can work on research, tackle problems of societal impact, or find solutions to commercial value. Further, it will also create AI-driven apps by collaborating with SMEs and the industry.
CometChat, a Mumbai based CpaaS (communication platform as a service) startup is the first Indian company to have received a seed funding of $1,20,000 from Techstars Boulder. CometChat has been selected in a 3-month Techstars Boulder programme under which it will have access to Techstars resources such as mentors, financial, legal and infra resources for life including access to its network of more than 10,000 entrepreneurs, 2,700 investors and 1200 alumni companies. Post the 3-month programme, selected companies will demonstrate their progress for further growth stage funding and visibility. This affiliation will also help CometChat enter the US market.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) will soon issue circular directing tax officials not to demand payment of tax dues from start-ups where the assessment has already been completed. In cases where notices have been issued, no action will be taken, allowing investors to approach CBDT and get relief under the new, simplified scheme announced on Wednesday. Assessment was carried out in the case of 117 startups for assessment year 2016-17 and tax demands were raised for 19 of them. DIPP notified a new scheme on Wednesday for startups and their investors to shield them from the angel tax.
The government on January 16 notified rules to allay concerns over angel tax issues faced by angel investors and start-up community. According to revised norms, only start-ups certified and recognized by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) will be exempted. A start-up will continue to be eligible if its aggregate amount of paid-up share capital and share premium after the proposed share issue does not exceed Rs 10 crore. Eligible investors are expected to have a minimum returned income of Rs 50 lakh for the financial year along with a net worth of Rs 2 crore or more.
About 100 start-ups and the angel investor community have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking exemption from angel tax. The start-ups have demanded that Section 56 and Section 68 of Income Tax Act should not be made applicable to start-ups. Section 56 seeks to levy angel tax on the excess amount received by unlisted entities from issue of shares at a value higher than the fair value. Section 68 seeks to tax unexplained receipts in the books of accounts. Last week, Commerce minister Suresh Prabhu too had acknowledged the issue of angel tax.
Leverage EdTech, which owns and operates artificial intelligence-based ed-tech marketplace Leverage Edu, has raised about $1.3 million (Rs 9.2 crore) in its Pre-series A funding round, led by DSG Consumer Partners and Blume Ventures. As per Leverage Edu founder Akshay Chaturvedi, the startup will use the proceeds to grow its team, expand to tier-2 cities, and further invest in product development (particularly in K-12 segment). Also, the company has grown from a college admissions platform to a complete career growth platform helping students with mentorship and assessments, applying for undergraduate and post-graduate programmes and career advice from best-matched experts.